Posts Tagged Health

Suicide Prevention in the Workplace

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. Consider that number for a moment. Imagine someone asked you to count 1 million toothpicks. How long would it take? Most Americans have been impacted by suicide. The topic of suicide and the workplace is not frequently talked about and often gets overlooked.
A colleague or employee contemplating suicide can be overwhelming for HR representatives, supervisors, and managers. You may not know what your role is or how to offer support without overstepping professional and personal boundaries. One of the most difficult questions has to do with assessment. How does one determine if a person is really at risk for suicide, and if a risk is detected what is the most effective way to intervene?
This information provides a brief reference, or starting point, for developing strategies to manage suicide in the workplace. It addresses warning signs, prevention tips, and postvention tips. It also offers suggestions for what you can do to support those who have lost an employee or co-worker to suicide.

Warning signs

  1. Talking, writing about suicide/death. The phrases, “I wish I were dead” or “the world would be better off without me” are common examples of things suicidal people might say.
  2. Someone might be suicidal if they begin actively seeking access to guns or other weapons, pills, etc.
  3. They begin putting their affairs in order. Things like making a will, or tying up loose ends as not to be a further burden on friends and family, might be a sign that they are contemplating leaving for good.
  4. A person who appears down, depressed, or hopeless.
  5. Isolating themselves from others. Somebody who normally engages socially might become isolated or start to withdraw from co-workers, work engagements and other social obligations might be suffering from major depression.
  6. Increase in risky behavior. If a person significantly increases alcohol, or drug use, incidents of unsafe sex, calling into work, reckless driving, or a host of other harmful activities, they are demonstrating unsafe behaviors and may have given up.

If you witness one or more of the above behaviors the next step is to determine their risk. It is helpful to consider multiple factors that could increase one’s risk. The brief list below is a place to start.

  1. Biopsychosocial factors: The individual is at higher risk if they have a history of trauma or abuse, alcohol or drug addiction, or mental health issues–especially those that have gone undiagnosed or untreated. If there have been previous attempts and/or a family history of suicide then this would increase the likelihood that someone would seriously complete suicide.
  2. Sociocultural factors: Being part of a stigmatized, non-dominate group in society like LBGTQ can cause a person to feel isolated especially if they don’t have the support of friends or family. The person may have been in a social environment where suicide is normalized, they may have had friends or family complete suicide which makes suicide contemplative. Barriers to mental healthcare associated with socioeconomic issues prevent individuals obtaining the help and early intervention they need.
  3. Environmental factors: These might include a recent job loss, dropping out of school, or loss of a loved one or relationship. The person may live in an environment where access to guns or pills is readily available increasing their means–subsequently increasing risk.
  4. Does the person have a plan, intent or means to commit suicide? If somebody discloses that they have a specific plan to harm themselves, high motivation to do so, and a way to do it, they are at high risk for committing suicide.

If you have seen the warning signs in someone and determine that they are at high risk and you feel they are in imminent danger you should get them to a mental health professional, call 911, or take them to the nearest emergency room. For long-term suicide prevention tips in the workplace see the ideas below.

Prevention tips:

  1. Make help accessible by posting suicide prevention hotlines in lunchrooms, break rooms, and bathrooms.
  2. Raise awareness regarding resources; make sure employees know that they have an employee assistance program (EAP) and that using the benefit is confidential. Post flyers with numbers to the EAP so that number is accessible to everyone. Oftentimes EAP programs are accessible to human resource representatives, managers, and supervisors; take advantage and seek advice. Have a list of community resources that offer mental health services. Let employees know that they can also talk with their human resources representative.
  3. Educate employees by destigmatizing mental health and substance abuse issues by offering lunch and learns or trainings on various topics such as suicide, healthy coping skills for managing stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse issues.
  4. Create a balanced work environment by allowing for “mental health” days or offering work from home days if it’s possible. Managers and supervisors can help by assisting in resolving work problems as they arise and managing conflict effectively between co-workers, managers, and supervisors.

If your company has experienced a suicide, the loss of a colleague or employee can be shocking and traumatic. Below are a series of postvention tips that might be helpful in the event of workplace suicide.

