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Emotional health is our ability to cope with everyday life. It doesn’t mean that you never feel sad or anxious, but it does mean that you can function and meet the demands of life. Emotionally healthy people can be engaged and productive at work. This section will explore this topic and provide information about how you can improve your emotional health.
Effectively Managing Financial Strain
In any disaster- natural or manmade- jobs and the economy are one of the first things to be impacted as in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in immense job losses and an almost complete shutdown of the economy. This situation has created financial strain on families where now families need to make plans for financial changes and create a new budget in this situation. Here are some ways where you can start thinking of how to relieve your financial strain.
How to relieve your financial strain
Assess your financial standing by identifying all sources of income such as government assistance, savings, assets and any incoming income as well
Prioritize expenses and make a list of must haves, wants and optional expenses
Use the expense list to alter your budget and focus first on the must haves
Work with your financial advisor to help make a plan for paying off loans
Create a plan to help relieve some of the uncertainty arising from financial strain
Document each expense and payment so that you can keep track
Eliminate optional or wants expenses by finding alternate less-expensive ways to enjoy hobbies/interests
Coming Back from a Vacation the Smart Way
Vacations are great for our mental health, but the transition back to work can end up being an overwhelming ordeal. You may think that now that you are well rested, you are ready to get back to work and be as productive as humanly possible. On the flip side you may be dragging your feet back to your workplace wishing you were back on the beach. While attitude does matter, first day back will probably be stressful in either case. To alleviate the stress all you have to do is plan your return before you leave on vacation. Your efforts of planning ahead will welcome you back with a smooth transition, and time to share highlights of your trip.
To do before you leave on vacation for a smoother return back to the workplace:
Make a list of projects and tasks you’re working on, note their status and priority
Delegate time sensitive tasks to coworkers
Set an Out-of-the-Office email responder
Clean your desk and living space to come back to a clean environment
Reschedule any meeting from the first day back to the second day
Book in a time for catching up with your supervisor/colleagues about any changes or updates
Book in a time to declutter your email on the first day back
Don’t be Fooled: Some Common Scams and how to Avoid Them
We all think we are too clever to fall for a scam, but even the best and brightest of us can get caught off guard. Scam artists are professional fraudsters, and they work very hard to find new ways to trick us. The majority of scams still happen through phone and email requests. Here are a few current scams to watch for and some tips on how to avoid getting fooled.
Types of Scams
Grandparents Scam – someone calls a senior on behalf of their grandchild, child who is in trouble
Lottery Scams – when people are told they have won large sums of money and are asked to wire money to handle shipping and taxes
Robocalls that insist you owe money to Canada Revenue Service, a utility, bank or large company lke Microsoft
Asset recovery cons that work by charging victims to file a complaint about a scam which can be done for free
Emails that ask you to change your PIN number or for personal information to solve a computer problem.
Read more to learn actions you can take to avoid scams including how to protect your family and yourself from a hacker.
Are You a Nomophobiac? How to Identify and Treat Smartphone Addiction
Smartphones have become an important part of our lives. We use them for emergencies, GPS tracking, entertainment, to access apps, read the news, keep up with friends and family and make phone calls. Smartphones keep us in tune and in touch. They have become as essential to our lives as breathing. But have they become too essential? Have you used your phone in any of the following circumstances?
Have you ever used your phone in the following circumstances?
in a movie theatre
in the shower
at a child’s school function
on a dinner date
If so, you might be a smartphone addict, or even a nomophobiac (suffering from no-mobile-phobia, the fear of being away from your phone).
What does it take to be Happy? It’s a Simple Formula!
Happiness may be elusive, but there is one thing we know for sure: being healthy makes you happy, and being happy makes you healthy. Being happy and healthy propels you to face the world in a positive way, every day. Just having a reason to smile lowers your blood pressure, combats stress and boosts your immune system. It builds confidence, and that helps you to achieve your goals. Best of all, it’s contagious: being happy makes other people happy. So how do you get there?
