Prevent burnout: Understanding wellness days in the workplace

Wellness days explained to newcomers  

By: Josephine Naghavie  

Published on: April 3rd, 2024

Moving to a new country is an exciting and life changing experience. Facing challenges like adapting to new culture, language, and social norms can take a toll on your mental health. There is a strong connection between mental health and physical health, but taking care of only one won’t help you fix both.  

Exercise releases endorphins that can help with anxiety and stress and keeping a nutritious diet and having enough sleep promotes positive emotions which can help with your new experiences in Canada.  

Mental health and mental wellness are relative terms, yet a decline in mental health can be solved by taking care of your wellness. Wellness is a complicated term that means we have the responsibility to take care of ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Positive lifestyle changes lead to happier lives, missing less work, and being more productive.  

Employee wellbeing in the workplace is a top trending subject in 2023, which has led to wellness days. Many organizations are supporting the well-being of their employees by offering resources to manage stress and work-life balance.  

Understanding wellness days 

Companies are offering wellness days as a result of their employees feeling burnt out, which is a combination of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion.  

Signs of burning out:  

  • Feeling detached/alone  
  • Negative thoughts  
  • Self-doubt  
  • Procrastinating or taking longer to get things done  
  • Feeling overwhelmed  

Ceridian’s 2022 Pulse of Talent survey showed that 81 per cent of respondents experienced burnout, with one-third of respondents feeling less focused and 26 per cent planning on taking a leave of absence/sick leave.  

In the past, many companies offered only sick days, but in 2019 the focus on mental health was reviewed and the concept of wellness days was therefore introduced. Employers realized that allowing their employees to take wellness days was helping avoid burnout, late work, or mediocre work.  

Wellness days give you a chance to proactively take care of your mental health. They are designated days, separate from your annual sick days, to take off work so that you may recharge and produce better work for your company, putting yourself in the proper headspace.  

As someone who is new to Canada, or even the workforce, it can be difficult to manage all the new tasks, the hours of work, and everything in between. Wellness days are a great tool to take advantage of for more personal time to either get to know your country, have much needed family time, or anything you need to do to re-energize yourself. Wellbeing looks different to everyone, this can include meditation, journaling, and practicing gratitude.  

Wellness days were previously optional for many companies and organizations, but as time has evolved and mental health becomes a major priority in Canada, almost 93 per cent of the workforce gives wellness days, with their respective individual policies.  

As someone new to a job, it can be nerve wracking to ask if your company has wellness days, but taking this designated time off has a lasting positive impact on work culture and is a critical factor in driving productivity.  

Everyone needs a break now and then. The workplace can stress the mind, making it more difficult to focus on your future work, on yourself, and to be able to think positively. Taking employee wellness days brings clarity not only to your work, but to your mind as well.  

Don’t be afraid to ask your employee for more information!  

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