Activities for Encouraging Wellbeing in the Workplace

The following list of activities and emails was adapted from Spencer Minnich, Hopewell Health Centers. The information provided here was adapted and shared with her permission.


Wellness Icebreakers

Define your purpose: Ask everyone to grab a pen/pencil and a piece of scrap paper. Ask them the following questions (allowing them time between each question to write down a response):

  • When have you felt a sense of meaning?
  • Who were you serving?
  • What impact did you have?

Then, ask them to use those answers to fill in the following Purpose Statement:

I/We exist to __________ (desired impact) in order to serve __________ (intended audience).

This activity supports the occupational and spiritual dimensions of wellbeing. Taken from Quartz At Work. Full text available at:…


Breathing exercise: Mindful breathing can be restorative and help us manage stress in the workplace. Walk your colleagues through a Breathing Activity. You can find a great tutorial from the University of Michigan. This activity supports the emotional dimension of wellbeing.


One word icebreaker: Depending on how chatty your group is, or how big, this activity should take no more than 15 minutes and is a great way to engage in meaningful conversation before a staff retreat, mission revisioning activity or other workplace event. The Balance Careers offers their advice on how to best execute this activity. This activity supports the social, emotional and/or occupational dimension(s) of wellbeing, depending on how you choose to execute it.

Stretches to do at work: If you work in an office where employees sit at a desk all day or do repetitive motions, teaching them relevant and helpful stretches to do regularly can be a very helpful start to a meeting. Ask a fitness or ergonomics professional to give a guest presentation at an upcoming staff meeting. Or, if you feel able to lead a group stretch (or show a video), you can lead the group yourself. This activity supports the physical dimension of wellbeing.


Amazing mistake: Ask everyone to describe a time when they made a mistake and then something great came out of it. What life lesson did they learn that has helped them in the workplace or in their personal relationships? You may need to offer the group additional time to think about this before responding. This activity supports the social dimension of wellbeing.


Thank you notes: Start the meeting by handing out blank cards and asking everyone to write a thank you note to a colleague who has helped them recently. Offer to let people publicly share who they wrote their note to. This activity supports the social dimension of wellbeing. No money in the budget? Dig through the recycling bin…discarded file folders can be easily transformed into notecards. Plus, recycled notecards support the environmental dimension of wellbeing!


Recipe Book: One week prior to your upcoming meeting, ask everyone to email you (or place a hard copy in your mailbox) a copy of their favorite healthy recipe. Then, compile the recipes and share them with the group. This is an excellent activity to do before a time when your colleagues have a large number of personal and professional potlucks. This activity supports the physical dimension of wellbeing.


Brain Games: Business Balls created a treasure chest of brain games that may be appropriate for your workplace. Use an activity to get your colleague’s brains warmed up before a staff meeting. This activity supports the mental dimension of wellbeing.


1 Minute Meditation: If you have a group of individuals who need to de-stress before a staff meeting, consider engaging them in a short mindfulness or meditation break. There are many videos available on YouTube. Just getting started? A 1-minute meditation may be a great way to start! Just make sure you have all of your technology set-up before you start the meeting so as not to stress out the group while you figure it out. This activity supports the emotional and spiritual dimensions of wellbeing.


Questions: Looking for something simple, fast and introvert-friendly? Ask everyone to respond to a simple question. The opportunities are endless! Below are a few ideas. This form of activity can support the social dimension of wellbeing.

  • What was your first job?: You can add parameters (first job after high school, first full time job, etc.) or you can ask them to share a funny story about that first job experience.
  • What is a fun fact about yourself that others may not know? Or, you can choose to shake this one up by playing Two Truths and A Lie.
  • What one food could you not live without?
  • Who is your hero?
  • What is your biggest fear?
  • What is one of your pet peeves? 
  • What occupation did you want to have when you were a kid?
  • How many pillows do you sleep with? What’s your favorite family tradition
  • So many other ideas available online!


Wellness Ideas for Emails

Looking for new ways to address wellbeing in department-wide email blasts? Below, you’ll find a list of topics and suggested URLs to link to on each topic (when available).


Topic: Job Burnout

  • Dimensions of Wellbeing: Occupational and Emotional

Topic: Meditation

  • Dimension of Wellbeing: Spiritual 

Topic: Benefits of Walking

  • Dimension of Wellbeing: Physical 

Topic: Importance of Stretching

  • Dimension of Wellbeing: Physical

Topic: Benefits of Being Outside

  • Dimension of Wellbeing: Environmental, Spiritual

Topic: Yoga At Your Desk

  • Dimension of Wellbeing: Physical, Spiritual

Topic: Six Steps to Better Sleep

  • Dimension of Wellbeing: Physical

Topic: Public Service Loan Forgiveness

  • Dimension of Wellbeing: Financial

Topic: Journaling

  • Dimension of Wellbeing: Emotional

Topic: Benefits of Volunteerism

  • Dimensions of Wellbeing: Spiritual, Emotional, Social

Topic: Health Benefits of Strong Relationships

  • Dimensions of Wellbeing: Social, Physical

Topic: Leaving For Lunch

  • Dimension of Wellbeing: Occupational, Emotional, Physical

Topic: Unplugging from Tech

  • Dimensions of Wellbeing: Emotional, Physical, Social

Topic: Happy Secrets to Better Work

  • Dimension of Wellbeing: Occupational

Topic: Recycling and Composting Resources in our Community (resource varies depending on location, particularly if employees are remote/hybrid)

  • Dimension of Wellbeing: Environmental