Monthly Themes

February - Diversity

Diversity is about valuing, respecting and celebrating differences, perspectives, cultures, and lifestyles. To foster diverse and inclusive environments at home and in the workplace, it is important to provide opportunities and support for people to achieve their full potential. A welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment can result in increased engagement and positive social connections and communication, leaving you with a better sense of individual well-being.

Here are a few ideas you can try to support inclusiveness at work and at home:

  • Wear a pink shirt on Pink Shirt Day on February 28 to show your support for building healthy relationships, safe environments and pulling an end to bullying
  • Communication is key! Keep open, healthy communication with your family, friends, and colleagues. This can foster positive relationships and support discussions that address issues around inclusion and discrimination.

January: Self-care

Self-care refers to the activities we engage in that boost our well being, increase resiliency and aid us in times of distress. We all experience difficult situations, negative feelings, and stressful events. Often when these situations occur, looking after ourselves is the last thing we consider; however, engaging in self-care activities helps us positively cope with these life events and improve our overall wellness.

Plan it out! It's helpful to have a self-care plan in place before distressing situations occur. Brainstorm ideas of things you want to try and coping strategies you have used in the past (both positive and negative). For example, engaging in positive self-talk and leaning on social supports may be an example of positive coping strategies. Withdrawing from social activities and staying in bed all day may be harmful. Having a list of positive coping strategies, while acknowledging your "go-to" negative ones, can help you focus on positive actions to take when challenges arise.

"Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel." ~ Eleanor Brown

December: Gratitude

Children are taught from a young age to say please and thank you because showing appreciation for something that others do for us is important. Did you know that expressing gratitude can have a multitude of benefits for your own wellness too? Expressing and reflecting on what you appreciate in life can strengthen relationships and benefit your physical and emotional wellness. Make time in the hustle and bustle of December to share your gratitude - you'll be grateful that you did!

November: National Diabetes Awareness

It's estimated that 90 percent of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes and approximately 1 million Canadians live with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes. Challenge yourself this month to take the online Canadian Diabetes Risk questionnaire to determine your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. 

All Canadians are urged to check their risk during Diabetes Awareness Month.

October: Positively Possible

It’s no secret that we all thrive when we feel comfortable, supported and connected to the people in our environment. Strong healthy relationships help improve our social environment and have a positive influence on mental health for students and staff. As if we need another reason to make a new friend at work!

Take a moment at the start of each week to connect with a colleague in your school or office.

Here are a few ways to connect with others:

  • Bring in their favourite coffee or tea
  • Leave a note of thanks
  • Go for a walk together at recess or keep a fellow colleague company during supervision
  • Visit the staff room each day

September: S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Many might say that the whole human endeavour is geared towards setting and achieving goals. Goals are part of every aspect of life: how you conduct your relationships, what you want to achieve at work, the way you use your spare time... Everything comes down to priorities, and what you would like to accomplish in every aspect – whether you make a conscious choice or go with subconscious preferences.

Without setting goals or objectives, life becomes a series of chaotic happenings you don't control. You become the plaything of coincidence. Accomplishments like sending someone to the moon, inventing the iPod etcetera are the result of a goal that was set at some point. A vision that was charted and realised.

What is SMART goal setting?

SMART goal setting brings structure and trackability into your goals and objectives. Instead of vague resolutions, SMART goal setting creates verifiable trajectories towards a certain objective, with clear milestones and an estimation of the goal's attainability. Every goal or objective, from intermediary step to overarching objective, can be made S.M.A.R.T. and as such, brought closer to reality.

What does S.M.A.R.T. goal setting stand for?

Why not think of a small goal you want to set right now, personal or professional. To make your goal S.M.A.R.T., it needs to conform to the following criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

S.M.A.R.T. goal setting: Specific

What exactly do you want to achieve? The more specific your description, the bigger the chance you'll get exactly that. Questions you may ask yourself when setting your goals and objectives are:

  • What exactly do I want to achieve?
  • Where?
  • How?
  • When?
  • With whom?
  • What are the conditions and limitations?
  • Why exactly do I want to reach this goal? What are possible alternative ways of achieving the same?

S.M.A.R.T. goal setting: Measurable

Measurable goals means that you identify exactly what it is you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal. It means breaking your goal down into measurable elements. You'll need concrete evidence. Being happier is not evidence; not smoking anymore because you adhere to a healthy lifestyle where you eat vegetables twice a day and fat only once a week, is.

Measurable goals can go a long way in refining what exactly it is that you want, too. Defining the physical manifestations of your goal or objective makes it clearer, and easier to reach.

S.M.A.R.T. goal setting: Attainable

Is your goal attainable? That means investigating whether the goal really is acceptable to you. You weigh the effort, time and other costs your goal will take against the profits and the other obligations and priorities you have in life.

If you don't have the time, money or talent to reach a certain goal you'll certainly fail and be miserable. That doesn't mean that you can't take something that seems impossible and make it happen by planning smartly and going for it!

S.M.A.R.T. goal setting: Relevant

Is reaching your goal relevant to you? Do you actually want to run a multinational, be famous, have three children and a busy job? You decide for yourself whether you have the personality for it, or your team has the bandwidth.

If you're lacking certain skills, you can plan trainings. If you lack certain resources, you can look for ways of getting them.

The main questions, why do you want to reach this goal? What is the objective behind the goal, and will this goal really achieve that?

S.M.A.R.T. goal setting: Timely

Time is money! Make a tentative plan of everything you do. Everybody knows that deadlines are what makes most people switch to action. So install deadlines, for yourself and go after them. Keep the timeline realistic and flexible. Being too stringent on the timely aspect of your goal setting can have the perverse effect of making the learning path of achieving your goals and objectives into a hellish race against time – which is most likely not how you want to achieve anything.

SMART+ goals

Another thing that's very important when setting SMART goals, is formulating it POSITIVELY. Remember that what you focus on, increases. So when you focus on NOT doing something, all you think about is that thing. And it will increase. So don't 'stop procrastinating', but 'achieve a daily discipline'.