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McMaster Okanagan Committee

Prioritizing Optimal Health & Well-being at McMaster

Occupational Health & Well-being

Occupational health and well-being promotes personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from one’s work. Finding balance between a career that is meaningful to you, life, money and people will encourage feelings of wholeness in your life.

Do what you love

Why is Occupational well-being important?

Occupational wellness is having the ability to achieve a balance between work and leisure time, addressing workplace stress and building relationships with co-workers. It focuses on our search for a calling and involves exploring various career opportunities and finding where one fits. What we do encompasses so much of our time, that it is vital that it bring joy and fulfillment to our lives. When we are doing what we love to do, it deepens our sense of meaning and purpose.

Ways to Improve Your Work-Life Balance

When you hear “work-life balance,” you probably imagine having an extremely productive day at work, and leaving early to spend the other half of the day with friends and family. While this may seem ideal, it is not always possible.

Don’t strive for the perfect schedule; strive for a realistic one. Some days, you might focus more on work, while other days you might have more time and energy to pursue your hobbies or spend time with your loved ones. Balance is achieved over time, not each day.

We know – easier said than done but remember working at McMaster offers you increased opportunities to educational/skills improvement and career growth opportunities.

Although work is an expected societal norm, your career shouldn’t be restraining. If you hate what you do, you aren’t going to be happy, plain and simple. You don’t need to love every aspect of your job, but it needs to be exciting enough that you don’t dread getting out of bed every morning.

Your overall physical, emotional and mental health should be your main concern. If you struggle with anxiety or depression and think therapy would benefit you, fit those sessions into your schedule, even if you have to leave work early or ditch your evening spin class. If you are battling a chronic illness, don’t be afraid to call in sick on rough days. Overworking yourself prevents you from getting better, possibly causing you to take more days off in the future.

Prioritizing your health doesn’t have to consist of radical or extreme activities. It can be as simple as daily meditation or exercise.

Cutting ties with the outside world from time to time allows us to recover from weekly stress and gives us space for other thoughts and ideas to emerge. Unplugging can mean something simple like practicing transit meditation on your daily commute, instead of checking work emails.

Sometimes, truly unplugging means taking vacation time and shutting work completely off for a while. Whether your vacation consists of a one-day staycation or a two-week trip to Bali, it’s important to take time off to physically and mentally recharge. Employees are often worried that taking time off will disrupt the workflow, and they will be met with a backlog of work when they return. This fear should not restrict you from taking a much-needed break.

While your job is important, it shouldn’t be your entire life. You were an individual before taking this position, and you should prioritize the activities or hobbies that make you happy. When planning time with your loved ones, create a calendar where you hold time to hangouts with friends, romantic relationships, and family dates. It may seem weird to plan one-on-one time with your closest relations, but it will ensure that you spend quality time with them without work-life conflict. Just because work keeps you busy doesn’t mean you should neglect personal relationships.

Set boundaries for yourself and your colleagues, to avoid burnout. When you leave the office, avoid thinking about upcoming projects or answering company emails. Consider having a separate computer or phone for work, so you can shut it off when you clock out. If that isn’t possible, use separate browsers, emails or filters for your work and personal platforms.

You might want to set firm work hours and communicate those hours to others (and try to hold yourself to them).

Set achievable goals by implementing time-management strategies, analyzing your to-do list, and cutting out tasks that have little to no value.

Pay attention to when you are most productive at work and block that time off for your most important work-related activities. Avoid checking your emails and phone every few minutes, as those are major time-wasting tasks that derail your attention and productivity. Structuring your day can increase productivity at work, which can result in more free time to relax outside of work.