Postvention tips:

  1. Acknowledge that your employees may have strong emotions surrounding the suicide and will need opportunities to express their feelings.
  2. Supervisors and managers should be on alert for PTSD symptoms. A drastic change in behavior may be a sign that a person is having a hard time dealing with the incident.
  3. Encourage healthy grieving by providing a basic understanding of the stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. The stages of grief affect individuals differently at various rates. Some employees may express their grief as sadness or anger over a long period of time, while others may get back to their normal lives rather quickly.
  4. Offering empathetic and compassionate listening will give employees permission to talk openly with their supervisors and managers and will give them the opportunity to ask for what they might need in their grief. Being accessible to employees lets them know that they are not alone and that they are supported
  5. Become a role model for healthy grieving by being open with your feelings surrounding the suicide.

The purpose of this article is not only to help employers notice the warning signs of suicide and help them assess their employee’s risk for suicide, it also serves as a basic framework on how to instill awareness regarding suicide, prevention and postvention tips in the workplace. It is likely that if there is early recognition and intervention of a person who is contemplating suicide, there can be a positive outcome. Remember that asking someone “how are you doing?” or “are you ok?” should reach farther than the project they’re working on. By asking and being open to talking, you can save a person’s life.

Resources:

Apps:

Crisis lines

1-800-273-TALK (8255): This number will connect you with a mental health professional who will be able to assist you.

To view or download a more comprehensive list of hotlines please see our mental health resources list on our website here: http://www.minesandassociates.com/documents/MentalHealthAwareness_Infographic_Resources.pdf

To your wellbeing,

-The MINES Team

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Total Wellbeing: July 2019

 

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Interpersonal Relationships and Social Wellbeing

 

Welcome to the July 2019 edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we will be exploring our interpersonal relationships and ways to enhance our social wellbeing. Our daily interaction with other people is a critical aspect of all our lives. It is important to remember that we can learn from both positive and negative interactions and that by learning from these encounters we become better at understanding others as well as being understood ourselves. For more information on interpersonal communications and social wellbeing check out these helpful articles, free webinars, and the information below.

Remember you can always catch past issues of TotalWellbeing on our newsletters page. 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 everyday life. If you have any thoughts, questions, or content you would like to see covered here please get in contact with us. You can email us directly by clicking here.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

Accepting criticism

Accepting constructive criticism from others can be tough. It’s hard to learn from it and even harder not to take it personally. While this article goes more in-depth, we look at some of the key factors that go into learning from our mistakes and improving ourselves through external feedback.

  • Anticipate – Accept the fact that everyone makes mistakes and that you’ll probably be criticized for yours. That way, criticism won’t come as a surprise.
  • Ask – Asking questions accomplishes two things: It gives you specific information on how you can improve, and it teaches people they’ll have to be specific when they criticize you.
  • Agree – When you agree with one part of the criticism, you become open to learning. An easy way to agree is to say something like this: “You might be right; my report doesn’t have all the details.”
  • Analyze – You need time to process the information, determine if it’s a valid criticism and decide what you’ll do to solve the problem or correct the mistake.

If you or a household member has anything they would like to talk to a counselor about, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has a ton of great resources and FREE webinars this month to help you focus on your wellbeing while also being productive at work and home.

Question of the Month

Can you think of a negative interaction you have had with someone recently? What did you learn from it? Would you do anything differently if you could go back and have the interaction again?

Quote of the Month

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood.” – Ralph Nichols

Community and Global Perspective

This one goes without saying as interpersonal relationships and social wellbeing is at the heart of community building. As members of a community, we should strive to build personal and professional connections with others that will help enrich our communities and our lives. Especially in turbulent times, it is critical to come together and find common ground. What’s true is that the people around us are not going anywhere so the more we can unite the better. Strive to connect with those likeminded as well as those that have differences. It is only through dialogue, understanding, and compromise can we build lasting relationships and communities that will last our lifetimes and beyond.

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: Interpersonal Relationships

MINESblog:

New to TW? Check out our past Blogs!

