Our lives include a variety of relationships that include those at work, in our personal lives and with our family members.  Relationships can be tricky to manage and require us to build rapport, communicate and engage with others. This section will explore how relationships impact our personal and work lives and the steps you can take to improve your relationships at work and home.

Staying Productive while Working From Home

Working from home has become the new normal for most workers in Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic began and forced employers to rethink their working strategy. Research has shown that WFH has positive effects on the worker such as Increased Productivity, Better Performance, Fewer distractions. With WFH comes more responsibility on the worker to ensure that the work is being completed. Working from home gives us time and space to focus better in the comfort of our own home. Unfortunately, it can also lead to feelings of loneliness and social isolation when you are working alone with no colleagues around you to share thoughts or ideas. This is why having a strategy on how to effectively work from home is essential for workers to do their job as normally as possible.

Here are some tips to improve focus and your productivity while you work from home:

  • Create a routine for sleep, chores, breaks, and fixed working hours. Avoid working more hours than you usually do.
  • Unplug from all work devices at the end of your work hours, and put them out of site.
  • Have a designated office space and workstation where you go to work each day.
  • Maintain regular communication with colleagues and supervisor using video calls or phone calls.
  • Try to eliminate distractions by having a schedule for the family, taking outdoor breaks, and silencing personal phone notifications.
  • Create a regular to-do list with action items to create personal deadlines in the absence of physical supervision.  
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5 Factors that Impact your Level of Satisfaction with your Work

Do you ever come home from work feeling unsatisfied? Do you ever dread going to work in the morning? Find out the top 5 factors from our Healthy Worker Survey that you identified impact your level of satisfaction with your current position and some ways to enhance those areas.

These are the top 5 factors that, you identified, impact your level of satisfaction with your work:

  • Relationship with your manager
  • Workload
  • Relationship with your co-workers
  • Compensation
  • Flexibility (hours, location)


Now, what can we do about them?

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How Happy are You?

In the movies, existential anguish is considered heroic and deep. In real life, the goal is to experience as much happiness as possible, to be at peace with the world and grateful for what we have. But how does one define happiness? What are the basic principles of living a happy life. Here is a look at how researchers define happiness.

The word happiness is synonymous with quality of life or well-being. It denotes that a life is good – but what is good about that life? According to research published recently in the International Journal of Psychology, there are certain elements conducive to happiness:

Research has shown that, among populations, the following elements contribute to life’s happiness:

  • Wealth
  • Freedom of Choice
  • Equality
  • Security
  • Institutional Quality
  • Modernity
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Social Participation
  • Intimate Ties
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Domestic violence at work: Supporting your colleague

Domestic violence constitutes the behavior and actions of one person to gain control and power over someone they are involved with in an intimate or personal relationship. Such behavior includes physical, sexual, emotional, verbal and intellectual abuse and violence. It can be prevalent at work and remain hidden from everyone where a fellow worker can be the victim, or even the abuser. When signs of domestic violence appear at work, it may create a situation where the employees or employer would have to step in to support the victim or handle the abuser. Not only does this create a difficult situation for the worker involved in domestic violence, but it can also be a safety risk for other workers. The question remains, how can you help your fellow worker?

How to help:

Your colleague can be the victim or the abuser, and so there are different ways to approach each situation and help your colleague. The key step is to observe and identify signs of domestic violence at work place such as abuser harassing worker at the workplace, victim showing signs of physical abuse or emotional abuse, or the prolonged absence and mood changes of the victim. Other methods include:

  • If colleague is the victim:
    • Gently initiate the conversation, and give them time to open up
    • Listen patiently, do not judge
    • Encourage sharing with employer or contacting support services
    • DO NOT encourage their confrontation with abuser. Their safety and yours is the most important
  • If colleague is the abuser:
    • Approach your observations when they are calm but do not accuse
    • Inform your employer or support services or the police of your observations
    • DO NOT get involved in a direct confrontation or physical violence with them- Keep yourself safe
    • Share information on support services and resources available for them  
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What can I do if I’m being Harassed or Bullied at Work?

Harassment and bullying at work can have an impact on your health and well-being. In fact harassment and bullying may have a psychological impact including causing stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, fatigue, frequent colds, migraines, high blood pressure, and depression. Speaking up about harassment in the workplace is not easy, but this information is meant to help you identify steps you can take to address harassment and bullying at work.

