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

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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

 

 Total Wellbeing Icon

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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Pandemic Fatigue

The vaccine is finally here and it can be tempting to let your guard down. The zoom happy hours and fun around working from home has lost its notoriety for many. Physical distancing and mask-wearing are taking a toll on us and for good reason – It’s been a long nearly 10 months!

What exactly is pandemic fatigue? How do we combat it?

Pandemic fatigue is the feeling of exhaustion! The pure exhaustion from the impact that the pandemic has had on our lives. We have had to quarantine, constantly assess the safety and our levels of comfort with activities, concern about losing jobs, and have lived much of the year without a sense of when the end is coming. Feelings of helplessness and of being mentally and physically exhausted can lead to your reserves lowering. Your motivation to engage in proactive stress management and resilience can also be compromised. Here are some symptoms to be aware of:

  1. You are getting sleep and yet you still feel exhausted.
  2. You might be drinking more alcohol and/or eating more food.
  3. You are having trouble focusing and/or concentrating.
  4. You might feel irritable in situations that you typically find to be no big deal.
  5. You might be loosening up on handwashing, social distancing, and even mask-wearing.

Do you think you might be experiencing a bit of pandemic fatigue? If so, here are some tips to fight back!

  1. The end is in sight! Do you remember finals time in school? There is a parallel! In school, we likely made several sacrifices in the weeks before finals such as pulling all-nighters, sacrificing social gatherings, and all of this to hopefully be ready for finals. We could muster up hidden energy reserves and rally because we knew after finals was a much needed break, perhaps holiday or summer vacation. This virus is in the “finals” period, the spread is still occurring and, in some places, more so… the vaccine is in the process though. We need to make a few more sacrifices, it’s wearing no doubt, but the end is in-sight! The vaccine is here…
  2. Accept your feelings. You have been through A LOT in 2020. This has been a hard time with so many unknowns, so much out of your control. It is ok to be sad, depleted, angry, overwhelmed, hopeless, and any other feelings you may have. Awareness and acknowledgment is powerful. Check-in with yourself, sit with your feelings, reflect on them.
  3. Watch out for confirmation bias! Perhaps you have made it this far and have not been sick or you have put yourself in situations that have been ill-advised and have not had an adverse outcome… It can be easy to rationalize that you have done it before and been fine, you can do it again. Be mindful and clear of loosening your boundaries and standards.
  4. Prioritize self-care! Your health and wellbeing (including mental) need to come first. Self-care can include many aspects including:
    1. Exercise! Even a short walk makes a difference!
    1. Meditation and deep breathing. This is such a powerful skill to build and does not have to be a big endeavor. Even something as simple as closing your eyes and focusing on your breath or breathing to center can be impactful when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
    1. Connecting with positive friends and loved ones in safe ways (just the act of reaching out can boost your mood and happiness).
    1. Monitor your social media habits (be mindful of doomscrolling).

To your wellbeing,

– The MINES Team

If you have MINES as your EAP…

MINES is here for you!

We’re here to help! 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.

The EAP is available 24/7 at 800-873-7138 or visit http://www.minesandassociates.com

For more resources related to COVID-19 please click here.

You can also access more resources online by logging into your PersonalAdvantage account here. Look for the news alert banner on the top of the page for resources including more tips and news sources with live updates.

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TotalWellbeing: January 2021

 Total Wellbeing Icon

A Healthier Year

“Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.” — Kenichi Ohmae

Happy New Year and welcome to the January 2021 edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. Let’s start the year off on the right foot and talk about some resolutions and wellness related goal setting. Resolutions can seem superficial but having real and concrete goals can help you stay focused and motivated. This is why it is important to set goals that are specific and measurable. Don’t aim for the moon! Set goals that you know are in the realm of possibility and then measure your progress. Adjust as you go and if you hit your goal set another; if you fall short readjust and keep going! Use the tips below to help you set your actionable goals and make 2021 a great year for your wellbeing.

As a quick reminder, with MINES you have access to free professional wellness coaching sessions to help you set, track, and reach your wellness goals! Also, your online portal, PersonalAdvantage, has helpful articles, tips, and resources on wellbeing, setting goals, and stress management. Please call or log on today for articles, self-help tools, health assessments, and more.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

Stay Healthy: Practice Prevention

Medical advances and technology can detect diseases earlier than ever before and save lives but making prevention a part of your everyday life is just as important. Follow these tips to help stay mindful of, and safeguard, your wellbeing.

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being overweight increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure. To stay at a healthy weight, you need to balance the number of calories you eat with the number you burn off in physical activity. You can reach a healthy weight and stay there by eating right and being physically active.

Exercise Most Days: Physical activity can help prevent heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, some cancers, and mental health problems, such as depression. It’s a good idea to aim for at least moderate activity, such as brisk walking, bike riding, housecleaning, or playing with your children for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. Generally, the more active you are, the better you’ll feel today and the healthier you’ll become tomorrow.

Stop Smoking: More than 440,000 Americans die each year from smoking and smoking-related causes. Smoking causes illnesses such as cancer, heart and lung disease, stroke, and problems during pregnancy.

Take Medicines Correctly: Always be sure you know important information about a medicine before you take it. This will help you get the full benefit of the drug. It also will help you avoid taking too much or too little, which can be dangerous.

Get Your Shots: You can prevent several serious diseases by getting immunized. Check with your health care provider to be sure you’ve had immunization for measles-mumps-rubella, tetanus-diphtheria, whooping cough, and influenza. If you are at risk for hepatitis A, B, or C, you should be immunized against them. People older than 65 should be immunized against pneumococcal pneumonia.

Get Checked and Screened: Checkups and screening tests help find diseases or health problems early, when they’re easier to treat and cure.

Read more here.

Remember, your Employee Assistance Program is here to help if you maintain your wellbeing and manage your feelings around health concerns or any other stressors life throws your way. 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.

The Art of Resolutions

This time of year everyone is thinking of personal Resolutions or writing about making resolutions. How do you choose what is the best resolution for you? And how do you make sure you follow through with whatever resolution you decide on? And with 2021 starting off amidst COVID, how do you achieve your goals and/or resolutions? There are many ways that you can look for, and choose, your yearly resolutions and there is merit to each way.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

First, you can set a SMART goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, timely. By having a SMART goal, you are able to track and document your success and you can see where you are struggling. You can also adjust or fine-tune your goal in this model as you need to since you have 5 points of adjustability. What may start as an achievable goal in January may not be achievable in the same way in September.

Wellbeing Focused Goals

You can choose resolutions around one aspect of wellbeing for the whole year or one each month. This means you could make a resolution for the whole year to focus on your financial wellbeing or you could address one of the eight dimensions of wellbeing each month, so you have a well-rounded improvement of your wellbeing.

Child-forward Goals

It is important to remember that whatever resolution or goal you come up with, it is essential for it to be beneficial or enjoyable for you so that you want to stick with it. Whether it is a way for you to smile more, connect to others, create something from nothing, or explore a new activity, resolutions only work when you like what you are getting out of them.

Center Your Focus

Whether you choose to label your goals as resolutions or not, and whatever you choose to pursue in 2021, do so with your whole heart, stay focused, let others know your goals and resolutions so they can support you, and remind yourself that there will be ups and downs. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail. Be accepting of what changes need to happen so that you are able to accomplish your goals even if it isn’t to the extent you originally wanted. Focus on what really matters and the rest will fall into place.

MINES is proud to offer wellness training, coaches, and comprehensive wellness tools to help you and your household members reach their wellbeing goals. Feel free to outreach us if you would like a boost to your mental wellbeing or any of the other 8 wellness areas. Call us at 1-800-873-7138 to see how we can help you achieve your goals and resolutions.

Question of the Month

What is one realistic health or wellness goal you want to achieve this year? What can you do to make sure you achieve this goal? How will you measure progress? How will you handle setbacks?

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:

What Stress and Diet Have in Common

MINESblog:

New to TW? Check out our past Blogs!

The Art of Resolutions

National Alzheimer’s Awareness Update

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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Leave a comment

The Art of Resolutions

This time of year everyone is thinking of personal Resolutions or writing about making resolutions. How do you choose what is the best resolution for you? And how do you make sure you follow through with whatever resolution you decide on? And with 2021 starting off amidst COVID, how do you achieve your goals and/or resolutions?

There are many ways that you can look for, and choose, your yearly resolutions and I think there is merit to each way.

SMART Goals

First, you can set a SMART goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, timely. By having a SMART goal, you are able to track and document your success and you can see where you are struggling. You can also adjust or fine-tune your goal in this model as you need to since you have 5 points of adjustability. What may start as an achievable goal in January may not be achievable in the same way in September. It is a good idea to have a couple of options planned out on how to achieve this goal so you can continue doing it no matter what happens in your life. For example, if you want to lose 30 pounds, maybe you can plan to work out either by finding ways to do so at home or by changing your diet vs. relying on the gym as how you are going to achieve it. It is important to review this model often and adjust so you will be successful.

Wellbeing Focused Goals

Secondly, you can choose resolutions around one aspect of wellbeing for the whole year or one each month. This means you could make a resolution for the whole year to focus on your financial wellbeing or you could address one of the eight dimensions of wellbeing each month so you have a well-rounded improvement of your wellbeing. Our monthly newsletter works well for reference for those who want to do one per month. You can also look at how different areas of your wellbeing affects each other, like how your physical wellbeing affects your occupational wellbeing. Just remember to take into consideration that you need to be flexible in how you might achieve each wellness goal. (Our wellness coaching services can help with that too!)

Child-forward Goals

Thirdly, it is important to remember that whatever resolution or goal you come up with, it is essential for it to be beneficial or enjoyable for you so that you want to stick with it. Whether it is a way for you to smile more, connect to others, create something from nothing, or explore a new activity, resolutions only work when you like what you are getting out of them. So, as you design how you will achieve the goal or what your goal will be, keep this in mind. There are great webinars, trainings, and websites on common goals/resolutions and fun ways to tackle them. For example, if you want to walk more, find a beautiful area that is near you but you haven’t been to before and walk there. Or if you want to achieve financial balance, maybe consider downloading a game that is about money to help you think how you might best spend fictional money. Whatever you do, just remember that your resolutions and/or goals, should be something you want to achieve, and you will find the journey enjoyable.

Center Your Focus

Whether you choose to label your goals as resolutions or not, and whatever you choose to pursue in 2021, do so with your whole heart, stay focused, let others know your goals and resolutions so they can support you, and remind yourself that there will be ups and downs. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail. Be accepting of what changes need to happen so that you are able to accomplish your goals even if it isn’t too the extent you originally wanted. Focus on what really matters and the rest will fall into place.

MINES is proud to offer wellness training, coaches, and comprehensive wellness tools to help you and your household members reach their wellbeing goals. Feel free to outreach us if you would like a boost to your mental wellbeing or any of the other 8 wellness areas. Call us at 1-800-873-7138 to see how we can help you achieve your goals and resolutions.

To your wellbeing!

Raena

The MINES Team

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TotalWellbeing: December 2020

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Communicate with Kindness!

“Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life.” – Jackie Chan

Welcome to the December 2020 edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. We’re going to end this crazy year with a look at kindness and communicating respectfully with others. Sometimes communication with others is hard, even more so to do with kindness and respect. However, effective communication, especially when respectful/kind, can lead to more effective conversations, less misunderstandings, and better relationships. This is why it is important to understand the way you communicate as well as the communication styles of others. Check out the tips and articles below for advice on both of these important factors.

Also, we want to remind everyone that we are smack dab in the middle of the holiday season which can be anything but peaceful and relaxing. In fact, it is one of the most stressful times of the year. If you or any of your household members are feeling the holiday strain this year, please give us a call and we can help with work/life balance needs, financial concerns, and stress management We are here to help!

As a quick reminder, your online portal, PersonalAdvantage, also has helpful articles, tips, and resources on being kind, dealing with those that are not so kind, and communicating effectively. Please log on today for articles, self-help tools, health assessments, and more.

To your total wellbeing (and Happy Holidays!)

The MINES Team

Keys to Effective Communication

In order to connect with people and help them understand where you’re coming from, you have to do more than just state your point. Communication is complex, and often learning how to communicate effectively requires practice and skill. Fortunately, there are specific things you can do to build your communication toolbox. Follow the suggestions below to learn some of the key techniques and become a more thoughtful and effective communicator.

Create an Atmosphere of Trust

  • When speaking in a group, show others that you are a good communicator. Listen openly to each person; this will show people that you won’t embarrass them or twist their words.
  • Try to avoid judgment or unnecessary criticism. If you do have to provide criticism, make it constructive.
  • Give praise and positive feedback.

Get Your Thoughts Together

  • Do research beforehand. Create notes, know the pros and cons of what you are presenting, and do your homework on the subject.
  • If necessary, use visual tools or documents that can help your audience understand.
  • Be specific, accurate, and honest about the subject.

Adjust to Your Audience

  • Consider what the other person already knows.
  • If you reach a point where communicating becomes difficult, try to keep communication lines open so everyone can come to a level of understanding.
  • Try not to use jargon or terms that are too technical; only use language that your listeners can understand.
  • Pick an appropriate place to talk. If the subject is personal, pick a private place.

Invite Feedback

  • Ask your listener what he thinks of a subject, how he just interpreted what was said, and how he feels about the issue. Invite feedback, constructive criticism, and ask about the pros and the cons of the idea at stake.

Use Appropriate Tone of Voice and Body Language

  • Adjust tone and body language as needed, as these two things can actually influence what the listener hears.
  • Note if you sound urgent, hesitant, angry, pleased, calm, or belligerent. Only use tones that are appropriate.
  • Check your body language. If you are avoiding eye contact, crossing your arms, fidgeting, or leaning in too close to the listener, you may not be sending an effective message.

Remember, your Employee Assistance Program is here to help if you with any stress around difficult conversations or confrontations. 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.

Styles of Communication

There’s a lot more to communicating than just knowing how to string words together and provide straight-forward answers to questions. It’s important to recognize that there are many different ways to communicate and that each way is dependent upon the individual. Whether you’re a manager working with a team or a team member working with your coworkers to reach a goal, here are the different communication styles you might encounter:

The Director

  • Looks for direct lines of communication and stays focused on tasks.
  • Makes decisions quickly, confidently, and practically.
  • Can be dominant in discussions, which may lead to being impatient and insensitive.
  • Doesn’t like being questioned, especially if he or she is the one providing directions.
  • Doesn’t waste time and sets goals to get things done quickly.

The Team-Player

  • Supports others.
  • Has an enthusiasm that makes the individual approachable.
  • Speaks with animated gestures.
  • Is willing to make changes and be creative to reach goals.
  • Thinks out loud and involves others in decisions.
  • Desires to support others and is sensitive to their needs, making the person vulnerable to criticism.
  • Decisions are based on personal wishes, needs, and desires and often lack details and follow-through.

The Contributor

  • Tends to support the decisions of others rather than provide his or her own direction.
  • Is dependable, relaxed, and supportive.
  • Listens carefully to what others have to say and provides genuine responses.
  • Can be seen as being too passive or indecisive, because of his or her support of others.
  • Doesn’t always share true feelings to keep from creating confrontation with others.

The Thinker

  • Is always prepared, ready to analyze, and searching for the details.
  • Likes to make lists so that he or she can keep all of the facts out in the open.
  • Strives for accuracy when trying to get his or her point across.
  • May be too cautious or inflexible when it comes to making decisions.
  • Adheres to high standards that others might find critical or insensitive to the needs of the group.
  • Likes to ask questions and look for solutions to problems that others have overlooked.

