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A Healthier You August 2015

ROUTINE ISN’T ALWAYS

a Bad Thing! page 4

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A Healthier You | 2 | August 2015


contents AUGUST2015 8

Leaving Home for University and New Routines

4 6 10 11 12 14 16 18 20 21 22

Routine Isn’t Always a Bad Thing! Make School Lunches Nutritious, Delicious, and Fun! Working on Wellness Structure for Success! Weekend Adventures Across the North Back to School and Routine Immunizations! UNBC: Fostering Resiliency and Well-Being for Students, Staff and Faculty Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Back to School Safety! Attention Parents! Do You Have Your Back-to-School Routines Planned Out? Staff profile: Donna Anderson

A Healthier You is published by A product of Advertisements in this magazine are coordinated by Glacier Media. Northern Health does not endorse products or services. Acknowledgments: We would like to thank Simran Jawanda, UNBC, Northern BC Tourism, the Prince George Citizen, and Northern Health staff for their contributions to this issue.

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Physical Activity

Routine Isn’t Always a Bad Thing! By Holly Christian, Physical Activity, Northern Health

The days are getting shorter and school doors are open, which brings homework, extracurricular activities and lots of time spent going from one place to the next in the car. It’s a routine that we’re all used to, but an unfortunate side effect for the whole family is that more time is spent being sedentary. Although there’s often not much we can do about screen time (computer use) at school or work, there are ways to maintain those healthy summer routines into the fall and winter and keep yourself and your family moving.

At Work: • Build activity into your commute: Walk or bike to work when possible or carpool with a spouse or neighbour and walk from their workplace to your own. • Schedule movement: Set an alarm to go off every hour to remind yourself to stretch, move around, take some time away from the task, give your eyes a break and refresh your mind. • Take a walking meeting: Take your telephone call on the go while you stretch your legs, or encourage meeting participants to walk around the building while you talk. • Step up: Take the stairs instead of the elevator. • Escape the lounge: Use some of your lunch break for physical activity. Get out of the lunchroom and go for a walk. • Go old school: Walk to a co-worker’s office to talk to them instead of calling or emailing. Establishing active routines and spending less time being sedentary will leave you feeling happier and more alert and will improve your fitness and your social life! Making these small changes in our behaviours at home and work will over time become part of new, healthier routines.

At Home: • Be a healthy role model: Set limits for your own recreational screen time as well as theirs. This includes your TVs, tablets, computers and phones. • Do chores together as a family that encourage getting outside: raking leaves, shovelling snow, walking the dog, or biking to the store for milk instead of driving. • Schedule outdoor time for children every day: The best way to encourage kids to sit less is to let them go outside. • Be an active chauffeur: Don’t just sit in the car waiting on kids to finish up their activities. Use that time to get moving yourself and use active transportation when possible.

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Event Calendar

Summer/Fall 2015: Your Daily Dose of Health and Wellness August • Aug 9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples • Aug 12: International Youth Day • Aug 31: International Overdose Awareness Day

All across Canada, specific dates are set aside to bring awareness to various health issues. These dates provide you with the chance to think about a specific aspect of your health. Here are some dates you might be interested in!

September • • • • • •

Sep 12-20: AIDS Walk for Life Sep 13-19: Child Passenger Safety Week Sep 9: FASD Awareness Day Sep 10: World Suicide Prevention Day Sep 13: World Sepsis Day Sep 20: Terry Fox Run

Do you have a community event coming up that promotes health? Tell us about it! Email:

healthpromotions@northernhealth.ca

October • • • • • •

Healthy Workplace Month International Walk to School Month Oct 1-7: Breastfeeding Week in Canada Oct 4-10: Mental Illness Awareness Week Oct 26-30: Canadian Patient Safety Week Oct 15: ShakeOut BC Day

Organizations like Northern Health use these national and regional days to share valuable health information. So, stay tuned to blog.northernhealth.ca, follow us on Twitter (@Northern_Health), and like our Facebook page (facebook.com/northernhealth) to learn more about these important events as they get close.

Join the #healthynorth conversation!

For more information, visit Health Canada’s Calendar of Health Promotion Days online at hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/ calend/index-eng.php.