PTSD Awareness and Resources

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2019 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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Good Sleep and Nutrition Go Hand In Hand

This is going to be a mish/mash of topics because not only is this whole month National Nutrition Month, but National Sleep Awareness Week is also going on (March 11th – 17th). What I hope to accomplish here is show how sleep and nutrition work together to impact your wellbeing in a positive or negative way depending on your habits and to provide resources to help improve your sleeping and eating habits. First up, nutrition.

Nutrition, back to basics

Its common knowledge that nutrition plays a key role in your wellbeing. So why is it that good nutrition habits seem to be so hard to maintain? The answer is mostly about cost and convenience. Good, healthy, nutritious food can be pricey, can take time to prepare, and is rarely found when dining out unless you go to places where healthy food is “their thing” and even then, the results can be sketchy. That said there are some basic food principals that you can keep in mind that can help guide you and assist in building healthy, and most importantly, sustainable eating habits. I use the term “habits” intentionally because just like with exercise, breaking bad habits and creating and nurturing good habits is key. Simply put, short-term diets accomplish short-term goals. For life-long wellbeing, you need to create good eating habits that you do all the time while also working to get rid of bad habits like eating a donut with your coffee every morning or drinking energy drinks in lieu of getting enough sleep. Here are some goals to strive for.

Calories. While I am not telling you to start counting every calorie you intake during a day it is important to understand that every day you need a certain amount of calories for your body to function. Variables such as age, gender, activity level, and weight goals, will affect how many calories you should aim to consume in a 24-hour period. There are various calculators online and other tools out there that can help you come up with a rough number. However, it may be best to talk with a doctor or nutritionist to develop a plan that truly fits your body and your goals. Once you know how many calories to shoot for you can begin to approach meal time in a more objective way.

Eat more fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables are very nutritious and are often the best, and sometimes only, source for certain vitamins and minerals. Supplements exist but data suggests that when we take things like daily multi-vitamins our bodies may not actually be able to absorb a lot of it. This is why it is important to make sure you are eating a balanced intake of plant-based foods to ensure you don’t become deficient in any vitamins or minerals which can cause mild to severe health issues down the line. Plus, studies show that a diet high in nutrient-rich vegetables can help prevent certain types of diseases such as certain cancers and diabetes. Here are some tips for increasing your intake:

  • Have a daily fruit snack.
  • Try to eat at least 5 ½ cups a day of fruits and vegetables, especially those with the most color, which is an indication of high nutrient content.
  • Tuck a banana, apple, orange, some raisins or other dried fruit in your bag for a mid-afternoon snack.
  • Use sliced fresh fruit as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and fresh yogurt.
  • Substitute chopped vegetables for some of the meat in your recipes. For example: Add carrots, celery, and green and red peppers to meatloaf; mushrooms and spinach to lasagna; and celery, zucchini and yellow squash to spaghetti sauce.
  • Drink a glass of 100 percent fruit juice with your meals. Make sure it is 100% juice as many juice brands contain added sugar and other fillers.
  • Top hot or cold cereal with sliced bananas, fresh berries, raisins, or other fruit.
  • Top lettuce-leaf salads with generous amounts of tomato, cucumber, celery, mushroom slices, onions, beets, radishes, green peppers, broccoli, shredded carrots, bean sprouts, or fresh fruit.
  • Add chopped green, yellow, or red peppers, broccoli, celery, onions, and cherry tomatoes to rice and pasta salads.

Eat a variety of foods. It’s easy to find yourself eating the same stuff every week or even every day sometimes. But if you’re not shaking things up you could be limiting the variety of nutrients you’re getting and could find yourself becoming deficient in many important micro (vitamins/minerals) and macro (fat/protein/carbs) nutrients. This is why it’s important to be mindful about eating a good variety of food.

  • Mix up the types of protein you eat. While it’s important to limit the amount of red or processed meat you consume for all sorts of reasons, try to make sure you are balancing your lean protein between all types of meat including chicken, fish, turkey, and plant-based proteins like tofu and beans.
  • Add color to your diet. Even if you’re getting a lot of fruits and veggies, make sure there is plenty of variety in those as well. Strive to eat veggies of different colors as a simplistic guide. Get plenty of green, red, yellow, orange, brown, purple, etc. into your diet. The colors of fruits and veggies represent the chemical content in them meaning different color, different nutrients. The more color on your plate the better!
  • Try recipes from new cookbooks or search the internet for sites with healthful recipes you can download. Check out a new restaurant or recipe each week or pick one night a week to create a meal you’ve never tried.

