In November the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) released a report showing a growing gap between how the economy is doing and Canadians wellbeing. To determine wellbeing – what matters most to Canadians – the CIW looks at community vitality, democratic participation, education, environment, healthy populations, leisure and culture, living standards and time use. The CIW shows that especially since the 2008 recession, commutes are longer, work is more precarious and we have less time to spend with friends, volunteering, enjoying arts and culture or being out in the community.
The good news is there are easy things you can do to improve your overall wellbeing. Even better, improvements in one area have a positive effect in others. For instance, participating in arts and culture enhances mental health, improves academic achievement and helps build vital communities. Similarly, improved living standards are linked to better educational outcomes, better physical and mental health, and greater participation in democracy, community and leisure and culture.
Luckily, these are all easy to do and many involve taking time for ourselves!
- Volunteer with an organization
- Help others, like your neighbours
- Advocate for an issue you care about
- Spend more time interacting face-to-face with your children or grandchildren
- Take a continuing education class or workshop to develop your skills
- Reduce your home energy use
- Quit smoking
- Get your flu shot
- Enjoy more social leisure time – even if it’s just 10 minutes each day
- Increase your physical activity – even just once more each month for 15 minutes will help
- Visit a National Park or Historic site – admission is free in 2017
- Fill your performing arts prescription - Go see a play, live music, dance or attend a festival
- Take an extra night’s vacation away from home
- Spend more time with your friends every day
- Get more sleep – only 1 in 3 Canadians are getting enough