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Healthy Eating

Make School Lunches Nutritious, Delicious, and Fun! By Marianne Bloudoff, Population Health Nutrition, Northern Health

Summer is coming to an end, which means it’s back-to-school time for families across northern B.C. Getting back into school routines often means busy schedules! Fuelling those busy days can be challenging, but there are some easy things you can do to make back-to-school lunches nutritious, delicious, and fun this year.

Photo Credit: Holly Christian

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Follow these five simple steps for stress-free mornings and happy tummies throughout the day. • Be prepared. The Boy Scouts knew what they were talking about! Taking some time during your evenings or weekends to get prepared makes busy weekday mornings a breeze. Plan meals, chop vegetables, bake muffins, or batch-cook something tasty (like soup or chili) to eat throughout the week. • Get the tools. Make sure you have a variety of reusable containers, including cutlery and drink containers, so that no matter what you pack for lunch, you’ll have something to put it in. An insulated lunch bag and a food Thermos are both great investments, too. • Make it a family affair. Get the kids involved in prep! Even young kids can wash fruit, fill water bottles, and pack their lunch bags. And make sure to involve your kids in planning their lunch, like asking whether they want carrot sticks or celery. Offering them a choice means they are more likely to eat those healthy foods. • Seek out healthy helpers. Save time with some preprepared nutritious items like washed and bagged salad greens, baby carrots, unsweetened applesauce cups, individual cheese portions, and yogurt cups. • Think beyond the sandwich bread. While sandwiches are definitely a lunchtime favourite for many, it can be fun to switch it up. Instead of bread, try wraps or pita pockets. Or skip the sandwich and try a pasta salad, soup, crackers and cheese, or even last night’s leftovers.

Photo Credit: Beth Moore

Looking for a little lunch inspiration? Try this easy pasta salad recipe! You can get the kids involved, prep it the night before, and break out of the sandwich rut. Sounds like a win for healthy school lunches!

Chicken Pasta Salad (adapted from cookspiration.com)

Serves 4 Ingredients • 3 ½ cups cooked whole wheat pasta (such as rotini, penne or macaroni) • 1 ½ cups diced cooked chicken • 1 large carrot, coarsely grated • 1 cup diced cucumber • ¼ cup of your favourite salad dressing (such as Italian, caesar, or balsamic)

Northern Health Tip: Nicotine is the addiction; tobacco is the killer. •

Nicotine stimulates the central nervous system and has immediate access to pleasure and reward centres in the brain.

Nicotine is extremely addictive; it is the addictive part of tobacco.

Nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine.

Even one or two cigarettes can cause brain changes that cause cravings and addiction.

Nicotine replacement therapy helps some people quit. In this form, nicotine is less addictive.

Instructions 1. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, chicken, carrot, cucumber. 2. Drizzle with salad dressing and mix to combine. 3. Cover and refrigerate for up to two days. 4. To switch things up, try replacing the chicken with shrimp, ham, chickpeas, or tofu. Try out different vegetables, too, like broccoli, peppers, peas, or corn. For more inspiration, check out the Foodie Friday posts on the Northern Health Matters blog: blog.northernhealth.ca.

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Healthy Communities

Leaving Home for University and New Routines By Simran Jawanda, UNBC student

As I step out of the door, say my goodbyes, and hustle into the car with my very full suitcase, I realize that I am leaving for university. As I embark on my journey to Prince George to attend the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), my mind is flooded with emotions including fear, anxiety, and excitement. Heading off for post-secondary education has been described to me as a “push to personal and professional growth.� Yet, leaving a comfortable environment where order and routine exist seems difficult! While attending high school, I was able to live a healthy, balanced life between school, work, extracurricular, and personal time to reduce stress. Though my high school days are over, when I begin attending UNBC, I will work to create a well-adjusted schedule that meets my personal expectations for wellness, nutrition and physical activity. How will I develop these routines? I think choosing to live in residence at UNBC was a sensible choice, especially for nutrition and physical activity. As a first

