988 Coming Soon: New Number to Call for People Facing Mental Health Crises

Everyone deserves access to the support they need when they need it – and that includes mental health support. And not everyone has MINES as their EAP, or access to an EAP at all for that matter. That’s why this year, starting on July 16, 2022, anyone facing a mental health crisis can call 988 and get connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (also called the Lifeline).

The line will be staffed with trained crisis counselors who know what callers are going through and know what local resources might make a difference. The phone line is staffed 24/7, and is free and confidential.

When someone is facing a mental health concern or living with a mental health condition, it’s really common to feel like no one understands what you’re going through. It may be difficult to imagine that someone who picks up the phone could totally understand what you’re feeling, and even harder to imagine that recovery is possible.

The current way of doing things isn’t working. Calling 911, the de facto response in our country, is not serving people in a mental health crisis well. A police response can inflict additional trauma on someone in crisis, or worse, attempt to criminalize the person.

Unlike 911, counselors will be at the other end of the Lifeline when you dial 988. They are trained to understand exactly how you’re feeling and to pair you with resources that are specifically tailored to helping you meet the moment you’re in.

Having concerns about your mental health is a common experience. It’s time to make this kind of support just as common. This is why 988 is an easy, three-digit phone number to remember. This resource was created for everyone, including you: if you’re ever feeling like you need help with a mental health or substance use crisis, but not sure if you should call, starting in July, you can just dial 988. It is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible support.

It’s never too early – or too late – to seek help. In the U.S., the average amount of time between the onset of symptoms of a mental health condition or challenge and a diagnosis is 11 years. It’s never too early to get support: If you’re facing a mental health crisis for the first time, reaching out can help.

Mental health challenges and crises are widespread. This is why resources and support for people facing mental health and substance use crises must be just as widespread. Starting July 16, 2022, it will become even easier for people living with these challenges to get the help they need.

If you or someone you know needs to be connected to someone who will understand what you’re going through and how to help, they can soon call 988 to be directly connected with a trained crisis counselor at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Note: 988 will not be available to everyone until July 16, 2022. In the meantime, if you or someone you know is in crisis, and you do not have MINES as your EAP, please continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you do have MINES as your EAP you can reach our crisis line 24/7 at 1-800-873-7138.

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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National Stress Awareness Month

Guest article from MINES’ Provider Sharon Wheeler

National Stress Awareness Month is April and National Stress Awareness Day is April 18th

Stress: a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, exhausted or overwhelmed. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand.

What is your stress level right now?

On a scale of 0-Full, what is your gauge reading at this moment?

Could you use a pause in your day to refill your tank?

The top 3 ways to alleviate stress is breathwork, meditation and physical movement.

Does that sound a little like…YOGA?

Whatever your thoughts about yoga and what you think it is… well…this is NOT that!

It is NOT about stretching and relaxation! Yoga is a 5,000 martial art practice for calming the mind and bringing the body into regulation.

Yoga’s ability to touch us on every level – the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – makes it a powerful and effective modality.

Trauma-informed body movement is confirmed by extensive scientific research to be at least equal in importance to EMDR and talk therapy in reducing anxiety, stress, depression, trauma, and symptoms of PTSD, all of which have been linked to addiction behavior, as well as burnout, exhaustion and compassion fatigue.

How about 10 more reasons to add a yoga practice to your toolbox for self-care:

1. Stress relief: Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body by encouraging relaxation and lowering the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion, and boosting the immune system, as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma, and insomnia.

2. Pain relief: Yoga can ease pain. Studies have demonstrated that practicing Yoga, meditation, or a combination of the two, reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases, and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain, and other chronic conditions.

3. Better breathing: Yoga teaches people to take slower, deeper breaths. This helps to improve lung function and trigger the body’s relaxation response.

4. Flexibility: Yoga helps to improve flexibility and mobility, increasing the range of movement of the joints and reducing aches and pains.

5. Increased strength: Yoga postures use every muscle in the body, helping to increase strength from head to toe. Yoga also helps to relieve muscular tension.

6. Weight management: Yoga can aid weight control by reducing cortisol levels, as well as by burning excess calories and reducing stress. Yoga also encourages healthy eating habits and provides a heightened sense of well-being and self-esteem.

7. Improved circulation: Yoga helps to improve circulation and, as a result of various poses, more efficiently moves oxygenated blood to the body’s cells while helping to rid the body of deoxygenated blood.

8. Cardiovascular conditioning: Even gentle yoga practice can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance, and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.

9. Better body alignment: Yoga helps to improve body alignment, resulting in better posture and helping to relieve back, neck, joint, and muscle problems.

10. Focus on the present: Yoga helps us to focus on the present, to become more aware, and to help create mind-body health. It opens the way to improved coordination, reaction time, and memory.

Are you ready to feel refreshed, renewed, and re-energized?

Go to www.purplelotuswellnessyoga.com to find an in-person or online practice that works for you.