Question of the Month

Did you recognize what style of communicator you are from the styles above? Did you determine the styles of your coworkers or managers? Once you recognize the differences between how you and others pass along and interpret information, you can begin to see where there are positive and negative relationships between those styles and how to build solutions to any problems that stem from differences in communication styles.

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:

How to Have Difficult and Sensitive Conversations

MINESblog:

New to TW? Check out our past Blogs!

National Alzheimer’s Awareness Update

Back to School During the Pandemic

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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Politics Stressing You Out? 5 Tips to Feel Better

Are you finding yourself stressed or worried about the U.S. political landscape? If so, you are not alone. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 77% of Americans report the “future of our nation” as a significant source of stress. However, we can better protect ourselves from the emotional impact of our current political environment by strengthening our awareness, preparation, and self-care. 

Why are politics so stressful?

There are several reasons politics can feel so stressful. Elections introduce uncertainty about political outcomes, with or without a new administration. Many people worry about the impacts to their lives or communities as new political agendas are put in motion.  Politics create interpersonal conflict. We are social creatures who depend upon each other, and conflict within our social groups – friends, family members, co-workers, and even strangers – can threaten our sense of belonging.  Given the divisiveness of our political climate and the prevalence of uncivil dialogue on social media, it is no surprise that recent elections and political events have generated acute stress for many people.

Five steps to cope with political stress

  1. Limit your news consumption. The 24-hour news coverage is designed to keep you on high alert, waiting for the next “big story” to be revealed. Don’t take the bait. Instead, find one or two news sources you trust to stay informed – but limit your time with them!  It is OK to find out about news after it breaks. Pay attention to your mood and physical reactions while consuming the news; if you feel anxious, agitated or angry, these are cues to turn it off.
  2. Take a social media break. Like the 24-hour news cycle, social media is designed to stimulate strong (mostly negative) emotional reactions.  Studies have shown that social media use is linked to increased feelings of stress, loneliness, and depression. Limit your use of social media to once a day at most, or take a break from it altogether.  
  3. Focus on what you can control. Most of what is happening in national and global politics is out of our personal control. Turning our attention to ourselves, our friends, families and local communities can help us be empowered and productive. Focus on your personal wellbeing by engaging in things you enjoy such as hobbies, exercise and time with friends. If you enjoy being politically active, find one or two meaningful causes to which you can donate your time or money.
  4. Live your values. One way to impact politics and decrease stress is to make sure our daily lives are closely aligned with our values. Values are fundamental beliefs that guide behaviors. With a clear sense of our own values, it is easier to maintain focus on what we find important and what we can control.

Seek community. Find people you trust to share your thoughts, feelings and concerns. Make sure they are people who will listen without judgment. Rely on friends, family or community groups who can help you laugh or find distractions during stressful times.

If you are experiencing stress related to our evolving political environment, please know that you are not alone. If MINES and Associates is your Employee Assistance Program, we are available 24/7 with free and confidential assistance from an experienced team of counselors, wellness coaches, online tools, and more. We offer counseling with licensed mental health professionals via telephone, video, and online text/message-based platforms.
Your EAP is available 24/7 at 800-873-7138 or visit http://www.minesandassociates.com

To Your Wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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TotalWellbeing: November 2020

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Find the Joy!

“Let your joy be in your journey—not in some distant goal.” — Tim Cook

Welcome to the November 2020 edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we will be talking about finding joy and appreciating the little things. With the pandemic, politics, and everything else going on it is easy to dwell on the bad stuff, however it’s important to understand that while we don’t have control over all the negativity, we do have control over how we choose to react and feel about things. To help you control your emotions and find joy every day, try focusing on the positive and let the negative move on. You can’t stop the bad, so it is a waste of your energy to try. Instead pick out the good things in your life and focus on those! See our resources below for more tips and resources on staying positive.