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year university student in residence, it was mandatory to take part in the 7-day meal plan where individuals have access to healthy, hot meals as well as a pantry in which they are able to cook their own meals. I believe the meal plan will be a great start for healthy meals with my busy schedule. To make time for snack breaks in between classes, I will pack healthy, quick snacks like fruits and veggies, trail mixes, and smoothies. I plan to do meal prep on Sundays so that I will have quick snacks to-go on weekday mornings. A few minute walk from campus will take me to the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre. The centre’s early-to -late operating hours will allow me to have quick access to exercise to help reduce stress and keep myself fit. I think that making the time to exercise within students’ demanding agendas allows us to unwind from stress as well as improve our school performance. Most post-secondary institutions have wellness centres as well as peer support networks. I believe these professional services that support academic achievement and personal well-being will definitely be helpful when I’m feeling distressed. It’s comforting to know you’re in a place that supports your vision to maintain your health and wellness even with a substantial course load. Having a plan to develop a schedule that attends to things like nutrition and physical activity even when you leave home for the first time reduces stress and anxiety. For me, taking the time to fit meal planning, physical activity, and personal time will be essential to living a healthy, balanced life in university.

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Healthy Workplace

Working on Wellness By Samantha Wright Allen, Prince George Citizen

In a world where men rarely make it to the doctor, die earlier than women and are on the whole less healthy, remote worksites are a captive audience that some health professionals can’t pass up.

by filling out a survey saying what health outcomes are most important to them. Then, it’s on the Working on Wellness project to put in the programs that help make “the healthy choices the easy choices.”

Not to mention the unique reality of remote camp jobs: long hours, working stretches of days on end in one space, and where physical activity may not be first priority all make the sites a place where the gender gap in health outcomes is more pronounced.

“We usually have a champion in each of the sites,” said Collins. Some of those champions are the paramedics who are already on site. WorkSafeBC requires first aid attendants at every worksite, but Iridia Medical offers primary care and advanced care paramedics with immediate access to remote consultation from its doctors. Most sites are very safe spaces, so Iridia founder Dr. Allan Holmes said the paramedics have loads of time to implement the project’s preventative programming.

So, a new pilot project called Working on Wellness is taking on that challenge. The months-old program is active in four sites in the Yukon and two in B.C. - with BC Hydro at Mica Creek and Nexen in North Liard - with a tentative two more sites planned. The collaborative initiative led by the BC Healthy Living Alliance will follow these sites over the next three years. The project is filling a gap, said Mary Collins, director of the alliance. “That’s what this is all about, is looking at new approaches,” said Collins, adding the worksites offer an ideal environment where they have easy access to a large numbers of employees. The health programs are site-specific as the workers start

“What we’ve realized is that there’s a real opportunity for these paramedics to promote healthy living and healthy workplaces,” said Holmes. The partnership works well, he said, because strong materials and training tips are provided by the project while his company has direct access to the workers who need the help. “What’s quite unique is these are usually fly-in or drive-in camps so paramedics basically live in the same camp environment as workers. Where we found it’s really been very successful is they get to know and trust the paramedic,” said Holmes, adding the peer-to-peer approach can be more effective. “A lot of this work gets done over the lunch table or having coffee.” Holmes has paramedics in about eight sites across the province and is implementing the lessons learned even though only two are involved in the pilot project. “I’m very passionate about getting this into as many different groups and areas as we can. What the pilot does is show us there’s some hard data around it,” he said. “What I’m hoping out of this is that more companies realize you can do this work. You can put wellness into your company culture.” Holly Christian, men’s health regional lead for Northern Health, said this approach made sense. “When we’ve looked at men’s health, we ask where the men are, where we could access them and where it would make the most difference to talk about their health,” said Christian, adding the north also has a higher number of vulnerable populations, particularly First Nations. Women typically dominate participation in workplace wellness programs, but this male-focused approach makes the prospect of adopting better eating habits, increasing physical activity and reducing stress more attractive to men. Industry was a natural focus, especially when workers can spend several weeks at a time on a single site, logging long hours. The group setting is a good fit, too. “It also takes the onus off of the individual to reduce chronic disease,” she said. “It’s really about creating supportive environments.”

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Mental Wellness

Structure for Success!

