Posts Tagged Community

Total Wellbeing: September 2018

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Financial Wellbeing, Elder Care, and Community

 

Welcome to the September edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we are going to take a look at your Financial wellbeing, as well as community support, and eldercare. Check out the segments below to see how your financial wellbeing is connected to your community and how the overall wellbeing of your community is tied to the support that community members put in. Community is a big pie, we all have to help cook it! If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As a reminder, this newsletter is aimed at providing helpful information about various aspects of your wellbeing and then connecting it all back to important and relevant parts of our everyday life. As we make it through the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

Financial Wellbeing and Supporting Others in Your Community

The communities that we live in are only as good, as safe, and as supportive as the members of the community make them. Therefore, it is imperative that each member of a community strive to make a contribution in their own way. Whether it’s a neighborhood, a school, or even an entire city, every little part matters and adds to the greater whole in some way. As a member of your own communities, you should always be looking for opportunities to give back in meaningful ways. It can be something like working at a local homeless shelter or organizing a clothing drive. It can be something as simple as taking time out of your day to talk with or play a game with a lonely elderly neighbor. It can even be a financial act such as donating to a local charity or supporting l­­ocal businesses that you believe bring value to the people they serve. Providing support like this will help you make a bigger impact as well as enhance your own sense of community.

Financial wellbeing has a big connection to your surrounding community as well. The type of community in which you live affects the types of goods, services, and prices that are in the marketplace. Additionally, the ways in which you spend your money within the community affects how you live. For a community to thrive it is important that its members provide financial activity to keep it going. This includes the buying of goods and services, business investments, employees being paid, and even friends and family helping each other out with money problems from time to time.

Your financial wellbeing is made of many categories and it is just as important to give back to causes close to your heart as it is to make sure you are saving money for retirement.

If you would like to talk to a financial counselor about these topics, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away or you can use your coaching sessions to work on your financial goals. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great planning tips and webinars this month to improve your knowledge around a wide variety of financial topics and elder care. For more be sure to check out our “Elder Communication” infographic.

Question of the Month

Do you have an estate plan set up for yourself? What about any aging loved ones?

Quote of the Month

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

– Mother Theresa

MINES Updates/Community World View

From the information above it is easy to see that financial wellbeing is one of the most scalable areas of wellbeing. From your personal bank account to the global economy, everything is connected. The more income you have the more you can buy, save, and invest. In turn this supports your community and affects the health of your local economy. From there the financial actions of your local businesses, service organizations, and bigger corporations make up the larger state and national economies. These along with the national economies from around the world make up the global market that is reflected in the stock market. The performance of these entities directly affects all of us in the form of pay rates, job markets, returns on investments and retirement plans, tax spending, and so on. This makes the old saying “every penny counts” take on a whole new perspective. So, the next time you are thinking of spending your hard-earned money, make sure you consider the down/upstream consequences on both a personal and community level.

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

Check out this month’s webinar on Managing Toxic People

MINESblog Review:

The Importance of Walking and Talking

Break Free from Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 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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Total Wellbeing: August 2018

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How Challenging Relationships affect Your Spiritual Wellbeing

Welcome to the August edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we are going to take a look at how your spiritual wellbeing and challenging relationships interact with each other.  If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As we make it through the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

How Difficult Relationships Can Disrupt Your Spiritual Wellbeing

First, we would like to define Spiritual Wellbeing as it can be misinterpreted. We are not here to discuss various religions or belief systems. Spiritual Wellbeing as defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is simply your sense of purpose, feeling of belonging, and ability to find meaning in the world around you. Everyone nourishes their spiritual wellbeing in their own way. Looking at this that definition it is probably easy to see how difficult relationships and hostile people might disrupt your sense of purpose, place, and meaning, especially as it applies to the workplace. If a particular relationship in your personal or professional life is difficult right now, ask yourself:

  • Is this person always this way or just this way once in a while?
  • Is this person having a hard time right now that might be affecting their behavior?
  • Are you having a hard time right now that may be affecting your feelings and the way you see things?
  • Do you often enjoy this relationship, or do you mostly feel hurt?

If the things another person says to you or does to you make you feel hurt and the person won’t stop doing those kinds of things, he or she should not be in your life. It is always your choice whether or not to have a relationship with another person. Reach out to others for information and advice, but the final decision should always be yours.

 

If you would like to talk to a counselor about these topics, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great tools and webinars this month to improve your knowledge around dealing with stress and maximizing your life by reducing worry. For more be sure to check out our “Difficult Personalities” infographic.

Question of the Month

What are the things in your life that help give you a sense of belonging?

Quote of the Month

“This above all; to your own self be true.”

– William Shakespeare

MINES Updates/Community World View

Today’s world is full of “us or them” mentality. This can be seen in the current political climate, social media movements, and cultural issues and it can often be tough to find your place in all of the chaos. At these times it is often best to take a step back and try and get away from the noise and constant feed of information. Get offline, go somewhere peaceful so that you have a chance to catch your breath and connect with yourself and reflect on your own thoughts away from the barrage of outside opinions and demands. Then when you return to the daily rush, make sure to keep that connection with yourself.

