Health breaks, taking time for yourself

Health breaks

Ashley Evans, FMF Cape Breton, CFB Esquimalt — The concept of Health Breaks was introduced to me about ten months ago when I joined the MARPAC Mental Health and Wellness Strategy Working Group. It struck a chord immediately.

Making intentional ‘me’ time during breaks felt like an important message to include in our monthly newsletters at the Fleet Maintenance Facility, and the response has been quite positive. As the saying goes, “put your oxygen mask on first”. When we take care of ourselves and prioritize our mental health and physical wellness, we fill up that proverbial bucket and have more to give in all other areas of our lives.

I wanted to reframe breaks as a time of attention spent on our well-being, both physically and mentally. This can look like taking a short walk, listening to a meditation or podcast, drinking a hot cup of tea, eating a healthy snack, listening to music, colouring, or stretching. The options are limitless, and we have taken to offer suggestions that take between 1–15 minutes in our monthly newsletter. 

I was recently invited to Shop 144C Electrical where the team was gathered outside stretching before their workday – a ritual they’ve continued every morning for over four years. Their breath could be seen on the cold air just as the sun was coming up. Stretching is beneficial to their bodies as they prepared for the physical demands of their job; I couldn’t help but recognize how beneficial the silence and fresh air may have been for their mental well-being as well. Their Work Centre Supervisor Brian Mason, shared that the stretching is of great benefit to the team.

“It reduces injuries and increases morale,” he said.

Health breaks are truly vital. Taking a few minutes to yourself to breathe, collect your thoughts, and have a sip of water can make a valuable difference not only to you but also the work you are doing. Starting with a stretch at your desk or a walk outside is one step in the right direction.

Health breaks

Shop 144C Electrical team of Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton, stretches in the early morning hours. Photos supplied.

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