Don’t forget, November is National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Awareness Month and is an extremely important month if you are one of the many caregivers that are currently caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, or if you have a loved one that is living with dementia. The good news is that there are resources out there to help you as well as promising progress on treatments, diagnostic capabilities, and even a potential cure. Take a look at the latest update from our resident Alzheimer’s/dementia expert JJ Jordan here, and if you or someone you love is either a caregiver or is impacted by Alzheimer’s/dementia in some way, please call MINES today to get connected to caregiver support resources, trainings, and more.

As a quick reminder, your online portal, PersonalAdvantage, also has helpful resources, tips, and resources on happiness, joy, and emotional wellbeing. Please log on today for articles, self-help tools, health assessments, and more.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

Looking at Happiness as a Choice

Are you a person who can act on tough questions? Questions like: What am I grateful for? What choices do I have? What actions can I take to improve my life? What are my primary strengths? How can I live a more balanced life?

People who can act on these questions likely also describe themselves as happy.

“Happiness is neither a mood nor an emotion. Mood is a biochemical condition, and emotions are transitory feelings,” says Dan Baker, Ph.D., director of the Life Enhancement Program at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Ariz., and author of What Happy People Know. “Happiness is a way of life, an overriding outlook composed of qualities like love, optimism, courage, and a sense of freedom. It’s not something that changes every time your situation changes.”

Read the full article here.

If you or someone you know would like more advice or coaching around finding joy, increasing work/life balance, managing stress, or anything else related to your happiness and wellbeing, remember that Your Employee Assistance Program is here to help. In addition to free and confidential counseling, you have access to wellness coaching and resources as well. Call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has a ton of great resources and FREE webinars.

Mastering the Principles of Positive Thinking

  1. Believe in yourself – A sense of inadequacy can prevent you from achieving your goals, but self-confidence can lead to self-realization and achievement. Make a list of all your good points if you have lost confidence in your ability to succeed. Reaffirming your assets will help you overcome your doubts.
  2. Use your mind to restore your energy – How you think has a profound effect on how you feel physically. If your mind tells you you’re tired, your body will accept it as fact and be fatigued. You can maintain your energy level indefinitely if your mind is intensely interested in what you are doing.
  3. Create your own happiness – You have two choices when you get up in the morning: to be happy or unhappy. Choose to be happy by telling yourself that life is good, things are going well, you can handle all your problems and you’re grateful for all you have and will have.
  4. Expect the best, not the worst – You release a force in your mind that promotes positive results when you expect the best.
  5. Don’t believe in defeat – Make your mind more positive by eliminating negative expressions in thought and speech. Statements such as “I can’t do that” and “I’m afraid I’ll fail” clutter your mind and condition it to expect negative results. Speak and think positively about every situation.
  6. Break the worry habit – Several times a day, use your imagination to empty your mind of anxiety and fear. Picture all your worries flowing out of you, just as water empties from a sink when the stopper is removed. When all your worries are gone, fill your mind with faith, hope, courage, and positive expectations. In time, you’ll find yourself worrying less.
  7. Practicing silence is also effective – Sit in a quiet place for 15 minutes. Don’t read, write or speak. Think peaceful thoughts, meditate, or pray.
  8. Replace irritation, anger, and hate – Deal with hurtful situations or misunderstandings immediately. Seek out the person involved and strive to resolve your differences. To cool an angry response, reverse your body’s natural reactions by unclenching your fists and lowering your voice.
  9. Maintain a positive, optimistic attitude – Instead of letting life’s difficulties get you down, keep your mind open and responsive to new ideas, exercise initiative and resourcefulness when dealing with challenges, and use your creativity and good judgment when solving problems.

Remember, your Employee Assistance Program is here to help you reach your positive thinking goals. 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.

Question of the Month

What is one activity that you used to do for fun or find joy in that you no longer get to do? Why are you unable to enjoy this activity any longer? What is stopping you from building time back into your life for this hobby/activity?

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:

Reclaim Your Joy

MINESblog:

New to TW? Check out our past Blogs!

National Alzheimer’s Awareness Update

Back to School During the Pandemic

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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