Limit the “bad” types of carbs you eat and eat more of the “good” carbohydrates. Eighty percent of your total carbohydrate intake should come from nutrient-dense carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole-grain products (breads, cereals, pasta), barley, couscous, oatmeal, and potatoes. Stay away from the processed sugars in soda, candy, white rice, white bread, white pasta, in fact, as a friend and colleague of mine says, “if it’s white, don’t bite!”

Sleep, it does the body (and mind) good

I think it’s fair to say that we all have nights when we don’t sleep very well. While it’s fine to be a little tired every now and then, chronic sleeplessness can have drastic effects on your wellbeing far beyond simply being a little tired in the morning and can increase your risk of many physical and mental health issues that no can of energy drink is going to be able to fix. Sleep is when our body carries out important tasks such as resting, repair of the body, processing of short- and long-term memories, and hormonal regulation to name a few. To give ourselves time to carry out these tasks when we sleep, adults need to get 7-10 hours of sleep per night consistently. Being tired can even be dangerous. Driving, operating machinery, dosing out medication, and other tasks we may encounter on the job or in daily life can be risky or even deadly. In fact, the data shows that driving while tired can be just as dangerous or more so than driving under the influence of alcohol.

Unfortunately, our busy lives can prevent us from having the time to get enough sleep, too much anxiety to sleep at all, or secretly sabotage our quality sleep without our awareness through things like blue light from our mobile phone, TV, and computer screens which can impact our sleeping patterns drastically. But don’t despair, there are lots of actions we can take to help support our sleep and remove distractions and disruptors from our sleepy time.

Tips for sleep

Getting good sleep is all about setting up a good routine, being mindful of when and what you eat, and avoiding distractions around bedtime. Here are some tips to help you set yourself up for a good night’s rest:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule. I know this one is hard for me too, especially on the weekends, but strive to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Don’t exercise 2-3 hours before bedtime. The activity combined with the chemicals released during exercise can wake you up when you should be winding down.
  • Avoid nicotine and caffeine. Both chemicals are stimulants and can cause sleep issues.
  • Avoid late night snacks or beverages before sleep. Indigestion can cause sleep issues as can frequent trips to the bathroom.
  • If possible, take medications that can disrupt sleep in the morning. Of course, if you have a strict medication schedule this may not be possible. Ask your doctor about this one if you have any medication caused sleep issues.
  • Limit napping to early in the day. A 5 o’clock nap may sound good, but it may make it hard to relax come bedtime.
  • Relax before bed. Read, listen to calm music, meditate, take a hot bath, or do whatever relaxes you and gets you ready for sleep. Stay away from screens though, the light coming from them can disrupt our body’s sleep cycles.
  • Maintain a good sleep environment. Make your bedroom dark, comfortable, and distraction free. Keep daytime activities out, this means no TV or computers. Train your brain that the bedroom is only for sleep and other bedroom exclusive activities.
  • Get out during the day. Getting exposure to the sun at least 30-minutes a day can help calibrate our internal clocks.
  • Don’t lie in bed awake. Get up and do something relaxing to help keep the anxiety of not being able to sleep at bay.

To further tie nutrition and sleep together here are a few more ways the two interact in both positive and negative ways:

  • Sleep and food are our primary sources of energy/fuel. They both support our ability to function in different and important ways. One cannot substitute for the other, however.
  • Sleep regulates how your body uses energy and poor sleep can lead to higher risk of obesity and diabetes.
  • Energy drinks are not sleep in a can!
  • While some food and drinks can hurt your sleep quality, some things like decaf tea and other foods can help relax the body and mind for sleep.

Resources

For more information or helpful resources check out:

MINES Can Help

Hopefully, you can use this information help make National Nutrition Month (and National Sleep Week) a new milestone in your healthy habit goals for 2019. And remember if MINES is your EAP, you have access to a ton more resources through your online benefit PersonalAdvantage. If you don’t know your company’s login information, please contact MINES or your Human Resources department. MINES also has an extensive training selection for sleep, nutrition, and many more wellbeing, employee, and development topics.