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

Check out this month’s webinar on Managing Toxic People

MINESblog Review:

The Importance of Walking and Talking

Break Free from Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 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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Total Wellbeing: July 2018

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Social Media, Family, and Your Intellectual Wellbeing

Welcome to the July edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we are going to take a look at intellectual wellbeing with a focus on social media and your family. If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As we make it through the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.

 

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The impact of social media on your family and intellectual wellbeing

Social media is a key part of our culture, our expression, and our connectivity. From using social media as a platform for expressing opinions to sharing pictures with family and friends, social media has many applications. Your intellectual wellbeing can be improved by social media by giving you access to information and topics of interest to you. It also allows you to look at things differently and to explore topics that pique your interest you may not have investigated otherwise. Using social media with your family allows you to connect in different ways, stay close if you are far apart, and to keep up with their new adventures or read about their experiences. It is also important to remember that Social Media can impact your intellectual wellbeing negatively. As we have been reminded in the last several months, your preferences are tracked throughout social media and the articles you choose to read may influence the other articles that show up in your news feed or advertisements in your apps. This can help shift your perspective one way or another and unless you are vigilant to check out information outside of your readily available feed to find out the whole story. It is also important to take time away from social media or using the internet to engage in good old-fashioned face to face time with your friends and family members. Don’t forget that these people in your life can engage your intellect as well. Learn new and amazing things from the children in your life. They can have a fresh perspective or may be studying something new and cool in school they can share. Or take advantage of one of the most popular knowledge sharing methods of human history and tap into the vast life experience of your older family members. It doesn’t always have to be about shares and likes!

If you would like to talk to a counselor about these topics, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great tools and webinars this month to improve your knowledge around dealing with stress and maximizing your life by reducing worry. For more be sure to check out our “Internet Mindfulness” infographic.

Question of the Month

When was the last time you asked a family member how they would handle a situation?

Quote of the Month

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

– Benjamin Franklin

MINES Updates/Community World View

There is so much knowledge that each culture and community has to share, from tricks to make the best pasta to how to clean off stains from clothing, to traditions around how to engage your family. Take time this month to talk to a co-worker, friend, or family member and see what you can learn from them to help improve your intellectual wellbeing and what tidbits you can impart on them as well.

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

Check out this month’s webinar on Harnessing the Power of Social Media

MINESblog Review:

Foster Families and Mental Health

John Oliver: Rehab, Last Week Tonight Psychology of Performance

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 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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Total Wellbeing: June 2018

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Stress Management is key to your Occupational Wellbeing

 

Welcome to the June edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we are going to take a look at occupational wellbeing with a focus on reducing stress in the workplace and things you can do to help yourself and your fellow employees maximize workplace satisfaction. If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As we make it through the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

How Your Employer can support your Occupational Wellbeing

Occupational wellbeing is maximized by finding ways to increase your personal satisfaction and enrichment from your work. Your co-workers, supervisor, and employer are all key players that can help you increase your occupational wellbeing. The next time you talk to your supervisor whether it is during your 1:1 or during a review period, take a moment to discuss your stressors, your thoughts for improving your workplace, and what support you would like when it comes to your wellbeing. It may be as simple as finding a training for you to attend or redesigning your cubicle or it could be a more complex solution around how to reduce your scheduled meetings or giving you support from someone else to finish a task. No matter what would help improve your work-life and reduce stress, it is important to let those you work with know about how they can support you, and in turn, how you can support them. You never know when your idea might be the same thing that others have been thinking of will help improve the whole department’s wellbeing.

If you would like to talk to a counselor about these topics, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great tools and webinars this month to improve your knowledge around dealing with stress and maximizing your life by reducing worry. For more be sure to check out our “Stress/Health Connection” infographic.

Question of the Month

What is one thing you might be able to change that would help you do your job better and be happier doing it?

Quote of the Month

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”

– Hans Seyle

MINES Updates/Community World View

If you don’t have a wellness committee, now is a great time to start. A wellness committee is a perfect place for these ideas to come to fruition and help give you the satisfaction and enriching your work life needs. There are a lot of ways a wellness committee can work, and if you ever need some ideas, MINES would be happy to help. Additionally we invite you to outreach Health Links to have them assist you with developing your program or give you advice on how to help improve your occupational wellbeing. Also consider gathering ideas about how your own employees reduce stress and share those ideas amongst everyone. Or check out any one of the great webinars, blogs, or infographics on our site to share with your co-workers and friends. Stress is universal and it is always good to discover new ways to deal with it.

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

Check out this month’s webinar on Minimizing Worry to Maximize Your Life

This Month on MINESblog:

Foster Families and Mental Health

John Oliver: Rehab, Last Week Tonight Psychology of Performance

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 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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Mental Health Awareness Month 2018

It is time once again in 2018 to refocus, converse, reevaluate, plan, and take action around mental health issues and substance abuse. While this battle rages all year, Mental Health Awareness month (every May) is a time where organizations, healthcare providers, and individuals can share their story to highlight how they fight on the front lines against these issues and for those that those who struggle with mental health issues and substance abuse every day to share their story to help spread awareness and inspire hope in those who may need it most. To look at this issue(s) objectively it is important to look at the data behind it all. Who is affected? How many are seeking care? What programs are there that exist to help those in need? These questions are not new, we ask them every day, but for those that don’t work at an organization that provides mental health services or those that may not suffer from a mental health issue themselves, the problem is a little less visible and these questions are a little more foreign. So, let’s look at, and answer, some of those questions now.