By Jeff Walters, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Northern Health

It’s often difficult to get into a rhythm at work or at school. As soon as you get yourself ready for the day, things seem to come at you from all directions. Without a routine, it’s hard to cope. If you could use a little more structure at work or school, here are some things to consider.

Getting ready Developing a routine for before work or school start can have a large impact on the rest of the day. Being mentally and physically prepared are key aspects for a healthy routine. Ensuring your body is fuelled and well-rested will allow for better regulation of mood, energy, concentration, focus, and memory formation. A small amount of exercise before work or school gets oxygen-rich blood to your brain and muscles. You might try listening to music, engaging in positive selftalk, or meditating before leaving home. It’s vital to mentally transition from your role at home to your role at work/school as there are likely different expectations. Prioritize It’s easy to get stuck into a rut thinking about everything that needs to be done in the day. One way to feel less overwhelmed? Schedule your day so that the important things get done on time. The more important or immediate the task, the higher the priority. That often means that things lower down on the list may have to wait. If you’re having difficulty prioritizing, ask a supervisor, coach, or counsellor for help. Maintaining balance

Photo Credit: Carly Phinney. Hydration is crucial while working!

Balance is often difficult to achieve, but is essential for your physical and mental health. If possible, make sure to schedule breaks into your day as consistently as possible. If you try and squeeze in all you can without a break, you risk burning yourself out. The purpose of a break is to re-energize yourself to minimize this risk. It’s worthwhile to know that the brain is only able to concentrate for a certain amount of time before it needs a break. If you want to get the most out of your brain, let it rest from time to time. Go for a short walk or stretch, have a snack, listen to some soothing music, or take some slow, deep breaths. Hydration is crucial while working. Your brain is 75-80% water and your body is not far behind. The better hydrated your body is, the better it will perform during the day. Drinking smaller amounts of water more often during the day is easier on the body. Ending the day Just as it’s important to get ready for the day, the transition from work or school to home is equally important. If possible, try to imagine locking away your worries and responsibilities for the next day in a box and leaving them there so that you can enjoy the rest of your day. Use the walk or drive home to separate your personal and professional lives and do something rewarding for yourself before starting the next day.

Photo Credit: Molly McRae. Balance is often difficult to achieve,but is essential for your physical and mental health. August 2015 | 11

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Physical Activity

Weekend Adventures Across the North By Northern BC Tourism

When summer winds down, it’s time to head back into the routines of school and work life - but there are still plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors. A couple of hours are all that is needed to stay active and enjoy these easy and moderate level trails in communities across northern British Columbia:

• Explore Lakelse Lake Provincial Park, 20 kilometres south of Terrace or 40 kilometres north of Kitimat. There, the Twin Spruce Trail is a self-guided trip through towering forests of cedar, hemlock and Sitka spruce.

• On Haida Gwaii, the hike to Pesuta Shipwreck Trail takes between three to four hours return and follows the Tlell River to the wreck of the Pesuta on East Beach.

• Babine Mountains Provincial Park in Smithers offers a number of different trails to explore. Most of the hikes are rated at least moderate, but they offer access to subalpine meadows and rugged mountain vistas.

• The Butze Rapids Interpretive Trail just outside of Prince Rupert winds through old-growth forests and features a lookout where hikers can see rapids that are caused by the ebb and flow of the tides around Kaien Island.

• In Fort St. James, the Dickenson Trail is close to town and takes under two hours to complete. Once at the top of Mount Dickenson, hikers are rewarded with views of Stuart Lake. • Teapot Mountain, located 45 minutes north of Prince George, is a short but steep hike just over a kilometre in length. From the top of this volcanic plug, there are 360 degree views of Summit Lake and the surrounding wetlands. • John Dahl Regional Park in Mackenzie has a network of trails that is very popular with both hikers and bikers. Viewpoints along the way overlook Morfee Lake. • Tumbler Ridge is renowned for its waterfalls. Many of the hikes to experience them are difficult and remote, but the easy trail to Quality Falls is very close to the townsite. It takes under two hours to complete and features a lookout at the top. Then, the trail winds down to the bottom of the 10-metre high falls. • McQueen’s Slough just outside of Dawson Creek has a network of trails and boardwalks to observe water birds including ducks, grebes and loons.