 

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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National Alzheimer’s Awareness Update

It’s November and of course that means that the holidays are just around the corner, but it also means that it is once again National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.  You may see familiar buildings in the greater Denver area lit in purple to remind people that the quest for a world without Alzheimer’s is more determined than ever.

Much has happened since my blog entry last November.  All very positive, by the way.  I appreciate this opportunity to update you on many things that are happening in the field of Alzheimer’s/Dementia.  As a reminder, the reason for my passion and commitment around this subject is that three of our four parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease within a year and a half of each other, and they lived for 16, 14, and 11 years with the disease.  Although we lost our last “Lovie” four years ago, I remember vividly those many years of caregiving and how challenging it was to juggle work/life balance issues.

I have been with MINES and Associates for six years now and present a lunch and learn session called Alzheimer’s/Dementia A to Z to our client groups.  I am seeing attendees of all ages in the sessions and because we always end the presentation with an explanation of the twelve things we can all do at any age to reduce our risk for dementia or delay its onset. I am seeing more and more young people taking an interest in brain health.  I am also seeing an uptick in employees seeking coaching on the topic of Alzheimer’s/Dementia through the Employee Assistance Plan benefits that their employers provide.

One thing is for sure.  Going it alone while trying to care for someone with dementia is never recommended.  Our community offers a variety of resources to family care partners and I will talk about some of them in this posting.

But first, a quick update on promising research!  I continue to be the most optimistic I have been in years that a breakthrough is on the horizon.  So much going on!  One of the most interesting clinical trials is happening right here in the Denver area at the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Research Center on the Anschutz campus.  My good friends and renowned neurologists Dr. Huntington Potter and Dr. Jonathan Woodcock are now in Phase III of the Leukine trial.  Leukine is a compound already approved by the FDA for bone marrow stimulation.  The Anschutz clinic team discovered that it might have possible benefits for Alzheimer’s as well.  Stay tuned – you may be seeing updates on the evening news about the great work being done here in our area.  There are also other promising angles on how to tackle Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  Current thinking is definitely outside the box – many new cause and effect theories are now being explored by the medical and scientific community.

I spent a week in Washington DC in June this summer, representing the Alzheimer’s Association at our annual Public Policy Forum.  Our group spoke with every member of Congress and I am pleased to report that we got the $425 million in additional research funding we requested.  That will put the National Institute of Health’s Alzheimer’s research budget at $2.3 billion annually beginning in 2019. The National Alzheimer’s Plan that was written into law in 2010 calls for a prevention, treatment, and cure by 2025.  Hope has never been stronger that we are going to meet that goal and get this fixed.  By the way, when that finally happens, I will be throwing a party for the world so you will all be invited!

In the meantime, there is much work to do to educate, help, and support families who are living with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.  The number one question I am asked is what is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia.  A good way to explain it is to say that everyone with Alzheimer’s has dementia but not everyone with dementia has Alzheimer’s.  Vascular dementia from strokes, Lewy Body dementia, and Frontotemporal dementia are other forms of the most common dementias.  While Alzheimer’s accounts for approximately 65% of all cases of dementia, many primary care physicians may not be prepared to provide a specific diagnosis.  Asking them for a referral to a neurologist or geriatrician can help a family learn what type of dementia they are facing with their loved one.

While there are no treatments that stop the progress of dementia at this time, there are some drug therapies that may help with symptoms in some cases to some extent for some period of time.  Asking your specialist about these options can get a conversation started about what might be beneficial for your loved one.

Aside from the dementia coaching provided through the MINES EAP program, The Alzheimer’s Association provides a 24/7 helpline (800.272.3900) that family members can call regardless of what type of dementia their family is dealing with.  This is a powerful resource tool for caregivers who have questions or simply need to chat with someone about behaviors, etc.

Another organization that I am involved with is also at the forefront of trying to improve the quality of life for those living with all forms of dementia and their family care partners.  Dementia Friendly Denver is part of Dementia Friendly America, a not for profit, grassroots, all-volunteer initiative that was introduced at the White House Conference on Aging in 2015.  Our volunteer team is working on eight projects in the greater Denver area and you can check them all out at dementiafriendlydenver.org.  The goal of the projects is to make our community more dementia-friendly and to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic of dementia.