Who is affected

US General Stats:

  • 1 in 25 adults are currently diagnosed with a serious mental illness; 1 in 5 are currently diagnosed with some sort mental illness
  • There are a wide variety of anxiety disorders, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and specific phobias to name a few. Collectively they are among the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans.
  • Approximately 10.2 million adults in the U.S. have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.
  • Serious mental health illnesses cost people $193.2 billion in lost earnings every year in the U.S.
  • Nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness did not receive care in the previous year.

Men:

  • 3% are currently diagnosed with a serious mental illness; 14.3% are currently diagnosed with some sort mental illness.
  • Men die from suicide at twice the rate as women.
  • 6 milling men are affected by depression per year in the U.S.
  • The Top 5 major mental health problems affecting men in the U.S. include Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis and Schizophrenia, and Eating Disorders.
  • Men are significantly less likely to seek help for mental health issues than women. Causes for this include reluctance to talk, social norms, and downplaying symptoms.

Women:

  • 5% are currently diagnosed with a serious mental illness; 21.2% are currently diagnosed with some sort mental illness.
  • 12 million women in the U.S. experience clinical depression each year. Roughly twice the rate of men.
  • Although men are more likely than women to die by suicide, women report attempting suicide approximately twice as often as men.
  • Many factors in women may contribute to depression, such as developmental, reproductive, hormonal, genetic and other biological differences (e.g. premenstrual syndrome, childbirth, infertility, and menopause).
  • Fewer than half of the women who experience clinical depression will ever seek care. And Depression in women is misdiagnosed approximately 30 to 50 percent of the time.

Kids:

  • 50% of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; 75% by the age of 24.
  • 20% of 8 to 13 year of age in the U.S. will be diagnosed with some sort of mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Girls 14-18 years of age have consistently higher rates of depression than boys in this age group.
  • Nearly 50% of kids with a mental illness did not receive care in the previous year.
  • LGBTQ adolescents are twice as likely to attempt suicide than non-LGBTQ youths.
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.

 

Sources: click the links for more stats and infographics.

How many are seeking care?

The short answer to this one is “not enough.” A recent report from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration) state that only 1 in 5 adults with a mental illness are receiving treatment. This statistic combined with an uncertain future for Medicare and mental health funding means that employers are often the only path to access help for those in need through health insurance benefits, employee assistance programs, and wellness programs.  These alarming statistics also bring to light how common it is for these issues to affect the workforce, and simultaneously its productivity. So, whether someone is directly suffering from a mental health issue or not, this is a problem that affects every last person in one way or another.

Why we do what we do

If you found the above statistics surprising, you must be new to the mental health conversation because these are nothing new. Mental health is an area that struggles to retain consistent support and funding from public and private sources. Mental health programs, care providers, facilities, non-profit organizations, and even programs like MINES’ Employee Assistance Program have to constantly justify themselves and (re)prove the value it what they/we do. A combination of the invisible nature of many mental health conditions and the stigma behind talking about these issues and seeking care makes it difficult to see just how pervasive of a problem these are in the US as well as the much of the rest of the world. In some areas of the world, mental health disorders can land you in jail or worse.  It is not a “sexy” topic so the media only really rallies around the topic when something happens like a mass shooting, celebrity rehab incident, or some other sensation worthy event. This is a tragedy in and of itself because if we as a nation could just remain committed to improving the support system, communication, and available resources around mental health, so much of this loss of life could be prevented. This is why we, MINES and every other care provider, organization, and individual fights this all too silent war every day.

The relationship between mental health and substance abuse

This month is also about a very closely related issue to mental health,  substance abuse. A large percentage of people with mental health disorders also experience issues with substance abuse, and vise versa. In fact, according to a SAMSHA study, nearly 27% of people with a mental health disorder use illicit drugs, which is over twice as much as the rate of the general population. And of the approximately 8.7 million people that suffer from both mental health issues and substance abuse, only about 7% receive treatment for both issues and a staggering 56% don’t receive treatment for either issue at all. With these numbers, it’s easy to see that there is a huge correlation that links these devastating nationwide issues. Enter prevention week.

Prevention week

This year SAMHSA is spearheading Prevention Week, May 13-19, to help spread awareness of both mental health issues, as they do year around, as well as the prevailing substance use issues that are running rampant without any sign of slowing down. We encourage you to check out their site for more information on prevention week and to see how you can support them and your community in the fight. Check out these links for information on all of the above:

Below is a list of other important resources that can help you if you or someone you care about is suffering from a mental health issue, depression, substance abuse, or if you just need someone to talk to. Many are free, community-based resources that won’t cost you anything but your time. And of course, as MINES and Associates provides Employee Assistance Programs, we encourage you to use one if your employer offers one. EAPs are a great free and confidential resource that can help you, and in many cases, your family/household members, get in touch with a counselor and start the journey to better mental wellbeing. EAPs can also help with a large variety of other work/life issues that may be affecting you like work/life balance, financial issues, fitness, nutrition, and more.

