COVID-19 has had an undeniable impact on Albertans. Whether it be job security, economic difficulties, or just trying to get used to the new norm, we at Cenera understand how hard it can be to try and take on these challenges alone. Connecting to this year’s theme of “social connection,” the start of Mental Health Week brings about a valuable opportunity to discuss how Calgary is working towards building connections in the community, and how these connections may improve one’s mental wellbeing.

Feeling connected in an isolated world is more important than ever. The benefits of social connectedness on mental health should not be overlooked. Below are a few examples of how Calgarians are coming together while apart, spreading community spirit, and helping those in need.

#Here4YYC

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce has created several business resources to help support Calgarians navigate the COVID-19 crisis. One resource of particular interest is the #Here4YYC webinar. This daily webinar provides information, resources, and support to help Calgarians and their businesses navigate through these uncertain times. Webinars take place from 11:00 am to 11:30 am, Monday – Friday and can be accessed through the Calgary Chamber of Commerce website.

Mental Health While Working from Home

With many businesses working remotely, one of the most taxing outcomes on mental health is the feeling of isolation or loneliness. Dr. Andrew Szeto, Ph.D., director of the Campus Mental Health Strategy at the University of Calgary, speaks on the importance of communication with at least one member of your team a day. Using apps such as Skype for Business or Zoom can help with feeling uneasy, anxious, or lonely while spending an extended period of time in isolation. Learn more: www.ucalgary.ca/news/mental-health-tips-working-home

#SupportLocalYYC

The #SupportLocalYYC campaign aims at helping local businesses through these times of uncertainty. By creating connections, highlighting positive stories, and sharing tools and resources, #SupportLocalYYC seeks to inspire the community and uncover creative solutions to help those in need. The City of Calgary is advising individuals to shout out members of the community who are supporting each other through acts of kindness.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering has been linked time and time again to improving one’s mental wellbeing. Benefits include reduced stress and anxiety levels, lowering blood pressure, and even decreasing feelings of depression. A study conducted by Rodlescia Sneed at Michigan State University shows that volunteering yields improvement in factors such as depressive symptoms, purpose of life, and feelings of optimism. Although this is a time of self-isolation, Volunteer Connector lists opportunities that Calgarians can safely engage in during COVID-19. Volunteer opportunities can be found here.

Leading and Managing Change

Transitioning entire organizations away from the norm and into remote workspaces can be a daunting task for business owners. However, being able to cope with change and adversity builds resilience, and this challenge doesn’t need to be taken on alone. As a Career Partners International firm, and in conjunction with Skillsoft, Cenera is offering the Skillsoft Business Continuity Package free of charge until June 30th, 2020. In this package, Calgarians will be provided with education on Virtual Teams and Business Continuity Planning due to changes that resulted from COVID-19. Please contact info@cenera.ca with the subject “Skillsoft” for access to this package.

Calgary is resilient. Our strong sense of community ties us together and allows us to lean on one another in times of need. While Calgary continues to isolate in the wake of COVID-19, local businesses, and the community as a whole, are banding together to keep people feeling connected to one another. That being said, discussions about mental health are as relevant now as they have ever been. Reach out to your loved ones. Although physical distancing is required, the need for social connection is still necessary.

As we navigate COVID-19, employers play a central role in supporting the wellbeing of their employees. Fortunately, Cenera’s HR Advisors are here to help. If you need support in developing, adopting, or expanding mental health policies and programs in the workplace, contact Cenera today!

We would love to hear your thoughts on how Calgary is working towards staying together and improving mental wellness in the community. Please join the conversation in the comments below and let us know what your favourite businesses are doing to help out in this time of need. We are all in this together.

To learn more about Mental Health Week, please visit www.mentalhealthweek.ca.

If you are in a crisis call 911 or the Distress Centre at 403-266-HELP (4357).

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