You may also learn more at www.purplelotusWARRIORYoga.org, a nonprofit organization that supports mental health and well-being and aids in the prevention of suicide.

Schedule a group event with your peers here: https://www.purplelotuswarrioryoga.org/volunteer

Other helpful links:

https://www.colorado.edu/law/25-quick-ways-reduce-stress

https://www.healthline.com/health/eft-tapping

Remember, nothing is bigger than you! Sometimes we just need to fill up the tank again.

Listen to your body when it calls for a time-out or a break. Make self-care a priority. Selfcare is not selfish!

I’ll see you on your mat,

Sharon Wheeler

303.809.9406

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The Resolution Solution

Guest article from MINES’ Wellness Provider Michelle Zellner

Cambridge dictionary states a resolution is “a promise to yourself to do or not do something” and January is the most popular month where many declare these promises to change habits and accomplish goals. Resolutions have been around for thousands of years, originally focused on pleasing the gods, rather than pleasing or bettering ourselves. As cultures and society have evolved, so too, has the concept of resolutions. Modern life has afforded many the luxuries of easy access to food, less need for physical exertion, ability to obtain material goods and opportunities to experience joy for joy’s sake. Relative to centuries ago, modern life is one of abundance, however, in terms of physical, mental and financial health, a life of ease and excess can put one in a precarious position. January to the rescue!

I’ve asked myself for years, ‘what is so special about January?’, even while following the herd in making said promises. There is something psychologically enticing about waiting to start fresh, on a symbolic fresh start, be it on Monday, the first of the month, or the beginning of a new year. It not only provides a target for jumping on board, but also allows us to put off something we might not be super excited about doing. It gives us an opportunity for one last act of rebellion or defiance before we resolve to get serious about tackling a challenge.

And yet, few are successful at fulfilling the promises they make. Some have gone down the same path for years and years, only to finally give up on making resolutions. The perspective is “why bother if they aren’t going to come true anyway” as if there is a magical property of simply making a promise. This was where I eventually found myself, and for a span of time simply shrugged of the whole resolution thing, reverting to an eye roll when the topic came around for discussion.

Fast forward a few years where I faced the ugly truth that unless I got a grip on some of my habits and ways about life, my future self would be living with many regrets. I took a step back to analyze WHY I wasn’t successful in following through on these promises that I truly believed in. I really did want to eat better, lose weight, and get along with my sister. There were activities and bucket-list experiences I whole-heartedly wanted to check off. WHY had these things not yet happened for me? While each particular goal has its unique answer, there was a common theme. I had simply not taken the time to set myself up for success. This shift of perspective, rewriting the failure narrative, and a new approach was just what I needed.

The first step to my resolution solution is to clarify exactly what it is I am wanting to achieve. Eat better, lose weight, have a better relationship with my sister—these are all vague and ambiguous. Specifics make it easy to highlight whether or not I am setting a realistic expectation and gives me a tangible result to track and measure. It also carves a path for reflection to see what is and isn’t working.

The next step is to ask myself WHY? Why do I want to eat better, lose weight, get along with my sister, run a marathon, visit my friend Sara, etc? Whether behavior change, accomplishing a goal or checking off a bucket-list experience, there should be a good reason why you want to do that. If you don’t have a strong, personally meaningful motivator, the likelihood you are going to make the hard choices necessary is pretty slim.

Once I’ve determined my WHY, I’ll need to identify potential obstacles that will prevent me from following through on the actions. When I reflected upon my past attempts at behavior change, this was the step I failed to recognize. If I didn’t account for an obstacle and figure out a strategy around it, I would hit the wall and turn around—ie, I failed. Sometimes there are multiple obstacles, requiring multiple strategies. Uncovering these is part of the discovery and growth process and will enhance self-awareness that will prove useful in the future!

I realized a major obstacle to achieving my goals was my state of mind. My younger self was inundated with limiting beliefs and ingrained internal narratives and gravitated toward all-or-nothing tendencies. These are roadblocks to success and changing my mind was imperative. Adopting a growth mindset, challenging the inner chatter and combating the critic are foundational elements for growth and crucial to keep you moving forward on the journey. While there are a few things that require an all-or-nothing approach, for many habits we are attempting to change, this approach will actually lead you nowhere fast.

Another component of my solution is to ask for help and support. Change is hard. Conquering challenges is hard. Doing this alone is hard. Humans are pack animals, designed to be guided, held accountable and cheered. To go down the road alone is not only not necessary, but not normal! Support can look a variety of ways: a best friend, a like-minded person, a coach, a group focused on similar goals. The key is SOMEONE should know what it is you are trying to accomplish and how they can support you in that endeavor.

With all of these concepts in place, I still felt a bit squishy when I would hear the word “resolution”. That word feels rigid–you either kept the promise or you didn’t. There is no room for grey, for better than, for closer than I was before. Life is not rigid, few things are black OR white, and many things we strive for are an ongoing process.

