Mental health in the workplace: 3 healthy habits for healthy days.


Let’s start at the start. What is mental health? 

Here’s a hint, mental health is not defined by how many face masks a person does, how many green juices someone drinks, or how long someone can meditate for. Mental health is health and has many contributing factors.  

Mental health can be defined as the state of your psychological and emotional well-being. It is a main factor in overall health. Mental health does not mean the same thing as mental illness. However, poor mental health can lead to mental and physical illness.  

Let’s talk mental illness.  

Mental illnesses are experienced by one in three Canadians, which can lead us to believe every single Canadian will be impacted by mental illness in their lifetime, either directly or indirectly, through family, friends, or colleagues.

We all have mental health. Mental illness will touch all our lives. These are important to prioritize. 

How? Let’s talk! 

Integrating new habits into our lives can be challenging. It is all right to acknowledge that even positive changes can be hard in the beginning. That said, who’s up for a challenge? Let’s do this! 

Habits support a healthy foundation in our lives; they impact mental and physical health, productivity, inter-personal relationships, and overall happiness.  

“Mental health is health and has many contributing factors.”

– Lindsay Bissett, Wellness & Disability Management Consultant

1. Take breaks

Healthy habits:

Sounds simple right? It can be.  

Remember being in kindergarten? My daughter loves telling me all about her recess adventures, and she becomes extra excited when they get an occasional bonus recess! Adults need “recess” too. In kindergarten kids must take breaks, it’s woven in as a critical part of their day.  

My friends and colleagues, we must take breaks too.  

Recesses *I mean breaks* can reduce stress and increase creativity, among other things. Breaks allow us time to think about something outside of work, mentally put down our daily stressors, and allow us time to eat, exercise, and/or simply rest.  

2. Get outside

I know, we live in a rainy place. Stay with me!  

Research shows that people find being in nature relaxing and stress reducing, nature also reduces cortisol levels, muscle tension and heart rates. 

Even just a few minutes of outside time can be an incredible contributor to positive mental health, adding in exercise would be a double win! Now that we are practicing taking breaks at work (above), we can additionally weave outside time into our adult recesses.  

Free and cheap things to do in Metro Vancouver this summer

3. Clean space, clean mind

As a mom of two who works full time, balances taekwondo classes for the kids, sitting on a local City Committee and finding quality time with my spouse, I respect time challenges. I also know a good mess when I see one and feel much more peaceful when I have a clean space.  

Cleaning, even small tasks at a time (set a timer and see how much you get done within a certain time!), creates feelings of accomplishment, and reduces stress.  

The Equity and People Team at Vancity implemented Focus Weeks around the various solstice seasons. During these weeks we intentionally reduce meetings, and colleagues reported using some of this extra time to clean their workspace. Just cleaning the space around them provided an incredible mood lift, feelings of accomplishment, and for some created ongoing healthy habits. 

Is a robo-advisor right for you?

Whatever we do for our mental health, the most important thing is doing something. Ignoring the fact that mental health is health won’t serve anyone, but creating healthy habits will serve us and everyone around us. Something I always say, we deserve good days. Go get ‘em!

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, you are not alone. Consider connecting with a doctor to discuss further, additionally there are a variety of mental health resources, and support groups, available in-person and online. Better days are ahead.  

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