Podcast Title: Health and Safety to Go!


Episode #173: The Importance of Recharging Over the Holidays



Host:   Hi, Rachelle, welcome looks like you're in the spirit of today's podcast episode. What kind of tea is that?

Rachelle:  Hey Chris. I am, it's just an herbal tea to help me keep calm as we dive into this exciting topic.

Host:   Well then, shall we!! Welcome to Health and Safety to Go! broadcasting from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, and from the comfort of our individual homes.  Today we're joined by Sonya Tonkovich, Canadian Registered Safety Professional, to learn more about recharging, specifically when it comes to our mental health.   Sonya, welcome!

Sonya:  Thank you. I'm happy to be here.  This is an important topic.

Co-Host:  Thanks Sonya.   It's so great to have you. So before we jump in, can you tell us a little more about recharging and what that really means?

Sonya:   Sure, recharging is so important for workers, especially during this very busy holiday season.  When you recharge, it means you’re making mental health a priority. So even simple things, like breathing, stretching, taking your well-earned work breaks instead of just continuing to work, as those can help remind ourselves to press pause, unplug and really reconnect with ourselves.

Co-Host:   Okay. So those things seem simple and obvious, but sometimes you really need that reminder to actually do those things, especially now that the holidays are so close and other responsibilities are seeming to take priority. So how do we know if we need to recharge?  Are there signs that we should look out for?

Sonya:  Yes, there are signs.  So stress comes in different forms and affects your mind and your body in different ways and it's not just job-related. So many of us play different roles, more than the role of the worker. Some of us are caregivers, parents, spouses. And of course the pandemic has intertwined all of these, which can leave us feeling stressed or being stressed for way too long. If that's the case you might notice some signs like headaches, trouble sleeping, problems concentrating, having a short temper or even an upset stomach.

Host:   So what can we do if we start to feel these things?

Sonya:  Well, that's a great question. One thing that we should touch on is that you don't need a full holiday or an extended vacation to recharge. So things like taking a little bit of time for yourself each day will help you clear your mind and unplug.  That might mean going outside to get some fresh air, taking the dog for a walk or just listening to nature, listening to music in a quiet place.  Sitting back and enjoying your herbal tea or coffee and quiet, instead of while working, maybe delving into a good book or even cooking or baking.  Whatever activity helps you feel empowered. It can help prevent negative stress.

Co-Host:  These are all great ideas that sound actually fun too, so what about over the holidays Sonya, can we truly unplug if we're using technology to connect with our friends and family so much?

Sonya:  That's a good point. It's important to look at the contrast of connecting for work versus to be social or for your mental health. So when you're connecting with co-workers on video chats, it's important to have that camera on that helps you build connection, but it's also a good idea to give yourself permission to turn that camera off sometimes.  And it's important to note that finding a sense of connection can also help you recharge, connecting with friends, family over video chat or via phone. However you can do that will help you feel better. But also, maybe it's important to see if you can find a connection with either a charitable institution, through volunteering.  Some of that connection will also help us recharge.

Host:   It sounds like it's important to set boundaries for yourself, for example, know when you're working and when you're not, and separate that time so you can give each the attention they deserve.

Sonya:  Exactly.

Co-Host:   Okay boundaries. I definitely need help there. So before we wrap up, can you walk us through an exercise that can help us bring ourselves out of work mode and more into a moment of focus on relaxation

Sonya:  Sure. That's a great idea. We can start by turning off our cameras.

Co-Host:  Okay cameras off. I guess this helps us really disconnect, right?

Sonya:  Absolutely. Whatever you can do to help yourself unplug, do it now and then see if you can find a comfortable spot to sit.  Finding a nice comfortable. Hopefully quiet spot unplugging as much as you can. (music starts)

You can either look down gently or close your eyes.  Let your shoulders slide down away from your ears.  Take a moment to wiggle out your jaw and your tongue fall away from the roof of your mouth. Maybe even let your lips part just slightly.  And then begin to notice your breath.  Notice how your breath flows.  Notice if it feels rushed.  See if you can slow it down just a little bit.  Let each breath be a little bit longer, a little bit fuller than the last.  Keep following your breath, watching it as it moves in and out.  And then take a moment to bring to mind something that made you smile today, could be a person, thing or event.  Whatever it is that makes you smile. Maybe makes you feel happy and picture that in your mind.  Maybe that smile becomes real.  And slowly open your eyes, notice how you feel.

Host:  Wow, thanks Sonya, that was much needed and a great way to end the episode. 

For more information on Recharging Over the Holidays, please visit ccohs.ca. Thanks for listening everyone!