Resolution tends to focus on a final outcome, and while we aim to achieve these results, we are actually only in charge of our behaviors. And that was my lightbulb moment! If I shift my energy to what I am in control of, engage in behaviors necessary to reach an outcome, I’ll most likely reach the outcome. Or get closer to it. Or learn a lot about myself along the way, making me better than I was before. Any which way it goes, I cannot fail.

So rather than setting resolutions, I set my intentions, aligning them with my priorities, values and core guiding principles. I declare how I intend to spend my time, energy and money and outline the choices I intend to make. Navigating my own course, diligently implementing the strategies to follow through, is empowering and inspiring. Enjoying the benefits of hard work is satisfying and motivating. This triggers an attitude of curiosity, a perpetual appetite for challenge and desire to thrive.

Every now and then I don’t even bother waiting until January to get started.

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

Content provided by:

Michelle Zellner, Owner Better Beings/Creator of the YOU Revolution, Health and Happiness Strategist, Author/Public Speaker/Corporate Wellness Trainer

michelle@betterbeings

http://www.betterbeings.net

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Mines and Associates National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month Blog – JJ Jordan

Hello all, it is once again November, National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and I never miss an opportunity to give an update on what’s new regarding this critical and fast-moving topic!

While we have all been dealing with a new normal in 2021 and navigating health and wellness issues left and right (no pun intended), the neurologists, neuroscientists, and researchers in the field of dementia have been extremely busy. There is news in every segment of our work, from risk reduction, to diagnostics, to treatments as we pursue our goal of a world without Alzheimer’s and other dementia.

As you may remember, three of four parents in my immediate family were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s within a year and a half of each other. They lived for 16, 14, and 11 years with the disease, changing all our lives forever.

I always like to start my yearly update with how I am feeling about things related to this topic and this year I can report that I have never been more optimistic that a breakthrough is right around the corner. To me that means that the next two to five years hold the promise of major progress! Our National Alzheimer’s Plan calls for prevention and treatment by 2025, and I believe we can meet or even beat that goal on our way to a cure.

I was speaking with an esteemed member of the scientific community recently who shared their optimism with me. This is a person who usually holds back a bit, but the enthusiasm I witnessed during the conversation regarding at least five promising drug treatments renewed my own faith that we are close… as close as ever before.  When the news breaks, I will be throwing a party for the whole world, so you will all be invited! I will also do my version of an older adult cartwheel… it won’t be pretty, but it will be enthusiastic!

People ask me if our field suffered due to the Covid pandemic. Yes, it did, but I am fiercely proud of the work that went on behind the scenes, even as clinical trials were halted or postponed, and the nation’s collective attention was rightly turned to an equally concerning health issue. In fact, I believe that this time period netted more amazing research discoveries than an average year.

This year’s juicy developments include:

1. The accelerated approval by the FDA of aducanumab. You may have read numerous articles outlining controversy surrounding the approval and the drug. Without dispensing medical advice, (I forgot to go to med school!), I will fill you in on some common-knowledge facts about the medication.

The drug is the first true treatment for Alzheimer’s. It reduces excess beta-amyloid (one of the hallmark biomarkers of the disease). The FDA is mandating that clinical trials continue to better determine the drug’s efficacy. It is not a cure. It does not restore lost memories or cognitive function. It is targeted for Alzheimer’s disease only, not other types of dementia. It is an infusion treatment, administered intravenously in a clinical environment. The drug’s audience is only those with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimer’s. A physician must determine a person’s candidacy for the drug based on whether they actually have Alzheimer’s, what stage they are in, and how well they might tolerate side effects. The price of the drug is a huge issue, with estimates at $56,000 per year. You should discuss the drug with a specialist if you are interested in learning more about it or whether it might be appropriate for a loved one.

The very fact that a treatment has been discovered is a step in the right direction and I am told upcoming drugs currently in Phase III clinical trials may hold even more promise. Stay tuned!

2. Diagnostics continue to advance, with PET scans now available to detect buildup of both toxic beta-amyloid and tau in living brains! (Note: the scans are expensive and not covered by most insurance, but lumbar punctures can also reveal Alzheimer’s pathology for much less expense). And… the long-awaited blood test may gain FDA approval in the near future!

3. Additional awareness factors were revealed in the risk reduction arena, including studies on the effect of air pollution, alcohol, and brain inflammation on increased cognitive risk.

As for my involvement, the past year has been a whirlwind. I am now in year six as the volunteer Community Chair for Dementia Friendly Denver, which is affiliated with Dementia Friendly America, a 2015 White House Conference on Aging program. We present a free one-hour program for organizations and community groups called Dementia 101 + Reducing Your Risk. After recently completing a six-year term on the Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors, I serve as their public policy ambassador to Capitol Hill, where I speak with congress about dementia research funding and legislation. I was humbled to receive AARP’s Community Partner Award for my work with dementia education, and I was delighted to be asked to join the Colorado Department of Health and Environment’s Dementia Advisory Committee.

