Healthy habits

Health, Safety & Wellness Month Small habits, big impacts

The choices we make (and habits we develop) at work and and at home affect how we show up each day.

It's time to get curious about your habits: are you habits hurting you, or keeping you healthy and safe?

Why do healthy habits matter?


Habits are actions, such as brushing your teeth, which become automatic over time. We end up doing these actions each day without much thought. 

Research shows that small positive changes that you repeat intentionally each day, will become habits. Healthy habits can be helpful to your wellbeing, while harmful habits are health and safety risks.

What do you want for yourself? Better sleep? More energy? Less stress? You can make it happen – and you are not alone.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.

Vincent Van Gogh

Healthy habits


Download the Healthy Habits Tracker  and get started on charting out how you’re going to adopt healthy habits. Choose one or as many as you want. 

Learn more about Health, Safety & Wellness Month in the myCity employee portal.

myCity.calgary.ca/hsw

Movement


Go for a walk (or roll) every day

Thirty minutes of daily exercise is recommended by doctors, but it doesn’t need to be done all at once.

You can break it down to short, 10-minute movement bursts throughout the day!

Rest or stretch every 20 minutes

Take frequent micro-movement break every 20 minutes.

Make sure to move around to help reduce strain on the body and combat fatigue.  

If your job is more active, rest can help with fatigue and stress by restoring energy and relieving tension. 

Get outside every day

One of the most rewarding habits for minimal effort is putting aside technology and going outside. 

Scientific studies prove that experiencing nature and having fun outdoors will relieve stress (lower cortisol levels), reduce blood pressure, ease physical and mental pain, improve your vision, sharpen your memory, focus and attention, strengthen overall immunity, improve sleep quality, and more. 

Nutrition


Drink enough water

Our bodies naturally lose water each day, and we need to replenish it. 

Benefits of staying hydrated include: 

  • Improved memory, mood, concentration, and reaction time.
  • Increased energy, less fatigue. 
  • Improved digestion, heart health. 
  • Decreased joint pain, fewer headaches. 

Eat breakfast every day

Fueling our body supports our physical and mental wellbeing.

Practice the daily habit of preparing and eating breakfast. If you are looking for ideas on how to plan your breakfast and enhance your nutrition, watch this video:

Too crunched for time in the morning, plan ahead and prepare the night before!

Add one or more fruit or vegetable to each meal

The types of nutrients we eat can influence how we perform throughout the workday. Building a healthy, balanced nutrition plan includes incorporating fruits and vegetables into our meals.

Watch the recorded webinar and learn how to build a nutritious meal with macronutrients to help you with your meal planning and set yourself up for success!

Sleep


Turn off screens 60 - 90 minutes before bed

Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—are most disruptive at night.

While light of any kind can suppress melatonin, (a sleep chemical in our bodies) blue light at night does so more powerfully. 

  • Turn off your phone/tablet/computer/TV 60-90 mins before bed
  • Dim the lights and surround yourself with soft, warm lighting instead of cool blue light lighting

Practice breathing and relaxation techniques

The simple act of focusing in on your breath and mindfully practicing relaxation techniques can be instrumental in calming us down, helping us to be more centered and regulate our emotions.

Breathwork and relaxation are important skills sets to build with many health benefits. Start with five minutes a day.

Looking for inspiration? Watch this recorded webinar with Ronaye Coulson.

Establish and follow a wind-down schedule

  • Do something that can calms and soothes you, like journaling or reading, as part of a winddown routine that does not involve electronics 
  • Keep your phone in a different room (not beside your bed, or in your bedroom)
  • Use a standalone alarm clock

Social connection


Celebrate achievements

Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated. Gratitude at work can be appreciating others and recognizing their efforts and value. 

This can boost performance, morale, confidence, and engagement. Have a chat one-on-one or set aside time in team meetings and celebrate achievements when they happen. 

Check in on a colleague

Now is a good time to reach out to a colleague to let them know how much you appreciate them or to see how they are doing.

A simple act of kindness can go a long way! Building and enhancing social connections with colleagues can foster our wellbeing.

Be kind whenever you interact with others

Kindness is contagious and we all play a role in spreading it around.

Consider ways to prioritize connections and integrate acts of kindness into your daily interactions.

Kindness can have a profound positive impact on our colleagues and ourselves, including our health and wellbeing. Our ability to be authentically kind begins with how kind we are to ourselves. Reflect on ways you show yourself kindness and remind yourself that Kindness is a primary virtue.

Safety


Don't rush, be safe

Whether you’re late for a meeting, doing a field-level hazard assessment, or trying to finish work quickly, rushing is always dangerous. 

  • become distracted and fail to notice hazards 
  • feel stressed, panicked, and overwhelmed 
  • act impulsively and take more risks 
  • try to do too much, or take short-cuts 
  • make mistakes, use poor judgement 
  • use the wrong tool for the job, drop items 
  • drive too fast, fail to see pedestrians or traffic signals 

Be hazard aware, report unsafe conditions

Check to see if you: 

  • notice anything out of place, unusual, or an “accident waiting to happen” 
  • feel discomfort from straining/reaching, bad posture, or repetitive movements 
  • are exposed to noise, vibrations, extreme temperatures, or other physical hazards 
  • have the right tools, and proper PPE for the job 
  • notice biological risks and hazardous feel overwhelmed, unsafe, powerless, or uneasy 

If you are hurt at work, or if you see any workplace incidents, near-misses, or unsafe conditions (hazards and risks), report concerns right away. 

In an emergency, get away from the area, alert others, and call 911. 

Notice emergency exits and safety equipment when at a new location

Whether you are visiting a new work location or attending an event with your family and friends, take the time to scan your environment and locate the emergency exits.

By being aware of your nearest exits, first aid kits and AEDs, you can be prepared and take action when necessary.

Psychological safety and mental health


Check in with yourself

Remember that you’re in control of your wellness plan and that requires frequent check-ins with yourself.  

Ask yourself, how am I really feeling mentally and physically?  Is there something you need more of? What do you need less of in your life? Are the words you’re telling yourself supportive, encouraging, factual?  

If you sense that you need more support, seek it through a friend, family members, or a trusted person in your life. Support is also available through the City’s Employee Family Assistance Provider (EFAP). 

Be grateful for one thing every day

With constant change and uncertainty, we can sometimes feel a little lost.

Research shows showing gratitude can help to ground us and balance out a negative mindset boosting our feel-good brain chemicals.

Practising gratitude helps us to reflect on, and become more aware of, experiences, circumstances and people that bring happiness and value to our lives - being appreciative of the good things.

It also helps to reduce anxiety and depression, increase sleep quality, and builds emotional resilience. 

Share compassion for others

As we navigate busy workloads and multiple priorities, we all can benefit from more self-compassion.

As Dr. Kristen Neff says, “self-compassion is simply the process of turning compassion inward.” Take time to practice self-compassion.

Visit the myCity employee portal for Health, Safety & Wellness Month events


The City of Calgary does not render medical service or advice. The provided content is intended for reference and informational purposes only and should not be construed as or used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment plans. Consult your health care provider regarding any health concerns or pre-existing conditions, and before making changes to your health and wellness routine.

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