October is Healthy Workplace Month across the country, an initiative celebrated by Canadian institutions and companies to keep their employees mentally and physically sound.
In 2009, Carleton adopted Excellence Canada’s Healthy Workplace framework and created a Healthy Workplace (HWP) committee that would bring the initiative to all full-time Carleton faculty and staff.
The HWP Committee and the campus-wide network of Healthy Workplace champions are leading the charge to make the most of the national month with several campus offerings over four weeks. The 18 campus events over the month of October all fall into four themed weeks.
The start of HWP month is Thrive Week, which serves as a reminder that we all have mental health.
“Thrive Week will provide staff, faculty and students with opportunities to be part of a dialogue around mental health in the university context,” said Samantha Munro, Carleton’s Healthy Workplace Co-ordinator.
By learning, thinking, and talking about it, everyone can each strengthen his or her mental health, and discover new skills and resources to help them succeed all year long.
Week 2 of HWP month will focus on work-life balance, a juggling act every individual has to manage on their own terms. Three of the week’s lunch hours will feature speakers that offer tools and strategies in maintaining this balance, tips on how to invest your money no matter what your budget, and answers on what it means to procrastinate.
Tim Pychyl, a professor at Carleton, will be discussing his research published this summer in a book titled Procrastination, Health and Well-Being. On Oct. 14, from noon to 1 p.m., Pychyl will explain why people procrastinate and how it can negatively affect health if left unchecked.
The HWP Committee has invited experts across various fields to share their research and information as well as organized enjoyable activities like HWP Paint Night, on Oct. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m., which is so popular that there is already a waiting list.
For those looking for more physical activity, an introductory ultimate Frisbee match will take place on Oct. 12 at lunch hour. A more relaxing exercise that will still raise heart rates is the free giant yoga class that will take over the Field House at noon on Friday Oct. 7.
Week 3, focused on health promotion, brings together several aspects of physical health. Ergonomics, strength training, and proper diet all help the body stay nimble and the mind alert, which in turn can lead to higher resiliency. A half-day workshop on resiliency training will teach attendees to be more self-aware of their limits and how to adapt to difficult situations.
On top of promoting physical and mental health within the workplace setting, HWP month plans to give back to the community during Week 4. The Great Pumpkin Silent Auction during the start of the week, Laps for Loonies on Oct. 28, and a Soup Lunch on Oct. 25 will mark the official launch of Carleton’s United Way fundraising campaign.
Each week is based on one of the pillars of the HWP initiative, which has championed for the health and well-being of all its community members.
“These key themes came out of a needs assessment we conducted to better understand the needs of our staff and faculty,” said Munro. “Hopefully, these events will provide an opportunity for faculty and staff to get involved in healthy activities that will benefit both their physical and mental health.”