Wellness

Why It's Time to Step Away from the 10,000-Step Goal

Is the buzz about 10,000 steps overhyped? As India's vibrant cities and corporations embrace a new wellness ethos, it's time to rethink old benchmarks. Discover how traditions, technology, and holistic insights are shaping the future of workplace health. It's not just about steps; it's about the journey.

September 2, 2023
Nitesh Padghan

India, with its vibrant mix of tradition and modernity, has been a silent observer of global health trends. In bustling cities from Mumbai to Bengaluru, where skyscrapers touch the heavens and streets buzz with life, a wellness revolution is unfolding. At its heart? The time-honored goal of 10,000 steps. But as the corporate world evolves, it's time we pause, reassess, and ask: Is this step count really the answer for employee health?

You see, every organization, from startups in Hyderabad to tech giants in Pune, wants a workforce that's not just present, but thriving. The '10,000 steps a day' mantra, for years, has been the go-to solution. On paper, it's straightforward. In practice? Maybe not so much. Especially when you consider the hustle of Indian urban life, where juggling work, family, and self-care can be a daily tightrope walk.

Unpacking the 10,000-Step Enigma

We've all heard it. The clarion call to march towards the 10,000-step milestone. But where did this number even come from? Not a medical lab or a wellness guru, but a 1964 marketing strategy in Japan. As the Olympics fever soared, a company marketed a pedometer, weaving the 10,000-step narrative. Fast forward, and this number has cemented itself in the global wellness lexicon.

manpo–kei (10,000 steps meter)

But here's the rub. For the average Indian employee, swamped with tasks and battling city traffic, this target often feels like scaling Mount Everest daily. If you're strolling at a leisurely 100 steps a minute, this goal translates to nearly 12 hours of walking every week. It's not just daunting—it can feel downright unattainable, especially for those tucked away in office cubicles or stationed at shopfronts.

The Science Speaks

Here's where things get interesting. Global studies, with sample sizes in the hundreds of thousands, are flipping the script. Turns out, it's not about hitting a lofty target, but consistent, meaningful activity. An increase of just 500 steps daily (that's a mere five-minute jaunt) can slash cardiovascular risks by 7%. Ramp it up to 1,000 steps, and the overall mortality risk dips by 15%. The real sweet spot? A more doable 4,000 steps.

This isn't just about numbers. It's about understanding the diverse fabric of the Indian workforce. The young techie in Gurgaon might be game for a 10k challenge. But the seasoned executive in Chennai? Perhaps not. And that's okay. The focus should be holistic wellness, not a one-size-fits-all metric.

Wellness in the Tech Era

India's tech prowess is no secret. From mobile apps to digital platforms, technology is reshaping how we approach wellness. The old-school pedometer has made way for sleek apps that don't just count steps but offer a holistic view of health. The Indian employee today has a suite of digital tools at their fingertips, tracking everything from sleep patterns to nutrition.

Companies too are catching on. Innovative platforms are offering rewards for wellness milestones, bridging physical health with tangible incentives. It's a win-win, ensuring employees are engaged, motivated, and on a path to holistic health. After all, in today's dynamic corporate landscape, employee well-being is not just a perk—it's a priority.

Redefining Workplace Wellness Goals

The 10,000-step goal, while inspirational for some, might need a rethink. As India strides into a new era of corporate wellness, the emphasis should shift from lofty targets to sustainable, meaningful wellness practices. Whether it's flexible work hours to accommodate physical activity, office spaces designed for movement or digital tools to track and reward wellness, it's clear: the future of employee health is holistic, inclusive, and personalized.

In essence, while the 10,000 steps might still find enthusiasts, the broader goal is clear: crafting a wellness narrative that's rooted in scientific insights, practicality, and the diverse needs of the Indian workforce. After all, in the intricate dance of well-being, it's not just about the steps, but the journey itself.

Occupational Wellbeing

The 5 most interesting insights from the 2022 Indeed Report

December 18, 2022
TheWellnessTribe Team

Indeed, the world's largest job search website recently released its 2022 Work Wellbeing Insights Report, which surveyed over 1,000 employees to understand their views on work and well-being. Here are the top five findings from the report:

Putting Well-Being Ahead of Career

A majority of workers value their well-being over their careers. The report found that 54% of workers prioritise their well-being over their career advancement, with only 46% putting their careers over their well-being. This indicates a shift in the traditional mindset of placing work over personal health and happiness.