And please remember that you can still enjoy the holidays with family members with dementia.  The key is to practice the “Holiday Lite” approach.  Things don’t need to be extravagant or perfect.  Make sure holiday activities and outings are short in length.  Our Lovies wear out faster than we do.  An hour for us is like five hours for them.  And make sure holiday decorations that look like candy or food are out of the reach of those with dementia.  Be prepared for upsets due to the disruption of routines during the festivities and provide rest periods for everyone!

So in closing, as we enter November and National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, remember that you are not alone.  Utilizing the dementia resources available throughout our city can help you get organized and knowledgeable.  And most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourselves.  Respite care is available in our community and the Alzheimer’s Association can help you investigate options.  Exercising, taking walks, meditation, and outings with friends can help alleviate the stress associated with being a dementia caregiver.  Best wishes for a peaceful and enjoyable holiday season!  – JJ

 

JJ Jordan

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ADA Breakfast and MINES Health Champion Designation

MINES Team receiving ADA HEalth Champion designation.

American Diabetes Association 2017 State of Diabetes Breakfast

Last week, MINES attended the annual American Diabetes Association 2017 State of Diabetes Breakfast. While we were there, a few exciting things were happening. One of the best things that was going on was the conversation between local and national companies discussing the state of diabetes, wellness initiatives, employee support programs, and next steps in the fight against diabetes. After a bit of networking, the breakfast opened with a great talk from both the State of Diabetes Committee Chair, Joel Krzan, and the Colorado Lt. Governor, Donna Lynne. HUGE thanks to them and the ADA for all the critical work they do in helping fight Diabetes and fostering awareness and support across the country, not to mention hosting the event!

Lt. Governor Donna Lynne at 2017 ADA Breakfast

ADA

As you all probably are familiar with, the American Diabetes Association is the 2nd largest employer in Colorado, second only to the federal government. They lead initiatives across the state ranging from awareness campaigns, fundraising events, community service delivery, research funding, and advocacy for those suffering from the disease. You can find out more about the ADA and how you can support their efforts on their website, www.diabetes.org.

Health Champion

MINES Health Champion Award

MINES was also one of a few companies this year to receive the designation of Health Champion from the ADA. This designation recognizes that MINES as a company has met the ADA’s “Healthy Living Criteria.” These criteria cover three distinct but interconnected areas of healthy living including Nutrition and Weight Management, Physical Activity, and Organizational Wellbeing.

MINES is very proud of this designation and recognition of our efforts as we strive to practice what we preach. As an Employee Assistance provider, we are constantly working with our clients to help support the wellbeing of their employees so it was only natural that we strive to create the same focus of employee and organizational wellbeing within our company. Some ways we support these areas include:

Nutrition and Weight Management

  • Access to nutrition coaches
  • Healthy employee culture encouraging healthy habits and eating
  • Access to on-site exercise room

Physical Activity

  • Healthy MINES employee events including rock climbing and hiking
  • Healthy Lunch events such as Yoga and Zumba activities
  • Access to fitness coaches

Organizational Wellbeing

  • Wellbeing and resilience training
  • Corporate culture focused on work/life balance
  • Employee check-ins to gauge stress levels and other issues

The Mind/Body Connection

Patrick Heister talking about the high cost of mental illness and diabetes in the workplace

While we were there our very own COO, Patrick Hiester, had the opportunity to speak. He talked about the often co-occurrence of diabetes and mental health issues including depression and anxiety. He then went on to explain how these conditions can often have a huge cost for individual and an employer in terms of health care costs, lower productivity and work/life imbalance. The key takeaway from Patrick’s presentation was that employers can go a long way in supporting their employees that may have a co-morbid condition by approaching their healthcare in a fully integrated modality and support the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees equally. This could mean having wellbeing programs in place as well as an EAP to help support behavioral wellbeing and also identify systemic issues that may be magnifying any issues that employees may be dealing with in their lives.

Next Steps

Where do we go from here? MINES plans to continue to support both the physical and mental wellbeing of our employees just like we coach our clients to do. We will also continue to support the efforts of the ADA and other great companies and initiatives that mirror our own core wellbeing values.