I also celebrated my seventh year on the MINES and Associates team providing Employee Assistance Plan Alzheimer’s/dementia coaching and corporate client group dementia training!

And now, because I could never conclude my yearly dementia update without a list of the 15 real things we can all do at any age to reduce our risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, here you go…

  1. Exercise – Regular cardiovascular exercise is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet while we await a cure. Be sure to check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for your overall health.
  2. Diet – Adopt a Mediterranean diet high in vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins. Avoid salty, sugary, fatty, and fried foods, and limit red meat consumption. Blueberries are awesome for your brain!
  3. Sleep – Good sound, natural sleep is critical in allowing your brain to rid itself of toxins. Put your devices in another room, make it cool and dark, and discuss sleep issues with your doctor before taking sleep aids. Ask your doctor about classes of drugs that should be avoided by older adults as they may increase risk for dementia.
  4. Heart Health – There is a correlation between dementia and cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. If it is good for your heart, it’s good for your brain!
  5. Cognitive Evaluations – As you get older, ask your doctor to include a cognitive evaluation in your annual physical. Staying on top of cognition changes can help you make important lifestyle adjustments to reduce dementia risk.
  6. Smoking – There is a direct correlation between Alzheimer’s disease and smoking. Enough said!
  7. Mental Health – Depression, stress, and other emotional conditions can negatively affect cognition. Discuss these with your doctor for treatment. Manage your stress through safe exercise, yoga, meditation, etc.
  8. Hearing Loss – There is an increase in Alzheimer’s/dementia among those with untreated hearing loss in middle to older age. Discuss hearing loss with your doctor. There should be no stigma regarding hearing devices!
  9. Social Interaction – Involvement with others is critical for brain health. Especially in the age of Covid-19, socialize via online platforms or safely managed interactions.
  10. Continual Learning – Learn a new language, instrument, or hobby, or take online classes!
  11. Brain Exercise – While not every brain game may have science behind it, (some do, some don’t – I do them all!), exercise your brain through games, puzzles, and new challenges.
  12. Helmets – Always use your seatbelt and wear helmets when biking, skiing, etc. Protect your most important asset, your brain!
  13. Air Quality – New studies show a correlation between brain health and pollution. Protect your cardiovascular health by wearing a mask in heavily polluted cities or fire/smoke areas.
  14. Alcohol – Excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to cognitive decline.
  15. Inflammation – Studies show a correlation between cognitive issues and brain inflammation. Choose salmon, broccoli, walnuts, avocado, berries, and other anti-inflammatory foods. Avoid inflammatory viruses and discuss inoculations with your doctor.

And finally, I would like to share the results of a study by Dementia Friendly America on the Top Ten Quality of Life issues important to those living with all types of dementia. I read this list every morning to remind myself of why our work is so important and to help me improve my communication and interaction with community members who need our help, compassion, and patience day in a day out.

  1. To continue to do things I enjoy
  2. To maintain relationships with those important to me
  3. To continue to communicate and interact with others
  4. To smile and laugh often
  5. To feel safe
  6. To feel valued, respected, and included
  7. To continue to be physically active
  8. To have a sense of purpose
  9. To prevent loneliness and isolation
  10. To continue to experience new things

Reach out to me through MINES and Associates (800.873.7138) for help creating a family dementia plan, increasing your dementia knowledge, or honing your communication and interaction caregiving skills. Contact me at dementiafriendlycolorado@gmail.com to schedule free community group learning sessions and use the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 helpline (800.272.3900) and website (alz.org) to stay connected to resources and the latest news.

As we observe National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in November, let’s not forget to be especially grateful this Thanksgiving for the things in life that matter most. Health, family, friends, and hope. I, for one, intend to “relish” my turkey dinner even more this year (cranberry, of course). I might even allow myself a second sliver of pumpkin pie before bedtime. If there has ever been a time when an occasional treat is in order, this is it!

In wellness, JJ Jordan – MINES and Associates

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Mental Health Day is Everyday!

October 10th was World Mental Health Day! The purpose of this day is to bring awareness of mental health disorders and mobilize resources and support.

This is an opportunity to highlight mental health in your workplace! Remember! You don’t have to do everything on THE day – October 10th, but you could start thinking about how you want to bring awareness to your organization and might commit to some yearlong goals within your workforce.

  1. Consider sharing your own and encouraging leaders to share their mental health journeys. One of the most effective ways that an organization can open the dialogue about mental health is to have open discussions and sharing about it. Often, mental health is not a topic of regular discussion at work. When a leader shares their personal experiences and normalizes it for the workforce, it becomes more accessible.
  2. Share mental health screening tools such as: https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/. These tools are not intended to diagnose but bring awareness and opportunities to explore further with a mental health professional.
  3. Promote your company’s mental health benefits! Just because you have them, doesn’t mean that they are front of mind. Remind your staff regularly of the features of your EAP. What kind of counseling is offered? What kind of coaching? Mindfulness support? Share it all and regularly! Make it real! Are you seeing new parents? Make sure they know what is available for them! Are you growing and seeing your staff working an increase of hours, make sure they know what resilience tools could help. The EAP is one to keep in mind AND what does your health plan include and feature on the mental health side? What other mental health access points exist at your organization?
  4. Work and life gets busy! It can be hard to find time for therapy and psychiatry appointments. Consider offering time off during the workday for appointments. Mental health self-care will not only benefit your employee, their families but also your organization.