Here are seven behaviours that make up the happiness formula:
Being a Kid Again
Buying Time, Not Things
Getting Some Exercise
Finding Meaningful Work
Benefits of Practicing Yoga
Stress is a killer. It can cause a variety of musculo-skeletal disorders, from back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome to shoulder and neck tension. It can cause eye strain, chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal disturbances and headaches, and chronic stress is the leading cause of anxiety and depression.
Increasingly, medical researchers are studying ways to cope with stress that do not involve medical or pharmacological intervention, and one of these remedies is yoga. Research shows that practicing yoga has the power to beat stress, along with a myriad of health concerns that are caused by stress.
Treat musculo-skeletal disorders, from back pain to neck tension
Relax the body and mind
Relieve tension and reduce the risk of injury
Make you a better communicator
Promote the act of self-compassion
Don’t let chronic pain take over your work
Have you been suffering from prolonged chronic pain? Do you feel that medication and treatment was inadequate? Is your everyday life being effected? Managing chronic pain can be complicated and frustrating, because such pain is unpredictable, invisible and not always caused by a single reason. Chronic pain is also associated with mental health issues, and the inability to perform everyday tasks.
Managing chronic pain may be a long term struggle but it is not impossible.
Here are some tips to help self-manage chronic pain at work, and prevent it from hindering your activities and job tasks:
Set small, achievable goals and take your time – Don’t give up!
Gentle and frequent exercise
Maintain a healthy lifestyle- explore new hobbies, meditation and nutritional diet.
Talk to a professional about other forms of treatment and therapies
Focus on yourself, take time out for family and plan activities around your needs or pain management schedule
Openly communicate your ongoing pain condition and any changes with your boss
Coping with Uncertainty
As the COVID-19 situation is evolving, we are learning more every day but there is still so much that is unknown. It’s natural for us to feel anxious, fearful, stressed or overwhelmed when we are surrounded by uncertainty. We need to acknowledge that these kinds of feelings are valid but can take a toll on our mental health and wellbeing. It is important that we find ways to cope with these emotions in order to get through these trying times as best we can. Here are some tips and resources on how to manage our levels of stress and anxiety, and safeguard our mental health.
Manage your levels of stress and anxiety, and safeguard your mental health with these tips:
Fight Fear with Facts. Get your data from trusted sources and know who to call for help.
Have a Plan. Focus on what you can control and be prepared.
Set Boundaries. Limit your exposure to media and keep routine and structure to maintain balance.
Connect and Communicate. Taking care of yourself is important so you can help take care of others. Connect with family and friends.
Follow guidance. Your best form of protection is listening to advice from public health authorities.
Mind over Matter: how mindfulness can improve your life
The concept of mindfulness once associated with Buddhism, The Beatles and transcendental meditation. Today, 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. This includes physical health as well as mental health. From helping people face the challenges of stress reduction to treating individuals with serious mental health issues, mindfulness is proving to be one of the most adaptive remedies for a range of wellness issues. But what is mindfulness, and how does it work?
Benefits of mindfulness
Stress management - numerous studies point to meditation to reduce anxiety and increase positive affect.
Reduced anxiety – research shows that meditation contributes to faster recovery after a negative provocation.
Reduced symptoms of depression – it has been shown to reduce symptoms and recurrence rates in people suffering from depression.
Active Aging and Acting Your Age
Have you ever wondered how some people manage to look ageless? Well into their 80s, they have a youthfulness that belies their age, and still participate in activities that younger adults enjoy. There are many factors affecting how we age, including financial security, but aging well, without mental and physical stress on our bodies, is within the reach of us all. Through a few simple daily practices and preventive measures, we can experience our senior years with a quality of life, rather than simply clinging to life.
Tips for aging successfully:
Prevention: Many diseases in later life are preventable through even minor lifestyle changes, even for people with chronic disabilities.
Nutrition: Nutrition is an important component of aging well, since it improves physical well-being while regulating stress and promotes social inclusion and participation.
Physical activity: Physical activity reduces by about 50% the risk of many disorders related to inactivity, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Mental health: Total health is not merely about the absence of infirmity or disease but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.