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/

SAMHSA

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

Going forward

What can we do going forward? Stay loud. Keep talking. Keep writing congress about mental issues that affect you and those you love. Don’t let them wait for there to be a tragic event before the issues get put on their desk. Continue to vote for people that believe in what we do and what needs to be done. Continue to support organizations that are making strides in the right direction. Continue to demand benefits from employers that do more than just the bare minimum to support our mental health. Change is possible but it going to take more than an awareness month. It’s going to take people, all of us, coming together and making this an issue that’s bigger than a month, an issue that cannot be ignored or scapegoated. So, take the rest of this month help spread awareness, and then use next month keep marching, keep shouting, and continue to come together to push change forward because no one is going to do it for us.

 

To your wellbeing,

Nic Mckane

The MINES Team

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Total Wellbeing: May 2018

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The Relationship Between Self-Motivation and Emotional Wellbeing

 

Welcome to the May edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we are going to take a look at emotional wellbeing, specifically how your self-motivation can help improve your emotional state of mind. If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As we make it through the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

How Emotional Wellbeing is Related to Your Motivation

It is very easy to procrastinate, feel overwhelmed, and get burned out. However, if you are able to find motivation and attack each task you have on your plate, then these become less of a burden and your emotional wellbeing will be improved. It is vital to find things in your everyday life that make you happy, satisfied, and feel good. This blog has some great ways to help you be proactive about stress and some easy things you can do to help reduce it. It is also important to think of what you are grateful for, what motivates you, and how you look at your job, family, and personal wellbeing in order to figure out how to thrive in your life.

If you would like to talk to a counselor about these topics, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great tools and webinars this month to improve your knowledge around communication, teaching children about life changes, and resilient parenting to help support social wellbeing, and be sure to check out our “Estate Planning” infographic.

Question of the Month

What areas of your life do you lack motivation and how can you find motivation?

Quote of the Month

“The only person you are destined to become, is the person you decide to be.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

MINES Updates/Community World View

Emotional Wellbeing can encompass a lot of areas, feelings, and guidelines of how you live your life. How you perceive your emotional wellbeing also stems from your background, what you distinguish as normal, your biases, and your willingness to step outside of your comfort zone. Being able to look internally is a big step to seeing how you can improve your emotional intelligence. However, it is important to recognize that each culture has a different perspective on what being “emotionally well” really is. Patriarchal societies tend to think that showing your emotions may not be the best way to enhance your emotional wellbeing. However, that is not say that they don’t want to expand this side of wellbeing or that they don’t promote it in other ways. It is important to accept that how you express your emotions and how you deal with the various stressors in your life is unique to you. Take time to observe how others communicate about their emotional wellbeing to see how you can better support them.

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

Check out this month’s webinar on Estate Planning

This Month on MINESblog:

Proactive Stress Management

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 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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Stress Awareness: How to be proactive with your stress management

The Importance of Stress Awareness

For those of you that did not know, April is stress awareness month. While stress awareness month is an important opportunity to highlight and talk about data, resources, and services around stress, anxiety, and related issues, stress is not something any of us can afford to think about only once a year. For many of us, stress is something that affects us day to day, maybe even hour by hour. Stress can be caused by so many things and sometimes nothing at all. Likewise, symptoms of stress can manifest themselves in a variety of ways including both physically and non-physically. Because of these oftentimes ambiguous causes/symptoms of stress, it is critical to our wellbeing that we are able to recognize and manage stress levels effectively on a day to day basis and to be proactive with stress management.

Proactive Stress Management

So, what is proactive stress management? Being proactive with stress management means taking time to learn the various sources of stress in your life. Some sources like stressful occupations, financial issues, or a significant loss are obvious. Others may not be so obvious, and it is also possible to feel stress for no reason at all, which is why the next part is crucial, recognizing the symptoms of stress and how they affect you. Once you learn to recognize how stress manifests itself in your mind and body, you can begin to figure out what the most effective ways for you to manage your stress are. Here’s where the proactive part comes in. Once you know how to manage your stress don’t wait for stress to get overwhelming to practice stress management. Instead, build these anti-stress practices into your daily life so that you are consistently practicing good habits and mindfulness to provide a constant outlet to relieve the effects of stress. It is this proactive approach that keeps stress to a minimum and helps mitigate much of the impact that stress and its various side effects have on your wellbeing. First, let’s delve a bit more into the various sources of stress that you may encounter.

Factors and Sources

There are a lot of stressors that may be very unique and personal to you though chances are, many, if not all, stressors in life can be categorized into some common buckets; environmental, social, physiological, and psychological. Let’s talk a little about these. Recognizing these categories can help you think about stress systemically to help analyze primary causes of stress in your own life.

  • Environmental stressors come from all around you and can include things like noise, traffic, pollution, bad weather, and negative or excessive media consumption. These stressors come from the world around us and there is very little we can do to change them. Some environments like our homes, and in some case our work environment, we have a little more control over. For the most part, though our best bet is to adapt to our environment rather than try and change that which we cannot.
  • Social stressors come from other people as well as pressure from roles we hold in our lives. These include job pressures and deadlines, arguments or fights, relationship issues, parenting, loss of loved ones, and demands for your time and attention. These are a very personal set of stressors and can involve those we love making them very important to navigate in a thoughtful and measured way.
  • Physiological stressors come from your own body. These can include things like adolescence, illness, aging, injuries, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, menopause in women, and inadequate sleep. Again, these stressors can be minimized by changing those we can and accepting what we cannot. Examples of this may be accepting that you are getting older but at the same time striving to eat good nutritious food, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep every night. More on this later.
  • Psychological stressors are very tricky because they come from your own mind. These come down to how your brain processes internal and external stimulus. When our minds interpret something as a threat, such as changes to our environment, job issues, or family troubles, it turns on the “flight or fight” response which not only causes stressful thoughts but releases adrenaline and other stress hormones into our systems. This response has many side effects in the body and can present itself in a few different ways such as anxiety, sleeplessness, and anxiety.

How Stress Can Present Itself

Symptoms of stress can manifest in many different ways, and a single stressor can cause multiple symptoms. The areas where stress-based symptoms can pop up include physically, emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally. Let’s take a closer look at these areas by examining some common issues that can pop up in each area.

  • Physical symptoms can include fatigue, headaches, teeth grinding, perspiration, and digestive issues.
  • Emotional symptoms can include anxiety, guilt, fear, depression, anger and irritability, and depression.
  • Cognitive symptoms can include confusion, a decrease in attention span, memory issues, trouble making decisions, and obsessive thinking.
  • Behavioral symptoms can include changes in activities, withdrawal, decrease in appetite, insomnia, nightmares, and suppressed sex drive.

A tricky aspect to keep in mind is that almost all of these symptoms can be caused by other issues as well such as various health conditions, environmental factors, and normal biological cycles, so it’s important to be on top of things and see a doctor if are experiencing any severe or chronic issues.

Misconceptions

There are several misconceptions about stress that can lead to downplaying the effects of stress or even that you are stressed at all. Misconceptions like “people always know when they are stressed,” or “stress only affects those with high-pressure lives” can lead to not seeking help. Other misconceptions can include thoughts that emotions cannot be controlled and that the only thing that may help is medication. These are also not true and are dangerous thoughts. Medication can help in the right circumstances for certain individuals, but others may benefit greatly from some simple self-care, elimination of bad habits, or some counseling. Make sure to approach your stress, and the treatment of it, in an honest and unassuming manner.

Ways to Combat Stress

As we said earlier, the best ways to combat stress are proactive ones. The key here is to stay aware of yourself and how you are reacting to stressors in your life. Here are several areas to be aware of and techniques to help keep your stress from reaching unhealthy levels.

Be Aware of Important Factors

To help discern how you are reacting to stress pay attention to your feelings and emotions on a constant basis. A good way to do this is to stop and perform periodic self-checks by asking yourself questions. Look at your level of anxiety. Do you worry about money, or what may go wrong with certain things in your life? We all worry about these things but are they causing you more anxiety than normal? What about your anger levels? Are you getting more irritated at work or becoming impatient with people easier than usual? How is your self-confidence? Do you wonder if you are doing a good job? Do you worry a lot about what others think? How are your relationships going? Do you spend more time alone than you want to? Is it hard to get close to people? Are you too tired to devote time to your relationships? If you find that you are answering “yes” to any of these questions it may be a sign of moderate to high stress levels.

Change Bad Habits

There are stressors in our lives that we can’t change. However, there are many things that we can do to make sure that we are not contributing unnecessarily to our own stress levels. Take time to evaluate your habits both good and bad, and think about how they may impact your wellbeing for better or worse. These habits are going to be particular to each individual and their lifestyle but for the purpose of this blog let’s look at 5 critical areas where replacing bad habits with good ones can make a huge impact.