If you think you are being harassed at work:

1. Tell the person who is harassing you that the behaviour is unwelcome – be specific about the unwanted behaviour
2. If the harassment is threatening to your personal safety (assault, sexual assault, or criminal harassment) you should call the police
3. Write down where the harassment occurred, when it occurred, who engaged in the harassment, what specifically was said or done, if anyone saw it happen and what you did
4. Keep any correspondence you receive that is related to the harassment (i.e. emails that were sent, social media, text correspondence)
5. Find out your workplace policies and procedures and follow the procedures
6. Seek emotional support from family and friends

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Are you a Tall Poppy? Beware of Poppy Shearers!

“Tall poppies” is a term that originated in Australia to describe a phenomenon that is by no means restricted to that continent. It happens when a high achiever who rises above the rest – like a poppy that grows taller than the others in a field – becomes vulnerable to those who want to undermine or destroy their achievements or reputation. “In a society that prides itself on egalitarian principles, rising above the pack is considered antisocial and countercultural,” says Carol Vallone Mitchell, author of a book on the subject.[1] “Tall poppies generate hostility and elicit a host of undermining behaviors to bring them down a peg,” she says.

Here are a few ways to deal with situations where you feel someone is trying to “tall poppy” you.

Remember, if the situation is one that is a course of harassing behavious, you should follow your organizations violence and harassment protocols to address this situation.


  • Depending on the severity of a comment that is being made about you, one option is to rise above it and ignore it.
  • Social media attacks can be painful because they are so public. The best response to being trolled is to unfriend or block the perpetrator and move on, rather than responding and lowering yourself to their level.
  • If the social is serious – if someone is threatening your life or safety, take it to the police, tell your employer and, if appropriate, alert your social media provider.
  • If you are being slandered or falsely accused of something, seek legal advice.
  • Surround yourself with people who support rather than try to tear down your cause.
  • Sometimes we witness or hear other people being criticized or gossiped about. Do not indulge the naysayer by engaging in the conversation, and do not repeat it.
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How to Cope with Burnout

Work-related burnout is the inability to manage work demands that exceed your ability to cope – is often due to diminished resources: diminishing time, mental and energetic resources, and often a consequent diminishment in the willingness to invest the effort needed to complete work tasks.

How to Cope with Burnout

Researchers developed a new model called SOC: a combined use of Selection, Optimization and Compensation. These strategies, alone or in combination, were found to buffer the unfavorable effects of burnout. The SOC model was developed partly to explain how individuals might deal with diminishing resources that come with illness or physical deterioration – conditions that are especially applicable to aging workers. It consists of the following management strategies:

  • Selection: This involves selecting the goals to pursue – acknowledging that you can’t accomplish everything – and then setting goal priorities. It may involve abandoning nonimportant or less important goals.
  • Optimization: This is about optimizing and using goal-relevant means. For example, it may mean learning new procedures for performing certain tasks, or making other attempts at adaptation.
  • Compensation: This involves using compensatory means to maintain goal attainment when previously employed resources are no longer available or blocked. It might entail using external aid.
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Beating Blue Monday Blues

Blue Monday. The third Monday in January is designated as the most depressing day of the year is not actually founded in scientific research, but it has still be adopted as factual.  The days are long, the jovial holidays have passed and it’s cold and bleak outside.  These factors can impact how we are feeling so here are some tips on how to beat the Blue Monday Blues. Not all of these suggestions will work for everyone, but it is important to find what works for you.

Tips for beating Blue Monday Blues

  • Stay Positive and Be Grateful
  • Bundle Up and Embrace the Cold
  • Smile
  • Flame the Friendship Fire
  • Get Some Sleep
  • Be Future Focused
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Working in an intergenerational environment

Elderly are delaying retirement, and young people are storming into the workforce. This presents an inevitable forecast of what most workplaces already do and will continue to look like, and that is an age diverse environment. Technically, it is now possible to have five different generations (from Baby Boomers to Generation Z) working together. Majority of the workforce however can be divided into two groups, Millennials (generation born between 1980 and 2000) and Generation X (generation born between 1961 and 1979). Misunderstandings due to the differences between generations can cause conflict and have a negative effect on performance and general satisfaction of work life. Learning about how the other operates and the values they hold can help to understand and relate to each other better, leading to stronger relationships. Diversity in the workplace is a great asset within a team and an organization, but it takes openness to learn about their perspective to reap full benefits.