Would you like to talk to us about how your organization can further push mental health? Let us know! We’d love to brainstorm with you!

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Mental Health Resources 2021

This past year presented so many different challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. The
global pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never even imagined, and a lot of us struggled with our mental
health as a result. The good news is that there are tools and resources available that can support the well-being of
individuals and communities.


Now, more than ever, we need to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns. That’s why this Mental
Health Month MINES is highlighting tools and resources that can help you or anyone grappling with a mental health concern find resources and get connected to help, including what individuals can do throughout their daily
lives to prioritize mental health, build resiliency, and continue to cope with the obstacles of COVID-19.


Throughout the pandemic, many people who had never experienced mental health challenges found themselves
struggling for the first time. During the month of May, we are focusing on different topics that can help process the
events of the past year and the feelings that surround them, while also building up skills and supports that extend
beyond COVID-19.


We know that the past year forced many to accept tough situations that they had little to no control over. If you
found that it impacted your mental health, you aren’t alone. In fact, of the almost half a million individuals that took
the anxiety screening at MHAscreening.org, 79% showed symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety. However, there
are practical tools that can help improve your mental health. We are focused on managing anger and frustration,
recognizing when trauma may be affecting your mental health, challenging negative thinking patterns, and making
time to take care of yourself.


It’s important to remember that working on your mental health and finding tools that help you thrive takes time.
Change won’t happen overnight. Instead, by focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of the
past year and develop long-term strategies to support yourself on an ongoing basis.
A great starting point for anyone who is ready to start prioritizing their mental health is to take a mental health
screening at MHAscreening.org. It’s a quick, free, and confidential way for someone to assess their mental health and
begin finding hope and healing.


Ultimately, during this month of May, MINES wants to remind everyone that mental illnesses are real, and
recovery is possible. By developing your own #Tools2Thrive, it is possible to find balance between life’s ups and
downs and continue to cope with the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Of course, if MINES is your EAP we are here 24 hours a day to help support your wellness, help you build your mental health toolset, and find ways to enhance your work/life balance. Call us anytime at 1-800-873-7138 for more information or to get connected to your Employee Assistance Program services!

Resources

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline
    • 1-800-662-HELP
  • National Institute for Mental Health – nimh.nih.gov
  • NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – nami.org
  • Mental Health America – mentalhealthamerica.net
  • Mental Health America of Colorado – http://www.mhacolorado.org/gethelp
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America – adaa.org
  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – dbsalliance.org
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – suicidepreventionlifeline.org
    • 1-800-273-8255
  • First Responder Crisis Text Line
    • Text “Badge” to 741741
  • Military/Veterans Crisis Line/Resources
  • National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention – actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org
  • United Way- unitedway.org/local/united-states/
  • Ways to help spread the message – http://www.mhanational.org/may.

SAMHSA

  • Help and Treatment
    • samhsa.gov/find-help
  • Child mental health resources
    • samhsa.gov/children/awareness-day/2018/resource-list-traumatic-stress

More MINES resources

To your wellbeing,

– The MINES Team

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COVID: One Year Later

As we near the one-year anniversary of the pandemic and lockdowns many are still struggling with isolation, stress, and uncertainty. Much of us are still working from home, and the novelty has worn off. We are still distanced from friends and family and that isolation is taking a toll. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however. The vaccine is here, and its distribution is increasing. Most of us could be vaccinated as early as the end of May. In the meantime, we need to stay vigilant and continue to practice all safety precautions. This is a good time to revisit some of the tips and tricks to get us through the home stretch.

Remote work

It has been a year and we are STILL working remotely! While technology has allowed virtual teams to continue to meet and stay connected, it has led many to experience what has been termed Zoom burnout. Zoom burnout is that feeling of exhaustion after a day, or year, of virtual meetings. In order to combat Zoom burnout and make working from home more enjoyable in general remember to:

  • Take regular breaks – Take a lunch break, take your morning and afternoon breaks. Get up and walk around every hour or so. Schedule your breaks and take them in their entirety. Be sure to schedule “off-camera” breaks throughout your day as well.
  • Ergonomics – Be conscious of ergonomic conditions as you set up your workspace. Sit with your feet flat on the floor, keep good posture, with your arms at roughly right angles, and place your screen at eye level. Keeping your camera at eye level will help reduce eye strain during video calls.
  • Go offline when possible – Remember to disconnect occasionally and, when you do, engage in relaxing activities that do not require a screen. For example, you can go for walk, grab a cup of coffee or tea and read a book, listen to music, meditate, or call a friend or loved one for a chat.

