At BOWEN, we recognize we cannot limit our definition of Occupational Health and Safety to only the physical. Your workplace is an essential part in maintaining positive mental health. Work gives you the opportunity to feel productive and contribute to the wellbeing of others. Yet stressful environments contribute to the rise of mental health problems and illnesses. Unfortunately no workplace is immune from these risks. Since many people spend more time at work than anywhere else, addressing issues of mental health at work is imperative.
According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada “about 30 per cent of short- and long-term disability claims in Canada are attributed to mental health problems and illnesses. The total cost from mental health problems to the Canadian economy exceeds $50 billion annually. In 2011, mental health problems and illnesses among working adults in Canada cost employers more than $6 billion in lost productivity from absenteeism, presenteeism (working while sick) and turnover.”
These are staggering numbers, which can be improved by taking care of yourself and practicing good mental health.
Improving Mental Health in the Workplace
While solving mental health is not an overnight task, there are some small ways to improve your overall well-being while at work:
- The weather is warming up – take your lunch break outside!
- Help someone out – they will be happier, which is contagious.
- Plan a reward for each difficult task you accomplish, whether it’s a treat or give yourself permission to indulge in reality TV after you are done work.
- Smile while working or partake in laughter yoga.
- Most importantly take a mental break to release any stress that might be building up. See the links below on ideas for healthy break activities from Workplace Strategies for Mental Health: