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Taking a brief wellness break at work to relieve stress and tension—Health Promotion leads the way

By Martin Zeilig

Bell Let’s Talk Day is not just for one particular day of the year, but a reminder to talk about mental health and to practice habits that strengthen our mental health throughout the year, according to Deanne Bennett, CFMWS/PSP Health Promotion Specialist.

She made her remarks soon after she and Health Promotion colleague Montanna Coad, HP administrative assistant, had conducted a wellness break on January 29 for five personnel from Barker College Air Operations Officer Cell in the third floor student lounge at 16 Hangar.

“What we have been doing is bringing various breaks to personnel throughout the Wing and CFB Winnipeg,” Ms. Bennett said.

She added that units get to choose between a fifteen-minute session, or multiple five-minute sessions to make a 15-minute or half hour fitness break during the day.

“We have lots of options,” Ms. Bennett said.

“But, people choose their breaks. This group decided to do five minute stress busters.”

Ms. Bennett and Ms. Coad had the group do a ball toss activity, a five-minute meditation. This was followed by an informal discussion about the different things a person could do during a five minute stress break “to give yourself a change of scenery or mental break”, as Ms. Bennett said, throughout the day.

Ms. Coad then led the group in a second activity-- making origami-jumping frogs.

 Major Jacklyn Zacher, Chair of Air Operations at Barker College, said the workshop was beneficial.

“It was great,” she said afterwards.

“I mean we all know (how important it is) to take a break and to carve some time out of your day. So, having this reminds us about how important it is for us to take a break during the workday, and connecting with the HP team on the resources they can provide for our students when they get here.”

Maj Zacher added that the ball tossing session is something “we’ll keep for the students when they’re here if they’re having a rough day.”

Captain Robert Gaudrault, Deputy Director of Air Operations at Barker College, also found the workshop worthwhile.

“It was good,” he said.

“I really like doing it as a team. A lot of the time when I do take a break it’s reading the news online. So, being able to take some time away is good and building some camaraderie with my colleagues and friends is beneficial.  The origami is not really my thing, but I like the ball throwing and catching.”

Ms. Bennett noted that in the past HP has had speakers and panel discussions to promote Bell Let’s Talk Day.

“What we’ve noticed is that due to work pace only a limited number of people could attend,” she said.

“So, we decided to have a wider reach and bring the breaks to the members to allow them to benefit from the breaks and to promote a break taking culture. We brainstormed some activities that either we do as part of our classes or our briefings as well as some things we came up with on our own.

“Just possibilities of things people could do when taking a break. We want to promote the culture of taking a break more, or reminding your section to take a break, normalizing the asking of each other to ‘take a break’ today.”


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