Isolation

Humans are social creatures and connection with others is vital. The pandemic has required is to distance ourselves from our friends and loved ones. This prolonged social isolation can have negative consequences on our mental health. To protect your mental health and wellbeing, you can:

  • Stay Connected – Physical isolation does not mean social isolation. Whether you are a quiet and shy person or the life of the party, everyone needs connection. Use your phone, email, letter writing, and/or Facetime or other virtual meeting platforms to stay in contact with people. Especially if you live alone, be sure to connect with at least two people every day by phone or by video.
  • Practice Mindfulness – Try apps such as Insight Timer, Calm, and Headspace for a daily meditation to start and/or finish your day. You can also access mindfulness and resilience resources on your PersonalAdvantage online resource library. Also, end each day by writing or saying aloud 5 things for which you are grateful. Be specific.
  • Get Moving! – Seek to incorporate movement into every day. Gentle stretching, gentle yoga, qigong, and cardio videos to name a few can be found on a smart TV, apps, and various websites. Consider dancing with a friend via Facetime or with multiple people with the app House Party. Consider a virtual exercise challenge with friends, or simply go for a walk outside.

Remember, MINES is here to help if we are your EAP! If you are experiencing any stress, anxiety, burnout, trouble focusing on wellbeing, or any other day to day issues that may be impacting your health and wellbeing (or just want to talk to someone), please remember MINES counselors are experienced and available. We offer free and confidential counseling with licensed mental health professionals via telephone, video, and online text/message-based platforms. You may also have access to legal and financial benefits, wellness coaching, work/ life balance service, smoking cessation, and parental coaching services.

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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TotalWellbeing: March 2021

 Total Wellbeing Icon

Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

“Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.” — Mason Cooley

Welcome to the March 2021 edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month’s topic is centered around caregivers. According to a recent study, approximately 44 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months. Not only do these individuals go unpaid since they are usually caring for family or friends, but they are often paying out of their own pocket for supplies, transportation, and lost wages due to missed work in the line of caregiver duty. This is on top of the already mentally and emotionally exhausting work they do every day, so it is easy to see how burnout can be a very serious issue. Selfcare and the support of their loved ones (and even employers) are crucial elements.

If you yourself are a caregiver, we say “Thank You!” and please reach out to us if we can help support you in any way. And if you know someone who is a caregiver, please reach out to see how you might support them, even in little ways, to make a big difference. See below for some tips on both self-care as a caregiver or for ways you can help support the caregivers in your life.

Please remember that your EAP is here for you to provide a variety of resources to manage stress and burnout and we even have caregiver-specific resources and training. You have access to free and confidential counseling, wellness coaching, work/life balance tools, and more plus an online resource library full of proactive self-help tools! Visit PersonalAdvantage for helpful articles, tips, health assessments, stress tests, and more!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

Caring for the Caregiver

In Oregon, Nicki makes weekly phone calls to her sister Rebecca, who has Alzheimer’s. Rebecca lives 3,000 miles away in New York City. Stephanie and Doug share a New Jersey home with Stephanie’s frail mother. They give her round-the-clock aid. And Ruth, who lives in Maryland, does the food shopping and cooking for her neighbor Scott, 93.

These people have one thing in common: They’re family caregivers. “Family caregiving is the fastest-growing unpaid and often unacknowledged occupation in this country,” says Lorraine Sailor, operations coordinator at Children of Aging Parents, a nonprofit charitable organization based in Levittown, Pa.

How to succeed

These tips are drawn from professional, government, and charitable groups: the American Society on Aging, the Federal Administration on Aging, the Family Caregiver Alliance, Children of Aging Parents, and the National Family Caregivers Association.

Don’t go it alone

  • Ask others for help. Start with family and friends. Keep less engaged family members informed. Set up a family conference, seek suggestions, and talk about disagreements.
  • Ask families with similar problems how they handled them.
  • Involve the person you’re caring for. If possible, help the person take responsibility and join in decisions.
  • Learn about your loved one’s condition. Find specialists for information and guidance.
  • Tap local, state, and national resources. They can offer help with transportation, nutrition, or daycare.

Watch for problems

  • Mental and physical signs of caregiver stress:
  • A lot of anger or fear
  • A tendency to overreact
  • Feeling depressed, isolated, or overburdened
  • Thoughts of guilt, shame, or inadequacy
  • Taking on more than you can handle
  • Headaches
  • Digestive upsets
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Illness

Read more…

Remember, if you or a household member is a caregiver, or know a caregiver, and need support, your employee assistance program is here for you. Resources include free and confidential counseling, self-help tools, trainings, work/life balance tools, and more. If you need additional information or to access services, please call MINES and Associates at 1-800-873-7138 today. Also, PersonalAdvantage has a ton of great resources and FREE webinars.