Northern Health Tip: Developing a healthy approach to food and moving your body early in life can last a lifetime. • • • • A Healthier You | 12 | August 2015

Learn to eat naturally and well Accept our bodies Develop active lifestyles Prevent overweight or obesity


Photo Credit: JF Bergeron, Enviro Foto. McQueen’s Slough, Dawson Creek

Photo Credit: Ryan Jensen, Picture BC. Hiking in the Babine Mountains

Photo Credit: Channel Collective. Biking in Mackenzie August 2015 | 13

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Immunization

Back to School and Routine Immunizations! By Kyrsten Thomson, Preventive Public Health, Northern Health

As the summer sun starts to fade and the autumn months beckon for attention, the time to prepare for fall customs is once again upon us. Time to think about back-to-school routines: regular bedtimes, school supplies, new clothes … and immunizations! In B.C., school-aged children are routinely offered immunizations at kindergarten age as well as in grade 6 and in grade 9. In Northern Health, kindergarten boosters are typically offered at your local health unit. Grade 6 and 9 immunizations are offered at school throughout the year. It is important to keep immunizations up-to-date at each age as this will ensure the best protection against diseases that can cause serious illness, disability and death.

Did you know? Public health nurses can: • Provide your child’s vaccines. • Check your child’s record for other missing routine vaccines. • Give missing routine vaccines to your child. • Answer your immunization questions.

Like when your child was an infant, keeping on track with the routine immunization schedule remains a priority.

Routine vaccines offered to students…

Kindergarten age Grade 6 (4-6 years)

Grade 9

Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio (TdaP-IPV)

Measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (MMRV) Hepatitis B

Chickenpox

Meningococcal C Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap)

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Why is it important to keep vaccines on schedule, anyway? The routine immunization program is designed to provide your child with the best protection at the most effective and safest ages and intervals. Completing all infant, childhood, and school-aged vaccines on schedule builds immunity that is lasting. Some vaccines need to be given more than once to build the immune system. Following the routine schedule will ensure the right spacing is maintained. It’s no surprise that immunizations may cause some pain, which can be a source of anxiety and stress for your child when receiving vaccines at school or in the health unit. There are many strategies that can be used to help reduce pain and anxiety. Here are a few suggestions; however, you can visit immunizeBC.ca to learn more: 1. Tell your child about the immunization using a matterof-fact and supportive approach at least one day prior to the procedure. This will help them plan how to cope. 2. Do not apologize or give false reassurance (e.g. “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt”). 3. Consider the use of numbing creams or patches. These are available without a prescription to block pain receptors on the skin. Talk to your pharmacist, public health nurse, or physician about when and how to properly use these products. If you wish to learn more about school-aged immunizations, please contact your local public health nurse or visit: northernhealth.ca, immunizeBC.ca, and healthlinkbc.ca.

Keep track of you and your family’s immunization records by downloading the free ImmunizeCA app at Google Play, iTunes, and BlackberryWorld.

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Healthy Communities

UNBC: Fostering Resiliency and Well-Being for Students, Staff and Faculty By UNBC Wellness Centre

Life at university is rewarding and life-changing. It’s also intense and challenging. Maintaining health and creating well-being can go by the wayside with due dates, deadlines, exam preparations and other obligations. Yet, well-being is a key part of both academic and work-related success.

UNBC features a main campus in Prince George, with regional facilities around northern B.C. including campuses in Quesnel, Terrace and Fort St. John. UNBC also has an affiliate campus in Gitwinksihlkw that is operated in partnership with the Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute. Post-secondary responsibilities can be made tougher by the impact of daily living and relationship stressors. Complex learning requires balancing your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs. These elements are important to well-being and require mindfulness and monitoring on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. How can you balance these needs and promote your well-being?

Photo Credit: University of Northern British Columbia. UNBC student Nadia Nowak taking part in a lecture.