Top 5 findings: 2022 Indeed Report

Work-life balance is the top concern for workers. When asked about their top concerns related to work, 61% of workers cited work-life balance as their top concern, followed by job security (50%) and stress levels (49%). This highlights the importance of companies providing flexible work options and support for their employees' mental and physical health.

Burnout Is More Widespread Than Acknowledged.

Top 5 Findings: 2022 Indeed Report
Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash

Burnout is a widespread problem. The report found that 60% of workers have experienced burnout, with over half (51%) saying they have felt burnt out at their current job. Burnout can have serious consequences for both individual employees and companies, so it's important for employers to provide support and resources to prevent and manage burnout.

Indeed Report Job Satisfaction - 3/10 employees believe that low general job satisfaction is the main reason for the growing trend of quiet quitting.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on work and well-being. Over half (54%) of workers reported that the pandemic has negatively impacted their work and well-being, with common concerns including increased stress and anxiety levels and difficulty balancing work and personal responsibilities.

Greater Demand for Mental Health Services

Access to mental health resources is crucial. The report found that 88% of workers believe that their employer should provide mental health resources and support. This indicates a strong desire among workers for their companies to prioritise their mental health and provide resources to help them manage stress and other mental health concerns.

Office workers are faring better than other professions.

Office workers reported lower rates of toxic work environments compared to manual laborers and service workers (people who interact with customers or clients, including food and retail workers, teachers, and healthcare workers). During the pandemic, office workers also reported more improvements to their work schedules in terms of flexibility and hours, while manual laborers and service workers reported more deterioration.

Positive work environments contribute to well-being.

Positive work environments contribute to well-being.
Photo by Redd F on Unsplash

This finding highlights the importance of creating a positive work culture and investing in employee development and growth. Employers can contribute to the well-being of their employees by creating a supportive and positive work environment that fosters a sense of belonging, purpose, and meaning. This may include providing opportunities for professional development and growth, promoting open communication and collaboration, and recognizing and valuing the contributions of employees.

In addition to creating a positive work culture, employers can also support the well-being of their employees by addressing any factors that may be contributing to stress or negative feelings. This may include addressing workload, providing resources for mental health support, and promoting work-life balance. By prioritizing their employees' well-being, employers can improve their workforce's overall health and happiness and increase productivity and overall business success.

Closing Thoughts

Overall, the findings from Indeed's 2022 Work Wellbeing Insights Report highlight the importance of paying attention to well-being in the workplace. From prioritising work-life balance to providing mental health resources, there are many steps that employers can take to support their employees' well-being and create a healthier and more positive work environment.

Wellness Tribe Team has put together a workplace wellness guide for 2023; you can check it out here etc.

Mental Health

Perfectionism Leads to Anxiety, Depression, and OCD in Youth: Study

August 2, 2023
Nitesh Padghan

We often praise perfectionism as a quality that propels us to greatness. Yet, recent research paints a more complex and troubling picture, particularly for our youth. The drive for flawlessness might actually be linked to anxiety, depression, and OCD among individuals aged 6-24. 

Here's a closer look into this study that may cause us to rethink our views on perfectionism.

Understanding Perfectionism

What is perfectionism, really? It's not simply about wanting things to be perfect. It's a multifaceted personality trait characterized by:

  • High Standards: A relentless pursuit of excellence and accuracy.
  • Self-Criticism: A harsh and often unforgiving view of one's own performance.
  • Striving for Flawlessness: An ongoing need to achieve an unattainable ideal.

While this drive can fuel success, it's not without consequences. Perfectionism can lead to negative outcomes, especially among young people who are in a vulnerable phase of self-development.

The Two Sides of Perfectionism

Perfectionism isn't merely a monolithic trait; it's a multifaceted concept with layers that can either facilitate growth or foster discontent. Here's a closer examination of the two sides of perfectionism that the study sheds light on. You'll find that there's more to perfectionism than meets the eye.