  • Exercise: Despite what some people may think, habits like smoking and drinking can increase stress on the mind and body even if it provides a temporary illusion of relief in the moment. Instead, support your body through movement and exercise. Exercise is a great stress reliever in many ways. Exercise helps regulate your hormones and neurotransmitters that may be contributing to stress if they are unbalanced and helps increase blood flow to the brain. Exercise helps mitigate stress causing diseases and conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer. It helps maintain a positive body image boosting self-confidence and helps boost energy levels helping you be more productive. Also, just the physical exertion of exercise is a great outlet for stress and negative feelings. Making exercise a habit can be tough at first but if you stick with it and workout regularly for at least 90 days your mind will begin to normalize the activity and you will eventually begin to crave working out, especially if you focus on picking exercise activities that you enjoy.
  • Nutrition: This one is a big deal too. Try and replace any bad nutrition habits like eating junk food and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol with good consumption habits. Make sure to always strive to eat a variety of whole, nutritious foods and stay away from processed and surgery food. It is also important to limit caffeine intake as it can potentially induce a stress response in the body and act as a catalyst for anxiety in some people. We talked about nicotine and alcohol but remember there are many drugs, both legal and illegal, that can have a negative influence on your wellbeing and it is up to you to keep potentially hazardous substances like these in check. Or better yet stay away from them altogether unless they are medically necessary. Before making any changes be sure to talk to your doctor as they are your best source of information around your health and medical needs.
  • Relaxation and sleep: It is very easy to underestimate the importance of making time for yourself to relax. It’s critical to take it easy sometimes and occupy your mind with something you enjoy doing. This may be walking outdoors, building crafts, drawing, writing and journaling, watching a movie, playing a game, or spending time with friends or family. These types of activities allow you to get your mind off whatever may be causing you stress and provides opportunities for positive stimulus. Sleep is another prime component. Getting adequate sleep (7 to 8 hours per night) is critical to maintaining energy levels, supporting mind and body functions, regulating your bodies chemicals, and repairing your body from exercise and activity. For more information about sleep check out our recent blog for Sleep Awareness Day.
  • Time Management: Are you happy with the ways you use your time? Time management can be a huge source of frustration if you always feel like there’s never enough time in the day. Building a schedule and sticking to it can go a long way in helping you spend your time wisely. Try keeping a day calendar on paper or on your computer or mobile device. Don’t just schedule in the things you have to do, schedule things you want to do as well such as time with friends or family, hobbies, or simply free time where you have no obligations. Running late can be another huge stressor, make sure you are waking up on time in the morning, avoid distractions, and give yourself enough time to get where you need to go so you don’t have to rush.
  • Self-Talk: It’s all too easy to be hard on yourself and become negative when things are going wrong or stressful. Interrupt this habit by practicing positive self-talk. When you feel your thoughts slipping in a negative direction make a mindful effort to think constructively, not only just about yourself but others as well. Tell yourself things like “I can do this!” and “everything will be okay.” Doing this consistently will help minimize your tendency to interpret events or yourself in a negative light.

Square breathing and other ways to reduce stress

While the ultimate goal is to focus on long-term habits and thought patterns that will help you throughout your entire life, there are many things that you can do in the moment to help bring you back to center and regain composure in a stressful situation. One such exercise is a simple mindful breathing technique called “Square Breathing.” Square breathing is a simple mindful breathing technique that you can do almost anywhere and anytime. By practicing square breathing, you can slow your heart rate, focus your mind, and ease anxiety helping you to become more calm, present, and able to focus on the current moment. One of the great things about square breathing is that it is quick and easy, meaning you can do a quick session in between phone calls or other daily tasks, while you drive (or are stuck in traffic), or practice it for longer as part of a larger meditation or relaxation session. It goes something like this:

Inhale… Begin by slowing inhaling while counting slowly and steadily to 4.

Hold… Once you’ve finished inhaling, hold your breath for another steady count to 4. Seeing a pattern yet?

Exhale… Next, exhale slowly again counting to 4 as you do so.

Hold… Once you’ve exhaled you want to “hold out” your breath for another 4-count.

Repeat… Simple right? Feel free to repeat the cycle, or square, as many times as you’d like. We suggest doing the full cycle at least 4 times.

For more (25) ideas you can click here to view and download a PDF guide of 25 ways to reduce stress.

Summary

Stress Awareness Month may be over, but I hope the information presented here shows the importance of always being mindful and aware of how stressors in your life may be affecting you. I also hope that this information has equipped you with some helpful tools to use to help keep your stress levels in check and maintain a positive outlook even when life gets a little intense.

And remember if MINES is your Employee Assistance Program we are always here to help. If you need a little boost call us 24 hours a day at 1-800-873-7138 to talk to someone or hop online at www.minesandassociates.com and login to your PersonalAdvantage for helpful information on stress, resilience, fitness, nutrition, and tons of other topics and wellbeing resources.

To your wellbeing,

Nic Mckane

The MINES Team

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Total Wellbeing: April 2018

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The Relationship Between Parenting and Social Wellbeing

 

Welcome to the April edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we are going to take a look at social wellbeing, specifically how parenting can affect the social skills of children and steps parents can take to enhance their children’s’ social savvy. If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As we make it through the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

How Social Wellbeing is Impacted by Parenting

Social wellbeing and parenting go hand in hand. This is true because someone’s parents are more than likely the very first social connection a person will form. Furthermore, parents play a huge role in shaping how their children learn to socialize and build connections with other people. Therefore, it is crucial that parents take time to truly consider how they prepare their children for social interactions as it will impact how kids are able to connect with others, handle changes or loss, view authority figures, cooperate with colleagues, and more for the rest of their lives. At the top of the list of things to do is maintain open and honest communication with your children. The more comfortable and trusting children are talking with their parents, the more comfortable and open they are likely to be with others. This goes a long way to building trust and a solid foundation for children to build their social wellbeing on.

If you would like to talk to a family counselor about these topics please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great tools and webinars this month to improve your knowledge around communication, teaching children about life changes, and resilient parenting to help support social wellbeing, and be sure to check out our “Raising Resilient Kids” infographic.

Question of the Month

What social habits or quirks can you think of that may have come from your parents?

Quote of the Month

“Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow.”