Tips & Self-Care for the Caretaker

Support them

Care-giving can be a long, difficult road, so it is important that you are prepared and know the best, most practical ways to help and support your loved ones. First, as mentioned above, it is critical that you research their cancer diagnoses, treatment courses, side-effects, and anything else that you may be concerned about. This will help you be a more effective support source. Once you have a better understanding of the situation you can help your loved one seek out the best treatment, with the direction of their doctor of course. Rely on the experts but use your education to ask good questions to manage expectations on treatments and to know when a second opinion on things may be appropriate.

Aside from helping with the logistics of care, you can also make a huge difference by offering help in other areas of their lives. To make things easier, instead of simply telling them that you are there if they need anything, take the burden off of them and offer to do specific things they may need. These can be things like offering to walk their dog, do the dishes, go to the grocery store or pharmacy for them; be specific and timely and you will be a huge help to them without being overwhelming.

Support yourself

Being a caregiver or go-to person for someone with a chronic illness, especially for a loved one, can be extremely draining, both physically and emotionally. It will be critical that you take care of yourself as much as you take care of your loved one. The most common areas where caretakers’ wellbeing is affected include; trouble sleeping or finding time to sleep, poor eating habits and lack of meal preparation time resulting in less healthy diet, lack of time to exercise or lack of motivation to be active, being unable to stay in bed when sick, and also the failure to keep up on their own medical needs and doctors appointments. All of these can be detrimental to your personal wellbeing so it is imperative that you take steps to limit your stress and maximize your self-care as much as you are able.  Some ways that you can manage this include asking for help. Don’t be afraid to ask others for assistance now and again. Be specific in how they can help you and let them decide what they are willing and able to do for you. Even little things like someone willing to cook a dinner for you or the one you care for once a week can make a big difference.

Sleep is another huge concern. Remember that if you are sleep deprived you not only become a less effective support-giver, but you actually can become a danger to yourself and the ones you care for. Make sure that you are getting adequate sleep. Ways to help with this include setting a maximum amount of time that you can spend with your ill loved one. You may feel the need to be by their side 24/7 but that is just not realistic. Remember that you are human and need to take care of your own needs as well, as much as you would like to be superman. Set sleep goals and take a nap or go to sleep early if you are feeling tired.

Read more…

Question of the Month

Are you, or someone you know, a caregiver? If so, what do you (or they) do to care for themselves? What is one way they could use more support, and if it’s yourself, what is one thing you could ask from your loved ones to help you practice better self-care?

If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.

This Month’s Focus

Free Webinar:

Stress Relief for Caregivers  

MINESblog:

New to TW? Check out our past Blogs!

Pandemic Fatigue

Thank You Caregivers!

Important Links

COVID19 Resource Page

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

Current Training Catalog

Balanced Living Magazine

LinkedIn

MINES Archives

Contact Us

Email MINES

mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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A Word on EAP Integration

Boost utilization and successful outcomes through integration

The key to the success of programs like Employee Assistance Programs lies in ensuring high levels of utilization and successful outcomes between users and the services. While our systemic implementation process and customized promotion have helped our clients average a utilization rate of 9% or higher, one key area that needs to be considered as well is integration. By integrating the Employee Assistance Program with other benefits, systems, and initiatives of an organization, you will see two primary benefits:

  1. Enhanced awareness and utilization of the EAP services – When all benefit providers and wellness programs are integrated with one another, information can be shared from multiple sources ensuring all members and employees are aware of the services available to them. Additionally, when an employee or member learns about another benefit, such as the EAP, from their primary care doctor or through an onsite clinic at work, they are better able to connect the dots between the service and the issues they may be tackling in their everyday lives making it much more likely they will proactively reach out and access services.
  2. Creation of a holistic care system – By creating a holistic benefit suite that successfully integrates employee benefits and an organization’s other health and wellness initiatives, cross-referral between providers is made possible which helps to ensure employees and members are receiving all possible services available to them that may be relevant to issues they are dealing with and co-morbid conditions that necessitate more than one area of care. Increased coordination between providers can also expedite the rate that care is accessed allowing employees and members to resolve wellness and health issues faster and more efficiently.

Integration opportunities

While integration opportunities will vary from one group to the next, the following represents some common and key integration areas to consider. The MINES Team is always happy to discuss and collaborate around these areas or any others that your organization would like to explore with us.

  • Health Plan
    • MINES collects other accepted insurance information from our EAP providers. When requested by a caller, and/or deemed necessary through the assessment, we will send referrals for providers who are in both networks. This allows for a seamless transition from EAP to the behavioral health component of their medical plan should their concern not be resolved within their allotted EAP sessions.
  • Short and Long-Term Disability
    • MINES could proactively outreach and effectively counsel employees who have been placed on leave such as FMLA, workers compensation, ADA, STD, or LTD, to assist with the primary concern, life adjustment, and associated loss. The purpose of the outreach would be to ensure that the client on leave is aware of all of the benefits available to them including and not limited to :
      • Counseling: Being on leave can be stressful for the individual and family. There also may be mental health impacts related to identity, PTSD, etc. depending on the leave.
      • Financial coaching (often those on leave are receiving fewer wages and might need support with budgeting).
      • Wellness coaching to help get the member on leave back on track and help with healthy coping strategies.
      • Parent and lactation coaching
      • Work-life: There may be services that the EAP can support such as someone to assist with errands if the impacted member is unable to.
      • Legal referrals: Some on leave may need support legally (for non-work-related issues). An example would be a car accident or a fall in a public place.