Five things to understand about millennials according to research

1. They expect to be cared for at work
2. They are achievement oriented
3. They want flexibility
4. They are confident
5. They crave feedback

Read more to learn about intergenerational differences and how to relate to each other better.

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Retaining your independence – Healthy Aging Formula for Seniors

It is common knowledge that life expectancy in Canada is increasing. Living long however is most desirable when it is accompanied by living well and healthy. According to statistics gathered in Toronto, 74% of seniors describe their general health is good, very good, or excellent, and 93% say that their mental health is good, very good or excellent. And yet, diabetes, dementia, and injuries resulting in emergency visits or hospitalizations are on the rise among those 65 and older (Healthy Aging in Toronto, 2017). Healthy, or successful aging is an outcome of many factors. Some of those factors are beyond our reach, but there is a path you can follow. It is never too late to adopt healthy behaviour or discard unhealthy ones, become more socially engaged, or reap benefits from more supportive environments. Let’s see the formula for healthy aging!

The Five Factors of Healthy Aging

1) Social Connectedness
2) Physical activities
3) Healthy eating for mature bodies
4) Injury prevention
5) Putting down risky habits

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How to Beat the Burnout Blues

Feeling overextended at work? Burnout is a growing problem among office workers. It results from an accumulative overload of occupational stress, and causes adversarial mental or physical health conditions. When a person’s adaptive capabilities are overextended, repeatedly, burnout can occur. Researcher Evangelia Demerouti, who authored an article in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation identifies burnout as “intensive physical, affective and cognitive strain that is a longterm consequence of adverse working conditions.”

Here are some steps you can take to beat the burnout blues

  • Take Action and try Job Crafting
  • Take Time to Recover
  • Be Positive
  • Make Time for Exercise
  • Eat Well
  • Be Mindful or Spiritual
  • Laugh
  • Nurture Professional Relationships
  • Seek Help
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What does it take to be Happy? It’s a Simple Formula!

Happiness may be elusive, but there is one thing we know for sure: being healthy makes you happy, and being happy makes you healthy. Being happy and healthy propels you to face the world in a positive way, every day. Just having a reason to smile lowers your blood pressure, combats stress and boosts your immune system. It builds confidence, and that helps you to achieve your goals. Best of all, it’s contagious: being happy makes other people happy. So how do you get there?

Here are seven behaviours that make up the happiness formula:

  • Letting Go
  • Staying Connected
  • Getting Involved
  • Being a Kid Again
  • Buying Time, Not Things
  • Getting Some Exercise
  • Finding Meaningful Work
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External Links

Stress Index

In 2014, 23.0% of Canadians aged 15 and older reported that most days were ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely stressful’. Since 2003, females were more likely than males to report that most days were ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely stressful’. In 2014, the rate for females was 23.7%, while for males the rate was 22.3%.

What's your stress index?

The link below will take you to the Canadian Mental Health Association stress index which will provide you feedback based on your self-assessment.

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Half of Working Women in Canada Have Endured Sexual Harassment

Canada Labour Code defines sexual harassment as “any conduct, comment, gesture, or contact of a sexual nature that is likely to cause offence or humiliation to any employee; or that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived by that employee as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on any opportunity for training or promotion.”

Did you know?

  • 50% of working women in Canada say they have experienced a “significant amount” (5%), a “moderate amount” (12%) or a “small amount” (33%) of sexual harassment over their careers.
  • More than half of working women in Canada (54%) say they have experienced conduct, comments, gestures or contact of a sexual nature that caused them offence or humiliation
  • Three-in-ten (30%) experienced conduct, comments, gestures or contact of a sexual nature that they perceived as placing a condition of a sexual nature on their employment or on any opportunity they might have for training or promotion.
  • Only 28% of working women in Canada who endured behaviour that placed a condition on their employment or future career reported it to a superior and/or human resources department.
  • Even fewer (22%) filed a complaint after being offended or humiliated by somebody else’s behaviour.


If you are being harassed at work please read our article What can I do if I’m Being Bullied or Harasses at Work


To learn more read the research article found at the link below.

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Optimal Aging – McMaster University Creates Evidenced Based Site for Healthy Aging

This website provides evidence based information about healthy aging. The this site and its social media network will  brings you the best available related research evidence at the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal

This site contains content on:

  • Women’s Health
  • Men’s Health
  • Mental Health
  • Cancer
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Consumer Protection
  • Arthritis
  • Transportation
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