– Lawrence Clark Powell

MINES Updates/Community World View

Many factors that define social wellbeing are deeply ingrained in culture and thus varies from people to people and place to place. Social norms and taboos, social etiquette like greetings and manners, and even basic measurements of social happiness and sense of purpose are all examples of factors that can vary wildly around the world. How does this relate back to your own individual social wellbeing? Because exposure to other ways of life and beliefs around social interactions, identity, and wellbeing is crucial to understanding your own place in the world. The more exposure you can gain to other cultures by traveling, researching, interacting with people from other cultures, trying new traditions, sampling foreign cuisine, and so forth, the better you will understand people, including yourself. Furthermore, your mind will become more open to new ideas and ways of life. This not only makes you better educated overall, but makes socializing and finding your place in society, no matter where you are, easier and more enjoyable enhancing your own sense of social wellbeing.

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

Check out this month’s webinar on Thriving Families

This Month on MINESblog:

Sleep — The Luxury You Can’t Live Without

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 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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Sleep – The Luxury You Can’t Live Without

Happy National Sleep Awareness Week, we certainly hope you slept great last night. Setting up good sleeping habits and getting a solid 7-10 hours of sleep per night is critical to lasting wellbeing but it can be tough to do. To help we called in an expert. This week’s blog has been graciously written by our friend and wellness partner Michelle Zellner, owner and founder of Better Beings. Michelle has been a trainer, coach, and facilitator for over 20 years. Seeking to inform, influence, and inspire, Michelle’s experience allows her to deliver on a wide variety of topics, including exercise, nutrition, weight loss, stress management, sleep, preventing and managing chronic disease, and work-life balance just to name a few.

Sleep – The Luxury You Can’t Live Without

How did you sleep last night?  No, really, HOW did you sleep?  I’ve spent years asking this question to those around me who always seem to get a good night’s sleep.  What’s the secret?  People who have no trouble sleeping don’t give it a second thought, but there are so many things needing to go right to get that good night of sleep, I think it’s amazing anyone does!  I have come to believe sleep is like most other things—some people are naturally better at it than others.

As a kid, I was the one at the slumber parties who was up, ready to go, at 6am.  Let me tell you, parents were not so thrilled!  Growing up, I remember lying awake, unable to fall asleep, for what seemed like forever. I was certain I was missing out on some kind of fun!  I always wondered how my sister could sleep sooooo late, even on Christmas morning.  She would tell me—”just wait until you get older and you’ll be sleeping in too.”  Nope, never happened.  By the time I moved away for college, things were getting especially interesting.  Sleep talking and sleepwalking became regular occurrences.  Japanese was my foreign language of choice and my roommate would tell me I’d sit straight up in the middle of the night and start speaking Japanese (more fluently than when I was awake).  I would often find my way to the stairwell at the opposite end of our dorm hall and have conversations with friends as they were coming home from a fun night out. On several occasions, I woke up to find myself sleeping on the floor outside my friend’s door.  I had no recollection of any of these events, but it turns out I was a pretty social, conversational person, while completely asleep.

At the time, I thought this was funny, odd, weird.  It made for great stories but was definitely a bit scary.  I wish I had been more interested in figuring out WHY this was happening, but eventually it became less frequent and then ceased altogether.  I now know that change, stress, irregular sleep patterns, and chronic sleep deprivation are triggers for this type of nighttime activity.

These are just a few of the challenges I’ve had with sleep.  For a period of time, I battled severe insomnia.  It would take hours for me to fall asleep and then would wake at 1:00 or 2:00am, unable to fall back to sleep.  This would happen several nights in a row and led to anxiety about going to bed.  My journey on the quest for the magic answer to blissful sleep has led me to discover I am far from alone in this struggle. While your challenges may be different, the root causes of sleep issues, and the consequences of sleep deprivation, are the same.  When we are young, we can get away with a lot.  I did well in school, had energy for gymnastics (as a kid), work and fun.  I was a generally pleasant person and any moodiness could be attributed to A) being a teenager or B) being hungry.  As with many things, the older we get, the less resilient we become.

Unfortunately, societal norms including schedule patterns (school, work, activities, and dietary habits) and the overuse of technology, are making it increasingly difficult for children, teenagers, and adults to get the quality sleep necessary for optimal human functioning and performance.  The side effect of not being tired the next day is just one small piece of why we need anywhere from 7-10 hours of quality sleep per night.  This should be the time for rest, repair, and hormonal reset.  Parts of the brain and body get to relax, while other parts of the brain and body get busy. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to the increased risk for every single physical and mental health issue, because the critical functions designed to take place during various phases of our sleep cycle are either cut short or not happening at all.  Sleep is actually a necessity—not a luxury!

There are many reasons why we are sleep deprived, and identifying your obstacles to healthy, quality sleep is the first step.  I have come to realize that a good night’s sleep starts in the morning.  The behaviors we engage in throughout the day will either promote or obstruct our sleep that night.  Let me outline a few of the basics.

Back in the day, we operated on a natural day/night cycle…hunting and gathering during the day and, as darkness approached, we got quiet and hid from all the dangers that lurk. With that darkness, the pineal gland produced and released melatonin—one of our sleep-inducing hormones.  Our movement throughout the day allowed the body to produce adenosine triphosphate—a byproduct of the glucose burned as fuel in the body.  Adenosine is a brain chemical that also signals it is time for sleep.  Upon rising with the sun, the body released adrenaline and cortisol—two hormones that help get us going by releasing glucose and triglycerides into the bloodstream for fuel and circulating that fuel by increasing heart rate and blood pressure.

