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St. Joseph's Health Centre Toronto

Creating a healthy workplace for our people

vironaEvery day our teams are working to make our community healthier. At St. Joe’s we believe it’s important for us to care of our people so they can care for our patients and families. This month is healthy workplace month and we chatted with our Wellness Coordinator about her work and what wellness means at St. Joe’s.

How long have you been working at St. Joe’s and what do you do here?
My position is new; I am the first person in this role and I’ve been here for just under a year. Since I started here, the focus of my work has been to develop a framework for wellbeing at St. Joe’s — defining what it means for us as an organization. I’ve also been coordinating activities for our teams to connect and build healthy habits through our mindfulness workshops, walking club and stair climb challenge.

What lead you into this field of work?
When I first started university, I had aspirations of being a doctor. I studied Life Sciences and worked part-time in our student health resource centre which helped students develop a healthy lifestyle through education. I really enjoyed that job and decided I wanted to do something similar in my career. So after school I did a post-graduate diploma in Workplace and Wellness Health Promotion.

What did you do before you came to St. Joe’s?
I worked at Morneau–Shepell which is a healthcare benefits provider for many different organizations including St. Joe’s. There, I developed interactive workshops for our clients on a variety of health topics to help educate teams on wellness in the workplace.

Are there any emerging health trends that are relevant to the workplace?
We’re seeing a huge focus on mental health right now. Increasingly we’re gaining a better understanding of how stress and mental illness can affect people in the workplace. Many organizations, including St. Joe’s, are beginning to put resources in place to better support their staff in this area.

What does wellness mean to you?
For me it’s about balance. Being balanced in all the different aspects of one’s health: emotional, physical, mental, intellectual, spiritual and occupational. I believe a holistic approach is best.

What is one thing everyone can do to stay healthy in the workplace?
Everyone should take breaks outside of their work environment. Too often people have lunch at their desk or feel too busy to step away from their work area, but it’s really important for your physical health as well as your mental health to take a break, disconnect for a bit of time and then return to your work. This small action can boost your mood and productivity!

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