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to support the ADA, take a look at two of the ADA’s current initiatives; Wellness Lives Here and the upcoming fundraising/awareness event, Tour de Cure.

Wellness Lives Here

As the ADA’s website states “This powerful initiative is designed to inspire and fuel our nation’s healthful habits at work and beyond. With year-round opportunities, Wellness Lives Here™ helps companies, organizations and communities educate and motivate people to adopt healthful habits to reduce the impact of type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses. For some, it means fewer sick days and higher productivity. For others, it means looking and feeling better. For everyone, the result is empowerment—Americans who are better able to control, delay or prevent Diabetes and related health problems.”

Find out more here: www.wellnessliveshere.org

Tour de Cure

This is a run, ride, walk, or be an “Xtreme Ninja” (obstacle course) event designed to raise awareness in the community, provide research support, and increase advocacy for those suffering from diabetes that may be discriminated against.

Find out more here: http://www.diabetes.org/coloradotourdecure

Thank you!

Finally, another huge thank you to the ADA and everyone that made this event possible. Together we can continue to fight the good fight and spread awareness of these critical wellbeing initiatives to help millions of people across the US and the world. And if you are a company that is looking for a way to support your own employees, please call MINES at 1-800-873-7138 and see how we can work together to make your workforce happier, healthier and more productive.

 

 

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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Total Wellbeing: April 2017

 

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April 2017: Physical Wellbeing and Grief/Loss

Get Involved!

Welcome to the April issue of TotalWellbeing! If you have been following TotalWellbeing you know that every month we focus on one of the 8 Dimensions of Wellbeing. This month we will discuss the effects that grief and loss have on your physical wellbeing. At the same time, we will look at how your physical wellbeing can be a crucial step in successfully working through the stages of grief. Everyone experiences loss and grief differently, but regardless of how you process your loss, keeping up with your physical wellbeing is important.

For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below or check out our new infographic here!

Next, make sure to catch up on your MINESblog reading because we covered a few important topics over the last month.  Our founder, Dr. Robert Mines provided his perspective around eating disorder awareness week which was February 26 – March 4th. Next, our team member Raena Chatwin explored how you can use imagination and exploration to find joy at work and in all that you do. And finally, to get primed for our talks about grief this month we put the spotlight on grief and the difference between healthy and unhealthy grieving.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. To be notified when we post more resources and articles make sure to subscribe to MINESblog. See you next month!

 

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: from your Emotional Wellbeing to Managing change

When you are feeling down, it can be hard to take the time to exercise or eat properly. However, it is even more important during this time to eat healthily and work out the stress so you can feel better. During exercise, you are given an opportunity process what you are going through and work through the emotions that come along. By focusing on your physical wellbeing during a time of grief and loss, you can ensure that you are not staying in bed and are sticking to your routine, which will actively lead you to be around others who can help you cope with the pain and suffering that comes with grieving a loss. Even if you don’t feel like doing much, try to exercise each day. Take care of your personal needs and eat healthy so that you have the strength to deal with your loss and your other daily responsibilities.

This month check out this link to see some easy exercises you can do.

Tips for you:

Focus on your physical wellbeing and use that as a tool and motivator while you are navigating the stages of grief. Choose to use your exercise time to reflect about your loss and what you can take away from this loss.  Check out this webinar for more about grief and loss.

The Connection: Get Involved

Wellbeing does not simply start and stop at the individual. Our community is connected to each of our own individual wellbeing in a huge way. When we are well we can better function within our community.  We can help our fellow humans thrive, and in turn, when our community is prospering, it helps each of us reach our goals as individuals. So why not help our community so we can all thrive together? Each month we will strive to bring you resources that can help you enhance the wellbeing of those around you or get involved with important causes.

Community Wellbeing Resources:

You probably know a co-worker, friend, or family member that is dealing with some type of grief. Take a moment to connect with them to see how you can support them through this time. Maybe even suggest taking the time to walk or work out with them to help their physical wellbeing at the same time. Or you consider running or walking in a marathon to support a cause and be around others who have or are struggling with their own grief and loss.

Click here to find an activity near you!