We ate real food (in appropriate amounts), which provided nutrients that enabled the body to produce adequate amounts of melatonin (think Omega-3 fatty acids), we did not eat fake food that the body had to work really hard to get rid of (think excess sugar), and we were not overconsuming stimulants (which trigger a release of cortisol, keeping you alert!).

We had the occasional big stressor (a big beast that wanted to eat you) and we did not have artificial light and physiologically and cognitively stimulating media devices.

For most people today, life looks nothing like that!  In fact, it may be quite the opposite.  The environment in which we live is not the one the human brain and body were designed for, so we need to do the best we can to simulate or create such an environment.  To set ourselves up for quality sleep (and a quality life!) we need to:

  1. Eat real food more often than not—consuming most calories early and often during the day and fewer as bedtime approaches.
  2. Minimize caffeine intake (no more than 200mg/day) and make sure you cut off consumption at least 10 hours prior to going to bed. In addition, avoid alcohol at least 4 hours prior to going to bed.
  3. Move your body as much as you can, as hard as you can, as often as you can.
  4. Manage your stressors during the day (meaning do not allow cortisol to be released unless it is really a threat to your existence).
  5. Have an evening winding down routine, allowing the house, the body, and the mind to get ready for sleep. The house gets dark, the body gets relaxed, the mind gets quiet.  Turn off the devices!
  6. Listen to your body and brain! If you find yourself snacking at night, it may be because you are ignoring the signals that it is time for bed.  When you override the messages from adenosine and melatonin and force yourself to stay awake, you reach for some form of sugar.  Instead—GO TO BED.

If you struggle with getting quality sleep, here is my suggestion.

  1. Identify the obstacle to sleep (check all that apply)
    1. Busy Mind
    2. Stress (cortisol released throughout the day)
    3. Inactivity
    4. Eating too late/types of food/amount of food
    5. Caffeine consumption
    6. Technology
    7. Interruptions (kids, animals, full bladder, significant other)
    8. Other?
  2. Create a real strategy to modify a behavior that could be impeding quality sleep.
  3. Recognize that it is the cumulative effect of all the things we do consistently over time that have the largest impact on the outcome. Multiple behaviors may need modification, and they have to become your habits to really reap the benefits.

Through analyzing my own tendencies, and acknowledging which ones were potentially impacting my sleep, I have been able to restructure and modify many of those habits.  While I occasionally have a difficult night of sleep, I am happy to say that insomnia is no longer a regular part of my life.  I also know, that even though that I am doing all I can right now to set myself up for quality sleep, it is not always in my control.  I try to make really healthy choices in every other area—what I put in my body, how much I move my body, and how I manage my stress triggers—to hopefully minimize the damage that inadequate sleep may be causing.  The healthy choice is usually the harder choice, but ultimately, I believe those healthy choices will produce a healthy, happy, productive human being.  So far, I have found it worth the effort—and I believe you will too!

 

To your wellbeing,

Michelle Zellner, Owner/Founder of Better Beings

www.betterbeings.net

Facebook: facebook.com/betterbeingsus

instagram:  @betterbeingsus

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Total Wellbeing: February 2018

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The Relationship Between Nutrition and Environmental Wellbeing

For 2018, we at MINES wanted to find a new way to promote the 8 areas of wellbeing. In order to do this, we decided to switch up our monthly communication into areas that you can copy and send out to your employees or give you suggestions around trainings that relate to this wellbeing topic. We also want to continue on from last year’s emphasis on the community and look at how what we do can affect those around us and that affects your community, your state, and even other countries.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

How Nutrition Affects Your Environmental Wellbeing

Your environment involves everything around you. This includes your home environment from what food you have around your home to the expectations you have for those you live with. What better time than now to look at how you can improve your environmental wellbeing by looking at your food habits and how that impacts your family, your health, and your overall wellbeing. Take this month to examine how to incorporate healthy foods into your family dinners, look up great recipes on PersonalAdvantage if you have it, or use your wellness sessions through MINES to speak to a coach. If you surround yourself with unhealthy food and temptations, it only makes it harder to help your whole family stay healthy.

MINES also offers Wellness Sessions if you have EAP benefits with us so call us and see how you can access these. Personal Advantage has some great tools and webinars this month to improve your Nutrition Know How and Environmental Wellbeing or check out our “Nutrition Tune-up” infographic.

Question of the Month

What “toxins” (unhealthy temptations) can you remove from your environment to help support your nutrition goals?

Quote of the Month

“Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart.”

– American Indian Proverb

MINES Updates/Community World View

Nutrition can cover a lot of ground – from eating healthy and what type of processed products are ok, to what your individual body needs or, on the flip side, can’t tolerate. If you have knowledge around a certain area of nutrition, why not share that knowledge in a community group or help those who may be dealing with the same health concerns? Take this month to share your knowledge around nutrition with someone else and see what you can learn from them as well. You might find a new favorite, healthier recipe, or you might learn why you are not feeling great after you eat a certain food. Each community has a vast array of cultures and backgrounds so this is a great time to look at other culture’s food prep and choice ingredients to see what you can learn about how others may look at nutrition.

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

Check out this month’s webinar on Nutrition

MINES blogs last month:

Don’t Feed the Trolls

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 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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