Join a program: In Canada, the New Horizons for Seniors Program is designed to empower seniors, encouraging them to share their knowledge, skills and experience with others in the community and enhance their social well-being.
How to Beat the Burnout Blues
Feeling overextended at work? Burnout is a growing problem among office workers. It results from an accumulative overload of occupational stress, and causes adversarial mental or physical health conditions. When a person’s adaptive capabilities are overextended, repeatedly, burnout can occur. Researcher Evangelia Demerouti, who authored an article in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation identifies burnout as “intensive physical, affective and cognitive strain that is a longterm consequence of adverse working conditions.”
Here are some steps you can take to beat the burnout blues
Take Action and try Job Crafting
Take Time to Recover
Make Time for Exercise
Be Mindful or Spiritual
Nurture Professional Relationships
How Swimming is like Meditation
The physical health benefits of swimming are well known. It improves circulation, works the main muscle groups, lowers cholesterol and boosts cardiovascular health. Exercising in water can also be an important proponent of mental health. The rhythmic breathing and repetitive nature of swimming can have a meditative quality that promotes feelings of well being. Even light exercise in a swimming pool can help to decrease anxiety, heal depression and improve your general mood.
It’s all about the breathing. The rhythmic breathing, synchronized with repetitive strokes and body position in swimming can have a meditative quality. Here is how to make the most of it:
Inhale when your head is out of the water and exhale when your head is in the water.
We normally inhale and exhale on a one-to-one ratio, but in the pool, it’s better to breathe at a two-to-one ratio, with the exhale lasting twice as long as the inhale.
Completely exhale while your face is in the water so that when you come up, you’ll be ready for air intake.
Exhale through the nostrils to avoid swallowing water.
Establish a rhythm, synchronizing your breathing with the movements of your body.
Domestic violence at work: Supporting your colleague
Domestic violence constitutes the behavior and actions of one person to gain control and power over someone they are involved with in an intimate or personal relationship. Such behavior includes physical, sexual, emotional, verbal and intellectual abuse and violence. It can be prevalent at work and remain hidden from everyone where a fellow worker can be the victim, or even the abuser. When signs of domestic violence appear at work, it may create a situation where the employees or employer would have to step in to support the victim or handle the abuser. Not only does this create a difficult situation for the worker involved in domestic violence, but it can also be a safety risk for other workers. The question remains, how can you help your fellow worker?
How to help:
Your colleague can be the victim or the abuser, and so there are different ways to approach each situation and help your colleague. The key step is to observe and identify signs of domestic violence at work place such as abuser harassing worker at the workplace, victim showing signs of physical abuse or emotional abuse, or the prolonged absence and mood changes of the victim. Other methods include:
If colleague is the victim:
Gently initiate the conversation, and give them time to open up
Listen patiently, do not judge
Encourage sharing with employer or contacting support services
DO NOT encourage their confrontation with abuser. Their safety and yours is the most important
If colleague is the abuser:
Approach your observations when they are calm but do not accuse
Inform your employer or support services or the police of your observations
DO NOT get involved in a direct confrontation or physical violence with them- Keep yourself safe
Share information on support services and resources available for them
How mindfulness works
Mindfulness is a state that involves the self-regulation of attention, allowing you to focus on the present moment and experience thoughts and sensations objectively, with curiosity, openness and acceptance, with the ultimate goal of controlling your reaction to those thoughts and sensations. The more you practice mindfulness, the better it works, and the greater the benefits.
Principles of good mindfulness practice
Paying attention to the moment-to-moment details of experience
Paying particular attention to the body and one’s experience of it
Recognizing the experience of mind and not getting caught in memories of the past or plans for the future
Trying neither too much nor too little
Letting go of distractions and paying attention to the present moment
Noticing one's experience without judging it
Meditate your way to accident prevention
We know that practicing mindfulness improves both mental and physical health because it strengthens the part of the brain that helps you cope with anxiety, improves your eating habits and prepares you to face the unexpected without fear. It is not surprising, then, that there is a correlation between mindfulness and safety prevention. Researchers studying the effects of mindfulness have noted response mechanisms to various stimuli, that imply it can help prevent accidents.
