It’s reasonable to assume that, on occasion, we may find ourselves overwhelmed, stressed or challenged by pressures that affect us at work. Maintaining good mental health, and providing support for those who may be coping with a mental health-related issue is in everyone’s best interest.
That’s why Human Resources at Dalhousie is sharing a resource, called “Working Through It,” with those who want to subscribe, as part of our ongoing approach to mental health education and awareness at Dal.
The resources cover a variety of mental health-related issues experienced by real people while they were at work, off work or returning to work. It also includes videos of people who went through tough times while at work who discuss coping strategies and experiences, and share printable resources.
If interested, subscribe by sending an email to HealthyDal@Dal.ca with “Working Through It” in the subject line. Over the next several months, you will be sent an email each week that will highlight a different component of Working Through It, which is part of a broader initiative of Workplace Strategies for Mental Health. The emails will provide links to resources that can help all of us be more aware of mental health at work, and how we can reach out to those who may be struggling.
It only takes a few minutes of your workday to watch the short video or review the resources in the weekly emails. Each email will have the subject line Working Through It, so it will be easily identifiable. Please share the links and resources with those who could benefit or to engage others in discussion of these issues.
An introduction to Working Through It is available by watching this video online.
(“Working Through It” is a registered trademark of The Mood Disorders Association of Ontario and Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario carrying on business as a joint venture.)
(Repost from CTV News)
It’s been said that the way we’re working isn’t working, and author Dr. David Posen couldn’t agree more. The former family physician who now specializes in stress and lifestyle management says today’s work environments have become toxic with the pressures of global competition, economic uncertainty, and downsizing.
In his new book, “Is Work Killing You?: A Doctor’s Prescription for Treating Workplace Stress,” Posen (http://www.davidposen.com) looks at the myth of multi-tasking and the lunacy of long hours and calls for a return to a more sensible approach to working that will not only benefit the mental health of workers, it will increase productivity.
For Posen, stress is a double-edged sword. The good kind motivates us, gives us purpose and confers the energy we need to do our work. But it becomes a problem, Posen says, when it’s too much, when it lasts too long, or when it comes too often. “People can become overwhelmed and exhausted. They’ll start to become distracted, their memory starts to be affected, they don’t make decisions as well or as quickly, and they start to feel anxious, and perhaps event resentful. That’s all counter-productive,” he told CTV’s Canada AM Wednesday. That kind of stress not only hurts our health; it hurts our organization. When we’re overstressed, we’re inefficient, Posen says. Our productivity drops and instead of feeling excited and motivated, we just feel exhausted.
Stress in the workplace is nothing new, but Posen says three key problems are now routinely contributing to burnout and low productivity:
The volume of work now expected of many employees has increased exponentially in recent years, especially with downsizing, he says. That’s meant more work to do, with fewer people to do it.
“So what happens is people have too much work to do, they’re working long hours and the velocity part kicks in. The pace has become faster than people can handle. We start racing because there’s so much work to finish,” he says.
Today’s workers are also bombarded by communication overload. It started a while ago, Posen says, but he believes email has worsened the problems. “It’s been the real avalanche that’s burying so many people. Because it’s being overused,” he says. Email can be fabulous when it’s used well, he says. But when it’s overused, it’s a distraction and an annoyance. “The two functions that are overused are Reply All and CC. People fire off emails to those who don’t want them, who won’t find them relevant to what they’re doing. It clutters up their inboxes,” he says.
And then there’s the issue of abuse in the workplace. Life always presents us with difficult people, but Posen says certain types of people can make a workplace toxic. “I’m talking about people who are abusive, harassing, bullies in the workplace,” he says. “The thing that amazes me is that people continue to get away with it. One miserable boss can create a lot of havoc for a whole team of people.”
Posen says the solution to all these problems lies in setting limits. He’s already seeing that happening with email and smartphones. Organizations are starting to bring in 7-to-7 policies, where they agree that employers shouldn’t expect to reach employees after 7 at night, and before 7 in the morning.
They’re also working on better work-life balance. “A perfect work-life balance is impossible,” Posen says. “The good news is it doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be equal; it just needs to be a better balance.”
Slowing down also meshes better with the way our brains work, Posen says, citing our “ultradian rhythm,” which governs how much work we can accomplish every two hours. He says the trick is to work with that rhythm and build in lots of breaks. “So you can do 90 minutes of solid work, take a 20 min break and then go back to the next cycle. So it’s 90-20,” he says.
“It’s not a perfect balance, but it’s a healthier balance.”
Published Wednesday, February 20, 2013
October 31, 2013
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Room 224, Student Union Building
Explore the components that come together to make a workplace extraordinary. Janice MacInnis, with Organizational Health in Human Resources, will present a framework developed by The HealthWork Wellness Group and challenge you to consider how your workplace reflects the conditions that can, or do, make it extraordinary.
Also at this session, the departmental winner of Dalhousie’s 2013 Healthy Workplace Award will be announced and presented with their trophy.
Light refreshments will be provided.
Register online at https://register-eod.dal.ca/workshop.php?id=726
Inquiries: HealthyDal@Dal.ca, (902) 494-4568
Dr. Afua Cooper, THE JAMES ROBINSON JOHNSTON CHAIR IN BLACK CANADIAN STUDIES presents
2013-2014 DISTINGUISHED LECTURE SERIES
DR. CAROL B. DUNCAN
“RELIGION, MULTICULTURALISM AND AFRICAN-CANADIAN IDENTITY”
Thursday, October 24 – 7:00 pm
Room 3156, Dentistry Building
Carol B. Duncan, PhD (Sociology, York University) is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University. Professor Duncan is co-author of Black Religious Studies: An Introduction and author of This Spot of Ground: Spiritual Baptists in Toronto. She consulted on, and appears in, the award-winning 2004 Vision TV documentary, Seeking Salvation: A History of the Black Church in Canada. Her areas of research interest include Caribbean religions, the African Diaspora, Caribbean immigration to North America and religion and popular culture.