The Mental Health Continuum A lot of people automatically think of mental illness when they hear the words mental health. However, just like physical health, everyone has mental health. Mental health refers to an individual’s psychological and emotional well-being, whether it’s in a negative or positive state. A common misconception is that when our mental health is suffering,…

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Working Together to Prevent Suicide Post-Pandemic Every year, 160 million people contemplate suicide and 800,000 of these people die by suicide (Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, 2021). Every year on September 10th, we recognize World Suicide Prevention Day in order to promote awareness about the devastating impacts of suicide and educate each other on the…

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How to Assist Persons with Disabilities to Overcome Return to the Workplace Concerns Throughout the pandemic, employees have been working from home. As they have attempted to adapt to this new work situation, there have been ongoing concerns that may be more prevalent for individuals with disabilities. A July 2021 study completed by the Institute…

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Assisting Employees with Health Conditions in Returning to the Workplace – Is Hybrid Work Better? As an employer, you will have a number of employees with disabilities or health conditions that may need additional considerations when thinking about return to the workplace. In fact, a recent article by CNN indicates that many individuals with disabilities have…

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Health and Safety Considerations for Working Safely in a Hybrid Workplace: The Importance of Ergonomics Ergonomics is the science of designing a workstation, work tools, and work to fit the capabilities of the person doing the work to improve productivity and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and discomfort. What Is an MSD? MSDs (musculoskeletal…

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Supporting the Manager’s Mental Health in a Hybrid Workplace Have you read this article?  Your boss secretly wants to quit. Business leaders can’t take COVID-19 work life anymore – The Globe and Mail In this article published July 15, 2021, it is reported that “just over half of the 1,100 business and public sector leaders…

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10 Ways to Manage Engagement and Productivity in the Hybrid Workplace With the transition to a hybrid working model, employers may be wondering how they can ensure employees are staying engaged and productive, no matter where they work. The good news is that reports show productivity has not dropped off over the course of the…

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Supporting Employees with Remote Work Preference After working from home for the past year, some employees may find that they enjoy it and would prefer to continue working remotely. A survey of over 2,000 Canadians found that 77% of people want the flexibility to work from home at least part of the time (KPMG, 2021).…

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Addressing Mental Health Concerns in a New Hybrid Workplace World With the hybrid workplace model being discussed in virtual boardrooms across the country, employers should consider how such a decision will affect the mental health of employees. Are employees mentally ready to return to the workplace? Will continuing to work remotely negatively impact their mental…

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The Future of Hybrid Workplaces As we move forward to find our new normal for work, it is expected that employers will be planning for alternate ways to work in various formats and locations. We expect that there will be challenges in supporting employees in this decision. Employers are beginning to examine creative ways to…

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PTSD Series Part 4: Case Study Occupational Therapists’ unique occupational lens and focus on empowerment and promotion of health and well-being makes them ideally placed to work with persons with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as they work to regain control over their lives. A proper Occupational Therapy assessment can assist the employer and employee in discussing suitable…

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PTSD Series Part 3: Returning to Work Adults with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or anxiety may find themselves avoiding places, situations, objects, and people that remind them of the trauma or distress they experienced. They also might avoid thinking or talking about a certain topic. Unfortunately, this type of avoidance just keeps the distress going…

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PTSD Series Part 2: Building Resilience The longer that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms are experienced and not addressed, the greater the difficulty in treatment and reengagement in daily life. Early recognition and intervention is needed to prevent the loss of routines, habits, and roles. Without awareness and training, employees and employers may find it…

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PTSD Series Part 1: Promoting Awareness June 27th is PTSD Awareness Day. This observance strives to bring awareness of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) to the public and eliminate stigma. PTSD has a profound effect on the lives of those who suffer from it. Experiencing a trauma can result in physical, emotional, or psychological harm that…

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The Impact of Brain Injuries on Vision While studies show that 90% of all traumatic brain injury patients suffer from visual difficulties, visual function is often overlooked when diagnosing brain injury symptoms (Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association). Symptoms are not always apparent and may be conflated with other symptoms, such as cognitive function, when testing requires visual…

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Returning to Work After a Concussion? Here’s What You Should Know Did you know that just one concussion could lead to cognitive impairment? The risk of developing long-term or permanent cognitive impairment increases with the severity of the head injury, but even mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) like concussions can temporarily impact cognition. While symptoms…

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June is Brain Injury Awareness Month We use our brains for every single thing we do – whether those actions are conscious and voluntary, such as making a cup of coffee, or unconscious and involuntary, such as breathing. Our brains are constantly working to help us survive and thrive. Your brain is the most powerful…

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Employees with Imposter Syndrome May Experience Mental Health and Performance Issues Do you ever feel like you are a “fraud”? Like you are not qualified or knowledgeable enough to be in your role or to carry out your responsibilities? Do you dismiss or discount positive feedback from others? Do you attribute your successes to “luck”…

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How to Be Mindful: Practical Tips from an Occupational Therapist The current mental health climate is precarious following more than a year of national anxiety, fear, isolation, and uncertainty. Helping employees maintain and repair their health requires a thoughtful and practical approach that recognizes both the longevity of mental health issues and the barriers to…

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Managing Negative Thoughts During a Pandemic During the ongoing pandemic, you might have experienced negative thoughts and feelings about the world around you. Fears and worries about health, financial security, and social isolation have taken a toll on Canadians’ mental health, with 50% of Canadians reporting worsening mental health, 44% reporting feelings of worry, and…

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Mental Health Week: What Has the Past Year Taught Us About Mental Health? One year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, people across the globe continue to face serious mental health challenges. Even before the pandemic, Canada was facing a mental health crisis that saw one in five people managing diagnosable health conditions and 1.6 million…

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Managing Disability in the Workplace: Everything You Need to Know “Effective management of disability in the workplace is more important today than ever before. As competitiveness in markets increases, the importance of an engaged and productive workforce becomes essential to an organization’s survival.” The CSA Work Disability Management System Standard, which was published in 2020,…

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Using Technology to Stay Mentally Well in Remote Workplaces Over the past year, many employers have relied on technology to keep their businesses running. Apps, websites, and social media platforms have become a lifeline for brick-and-mortar stores. Video conferencing software has become an essential part of the remote workplace as millions of Canadians continue to…

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COVID Long Hauler Syndrome: Is this a new health condition or a variation of an old health condition reimagined? As of April 5, 2021, there have been over 1 million reported cases of COVID-19 in Canada and over 23,000 deaths and almost 56,000 active cases.  With over 927,000 recovered cases, a large number of Canadians…

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Why Working is Good for Your Health Working not only has many economic and social benefits, but it can be good for your overall health. There are many reasons employees take leave off work: physical and mental disabilities, injuries, pregnancy, family emergencies and many more. Over the past year, millions of Canadians became unemployed due…

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To Sit or to Stand? In 2020, workers spent an average of 4.25 hours of the workday standing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—that’s about 57% of the day standing and 43% sitting. However, the numbers vary drastically by occupation. Workers in food preparation and serving-related roles spent around 97% of their day…

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Why Employee Fatigue Is a Productivity and Safety Concern There’s a good chance you have heard the term “fatigue” more than once in your lifetime, but do you really know what it means to be suffering from fatigue? Fatigue is more than just simply being tired, which results from short-term sleep loss or from short…

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March 15-21 is Brain Awareness Week! Brain Awareness Week occurs annually in mid-March to promote the progress and benefits of brain research to the world! This awareness week was founded in 1996 by The Dana Foundation. The Dana Foundation was founded in 1950 by Charles A. Dana, with a goal of developing a better understanding of…

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Choose to Challenge for International Women’s Day International Women’s Day (IWD) is March 8th, 2021! This powerful movement was adopted by the United Nations in 1975, and is a day of togetherness, celebration, reflection, and action. IWD helps drive action against gender bias and toward a more gender equal world. According to the Government of…

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Ten Strategies to Deal with Crisis Fatigue Are you experiencing crisis fatigue? Some call it a “mental fog” or “pandemic fatigue.” While not an official clinical disorder at this time, crisis fatigue is a stressful emotional state many people are experiencing as the pandemic wears on. One year later and we are still dealing with…

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Keeping Connected During Crisis and Beyond: Reducing Isolation for Remote Workers A year into a pandemic that saw millions of Canadians shift to remote work, isolation remains one of the top concerns for employees working from home. Without the regular watercooler talks, coffee chats, lunch breaks, and in-person team meetings, many employees who regularly had…

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February 28th is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day! February 29th is International RSI Awareness Day (it takes place on February 28th in non-leap years)! This powerful movement is celebrated each year on the last day of February, the only non-repetitive day of the year. RSI is a general term used to describe injuries to…

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Making Working Remotely Feel Normal Organizations who thought remote work was temporary may need to make long-term changes to their workplace culture and provide additional support for employees working from home. Of the five million employees who started working remotely during the first lockdown, over 2.4 million Canadians who normally do not work from home…

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The Pandemic Is Creating Mental Health Waves According to a recent survey from Sun Life, 56% per cent of Canadians said they felt coronavirus has had a negative impact on their mental health, but close to 60% of these respondents said they weren’t seeking treatment or support (Benefits Canada). With mental health benefit claims surpassing…

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Bell Let’s Talk Day: Starting the Conversation Around Mental Health The Bell Let’s Talk initiative began in 2010 with the goal of starting a conversation about mental health, and mental illness in Canada. Since then, the initiative has become the largest corporate commitment to mental health in Canada, with over one hundred million dollars in…

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Working Safely from Home: The Importance of Ergonomics Ergonomics is the science of designing a workstation, work tools, and work to fit the capabilities of the person doing the work to improve productivity and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and discomfort. What Is an MSD? MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders) impact the musculoskeletal system, which includes…

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Do You Need Occupational Therapy? An Occupational Therapist is a health professional who works collaboratively with workplace parties to support an employee who is returning to work or staying at work with physical, emotional, cognitive and workplace performance concerns. Gowan Consulting supports employees in learning the skills and tools to return to work successfully. Our…

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How to Avoid the Holiday Slump We’ve all felt it – you’re full of holiday snacks and treats, you’ve been spoiling yourself and your family, and you’re worn out from the rush of the holiday season. Returning to work after the holiday break can feel like a challenge. After time off and the hustle and…

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Did You Prioritize Self-Care in 2020? Build a Resiliency Plan That Will Last in the New Year With so much extra time this year spent on adjusting to new workplace concerns and habits, regular routines and activities may have fallen to the wayside. But self-care is more important than ever as employees deal with the…

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Reducing Stress and Burnout During the Holidays While the holidays can be a joyous time filled with food, family, and gift giving, they can also be a source of stress that can contribute to employee burnout. A Healthline survey found that over 60% of respondents felt some stress during the holidays (Spring Health, 2020). An…

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How to Reduce the Impacts of Isolation this Holiday Season With the holidays fast approaching, employees may be concerned about the impact of rising COVID-19 cases and government restrictions on their seasonal plans. Traditionally, December is a time when people gather. Extended families meet around the dinner table, workplaces host holiday parties, and shoppers congregate…

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The Effect of COVID-19 on Women’s Mental Health and Employment In what is being called the gendered impact of the pandemic, women are disproportionately feeling the effects of COVID-19 on their mental health and employment. While many employees have struggled over the past year, women face unique challenges that employers should understand in order to…

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Combating Worry and Uncertainty During the “Echo Pandemic” With national anxiety reaching record heights, experts are warning of an “echo pandemic” of mental illness and mental health issues that will last long after COVID-19 is over (Canadian Mental Health Association). For many of us, dealing with anxiety is nothing new, but the changes we are…

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What to Do When Employees Get Sick: Policies on Sick Days Every day, employees call in sick to work. It can be due to a physical illness, mental illness, or just needing a day off for personal reasons. Employee absence is an ongoing phenomenon in workplaces everywhere. This year’s pandemic has changed the way organizations…

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How to Meet Mask Requirements This Winter The second wave of COVID-19 is well underway this fall, and the need to continue wearing masks remains urgent to prevent further spread. Hospitals typically experience higher occupancy levels in winter because of flu season, so taking preventative measures now will be vital to avoid overwhelming the healthcare…

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How to Protect Yourself This Flu Season With COVID-19 cases continuing to climb, you may have forgotten about the other respiratory illness that we fight every year: the flu. One pandemic was more than enough to handle for one year, but now experts warn of a “double wave” of illness as flu season quickly approaches…

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Improving Our Workplace Culture: The Happiness Challenge Workplace cultures that support mental health remain as important as ever as Canadians face increased challenges due to COVID-19. Reports show that Canadians have experienced a significant decline in mental health since the beginning of the pandemic. As some provinces enter a second wave, employees will need continued…

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Making Our Workplace Resilient: Recognizing Psychological Health and Safety Hazards in the Workplace Employees’ resilience has been tested over the past year as new stressors and challenges have changed the way we work. Mental health and psychological wellness in the workplace have been put at risk. Employees worry about infection, financial insecurity, loss of connection,…

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Keeping Our Workplace Safe: Helping Employees with Ergonomic Issues or Remote Work Requirements After working from home over the past year, some employees may find that they may need to continue working remotely rather than return to the office.  While they might enjoy the change in lifestyle or find they are more productive at home,…

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Taking Action on Our Mental Health: Self-Care Is Not Selfish “I am finding that I am tired and my emotions are all over the place. How can I manage my own self-care when I have so much responsibility at home and at work?” Managing Your Own Mental Health As a manager or leader in an…

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Are Your Kids Back at School? Guidance for Accommodating Employees with Children Schools have reopened, but that doesn’t mean parents are out of the woods yet when it comes to the challenge of balancing parenting and work obligations. In fact, rates of anxiety and depression among parents with children under eighteen are spiking (Calgary Herald,…

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The Effects of COVID-19 on Mental Health: Anxiety and Worry about the Workplace Many people are continuing to feel anxious about the state of the world due to COVID-19. When workers were sent home, they faced uncertainties about their financial security, their health and the health of loved ones, and their overall way of life.…

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The Effects of COVID-19 on Mental Health: Employees with PTSD, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout During these unprecedented times, the cost of caring has become that much higher as healthcare professionals and the general public grapple with their mental health. From the frontline workers who are facing loss and trauma every day, to those at home…

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The Effects of COVID-19 on Mental Health: Managing Grief and Loss Over the last six months, experts have continued to research the short-term and long-term effects of COVID-19 on mental health. Mental health concerns continue to grow as many people come to terms with the fact that this pandemic is for the long haul. Anxiety…

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Working Virtual Series Part 5 of 5: So You Want to Stay Virtual…Managing Self-Care With COVID-19 still active and businesses struggling with social distancing, continuing to work virtually is on everyone’s minds. We know you have questions about how to support your employees working virtually. The virtual workplace process is not one-approach-fits-all, and so we…

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“I Can’t Wear a Mask” Part 2: Accommodations to Consider Across the world, businesses are starting to reopen, and many jurisdictions are considering the use of masks as a mandatory requirement. To go into a store or a public location, you will be required to wear a mask. This has created a heated debate regarding…

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“I Can’t Wear a Mask” Part 1: Why Science Says You Should Across the world, businesses are starting to reopen, and many jurisdictions are considering the use of masks as a mandatory requirement. To go into a store or a public location, you will be required to wear a mask. This has created a heated…

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Part 4 of 5:  So You Want to Stay Virtual: Managing Productivity Remotely With COVID-19 still active and businesses struggling with social distancing, continuing to work virtually is on everyone’s minds. We know you have questions about how to support your employees working virtually. The virtual workplace process is not one-approach-fits-all, and so we have…

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Part 3 of 5:  So You Want to Stay Virtual: Integrating Childcare and Eldercare With Work With COVID-19 still active and businesses struggling with social distancing, continuing to work virtually is on everyone’s minds. We know you have questions about how to support your employees working virtually. The virtual workplace process is not one-approach-fits-all, and…

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Working Virtual Series Part 2 of 5: So You Want to Stay Virtual…How to Maintain Focus and Set Boundaries With COVID-19 still active and businesses struggling with social distancing, continuing to work virtually is on everyone’s minds. We know you have questions about how to support your employees working virtually. The virtual workplace process is…

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