Pay attention to details
Stay in the moment
Stay alert to stimuli without reacting emotionally
Be receptive to new information and ways of interpreting that information
Try not to over-plan everything. Most plans are too specific and prevent you from acting in the moment in response to new information.
Pay particular attention to the body and your experience of it
Face your thoughts, sensations and external stimuli objectively and non-judgmentally
Be aware of unexpected or negative stimuli without practicing avoidance
How to Cope with Burnout
Work-related burnout is the inability to manage work demands that exceed your ability to cope – is often due to diminished resources: diminishing time, mental and energetic resources, and often a consequent diminishment in the willingness to invest the effort needed to complete work tasks.
How to Cope with Burnout
Researchers developed a new model called SOC: a combined use of Selection, Optimization and Compensation. These strategies, alone or in combination, were found to buffer the unfavorable effects of burnout. The SOC model was developed partly to explain how individuals might deal with diminishing resources that come with illness or physical deterioration – conditions that are especially applicable to aging workers. It consists of the following management strategies:
Selection: This involves selecting the goals to pursue – acknowledging that you can’t accomplish everything – and then setting goal priorities. It may involve abandoning nonimportant or less important goals.
Optimization: This is about optimizing and using goal-relevant means. For example, it may mean learning new procedures for performing certain tasks, or making other attempts at adaptation.
Compensation: This involves using compensatory means to maintain goal attainment when previously employed resources are no longer available or blocked. It might entail using external aid.
How Happy are You?
In the movies, existential anguish is considered heroic and deep. In real life, the goal is to experience as much happiness as possible, to be at peace with the world and grateful for what we have. But how does one define happiness? What are the basic principles of living a happy life. Here is a look at how researchers define happiness.
The word happiness is synonymous with quality of life or well-being. It denotes that a life is good – but what is good about that life? According to research published recently in the International Journal of Psychology, there are certain elements conducive to happiness:
Research has shown that, among populations, the following elements contribute to life’s happiness:
Freedom of Choice
Mother Nature Knows Best – The Importance of Getting Green Exercise
Remember when your mother used to say, “go outside and play in the fresh air. It will do you some good!” She was right. Many of modern society’s most urgent physical health challenges, including obesity and coronary heart disease, are connected to sedentary and indoor lifestyles. Research now confirms that exercise performed in conjunction with exposure to nature, known as green exercise, has been associated with a variety of psychological and physiological benefits. Evidence indicates that exercising in a natural environment improves mood, and attention span, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, and relieves stress. Not only does green exercise have a therapeutic effect, helping us to recover from pre-existing stresses or problems, it can have an immunizing effect, protecting us from future stresses and the diseases caused by stress – particularly from cardiovascular disease.
The Therapeutic Effects of Green Exercise:
Improve your mood
Help recover from injury or burnout
Have an immunizing effect against diseases
Prevent cardiovascular disease
Reduce blood pressure
Top Wellness Trends of 2019
There are many ways to stay healthy, from broad categories like managing diet and exercise to niche strategies like “forest-bathing” and brain-boosting. Here are a few of the most popular pathways to well-being for the year ahead.
Pathways to well-being
Give Yourself a Break
Eating Plant Based Foods
Enhance your Financial Wellness
Boost Your Brain
Go Alcohol Free
Take Part in Green Exercise
Beating Blue Monday Blues
Blue Monday. The third Monday in January is designated as the most depressing day of the year is not actually founded in scientific research, but it has still be adopted as factual. The days are long, the jovial holidays have passed and it’s cold and bleak outside. These factors can impact how we are feeling so here are some tips on how to beat the Blue Monday Blues. Not all of these suggestions will work for everyone, but it is important to find what works for you.