Such an intervention, which may or may not include the family, could result in quicker recovery, and minimize likelihood of secondary injury development. MINES could further be involved in the recommendation and/or release to duty from disability.

  • Disease and Case Management
    • MINES could partner with the disease and case management teams of an organization’s health plan carrier(s). When the carrier identifies a chronically ill member with a behavioral health concern comorbidity, they can bring MINES in to help. MINES has found that many cases under the disease/case management that may look like physical conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease, etc.) often have a comorbid behavioral health diagnosis or condition. When the behavioral health and physical health conditions are treated together, positive outcome rates increase significantly.
  • Organizational Health and Wellness Initiatives
    • MINES can partner with an organizations’ internal health and wellbeing intiatives. We want to collaborate and connect to internal solutions. An example of a collaboration effort would be if an organization has a healthy eating initaitive, MINES could connect our board-certified wellness coaches into support those who want to learn more about healthy eating. The organization could also utilize their training hours to provide education around the desired iniative such as “Nutrition and Aging- Eating for a Longer Life.” The work-life services could also help them find fitness classes, gyms, and restaurants that fit their dietary goals.
  • Organizational Policy
    • MINES assists with policy and human resource consultation. Working with MINES provides a consultant with HR and/or organizational psychology expertise at your fingertips.
  • On-site or Near-Site Clinics
    • MINES can both make and receive referrals from on-site medical clinics as clinically indicated. MINES recommends working collaboratively with the on-site clinic partner to include ways to trigger providers to refer to the EAP or on-site counselor such as though assessments or other testing results. In addition to the counseling services, MINES recommends that the clinics also have awareness of the services that can be useful to the providers and clients as well. MINES can also staff an onsite or near-site clinic with a clinician, either in person or virtually. This arrangement tends to be in addition to the EAP and allows increased access to all members of the organization.

How could MINES integrate with your organization? Call us today, we would love to talk about!

To your (and your organization’s) wellbeing,

-The MINES Team

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TotalWellbeing: February 2021

 

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Time to De-Stress

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” – Sydney J. Harris

Welcome to the February 2021 edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month it’s time to take a deep breath and de-stress. No matter how resilient you are, stress and anxiety can have an impact on your life in some way or another. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of stress and take steps to manage it on a day-to-day basis. This can be tricky as often we don’t feel as if we have time to take time for ourselves, but it is critical that we do so to avoid stress, burnout, and the symptoms that come with those including tension headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and other wellbeing issues. See below for some tips on managing stress with exercise as well as an infographic with more stress-related tips to help you unwind.

Please remember that your EAP is here for you to provide a variety of resources to manage stress. You have access to free and confidential counseling, wellness coaching, work/life balance tools, and more! Plus, an online resource library full of proactive self-help tools. Visit PersonalAdvantage for helpful articles, tips, health assessments, stress tests, and more!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

Managing Stress with Exercise

Stress can make you feel drained, anxious, and even depressed. While there are several ways to manage runaway stress, none is as enjoyable and effective as a regular exercise routine.

We all deal with stress in our lives—due to both minor and major events. Try utilizing some new coping strategies to help you deal with difficult times more effectively.

“Numerous studies have shown exercise provides excellent stress-relieving benefits,” says Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. “And let’s face it, we all could do with less stress in our lives.”

How It Works

Exercise causes the brain to release endorphins, opium-like substances that ease pain and produce a sense of comfort and euphoria. It also encourages the nerve cells in the brain to secrete other neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which improve mood.

Read more…

Remember, your Employee Assistance Program is here to help if you maintain your wellbeing and manage stress and anxiety. This includes counseling, self-help tools, wellness coaching, and more. If you need additional information, or to access services, please call MINES and Associates at 1-800-873-7138 today. Also, PersonalAdvantage has a ton of great resources and FREE webinars.

Stress/Health Infographic
Click here to view and download the stress infographic from this month’s communication.

Question of the Month

What is one way that you may be able to add a daily habit to manage stress? This could be a quick breathing exercise, a short meditation session, engaging with your favorite stress-relieving hobby, or anything else you use to keep your stress levels in check. What’s stopping you?

If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.

This Month’s Focus

Free Webinar:

Calm Down: Meditation and Relaxation Guide

MINESblog:

New to TW? Check out our past Blogs!

Pandemic Fatigue

The Art of Resolutions

Important Links

COVID19 Resource Page

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

Current Training Catalog

Balanced Living Magazine

LinkedIn

MINES Archives

Contact Us

Email MINES

mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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