Life at Encepta

May: Mental Health and Wellness Month

At Encepta, we wholeheartedly believe that a healthy workplace goes beyond just physical safety; it encompasses mental well-being as well. Mental health should be prioritized, just like physical health. That's why, as we recognize Mental Health Awareness Month in May, we are committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for our employees. We are proud to share the actions we take to ensure a safe and healthy working space. Encepta aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions, increase access to resources and support, and promote a culture of understanding and compassion.

To achieve these goals, Encepta focuses on education and open dialogue. In order to get it done, we organized a Lunch and Learn session where employees gathered to discuss mindfulness while sharing stress reducing techniques. These sessions provide valuable tools for managing stress and cultivating resilience, while ultimately promoting and enhancing overall productivity.

In conjunction with mental health awareness, May is also Employee Health and Wellness Month, so we introduced a new challenge for our teams to participate in. These challenges were designed to encourage small, yet impactful changes in daily routines to encourage a healthier and more mindful workplace. Some of the challenges included taking a short walk after lunch, staying hydrated by drinking water regularly, engaging in stretching exercises, and practicing mindfulness techniques. We found these challenges not only boost physical well-being but also contribute to mental clarity and reduced stress levels.

Special thank you to Dinu Ranaweera, Accountant; Henry Hart, GIS Analyst II; and Pankaj Jindal, Project Lead I who answered some questions and shared their insights on being involved in this month’s challenge.

*note that we are not professional in the health and medical industry, if any individual has any questions or concerns, we advise you to consult your healthcare professionals for accurate personal recommendations. 

Mental Health & Wellness Challenge

Week 1: Get Steppin

The 1st week’s challenge is all about movement. We encouraged Enceptans to take light to moderate intensity walks after lunch, focusing on moving your body and taking a break from technology. We also counted other forms of physical activity such as daily running, cycling, rowing, and more. During the week, many employees got together after eating and walked around the area in sunny Burnaby! 

There are several potential advantages of implementing this activity that positively impact both physical and mental health. Post-meal walks may improve digestion, regulate blood sugar & blood pressure, improve sleep quality, and reduce stress hormones.

 Week 2: Aqua Boost

Staying hydrated is crucial for both physical and mental health, which is why our challenge for week 2 is to drink 6 to 8 glasses (250 mL) of water throughout the day. As we move towards the summer season, it is crucial to drink lots of water as the days get hotter! Our employees have their very own Encepta Water Bottle to ensure they are drinking the recommended water intake. 

Dehydration can lead to negative impacts on productivity, energy levels, and overall mood; therefore, it is key to keep drinking water throughout the day. Additionally, staying hydrated may prevent and treat headaches and help boost your immune system. 

Week 3: Physical Flow

It is common for employees to find themselves sitting in the same spot for almost 8 hours everyday. Our week 3 initiative looks to mitigate and decrease sedentary behaviour, recommended by the Canadian 24 Hour Movement Guidelines. In our Encepta Knowledge Base, we provided employees with various ergonomic stretches to try throughout their day. Additionally, many of the desks in office can be adjusted from sitting to standing height. Therefore, we encouraged Enceptans to alternate working from sitting to standing to avoid being in the same position for too long. 

Implementing stretches and movement can potentially help improve posture and decrease aches and pains, improve muscular balance, increase blood flow which reduces fatigue, and contribute to higher levels of productivity & creativity.

Week 4: Breathe In

The last and final week of our Mental Health and Wellness Challenge at Encepta is all about mindfulness. We encourage Enceptans to try some habits that reduce stress and anxiety, such as meditation, journaling, reflections, and more. Our People Team provided employees with some accessible apps to explore and podcasts to listen to:

Practicing mindfulness throughout the day may bring several benefits by increasing focus and awareness, decreasing blood pressure & heart rate, reducing levels of stress & anxiety, and improving insomnia and sleep quality. 

Challenge Reflection Insights Ft. Enceptans

How was your experience with the May Health & Wellness Month Challenge? 

Dinu: I really appreciate the effort taken in creating this challenge, personally I enjoyed it A LOT. The program was unique and quite engaging, I liked the opportunity to interact with the team in ways that weren’t really work related.

Henry: My experience with the challenge was great! I thought the tracking sheet in our Encepta Knowledge Base, team aspect, and prize was an innovative way to encourage everyone to participate. 

Pankaj: The May Health & Wellness Month Challenge was a transformative experience for me. It provided a structured framework for incorporating healthy habits and encouraged self-reflection and personal growth. I discovered the power of small changes, such as regular physical activity and staying hydrated, which boosted my energy and mood. The stretching exercises during the "Physical Flow" week were invigorating and improved my flexibility.

However, the true highlight of the challenge was the "Breath In" week focused on mindfulness. Through deep breathing techniques, I found a sense of calm and mental clarity. It became an integral part of my daily routine, helping me effectively manage stress and anxiety. I noticed a positive shift in my mindset, becoming more present and mindful in all areas of my life

What was your favourite challenge and why? 

Dinu: Despite it not being the easiest to start and continue, my favourite challenge was the “Aqua Boost”. I am someone who drinks less than the recommended amount of water on a daily basis, but this challenge kind of forced me to drink plenty of water which is something I have now integrated into my daily routine as well. So, I guess I must be thankful for that. 

Henry: My favourite challenge was “Get Steppin” because I often find myself forgetting to get outside and take a break when work is busy. Especially when it’s been so nice out!

Pankaj: My favorite challenge without a doubt was the "Breathe In" week centered around mindfulness. In today's fast-paced world, we're constantly bombarded by distractions and overwhelmed with work, which can lead to stress and anxiety. However, through mindfulness practices, I discovered a powerful antidote. By taking intentional breaths and bringing my focus to the present moment, I found myself becoming more centered and grounded. This enhanced level of mindfulness enabled me to be more focused and productive in my daily tasks.

 What made it even more impactful was the EncepTALK meeting dedicated to mindfulness, where we shared our experiences and gained valuable insights. It deepened my understanding of mindfulness and reinforced its significance in our daily lives. This challenge was a transformative journey that left a lasting impression on me, making it my absolute favorite.

What was the most difficult part of the challenge for you and why? 

Dinu: “Physical Flow” - I always forget to stand up and take a break when I work. I stare intently at the screen oblivious to everything that’s happening around me. So it did take a bit of conscious effort to stop my habits and take a break. 

Henry: The most difficult part of the challenge was “Breathe In” and practicing mindfulness as I am still learning what habits work for me to reduce stress and anxiety levels during the workday. 

Pankaj: The most challenging part of the challenge for me was the "Physical Flow" week focused on stretching and getting up from prolonged sitting. As someone who spends long hours at a desk, breaking away from that sedentary routine proved to be quite difficult.The demands of work often made it challenging to find the time to incorporate regular movement into my day. Overcoming the habit of sitting for extended periods required conscious effort and discipline. However, I recognized the importance of maintaining a healthy posture and avoiding the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

To overcome this challenge, I set reminders to take short breaks every hour and engaged in ergonomic stretches to relieve any stiffness or discomfort. While it initially felt like a disruption to my workflow, I soon realized the immense benefits of incorporating physical flow into my routine. Not only did it help alleviate physical tension, but it also improved my focus and energy levels throughout the day.

What did you learn from participating in the challenge? 

Dinu: Contrary to what one may feel, taking a break from work and investing a little time on your health (both mentally and physically) can be more productive than focusing on the work for long hours at a stretch. This is my takeaway from the entire challenge. 

Henry: Throughout this challenge I was reminded that there are a variety of practical and easy ways to implement and support my physical and mental health. Furthermore, I learned that having a tracking sheet is a helpful reminder for me to practice these habits. 

Pankaj: Participating in the challenges taught me invaluable lessons about the importance of prioritizing my health and well-being. Here are some of the key takeaways I gained from this experience:

  • Small changes can make a big difference: The challenges highlighted the power of incorporating small, healthy habits into my daily routine. Whether it was taking short breaks for physical activity, staying hydrated, or practicing mindfulness, I learned that consistent, incremental changes can have a significant impact on my overall well-being.
  • Balance is essential: The challenges emphasize the need for balance in all aspects of life. By prioritizing physical activity, hydration, and mindfulness, I discovered that I could better manage my energy levels, enhance productivity, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Consistency is key: The challenges reinforce the importance of consistency in maintaining healthy habits. By making these practices a regular part of my daily routine, I experienced cumulative benefits and sustainable improvements in my physical and mental well-being.

Did you notice any changes in your mental health during or after the challenge? If so, what were they? 

Dinu: Right off the bat, I cannot point out any major changes either physically or mentally, however, I have told myself that I would continue to absorb some of the things that I have learned throughout this challenge; like hydration, taking a break, stretching, etc. 

Henry: I found that after engaging in the various habits during this challenge, I experienced mental clarity and a more positive mindset when coming back to my desk. This increased my productivity levels in the afternoons where I otherwise might have started to burnout!

Pankaj: Yes, I noticed significant changes in my mental health during and after the challenge. Engaging in the various activities and habits had a positive impact on my overall well-being and provided me the tools and practices to cultivate a healthier mindset and better manage my emotions. Here are the changes I observed:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety: Practicing mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, helped me effectively manage and reduce stress levels. I found myself feeling calmer and more centered, even during challenging moments. 
  • Increased focus and clarity: Regular physical activity and stretching improved my ability to concentrate and stay focused throughout the day. Breaking away from prolonged sitting and incorporating movement into my routine enhanced my mental clarity and productivity.
  • Enhanced resilience: The combination of physical exercise, mindfulness practices, and healthy habits strengthened my resilience. I developed a greater ability to bounce back from setbacks and navigate stressful situations with a more positive mindset.

In short, the May Health & Wellness Month Challenge was a remarkable journey of self-discovery and growth. It reminded me of the importance of prioritizing my health, and I'm grateful for the positive impact it had on my physical and mental well-being.

Encepta’s Commitment

Encepta recognizes that mental health is a continuous journey for all, and we will stay committed to support our employees' well-being every day. By prioritizing mental health, Encepta aims to create a safe space where individuals feel comfortable seeking support and discussing their experiences, ensuring a thriving and supportive work environment.

Passionate about prioritizing mental health today and every day? Reach out to learn more about how we support mental health in the workplace. 

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