Health and Safety ReportVolume 18, Issue 12

On Topic

5 Ways to Recharge Your Mental Health This Holiday Seasonprint this article

Over the past 9 months, many workers have incurred extra stressors in their daily lives. Some workers saw their kitchens turn into workspaces and their daily commutes change from double-digit kilometers to just a few steps down the hall. Others played simultaneous roles of employee, caregiver, and teacher. Frontline workers continued going to work with added safety measures and precautions while continuing to provide essential goods and services to the public. Regardless of the circumstances, people may be feeling extra pressures during the pandemic, which may be taking a toll on mental health.

Now, as we enter the holiday season and the new year, it’s important to take whatever time we have to ourselves to reconnect and find ways to take a well-deserved and meaningful break – even if that’s just for a few minutes. It’s likely that your holidays will look different this year. Acknowledge your feelings and reach out if you’re feeling isolated or lonely. Embrace the pause on large holiday gatherings, prioritize your mental health, and recharge over the coming weeks.

5 ways to recharge this holiday season

  1. Take a break.
    If you’re working over the holidays, be sure to schedule time in your day to unplug from work and relax. If you have a longer break over the holidays, treat it that way. Take your mind off your job by going outside for some fresh air, spending time with members in your immediate household, or by reading a good book.

  2. Reconnect with yourself and loved ones.
    This year’s holiday season might be quieter than normal, which means more time to reconnect with yourself, and with others. Listen to new music, explore a new walking trail, or take just a few moments of silence for yourself. Reach out to friends and family through a video chat or texting. Check in and catch up. Sometimes a call with a simple hello can really turn someone’s day around.

  3. Set boundaries.
    If possible, schedule a time to check work emails and turn off your notifications. Setting boundaries for yourself and your technology will help separate work from life, and help you stay balanced and calm. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, take a step back and practice self-care. Take a moment for yourself by taking a walk, enjoying a warm tea or hot chocolate, or meditate.

  4. Embrace the season and welcome new traditions.
    There are plenty of ways to stay safe and healthy while embracing the joys of the holiday season. One way to do so is to welcome new traditions. Turn activities like snowshoeing, sledding, hiking, or even a simple walk in the fresh snow by yourself or with a loved one into something special by being present in the moment or by formally scheduling it in. Having something to look forward to can make the season extra special. 

Remember! Before you go out into the cold, be sure to dress appropriately. Check the temperature, weather conditions (rain, snow, wind), and the level and duration of activity. Winter clothing should be worn in multiple layers. The air between layers of clothing provides better insulation than the clothing itself.

  1. Stay positive.
  2. While this year’s holiday season might not be exactly what you’re used to, there are still many reasons and ways to stay positive. Volunteer, donate, or call someone who is living alone and might need a friend to talk to. It’s okay if you’re having feelings of sadness; acknowledge that and look for moments of happiness – even small ones – to remind yourself that things are going to be okay. You can also try a mental exercise, like the one below, to calm your mind and lift your spirits.

Tip – Try this exercise for mental health:
(Adapted from HealthLinkBc)
Start by finding a quiet and calm space for yourself, like your bedroom or a reading corner. Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and palms on your lap. Make sure you’re sitting straight and tall. Once you’re situated, rest your gaze or close your eyes. Notice any feelings, mental or physical, that might be occurring. Take focused breaths. Your belly should expand as you breathe in, and contract as you breathe out. Keep breathing and continue to tap into how you are feeling. When you are ready, open your eyes.

Pay attention to how you’re feeling and seek assistance from your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a friend or colleague, or an online support group if you feel alone or isolated. Prioritize your mental health and wellbeing. No matter how much of a break you have this holiday season, remember to take the time you need to recharge, relax, and unwind. You deserve it!

To learn more about mental health in the workplace, visit the CCOHS Healthy Minds at Work website.

CCOHS Resources:


There's Still Time to Apply for this Health and Safety Scholarship print this article

It’s not too late. If you’re enrolled in an occupational health and safety course or program at an accredited Canadian college or university, you still have time to apply for a $3,000 scholarship from CCOHS.

CCOHS will award the Dick Martin Scholarship award to one university student and one college student pursuing their education in a field related to occupational health and safety. Examples of eligible programs include mine safety, occupational or industrial health and safety, industrial hygiene, safety management or other related safety degree program. CCOHS will also award $500 to the academic institutions of each winning student. 

To apply for the scholarship, you will need to complete an online application and submit a cover letter outlining your career aspirations in the health and safety industry, and a 1,200-word essay on one of two topics related to occupational health and safety.

The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. EST, January 31, 2021. Scholarship rules, criteria, and other guidelines are available at:

Partner News

Do Digital Shipping Documents Work for You? Participate in a Transport Canada Pilot Projectprint this article

In efforts to keep drivers, handlers and workers healthy, the trucking industry has seen significant shifts in workplace processes and procedures. This includes the digitization of documents, like paper logs, to increase the reliability and safety of shipping methods and regulate driver hours of service.

Would electronic shipping documents for the transport of dangerous goods also be beneficial? That’s the question being studied in Transport Canada’s Regulatory Sandbox project, and the answer depends on your input. If you work for a road transport company that uses tablets, smartphones, or onboard computers to communicate, it is now possible to skip printing the shipping document.

Participate in this pilot project and let Transport Canada know how the electronic shipping document can be safely used as an alternative to paper. Your input will help lead to recommendations on how digital information can be used in the future as a safe, efficient and cost-effective option for companies. Participants will also have the benefit of reduced paperwork for the duration of the study.

Need more details? Learn more or reach out to the team in charge:


Podcasts: The Importance of Recharging Over the Holidaysprint this article

This month’s new podcast features a conversation about recharging over the holidays, and the importance of disconnecting in order to reconnect with yourself, loved ones and your community.

Feature Podcast: The Importance of Recharging Over the Holidays

When workers take the time to recharge, they’re making their mental heath a priority – something that’s especially important over the holiday season. Join us in this month’s conversation with Sonya Tonkovich, Canadian Registered Safety Professional, as we learn about the importance of taking our earned breaks, and the contrast of connecting for work versus connecting for ourselves. Sonya also shares tips on reconnecting with ourselves, guiding us through a moment of meditation. 

The podcast runs 7:14 minutes. Listen to the podcast now.

Encore podcast: Don't Rush into Winter Driving

Harsh winter conditions can appear out of nowhere. When they do, many drivers may get caught off-guard. No matter how many winters you've driven through, it's always a good idea to take some time to prepare before heading out into the elements, keeping in mind some safe driving advice.

The podcast runs 3:41 minutes. Listen to the podcast now.


CCOHS produces free monthly podcasts on a wide variety of topics designed to keep you current with information, tips, and insights into the health, safety, and well-being of working Canadians. You can download the audio segment to your computer or MP3 player and listen to it at your own convenience... or on the go!

See the complete list of podcast topics. Better yet, subscribe to the series on iTunes and don't miss a single episode. Listen on Spotify.

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