Well, there goes January. And for some people that may mean a weakening of resolve in sticking to wellness goals laid out for the new year.
But Dal's Employee Wellness Day, happening this Thursday (Feb. 2), offers employees an opportunity to recommit with a full day of faculty- and staff-led wellness sessions.
Click here to see a full schedule of sessions
The day fits into Dal's overall workplace wellness strategy, Work Well: Creating Space for Well-being, which launched in fall 2021. It's one of a collection of wellness initiatives underway at Dal in support of the strategy and featured in the university's first Work Well CheckPoint released this week.
View the 2023 Work Well CheckPoint now [PDF]
Throughout February, Dalhousie's Human Resources team will showcase some of these wellness initiatives via follow-up Dal News articles.
Building belonging for wellness
Dalhousie has made strides to align its wellness programs with ongoing equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) efforts, including the launch of the university’s Employment Equity Plan last fall.
“We often overlook the importance of connecting wellness with EDIA, but in order to provide adequate support and access to those who need it, they must go hand in hand,” says Janice MacInnis, manager of organizational health, a unit within Human Resources.
Research shows that employee mental health is linked to experience of inclusion and diversity in the workplace. If employees feel they are different than their colleagues, it can have a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing. (LifeWorks, April 2021)
The workplace wellness strategy considers that employees have different access to health and well-being resources, feelings of belonging, and daily experiences that affect their health and wellbeing.
Some of the initiatives underway to help address both employee wellness and EDIA include:
- The establishment of Pan-University committees on campus climate, and on recruitment, retention and promotion of faculty and staff, along with four other issues related to implementing the many EDIA recommendations.
- A Career Development Consultant role has been created, with an emphasis on assisting equity-deserving employees with their careers at Dalhousie.
- The first Accessibility Week was held in November 2022, with the “What’s it like?” campaign to hear directly from employees with a disability.
- The university signed on to the Okanagan Charter of health promoting universities and colleges that focuses on “embedding health into all aspects of campus culture, across the administration, operations and academic mandates.”
“As a Black immigrant woman, I have experienced how racism has caused me aliments that my parents didn’t have,” says Huwaida Medani, manager of Employment Equity, a unit within Human Resources.
“It was because they were part of the so-called ‘mainstream’ dominant group that enjoyed all sorts of privilege. I suffer some health issues because of racism and sexism, and I have witnessed friends and acquaintances being unwell due to ableism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, and other sorts of oppression. We need to continue working together and call for the Dal community to join forces and collectively promote equity, inclusion, accessibility, and wellness.”
The workplace wellness strategy is also integrated into the Be Well campus well-being initiative that is part of the university’s strategic plan, Inclusive Excellence pillar.
It looks at bringing together all aspects of wellness on our campuses, whether you are a student or a faculty or staff member. Stay tuned for more information about Be Well later this spring.
Employee Wellness Day schedule
This year’s wellness day takes place on Feb. 2, the day before Munro Day, to help ease faculty and staff into Dal’s long weekend.
Here is the schedule for the day:
· 9:00 - 9:45 a.m. - The Food in this Place: A workshop on navigating your food environment
· 10:00 - 10:45 a.m. - The Connection between Microaggressions and Wellness
· 11:00 - 11:45 a.m. - Avoiding Common Career Blunders
· 12:00 - 12:45 p.m. - Zumba Energizer
· 1:00 - 1:45 p.m. - Move More, More Often
· 2:00 - 2:45 p.m. - Ten Easy Ways to Find Joy in the Every Day
· 3:00 - 3:45 p.m. - Difficult Conversations Demo and Discussion
Register through the Employee Learning calendar to be sent an invitation to the online meetings you would like to join.
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