1. The Drive to Excel

On one side of the coin, you have what's known as "perfectionistic strivings." This refers to the inherent desire to achieve high standards and excel in various pursuits. At its core, it's about setting ambitious goals and working diligently to attain them.

This form of perfectionism is not necessarily harmful. In fact, it can be a catalyst for growth, innovation, and success. It’s the fuel for athletes aiming for a gold medal or artists reaching for unparalleled creativity. 

When channeled positively, it becomes a driving force that propels individuals towards excellence without the self-flagellation often associated with perfectionism.

2. The Trap of Never Being Enough

The other side, however, is where the pitfalls lie. "Perfectionistic concerns" refer to an obsessive worry about achieving perfection, coupled with a constant fear of failure or judgment. This side of perfectionism can become a relentless chase, where the pursuit of flawless execution leads to an overwhelming sense of inadequacy.

Here, the standards are not just high; they are often unrealistic and unattainable. The fear of making a mistake or falling short can become paralyzing. 

It leads to stress, anxiety, and in some cases, even depression, OCD, and other mental health challenges. The desire for perfection becomes a burden rather than a motivator, leading to a cycle of self-criticism and dissatisfaction that can be difficult to break.

Not Just a Local Issue

The reality of perfectionism's impact stretches far beyond borders, cultures, and personal experiences. This isn't just a matter that concerns a select group; it's a global issue that resonates across various spheres of life. Here's an exploration of how and why perfectionism becomes a worldwide concern.

Consistency Across Cultures

The study found that the connections between perfectionism and mental health disorders such as anxiety, OCD, and depression were consistent across different countries. This provides compelling evidence that perfectionistic tendencies are not limited to specific cultural norms or societal pressures but are a human phenomenon.

It's not just about a high-achieving society or a competitive school system in one country. It's a shared struggle that transcends geographical locations. The pursuit of flawlessness has become a universal trait that may be rooted in shared human fears and desires. 

It calls for a broader understanding and acceptance that perfectionism and its consequences are common threads weaving through diverse human experiences.

Gender and Age: No Boundaries Here

What makes the study even more significant is its consistent findings across gender and age. The negative aspects of perfectionism don't seem to discriminate. Whether a young boy in his formative years or a teenage girl navigating the complexities of adolescence, the harmful side of striving for perfection manifests similarly.

The fact that perfectionistic concerns were found equally impacting both males and females suggests that societal pressures and personal aspirations are universally shared. 

Likewise, the consistency across different age groups within the 6-24 years range highlights that the struggle with perfectionism may begin quite early and extend through critical development stages.

The Dark Side of a Virtue

Perfectionism Leads to Anxiety, Depression, and OCD in Youth: Study

The research reveals that perfectionism can turn into a significant risk factor for developing psychopathology in young people. Particularly those who were already experiencing symptoms of anxiety, OCD, or depression showed even stronger connections with perfectionistic tendencies.

Moreover, the study found the association between perfectionism and psychopathology was even more pronounced in clinical samples than in non-clinical ones. It indicates that perfectionism is not just a quirk but a potentially severe issue that may require professional intervention.

Limitations and Path Forward

The study, while groundbreaking, had its limitations:

  • Methodology: Most of the included studies were cross-sectional, limiting causal conclusions.
  • Lack of Data: Variables like ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and cultural factors were unexamined.
  • Quality Variance: The quality of the studies varied widely, indicating potential methodological biases.

Despite these limitations, the research opens up vital pathways for future exploration. There's a need for interventions focusing on reducing the harmful aspects of perfectionism. It's about finding a balance that fosters ambition without crippling fear.

A Time for Reflection

The perfect balance, the flawless execution, the unblemished record – these are ideals we often strive for, especially in our success-driven culture. But at what cost?

Perfectionism is a double-edged sword. What fuels some could destroy others. This study beckons us to reflect on how we approach perfectionism in our own lives and those of the young individuals around us.

It's a call for a cultural shift that not only celebrates achievement but also encourages growth, resilience, and self-compassion. We must build an environment that recognizes human value, embraces flaws, and nurtures the inherent potential in our youth – perfect or not.

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