Mental Health and You
To: All AESES Members
How are you feeling? We all get asked frequently, but how honestly do we answer, not only to the person asking the question but to ourselves?
Some days it is hard to know exactly how we are feeling. Since the pandemic started, our days/weeks/months have blurred together, resulting in, for some, a rollercoaster of emotions, fatigue and stress.
You are not alone. The AESES Working During the Pandemic (WDP) survey showed many members are struggling with workloads, technology and experiencing mental health concerns. For some, the survey might have been the first time members told someone about their situation, albeit anonymously.
A recent Angus Reid Group public opinion survey detailed Canadians emotional state and other topics experienced during the pandemic. The report similarly mirrored the results of the AESES WDP survey when compared to equivalent emotional states. These similarities show that the entire nation feels the same way as our members. Your emotions are a natural response to adapting and reacting to the current conditions around us. Read the complete PDF report here.
Please don’t stay silent. If you think you need help, please speak to your healthcare provider. If you are experiencing issues related to your work or workloads, express your concerns to your supervisor first. If that proves unsuccessful, contact the AESES Business Office, and we can help provide you with guidance on available options to address your situation. We are here to help.
If you find your physical or mental health on the decline and interfering with your performance, please contemplate accessing your paid sick leave entitlement to manage your wellness. Depending on your position type, you may have access to 180 days of paid sick leave or banked sick leave. The length of time needed should be under a doctor’s directive and may need to be supported by a medical certificate. If you have any questions about your circumstance, please contact the AESES Business Office to be connected with our Labour Relations team.
With most members working from home, sometimes it is hard to remember to take your allocated breaks and maybe even lunch. Where Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings occur during your normal break times, ensure that you make arrangements to take your coffee breaks and full lunch hour around these meeting times to destress and reset yourself before continuing your workday. Set up reminder alarms and leave your computer when they chime. You can also reach out to co-workers when it is break time, and they will be happy with the reminder! Now that the weather is getting warmer (well, maybe not until next week), take a stroll in your yard or enjoy the spring air from your balcony. Changing your environment does a world of good for your mood and wellbeing.
As of April 1, your annual vacation allotment was refilled and ready for use. Scheduling time away from work helps maintain a healthy work-life balance, and there is no reason not to take your vacation days. So do. If they are scheduled far enough in advance with proper coverage, you are contractually entitled to take them. Since actual trips are not yet a reality, stay home (or close to home, like your backyard) to destress and relax with your household, pets or binge-watch your favourite new series.
Articles of interest:
- COVID-19’s Parallel Pandemic: Why We Need a Mental Health ‘Vaccine’
- Stressed About Returning to ‘Normal’ Life After COVID-19? Experts Share Tips to Cope
- Protecting Workers’ Mental Health During COVID-19
Resources of interest:
- Wellness Together Canada
- Stress, the Brain & Mental Health Hygiene (Webinar)
- Mental Health 101
- AESES Wellness Resources
We appreciate our members’ hard work and dedication to your employer, but please do not forget about your overall wellness when asked to get the job done. It’s not a competition worth winning if you sacrifice your mental health crossing the finish line.