Incorporate the basics into daily schedules. Eating healthy meals and snacks, exercising and connecting with friends and family are important behaviours. For balance, schedule in play time and exercise, even rest, alongside lectures, work time and studying. Remember that it can take up to 30 days to develop healthy habits. Knowing your community is also crucial for health and well-being. UNBC offers a supportive environment which is conducive to developing student, staff and faculty resiliency. What is resiliency? It’s the ability to return to a previous good condition. It’s a protective factor for challenging life situations. Discover what is available on and off campus in your local area. This will meet your personal and professional interests and needs. Try discovering the trails or walking areas to and from campus or locating and visiting the nearest gym or coffee shop. Taking several breaks throughout the day refreshes and grounds the body, mind and spirit. Groups such as drumming, yoga, elders or meditation can offer support, nourishment, grounding and growth for the whole person. This is beneficial for counteracting academic and workrelated stress. Many support services are available on and off campus for personal, academic and work needs. These services also help campus community members develop greater resiliency. The path to well-being and creating resiliency is an individual journey, unique to your personal values, cultural perspective and experiences. Living and creating a healthy lifestyle is an individualized process. Having a well thought out action plan and staying flexible when crunch time hits will help develop and maintain overall well-being.

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Northern Health Tip: Rule of thumb: more movement is better! More daily physical activity provides greater health benefits - for everyone! Increase activity for: • • • Photo Credit: University of Northern British Columbia. UNBC offers up unique learning and research opportunities in northern B.C.’s great outdoors.

Healthy growth & development Functional ability Health benefits

Moving more can help you live longer and better. Increase physical activity, you can drop your risk for: • • • • • • •

Death – by 30% Cardiovascular disease – by 33% Stroke – by up to 30% Hypertension – by over 30% Colon cancer – by 30% Breast cancer – by up to 30% Type 2 diabetes – by over 40%

Photo Credit: University of Northern British Columbia. Students enjoying the fire pit at Shane Lake.

Photo Credit: University of Northern British Columbia. Students explore the many kilometres of campus trails in every season. August 2015 | 17

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Healthy Workplace

Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace By Courtenay Kelliher, Workplace Health & Safety, Northern Health & Interior Health

Everyone who has attended school (or who has a child who attends school) can probably think of examples of how the school environment can affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. A child attending kindergarten for the first time may have tummy aches which stem from anxieties around being in a new environment with new people. An older child or teenager may feel depressed or self-conscious about whether they measure up to their peers, or their ability to keep up with academic pressures. However, did you know that the workplace environment and our relationships within it similarly affect us as adults?

You affect your work environment

Take a few moments to reflect or journal, and ask yourself the following questions:

In the past few years, there has been increasing recognition that our work environments affect all aspects of our lives and wellbeing and that healthy, happy employees are more productive and do higher quality work. Canada is the first country in the world to create a standard to guide employers in creating psychologically safe and healthy workplaces. For more information, visit workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com.

• How do I feel (emotionally/mentally/physically) as I’m about to start my workday? Do I look forward to going to work, or do I dread it? • How do I feel when I have finished my workday? (e.g., proud, stressed out, frustrated, energized) • What is it about work that makes me feel this way? (e.g., work tasks, co-workers, clients, physical work environment, work shifts or hours, pay, supervisor) • Do I notice similar thoughts, feelings, or actions in other people at work? • How do I affect my work environment and those around me in positive ways? • How do I affect my work environment and those around me in negative ways? • In what areas could I use some support? (e.g., conflict resolution skills, physical health, emotional health) • What can I do to make work a better place for everyone?

You go to work with your own attitudes, patterns of relating to others, home-life stressors, and individual level of wellness. These affect others in the workplace. Return to your earlier reflection and choose one thing you’d like to change or follow up on. Plan one action you can take to move in that direction. Challenge a family member/co-worker/friend to do the same! Talking about mental health and wellness is one of the best ways to promote psychological health and safety in the workplace.

Your work environment affects you If you are part of a healthy work environment, it probably contributes to your overall well-being. For example, if you enjoy work on a day-to-day basis you likely feel enthusiastic and energized about the work you do and have good relationships with those around you. As a result, when you come home at the end of your workday, you probably have energy to be present with your family/friends/pets, have hobbies and activities outside of work, and exude happiness to those around you. However, if your work environment is unhealthy, it may be a stressor for you. You may feel tired, frustrated, or burned out and this, in turn, can affect your health and home life in a negative way.

