Healthy Living in the North

Physical Activity Line – your PAL in healthy living

Physical Activity Line

PAL – the Physical Activity Line (www.physicalactivityline.com)

The acronym PAL has so many positive connotations. What instantly comes to mind is “a really great friend.” A good buddy. A kindred spirit. Who knew that PAL actually stands for Physical Activity Line and is an important provincial resource to support increased physical activity? So I sent some questions off to my good buddy who works at the PAL, and here is what she told me:

What is the provincial PAL? What services or resources does it offer?

The Physical Activity Line (PAL) is your FREE resource for practical and trusted physical activity and healthy living information. The PAL provides a range of services to the public including:

  • Providing guidance to help you become more physically active, overcome your barriers and stay motivated.
  • Educating you with the most up-to-date, trusted physical activity and health information.
  • Connecting you with health professionals and community health and fitness programs.

Who will PAL support? Worksites, schools, homes?

In addition to the public, the PAL supports an integrated approach to improving health through collaboration with health professionals, programs and organizations, such as workplaces. The PAL can provide evidence-based physical activity resources to assist your practice or program, as well as, assist you to find suitable programs for your clients/patients.

What should I expect when I call PAL? What is the process?

When you contact the PAL, you will speak with a qualified exercise professional and together, we will determine which service(s) is appropriate for you. The qualified exercise professional may ask you some questions related to your health in order to provide you with individual and safe physical activity advice and/or with information on suitable health and fitness programs in your community. It’s up to you to decide what personal information you give us, and you will not need to provide your name or contact information unless you would like us to send you information by email or mail.

How does PAL support workplace wellness?  What is the Wellness Fits initiative?

The PAL can provide resources to assist with building and maintain workplace wellness. The Wellness Fits initiative is a FREE workplace wellness program from Healthy Families BC and the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon. The program provides information for workplaces on important health practices (e.g., physical activity, healthy eating, smoking cessation, and mental health), tools to help employees take action, and supports employers in creating healthy workplaces. For additional information on the Wellness Fits initiative, refer to www.wellnessfits.ca or contact 1-855-939-WELL (9355).

How can I promote PAL to my co-workers, families and friends?

You can promote the PAL to co-workers, families and friends by word-of-mouth, providing them with the PAL website (www.physicalactivityline.com), telephone number (1-877-725-1149), and requesting PAL information that you can share with them.

What does the website offer? Why would I visit?

The website provides information on the PAL such as what it is, what services it offers and how to contact it. The website is helpful for the public, health professionals and organizations as it contains resources, called Fact Sheets, on various physical activity related topics and information on other FREE telehealth services available to BC residents.

Kelsey Yarmish

About Kelsey Yarmish

Kelsey is the regional manager of Northern Health’s population health team. A nurse by background, with past work in acute psychiatry (at UHNBC) and tertiary mental health and addiction services, Kelsey has become equally passionate about public health prevention initiatives and upstream work. Kelsey grew up in Prince George, and loves being part of the community and the north. She is married, with two little “dancing” girls. Family is her joy and her kids ensure that home-time is always lively and a lot of fun! When she is not at work, she is with her family and friends, and she loves entertaining, her gardens, traveling, boating, crafting, cooking and reading.

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Seeking a work-life balance

How do you maintain a work-life balance?

How do you maintain a work-life balance?

Have you ever experienced time slowing down when you were on a holiday? During long days at the lake or on that cross-province road trip with your family, you do the math somewhere at the midpoint of your vacation, and are shocked that you have yet another week of unscheduled bliss! People say that when we intentionally step away from our over-scheduled lives, we take a healthy pause that forces a change in our routine and rewards ourselves for hard work.

With two busy kids and a busy husband, a full-time career, a dog, a home, friends, family, neighbours and our community, including all the routines and schedules that come with, it’s a daily juggle for me to fit everything together, ensuring everyone is dropped off, picked up, safe and sound, well fed, well rested, nurtured, loved, clean and clothed, enriched, socialized, progressing, learning, moderately active and very, very happy! While we might enjoy the random and occasional experience of holiday bliss on any given day, striking actual balance takes practice and intention. So how do we re-create holiday bliss, and maintain a balance between our professional and personal lives for greater health and well-being?  How do we achieve that sought after work-life balance?

Work-life balance is a concept, first used in the late 1970s to describe prioritization between career and lifestyle, which includes our ambition, our health and well-being, pleasure, leisure, family and spirituality. In 2010, the University of Toronto published a list of research abstracts, all paying close attention to work-life balance in Canada; the list contains over 80 independent research projects focused on this topic. It’s astonishing that it’s garnered so much attention, but not surprising given the amount of people that struggle with it.

While our lives may remain complex, there are actions we can take now that will create greater balance, perhaps reducing our stress, improving our health and well-being, promoting a healthier lifestyle and potentially re-creating the joy of that last great vacation, on any given night of the week!

Please remember: balance requires practice, so take a gradual approach.

Holiday bliss at home:

  • Set a boundary for yourself and turn off your devices (e.g. your phone and your laptop). Make one night each week a “no device” night.
  • Schedule downtime into your personal life just as you schedule meetings into your professional life. This creates opportunity for spontaneity and “going with the flow.”
  • Schedule a fun activity with your kids, your partner or a friend. Go berry-picking, go to the playground or prepare a meal together.
  • Schedule time for the things you enjoy. Read that book. Call your friend. Go swimming.

Holiday bliss at work:

  • If you regularly work late, plan to leave on time today. Work will be waiting for you tomorrow.
  • Instead of working through your coffee or lunch breaks, find a buddy and go for a quick 10-minute walk around your building, up and down the office stairs, around the block.
  • Schedule personal lunch appointments. Make sure that your partner, parents or kids are as important as your professional lunch appointments.

In the quest for greater work-life balance, try a few of these ideas out. Just imagine how you will feel; imagine how your family will feel as well.

Do you have any tips to add for creating holiday bliss and maintaining a work-life balance?

[Ed. note: Don’t forget to join the September Healthy Living Challenge and enter the Week 2 Challenge for your chance to win a Fit Kit!]

Kelsey Yarmish

About Kelsey Yarmish

Kelsey is the regional manager of Northern Health’s population health team. A nurse by background, with past work in acute psychiatry (at UHNBC) and tertiary mental health and addiction services, Kelsey has become equally passionate about public health prevention initiatives and upstream work. Kelsey grew up in Prince George, and loves being part of the community and the north. She is married, with two little “dancing” girls. Family is her joy and her kids ensure that home-time is always lively and a lot of fun! When she is not at work, she is with her family and friends, and she loves entertaining, her gardens, traveling, boating, crafting, cooking and reading.

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