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As published by Stephen Liptrap on LinkedIn

One of the best parts of working from home throughout the past 19 months has been spending more time with my dog, Riley. Before the pandemic, I was travelling so often that I didn’t have much time at home. Now, I have replaced my morning commute to the office with walking my dog and he visits me in my home office during the day, which allows for a nice break between meetings. Anyone who has a pet knows that it is a mood booster to have them around and for those with dogs, we know that regular walks can also help our physical health.

As we approach World Mental Health Day on October 10, I have been thinking about cost-effective ways we can improve our total wellbeing from home, including:

1.     Pet therapy: Whether you have a pet of your own or you regularly visit a friend with a pet, it can enhance your mood and potentially provide an opportunity for exercise and breaks throughout the day.

2.     Employer-sponsored support: Many organizations provide employee and family assistance programs for those who need counselling or other support. LifeWorks provides options for employees to learn more about mental-health concerns (e.g., burnout) and creates opportunities to enhance inclusion and belonging in the workplace through our recognition platform.

3.     Meditation: Once you get into the habit of it, meditation can be helpful during stressful times as it is much easier to draw upon breathing exercises if you have been practicing regularly.

4.     Government-sponsored support: Some governments have offered free mental-health support, such as internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy like AbilitiCBT. This type of program can be done at your own pace with the guidance of a therapist.

5.     Journaling: For those who feel they get trapped in overthinking things and anticipating worst-case scenarios, it can be helpful to write your thoughts down. Not only does it allow you to release emotions in a healthy way, but it can also allow you to see patterns in how your mood might be triggered by external factors.

6.     Free, reputable websites: There are many great resources available online, including our mental-health microsite, for anyone to access whether they are a client or not.

7.     Call a friend: Similar to journaling, when we start feeling our mental health slipping, one of the first steps to take is talking about it. By calling a friend, it can help to discuss your concerns, have your feelings legitimized and, in many cases, realize that you are not the only one struggling.   

8.     Exercise: There is a direct correlation between physical and mental health, so it is essential to get outside every day for a walk, either with your dog, with a friend or on your own at a pace that works best for you.

Our research shows that the pandemic has negatively impacted our collective mental health and although it has been improving over time, we are not yet back to healthy pre-pandemic levels so it is important that employers do what they can to provide support for their employees.

There are many cost-effective ways of enhancing your mental health and total wellbeing at home. What would you add to the list above?