A Healthier You | 18 | August 2015

A submission to Northern Health’s 2013 Picture You Healthy contest shows what a happy workplace might look like!

For personal mental health assessments and tips, visit cmha.ca/mental_health/mental-health-meter/.


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Injury Prevention

Back to School Safety!

By Shellie O’Brien, Injury Prevention, Northern Health

It’s that time of year when the hustle and bustle starts as we get our children off to school and back into routines! The moment the school doors open, the traffic increases, more pedestrians and cyclists hit the roads, children are excited, parents are adjusting to the new routine, and life just seems to quicken. With this increase in pace it is important to slow down and stay safe!

Here are some things to consider: Traffic Safety Does your child …

Personal Safety Does your child know …

• • • •

Cross at crosswalks or corners? Look before crossing the street? Know and follow traffic signals and rules? Walk to and from school with a responsible person (until they are at least 8 years old)? • Make eye contact with the driver before crossing in front of a stopped car? • Know to stop and check for cars before crossing driveways, alleys and areas without curbs?

• Their full name, address and phone number in case of emergency? • The name and number of an emergency contact? • The numbers for fire, police and ambulance, or 911? • Not to accept rides or gifts from strangers? • To tell an adult if they or someone else was approached by a stranger? • That it is safer to play or walk with other children than to play or walk alone?

Bus Safety Does your child …

Bike Safety Does your child …

• Arrive at the bus stop early and stand back from the road while waiting? • Make eye contact with the bus driver, take three giant steps ahead of the bus, and check for cars in all directions before crossing in front of the bus? • Wear bright or reflective clothing if they are walking to and from the bus in the dark? • Know what to do if they miss the bus (e.g., go back home, report to a teacher, etc. - but never accept a ride from a stranger)?

• Wear a helmet correctly every time they ride their bike? • Ride their bike in safe areas like biking trails or roads where the speed limit is lower and traffic is less busy? • Know how to check their brakes, make sure the seat is secured at the right height, and that the tires have enough air?

Car Safety Does your child always …

Bullying Does your child know …

• Sit in a booster seat appropriate for their height and age? • Sit in the back seat until they are 12 years old? • Wear their seat belt low across their hips, not their stomach? • Wear a shoulder belt (when available) in the middle of their chest, not touching their neck?

• About bullying, both physical (hitting, kicking, shoving, tripping) and verbal (mean words, threats, gossiping, name-calling, leaving someone out)? • Not to fight back but to be assertive, look the bully in the eye, and tell him or her “I don’t like that, stop doing that,” and to walk away? • To tell a parent or adult if they or someone else is being bullied?

You are probably not expecting your child to be injured today. In the words of preventable.ca, “Have a word with yourself.” Injuries are predictable and preventable. When your child leaves for school, the number one priority is to make sure they get home safe!

A Healthier You | 20 | August 2015


School Health

Attention Parents! Do You Have Your Back-to-School Routines Planned Out? By Karen Wonders, Preventive Public Health, Northern Health

As summer holidays wind down, excitement of the new school year is on the horizon. Getting ready for back-toschool season can be a stressful and challenging time for parents and families. Establishing (or re-establishing) healthy routines is an important step to making the transition back to school happy and successful for the entire family. Consistent routines help children to feel safe and secure and teach them to know what is expected of them. To establish routines, begin practicing them a couple of weeks prior to the start of school. Remember to be positive role models for your children. Getting a new school year off to a good start can influence their attitude, confidence, and performance both socially and academically. Try to ensure that you incorporate healthy eating, physical activity, and adequate rest and sleep into your family routines as you gear up for school. Start each morning off with a nutritious breakfast for everyone. Evidence shows that kids who eat a healthy breakfast do better in school, have increased concentration and have more energy. Also remember that snacks and lunches can be just as healthy as breakfast! Involving children in planning and preparing their lunch provides a chance for them to learn about healthy eating. Look for Marianne’s healthy chicken pasta salad lunch recipe (on page 7) in this issue for one way to make lunch planning and prep a family affair! Along with healthy eating, be sure to encourage your young ones to be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. Spend time together being active as this will contribute to reducing screen time for yourself and your children. It also avoids unnecessary sedentary behaviour. Ensuring that children get enough sleep (9-10 hours/night) is also important throughout the school year. Adequate sleep is essential to healthy growth and development. Sleep helps to promote alertness, memory and performance. This is why it is so important to establish consistent bedtime routines that will make it easier for your child to relax, fall asleep, and sleep through the night. Remember that families are unique and there is no one-sizefits-all back-to-school routine. Choosing routines that will work for your family and sticking to them is what’s most important.

