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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
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.
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.
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.
Health and Safety To Go
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.
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!
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: www.ccohs.ca/scholarships/dmartin/.
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The Health and Safety Report, a free monthly newsletter produced by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), provides information, advice, and resources that help support a safe and healthy work environment and the total well being of workers.
© 2020, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety