Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: health

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to health.

How Busy IT Contractors Can Eat Healthier

How Busy Contractors Can Eat HealthierAn independent contractor’s day is typically jam-packed. You may be jumping from meeting to meeting, reading documents, getting lost in code or any of the hundreds of items required just to run your business. Between all that, it’s not uncommon to have a small lunch break (if any at all) and in that time, you may not be as eating as healthy as you could be.

We shared a post late last year advocating staying in shape and the benefits it can have on your career. In addition to exercise, eating properly is the best and easiest way to get into shape. When you skip lunch, eat quick unhealthy meals, or indulge in the wrong snacks, you’re immediately falling behind in your quest to be healthy.

Eating healthy at work, even in your busiest days, is often just a matter of planning ahead and being prepared. In other cases, it can be a bit more challenging. Here are few simple tips you can take away that will drastically improve your weekday diet:

  • Bring a Healthy Lunch and Snacks. Bringing your own lunch and snacks gives you complete control over what you are going to eat that day. Having it pre-made also means that you won’t grab something unhealthy in a pinch while you’re in a rush.
  • Prepare Before the Workday. Not having a healthy lunch at work is often the result of the busy lifestyle IT contractors lead. But simple things like extending that healthy supper so there are leftovers and doing the proper grocery shopping will ensure you have the right items to bring when you’re not working from home.
  • Only Eat Because You’re Hungry. Often we grab a snack because something smells good or you’re just bored. Instead, resist the temptations, grab a glass of water or go for a walk.
  • Bring Healthy Snacks. If it is a snack you need, then have one but have a healthy one. Fruits, vegetables, smoothies and nuts can all be great snacks that will fill you up.
  • Beware of Meetings. When clients or recruiters invite you to a meeting, either one-on-one or with a team, they often include lunch and the food can be greasy. If you don’t have a say in what is being served, ask if they mind if you bring your own lunch. Or else, you could eat a smaller portion to tie you over and then eat your bagged lunch after the meeting.
  • Share Your Healthy Ideas with Others. When you bring healthy snacks, share them with other people at your client’s site to encourage the behaviour and demonstrate how easy it is to do. They’ll start sharing their ideas and eventually the entire office culture will change.
  • Treat yourself, but carefully. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in something you love, especially when celebrating with your team. But know before hand how much you’re comfortable having and don’t go over that limit.

Staying in shape is not easy for any busy professional. Finding the time to exercise is extremely difficult and sometimes not even possible. While still challenging and requiring some preparation, eating healthy is more within everybody’s reach and the perfect place to start.

Tired? Check Out These Tricks to Boost Your Energy (without unhealthy energy drinks)

Let’s be honest: The whole concept of relaxing on the weekend and catching up on sleep is not a reality for many of us. Between family gatherings, kids’ sporting events, social events and dreaded housework, by the time Monday roles around, your batteries are not always recharged. As a result, you may not be starting out your work week totally refreshed. Throw in the fact that Monday has been proven to be the saddest day of the week, and energy may be hard to come by today.

If you’re nodding your head right now (either in agreement or because you’re trying to stay awake) then this infographic from GetVoIP is going to be the best thing you’ve looked at so far today. It tells you how to hack your chronotype, boost your energy in the morning, and stay supercharged throughout the day at work.

Tired? Check Out These Tricks to Boost Your Energy (without unhealthy energy drinks)

How to Drink Coffee Correctly, According to Science

With a great amount of us working long hours, drinking coffee is definitely something the average office worker looks forward to every morning. Coffee is a major benefit to many due to its primary active ingredient, caffeine. Countless offices rely on caffeine to fuel their day but did you know that there is a wrong and right way to consume caffeine?

This video from Med School Insiders shows us the various ways in which caffeine impacts our bodies, and what you can do to successfully lower your caffeine intake if your daily “Cup O’ Joe” has turned into a few cups too many. Learn how to prevent abuse, and properly use caffeine!

If You Can’t Sleep Enough, At Least Sleep Better

Sleep is a crucial component of our everyday lives as it has an impact on our health, cognitive, and physical functions. Not getting enough sleep can affect these functions leaving us much more prone to illness with slower cognitive processing and poor physical performance.

Now, do we all get enough sleep every night? Probably not, however, there are things we can do to increase the quality our sleep. This video from Med School Insiders gets into the science of sleep, and gives us some tips to get the most of our sleep to wake up feeling more energetic. Start feeling refreshed instead of drained after sleeping, and learn some interesting new ways to get energy boosts during your day.

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

Breigh Radford By Breigh Radford,
Director, Human Resources at Eagle

Let's Talk About Mental HealthIt’s about time we started talking about Mental Health, not just in the workplace but everywhere — at schools, at the dinner table — we need to make it a part of our everyday vernacular.  Why? Why now? Is it just another buzz word?  Hardly.

Mental Health is what it implies: health for the mind. There are too many examples of workplace violence where the root cause, given by officials, is the mental health of the perpetrator.  How many examples have to be given before we take action?  How many people have to suffer in silence before being heard?  How many generations have to go through the pain of stigma? The solution begins with a conversation. Why wouldn’t you want to talk about it… heck, we talk about everything else!

One of the ways we talk about mental health is through our social involvement and sharing our stories.  At Eagle, we encourage a community approach to promote all health.  We partner with a national gym to give staff a membership discount, therefore, boosting physical well-being.  This in turn helps deal with anxiety and depression; it also gets employees involved in another social circle, helping reduce feelings of isolation. We encourage discussions through workshops, have information posted on the company intranet and send the team regular emails on the topic. I myself attended a Mental Health First Aid workshop in order to provide immediate support for anyone who is in crisis.   This all helps create an environment where mental health can be spoken about freely and without stigma.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

There are lots of initiatives to help generate discussion on this subject, with more and more people speaking up and getting involved.  How can you help? Get educated about mental health!  Listen to people in a non-judgemental way; let them talk freely and comfortably about problems.  Help the person feel hope and optimism; it is after all, a real medical condition.  Encourage them to seek help and guidance; there are a ton of effective treatments out there.

Today, January 25th is Bell Let’s Talk Day, where every time you talk, text and join in on social media, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives. The goal is to open discussion about mental illness and offer new ideas and hope for those who struggle. In addition, the first week in May is National Mental Health Week. What happens the rest of the year is up to you. How will you join the conversation and help end the stigma on Mental Health?

8 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating (Infographic)

If you haven’t already started your vacation, you will soon have at least a few days off, and this is the time of year where we somehow manage to get out of shape in just a few days. This year, rather than setting a New Years’ Resolution to get back into shape, why not ensure that you don’t get out of shape? How? With the help of this infographic from Cleveland Clinic which provides 8 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating, so you can keep on top of your eating habits before they escalate out of control.

8 Tips for Health Holiday Eating

What COULD You Do With 20 minutes?

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on The Eagle Blog on November 21, 2012

If you were to invest 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week towards “self development” what could you do?

Health & Fitness

I have a weight routine that takes me exactly 20 minutes. When I do it, I usually do 20 minutes of cardio first but if pushed for time I just do the weight routine.  There are 9 upper body moves that I execute one after the other as a circuit.  I do a set of abs before the first set, a set of abs between the sets and again after the second set… it all takes 20 minutes!  I can tell you that when I started doing this it had a dramatic affect on toning my upper body, and I only do it twice a week!  In addition to toning your body, weights increase muscle mass which increases the amount of calories your body burns!

A 20 minute brisk walk every day burns calories, builds some muscle, exercises your heart and gets some “fresh” air into your lungs.

20 minutes exercise each day for 5 days a week is more than 85 hours of exercise a year!

Brain Work

I can read an 8 page summary of a business book from Executive Book Summaries in 20 minutes.   If you read one book summary a week you can cover off the main concepts of more than 50 business books every year.

I can do a tough Sudoku or a crossword puzzle in about an hour… or 3 * 20 minute sessions.  If I devote my brain to that activity three times a week I am spending 50 hours a year exercising my brain.

Relationships

I can have a 20 minute conversation with my mom (sisters, friends etc) and we all enjoy it.

I can write 4 cards with hand written notes in 20 minutes . They might be to friends or clients, but they are always appreciated.

I can take 5 minutes to share a good business read on LinkedIn and enhance my personal brand as a knowledge expert.  If I invest 20 minutes over the course of a week I can share 200 stories in a year and the Kevin Dee brand gets noticed.

I can spend 5 minutes sending an email to a friend or relative to let them know how I’m doing, and that I’m thinking of them.  Again a 20 minute investment each week means 4 times a week (200 times a year) I am reaching out to people I care about.

How much time do you spend watching “mindless TV shows”?

How much time do you spend sitting on a bus or train?

How much time do you spend sitting in a hotel room while on business travel?

How much time do you spend sitting at the rink while your child skates?

There are lots of “20 minute opportunities” out there and you don’t need to cram them all with activity, but just maybe a small investment in 20 minute activities could give you a good return on that investment.

PS.  This is just scratching the surface … if you really think about it there are a million high return ways to use 20 minutes!

Mental Health: Important for Independent Contractors

And What They Can Do To Improve It

Why Mental Health Is Important for Independent Contractors and What They Can Do To Improve ItTaking steps to de-stress and manage your wellbeing is important for both your own happiness as well as your performance at work. Being an IT independent contractor can sometimes be more stressful than working full-time – a lack of surety about future work and regular changes in workplaces and colleagues aren’t easy for everyone to handle. But that’s okay – here are 4 simple tips for improving your mental health.

  1. Healthy Eating
    Pay attention to your diet – it’s important not just for your physical health but your mental wellbeing too. Nutritionist Naomi Mead suggests that you carry healthy snacks around with you, such as fresh fruit and raw nuts: “This takes away the element of choice when you are out and about and faced with temptation. It also gives you something to snack on and distract you if you get a craving for cake!” Taking a lunchbox to work can be both a cheap and healthy option – you can pack enough to keep going throughout the day, and it will help you to resist the temptation of a visit to the vending machine. Fruit-based snacking or ‘grazing’ is particularly good for getting you through a long day, while still allowing you to eat healthily!
  2. Gardening and the Great Outdoors
    People experience varying levels of stress depending on their access to outdoor space. Gardening at weekends or even for half an hour after work can help you de-stress and recharge after a long day in front of the computer. You could also have a go at rearranging your garden furniture, using ideas of feng shui to encourage a sense of peace and wellness in your garden.
  3. A Support Network
    Creating and maintaining a social network of other independent contractors specializing in information technology can be highly beneficial to your mental health. If things become particularly stressful and your mental wellbeing suffers due to your work, having a group of like-minded people sympathetic to your situation can be a great support. Maintaining strong relationships with other friends and family will also improve your mental health, but having people around you who understand the specific pressures of working on tech projects can be especially helpful!
  4. Yoga
    Ever tried yoga? Popular reasons for taking it up include stress relief and the improvement of physical/mental health according to Harvard. The majority of practitioners report a strong sense of mental clarity too. Another benefit of yoga is that you can do it pretty much anywhere! If you have a spare 20 minutes in your lunch break, try and find a nearby green space – it’s the perfect activity to do outside, relaxing your mind and body as well as getting you out in the open air.

About the Author
Irma Hunkeler works for BlueGlass.co.uk, a digital marketing agency. Her experience includes working for clients in different industries such as travel, retail, recruitment, technology and charitable institutions. Meeting professionals from different fields allows her to collaborate with industry experts for her writing.

How to Sleep Your Way to Better Health (Infographic)

There are many reasons we all need a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. Aside from the obvious health benefits, it also makes you more productive throughout the day and less irritable when working with those less-than-capable team members.

Independent IT contractors often function on little sleep and lots of coffee, sometimes because of juggling multiple contracts or just working on a single project late into the night. Even if you manage to get to bed on time, though, this infographic by EtherArchives shows that there is more you need to do to ensure a better sleep and, ultimately, better health.


Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

20 Healthy Tricks for Sitting at Your Desk

IT Contractors are always sitting at a desk.  Whether it’s while working on a client project, writing resumes and proposals, or managing your business, you’re always in front of your computer.  You probably already know that this can have negative effects on your physical health, specifically your back, so are you doing anything about it?

This video from Business Insider has 20 simple tricks you can apply anywhere to help you take care of yourself and continue with your busy work schedule.  Do you already do any of these?  Are there any you’re going to implement?