Did you know June 24 is International Self-care Day?
No matter your work environment or the type of work you do, always remember your employees are just as important as the work. Here are a few tips for workplaces to help promote self-care and make workers’ mental health a priority.
Disconnecting From Work Policy
As of June 1, 2022, all Ontario workplaces are required to have in place a disconnecting from work policy. According to the Employment Standards Act (ESA),
“Disconnecting from work” means not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or the sending or reviewing of other messages, so as to be free from the performance of work.” 2021, c. 35, Sched. 2, s. 3.
This new requirement was created in response to the increasingly blurred lines between work and home as a result of the pandemic and how difficult it is for workers to unplug given the level of accessibility to technology. Such a policy encourages employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance and supports them in setting boundaries and disconnect from the digital world.
While leaving work at work can be challenging for some, being present during your personal time is important for your mental health. Check out our Taking Time to Disconnect blog post for a few ways to stay connected while being disconnected.
Workplace Wellness Programs
Wellness programs and initiatives have become a trend in workplaces as employers hope to better the quality of life of their employees, create a healthy culture and save on future healthcare costs.
Workplace wellness programs help to establish a work environment that promotes employees’ holistic health by positively impacting their physical, social and mental wellbeing. Such programs also help to foster a strong, positive organizational culture and sense of community, while also being shown to lead to increased productivity and reduced absences. Examples of corporate wellness programs include employee assistance programs, on-site fitness centres or classes, lunch or healthy snack programs.
Workers may also feel empowered to create their own workplace wellness programs, and they should be encouraged to do so! A few examples of employee-led wellness initiatives include lunchtime walking clubs, health campaigns and challenges, or standing/walking meetings. Learn more about workplace wellness programs.
From lunchtime to heat exhaustion, there are many reasons workers may need to take breaks. Depending on the hours of work, type of work, the working environment and other factors, breaks should happen frequently throughout the day.
While the need to eat lunch may be pretty self-explanatory, workers should be encouraged to step away and take part in other activities throughout the workday to give themselves a break and recharge, such as spending time outside, having a snack or refilling your water bottle, socializing, working out or taking a walk, taking a nap or whatever else they might feel they need! Returning to work after a break can help workers feel rejuvenated and can also increase productivity.
Employers can also encourage employees to practice mindfulness and mindful meditation during breaks. Mindfulness is a serious topic of research in the medical community, as a mounting body of evidence demonstrates that it can have a powerful effect on healthy living – both physically and mentally. From helping people reduce stress and anxiety to treating serious mental health issues and symptoms, mindfulness is proving to be one of the most adaptive remedies for a range of wellness issues. Learn more about how mindfulness works and how mindfulness can improve your life.
If you work from a computer screen for the majority of your workday, remember to take small breaks throughout the day (about once an hour for a few minutes) to help relieve the stress on your eyes. These breaks are a great time for small activities like a few listed above. Learn more about preventing visual strain in the workplace.
Invest in Training
From everyday challenges to traumatic personal events to major societal upheaval, we have to adapt to change. There is no clear roadmap. We are all affected differently, but it is our resilience that guides us to a more balanced life, enabling us to cope, overcome and thrive. ResilientME is a free, 30-minute self-guided microlearning program that focuses on 6 areas: mental fitness, physical fitness, nutrition, financial fitness, sleep and social connections. It incorporates highly effective strategies and tools designed to increase your capacity for resilience.
R2 for Leaders Building Resilient Organizations Distance Learning Program
This one-day program helps organizational leaders understand what resilience is and how qualities for resilience can be used to increase organizational capacity and integrated within prevention programs to build a resilient organization.
Beyond Silence is an evidence-based workplace mental health training program customized for healthcare workers. The 2-day program, led by peer educators, builds knowledge, skills and resources to promote early intervention and support for mental health at work, and psychological health and safety in the workplace.
View our full course catalog here.
Looking for something a little more specific to your organization? Whether you’re looking to explore microlearning or develop custom eLearning, Public Services Health & Safety Association can design a custom digital learning solution to bring your vision to life. Learn more at pshsa.ca/designandbuild.
Psychological Health and Safety | Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA)
Mental Health | PSHSA
Mental Health in The Workplace | Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD)
Find mental health support | Ontario Government
Canadian Mental Health Association