This Bulletin provides members with information about protecting and improving their overall wellness during the pandemic.1
Wellness is more than keeping physically and mentally fit. Many components help support a member’s sense of wellness. These can include: economic stability; intellectual stimulation; meaningful work opportunities; social networks; spirituality; and a connection to nature and the environment.
Even at the best of times, the demands of working in a school environment make it challenging for educators to maintain an optimum level of wellness. During the pandemic, the challenge to stay well has become even more difficult.
The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CFT) released a report in November 2020 called
Teacher Mental Health Check-In Survey. The report found that 46% of teachers across the country are reporting concerns about their own mental health and well-being as a result of the pandemic. More than 72% of teachers reported that meeting personal and professional expectations during the pandemic is "very draining" or "severely draining."
The CTF report confirms that many factors are affecting educators’ mental health during the pandemic:
December 2020 report released by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found that anxiety and depression among Canadians, in general, has increased during the pandemic. For example, the CAMH report found that 24% of women and 18.9% of men reported “feeling depressed occasionally or most of the time.”
The stress of simultaneously juggling multiple roles at work and home during the pandemic makes it difficult to achieve a sense of personal wellness. Redefining the concept of ‘work-life balance’ can help. Consider these tips to stay healthy and productive:
The CTF’s November 2020 report found that 38% of teachers were “infrequently” finding time during the day to be physically active and that 36% were “infrequently” having sufficient sleep each night. Not getting enough physical activity increases the likelihood of heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Sleeping poorly, or not getting enough sleep, can adversely affect decision making, concentration, attention and patience.
Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines developed by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CESP) suggest that most healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activities each week. It is also important to maintain a regular sleep routine that includes getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep on a regular basis.
Many apps and websites offer help to establish, monitor and maintain fitness and exercise programs. For example:
Canada’s Food Guide was recently revised to better align with current health and nutrition science. The Guide no longer focuses on portions and food groups. Instead, it recommends that:
Stress is a normal part of life, but experiencing too much stress can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. Understanding the nature of stress can help you to manage stress. There are many reputable online sources to consult about stress, including:
Experts recommend a variety of strategies to help manage stress, such as:
meditation and mindfulness activities;
getting more sleep;
getting outside and enjoying nature;
starting a new hobby;
using technology more selectively; and
maintaining supportive friendships and relationships.
If you experience a deterioration in your mental health and well-being, it is important to seek advice from a medical professional. Additional supports can be found through the
Canadian Mental Health Association’s community-based branches. Your employer may also provide access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that offers confidential, short-term counselling services for employees to get help with personal difficulties, including depression and anxiety. Check with your employer as to whether it provides an EAP.
There are many virtual applications available to support mental and emotional wellness:
There are actions members can take during the pandemic to better manage their workload and support their wellness:
Making even small changes in your work practices may provide improved balance in other areas of your life, and can contribute to your overall feeling of wellness.
PRS Matters Bulletin #98 - Member Mental Health - 2017PRS Matters Bulletin #67 - Member Mental HealthPRS Matters Bulletin #108 - Supporting Members Throughout the PandemicPRS Matters Bulletin #106 - Workers Compensation for Chronic Mental StressGovernment of Canada - Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)Government of Ontario - COVID-19 in OntarioGovernment of Ontario - Public Health Units
1 Please note that the information in this Bulletin is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified medical health provider if you have questions about a medical condition or your overall health and wellness.