What does your back-to-school routine look like? • • • • • • • •

Make bedtime the same every night. Plan for healthy meals. Limit screen time. Talk with your child every day. Teach your child about safety. Encourage independence. Make homework a routine. Prepare the night before. August 2015 | 21

| A Healthier You


Staff Profile

Staff profile: Donna Anderson A mother of two and grandmother of four, Donna Anderson currently lives and works in Dawson Creek. Donna’s passion for music and dance has taken her around the world and helps her to create a healthier workplace at Dawson Creek and District Hospital.

good cardio workout with no impact! Add in a mesmerizing costume topped off with a beautiful smile and you have a belly dancer who connects to her mysterious and ancient past! I’ve had the privilege of taking belly dancing lessons and workshops and performing at various places across Western Canada and elsewhere. Can you imagine taking a belly dance cruise? I’ve been on two! As a belly dancer, I also dance with various props, including candles, swords, veils, wings and shamadan (chandelier worn on the head) so I get an extra workout from the balance and extensive arm work! Middle Eastern music is so different from the music I grew up with - I love the varied rhythms and instruments – so it’s a good exercise for the brain, as well! For another physical and mental challenge, I’ve added Egyptian and Iranian folk dances recently. What do you enjoy about living in Dawson Creek that supports your personal health and wellness?

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Northern Health. For the last nine years, I’ve worked in several clerking positions at Dawson Creek and District Hospital. I have loved every department that I’ve worked in! I’m back as an admitting clerk now and am happy meeting the constant flow of people this position involves! My passion is music in all its forms – and moving to that music! Music has always been more than just a part of my life - it’s a huge part of who I am. As a child, I marched with baton in parades and took tap and ballet lessons along with voice, piano and guitar. Music brings such great opportunities! My grandfather was an original member of the North West Mounted Police Musical Ride and, in July 1902, his Musical Ride went to England to represent Canada at the coronation of King Edward VII. I, too, have had the great fortune of having my musical involvement take me to many places across Canada and the world! As a teen, for example, I was part of a program to entertain throughout Europe and Russia, including our Canadian troops in Germany. I try to create a healthy and fun workplace by sharing my passion for moving to music with my colleagues. Some of the ladies I work with come to belly dance sessions when they can, even if it’s just dropping in when their shifts allow. Also, some of us were taking a companion hula hooping class. On our lunch breaks, we would go to the gym and hoop to music for a half-hour! What do you do to live a healthy life? Belly dancing is a perfect fit for me! It’s different from most other physical activities and is perfect for all ages, sizes and abilities! The core of belly dance is posture and the isolation of specific muscle movements. By repeating and alternating various movements and putting in a little footwork, you get a pretty

A Healthier You | 22 | August 2015

The performing arts community here is one of Dawson Creek’s worst-kept secrets! I’m thrilled to be working with an amazing and fun group of dancers. My dancers, called Troupe Shalize, are proud to be invited to participate in many community events. Want something besides dancing? There’s so much to explore in the Peace Country! The scenery is jaw-dropping, the sky is endless blue, and the fields are a gorgeous patchwork. It’s all here and you never know what you’ll see or find! I found a fossil while exploring the banks of the Kiskatinaw River, I’ve seen moose, bear, coyotes and swans while quadding and horseback riding, and the flyover of geese each spring and autumn remains a thrill! You’ll never know what you’re missing if you don’t come to Dawson Creek!


August 2015 | 23

| A Healthier You


A Healthier You | August 2015  

Northern BC’s health information magazine.

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