Tips for beating Blue Monday Blues
Stay Positive and Be Grateful
Bundle Up and Embrace the Cold
Flame the Friendship Fire
Get Some Sleep
Be Future Focused
CCSA Infographic – Virtual Care for Mental Health and Substance Use during COVID-19
This one page poster developed by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) provides information about accessing virtual care for substance use and mental health during COVID-19. It highlights the importance of seeking mental health and substance use care early and provides a list of virtual care options that are available to offer support.
If you have been experiencing the following:
Sadness or low mood
Feeling overwhelmed or frustrated
Isolation or loneliness
Fear or worry
Anger or irritation
Consuming more alcohol, cannabis or other substances than usual
If you have , and these feelings or experiences are affecting your day-to-day life. Consider reaching out for help. A list of available virtual supports is listed in the download.
Heads Up Guys
Developed by the University of British Columbia, The Newell Foundation and Movember Foundation this site is focused on helping men establish health strategies for managing depression. It provides information about depression in men, suicide, risk factors and triggers.
You may find this site useful if you want:
to understand what depression is and how it can impact you
practical tips and other information on how to take action
access information, campaigns and real life stories
to help your family member
Mental Health Meter
Understanding the characteristics that make up good mental health will help you determine how mentally fit you are. This mental health meter helps you explore your personal characteristics of mental health and provides feedback based on your scores.
The characteristics of mental health are
Ability to enjoy life
Click on the link below to take the mental health meter.
Optimal Aging – McMaster University Creates Evidenced Based Site for Healthy Aging
This website provides evidence based information about healthy aging. The this site and its social media network will brings you the best available related research evidence at the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal
This site contains content on:
My Health Matters
My Health Matters delivers health information based on your personal health priorities and your individual life stage. Our articles, videos, recipes and interactive tools will help you manage and improve your health. All the content is developed and written specifically for women by the experts at Women's College Hospital.
You may find this site useful if you want:
Search health related content by your age
Identify health priorities
Work Life Balance Quiz
More than ever before, Canadians play many different roles in their lives. They are workers, parents, spouses, friends, caregivers of elderly relatives and volunteers in their communities. They must also make room in their lives for taking care of their own physical and mental well-being. Not surprisingly, achieving balance among all these competing priorities can be difficult.
But, as difficult as work/life balance is to define, most of us know when we’re out of balance. To find out more about your own personal balance:
Complete the Work-Life Balance Quiz
Tips and Resources to make your work-life balance better
Click on the link below.
10 Ted Talks for When You are Feeling Burned out
As the TED Talk summary says these talks are for when you are feeling worn out, exhausted and bleary-eyed… they are a little something to ease your frustration and get you feeling better.
Topics covered include:
10 minutes of mindfulness – Andy Puddicombe
How to make stress your friend – Kelly McGonigal
The power of time off – Stefan Sagmeister
Flow, the secret to happiness – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
The Art of Stillness – Pico Iyer
Wait it Out – Imogen Heap
Your elusive creative genius – Elizabeth Gilbert
Are you Human – Ze Frank
How to Succeed? Get More sleep – Arianna Huffington
The happy secret to better work – Shawn Achor
Canadian Mental Health Association
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), founded in 1918, is one of the oldest voluntary organizations in Canada. As the nationwide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness.
On this site you will find
Information about mental health and access to mental health assessment tools
Mental health programs for workplaces
Research and other information
In 2014, 23.0% of Canadians aged 15 and older reported that most days were ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely stressful’. Since 2003, females were more likely than males to report that most days were ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely stressful’. In 2014, the rate for females was 23.7%, while for males the rate was 22.3%.
What's your stress index?
The link below will take you to the Canadian Mental Health Association stress index which will provide you feedback based on your self-assessment.
8 Workplace Practices for Improved Mental Health
A psychologically healthy workplace is a respectful and productive environment that makes every reasonable effort to promote and protect the mental health of employees. This info graphic prepared by Employment and Social Services Development Canada includes 8 Practices to improve mental health in the workplace. Flip the card to read more and download the infographic.
These practices include:
Support employee participation and decision-making