Wellness at work can start simply


Thank you to all who attended our 5th Annual Life Balance Fair last month. Thanks also to all of our wonderful exhibitors and the donors of the many draw prizes.

As the fair was celebrating Healthy Workplace Month in Canada, I would like to continue on that theme by highlighting information available on our new Employee and Family Assistance Program provider's website. Homewood Human Solutions has a number of resources available for staff and faculty. The following is a teaser from one of the articles on their site.

Tips for Staying Well at Work

Taking time to relax in the workplace is important, and it doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. Sometimes even a small investment of time for relaxation can have a big pay off. In fact, the following exercises can create more time than they use because, when you refresh yourself, you are more productive and efficient.

You can use the following three relaxation exercises at work to help you manage your stress, maximize your energy and maintain a healthy and positive attitude at work. None of the exercises takes longer than three minutes, and the shortest is only 10 seconds. Try them and make your own judgment about how helpful they are.

Exercise # 1 - Deep Breathing (a simple but very effective method of relaxation)

• Take a long, slow, deep breath. Inhale through your nose, allowing your diaphragm to fill with air and letting your chest expand.

• Exhale through your mouth. As you exhale, dig deep and allow any stress, anxiety or tension to be released along with that breath.

• Try, as best you can, to empty your head of all thoughts, plans and worries: right now all you need to do is relax.

Allow yourself to exhale negative thoughts along with your breath.

• Repeat these steps several times until you feel calm and relaxed. When you are ready to go back to work, allow your breath to return to normal.

Why does it work?

Studies show the area of the brain that signals the stress response also signals the relaxation response. By breathing deeply for at least 10 seconds you signal your brain to switch from stress mode to relaxation mode, giving your body and mind a break.

This is also a great exercise to help with the afternoon blues. Breathing deeply allows oxygen to reach your brain, which makes you more alert and re-energized. So instead of grabbing another cup of coffee, eating another chocolate bar or taking an aspirin to fend off a headache, take a few seconds and B-R-E-A-T-H-E.

Quick Tips

• Laughing: this is one of the easiest and best ways to reduce stress. Share a joke with a co-worker, read the comics on your break and try to see the humour in the situation.

• Stretching: get the blood and oxygen moving through your body by taking a minute to stretch.

• Grab a healthy snack: this will nourish your mind and body.

• Prioritize: Take charge of your situation by taking 10 minutes at the beginning of each day to prioritize and organize your day.

For more creative relaxation exercises, visit


Lethbridge College Massage Therapy students will provide mini-massages in the month of November. Thursday, Nov. 17, the students are available from 1 to 3 p.m. in AH100, while on Wednesday, Nov. 30, sessions are offered from 1 to 3 p.m. in L1114.

Contact to sign up. There may also be some walk-in availability!

Wellness Lunch and Learn

On Thursday, Nov. 24, Alcohol, A culture of intoxication OR moderation – how much is too much, personal limits, and the consequences of intoxication, will be presented from 12:05 to 1 p.m. in AH100.

Chris Windle, Addiction Services Lethbridge, Addiction and Mental Health, Alberta Health Services, will be presenting.

As always, I look forward to any comments, suggestions or questions.

Suzanne McIntosh is the University's co-ordinator of Wellness Programs

This story first appeared in the November issue of the Legend. For a look at the Legend in a flipbook format, follow this link.