LEARNING BY THE WATER-COOLER: Episode 9


LEARNING is everything and everything is learning.


Now, more than ever, we need to learn the true meaning of “Carpe Diem.” Seize the day.


In Ontario, where Pathways is based, we are heading towards the long weekend that culminates Monday in the public holiday known as “Family Day”. As with many long weekends, they often lead us to think… I’m stressed, I need to unwind, I feel like I’m burning out. I need a break.


We’re now almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and all the worry and isolation it has brought to our lives. The real question is, should we have to wait until a long weekend to take a Mental Health Day? The answer surely has to be NO.


Before the pandemic, modern-day life had become stressful enough, shining a light on the spiralling evidence of depression and anxiety in the workforce. Research conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that anxiety and depressive disorders cost more than a Trillion Dollars (US) globally in lost productivity each year. A TRILLION!


So, if you weren’t before, maybe you want to take this problem seriously now? So if you hear a colleague, or direct report say: “I need to take a day,” check your reflex reaction to think they are back-sliding, or mailing it in. Take the time to ask why they feel they need to take a break. Moreover, if you have the emotional intelligence to take a breath and do that for them, then the chances are, you may start to see some symptoms in YOURSELF.


So, if you can…

Take a day and:

1. Destress

2. Relax and rest

3. Examine your emotions

4. Evaluate your work-life balance

5. Reset your perspective

Don’t:

1. Avoid friends and family

2. Decide the best way to relax is hit the bar (or the fridge, for most of us) and sink a few drinks

3. Over-eat by bingeing on take-out

4. Spend the day doom-scrolling on social media

5. Sit and mull through all the negative emotions that made you feel this way in the first place

Maybe do this instead:

1. Find a great at-home workout on YouTube to get you moving

2. Take a long walk-in nature, or on the beach

3. Hit the pool for a swim or getting a massage (if you can)

4. Find your new Netflix obsession

5. Bury yourself in a good book


Over the past year, we have all been forced to re-evaluate at some point, to question and then realize what means the most to us; and perhaps, to recognize how much we took our simple pleasures for granted. One of the positives we have to take into the recovery phase MUST be how to better look after our mental health in the future.


That Roman poet Horace knew what he was talking about — sometimes we need to just take a day. Carpe Diem.

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