Don’t forget that PersonalAdvantage, an online benefit available through MINES, has tons of great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and assistance for Change Management. If you haven’t checked it out yet, or want to see what resources they have for this month’s topic check out the link below. You’ll need your company login, so make sure to get that from your employer or email us and we’ll be happy to provide that to you.

Check Out PersonalAdvantage Here!

 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.
 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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National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

For National Eating Disorder Awareness Week this year, we wanted to highlight a local community member and eating disorder awareness advocate, Amy Babich. Amy was gracious enough to provide us with her thoughts, experience, and resources to help others that may be struggling with an eating disorder. Amy’s insights are below:

This week is NEDA Week, a.k.a. National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and every year I make it a priority to openly discuss this deadly disease that is often left in the dark. Unfortunately, it seems that unless a celebrity addresses the topic, or an extremely severe case finds its way to the media, eating disorders are rarely talked about. This makes them more stigmatized, underfunded, and a seemingly ‘less important’ mental health issue.  Also, the lack of discussion and education about eating disorders can make it much more difficult for those struggling to seek help.

The Facts

  • Anorexia nervosa has the highest overall mortality rate and the highest suicide rate of any psychiatric disorder.
  • Eating disorders have very low federal funding, totaling to only $28 million per year. *To give you an idea of how limited that amount of research money is, Alcoholism: 18 x more funding ($505 million), Schizophrenia: 13 x more funding ($352 million), and Depression: 12 x more funding ($328 million)
  • Every 62 minutes, at least one person dies from an eating disorder.
  • There are more eating disorders than just anorexia and bulimia; there is also EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), orthorexia, ARFID(avoidant restrictive food intake disorder), and diabulimia.
  • Only 1 in 10 people with an eating disorder will receive treatment in their lifetime.
  • Insurance companies’ often refuse coverage for eating disorder treatment. *Based on level of care needed, treatment costs between $500-$2,000 PER DAY.

My Own Battle

It took me many years, and numerous rounds of treatment, to get to where I am today: recovered from anorexia. I wanted to start by saying that so that people can realize if recovering from an eating disorder was as simple as “just eat your food,” it wouldn’t have taken 4+ years, 3 different facilities, and 8 admissions to do so. For me, my eating disorder was a slow suicide, and one of the many self-destructive behaviors I engaged in. It wasn’t about the food, and if you ever are to hear anyone talk about eating disorders, they’ll also tell you the same.

Recovery didn’t come until I really wanted it, which took much longer than the people who were by my side through it all had hoped, including myself.  What it really took for me to choose recovery was a very serious medical complication. In my last relapse, I had a seizure on my best friend’s floor at 2 a.m. The seizure was caused by refeeding syndrome, which is a life-threatening reaction that the body has when it is severely malnourished, then suddenly increases its food intake.  Unfortunately, it took me losing complete control over my body to want to take back control of my life; and as strange as it may sound, I am so grateful for that seizure, and truly don’t know if I’d be here now, had it not happened.

Because of the struggles I have endured, I am an advocate for eating disorders, mental health, the LGBTQ+ community, women, and children. I believe whole-heartedly that I am here on this earth to let people know that they are not alone.

To Those Struggling

There is help out there, and it’s okay to ask for it. That’s why things like eating disorder treatment facilities, programs, and specialized therapists exist. Know that you are worthy of love, happiness, and freedom and that you are not alone. Asking for support takes a great amount of strength, so please try not to look at it as a weakness. Recovery is possible, and this big, beautiful, chaotic mess of a world needs you.  Stay strong, and keep fighting.

Resources

NEDA Helpline: 1-800-931-2237

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-223-5001

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

 

 

With wishes of happiness & health,

Amy Babich

Final thoughts from MINES

Eating disorders are serious. Please don’t wait to reach out if you need assistance. Employee Assistance Programs like MINES are here to provide resources and guidance to make sure you get the help you need. We are always here to talk. Please call us at 1-800-873-7138 if you or someone you care about is struggling with an eating disorder, depression, or any other work/life issues that you may need help with.

Sources:

https://www.aedweb.org/index.php/education/eating-disorder-information/eating-disorder-information-14

http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/

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Why the Groundhog is a Pessimist: Or How I Learned to Stop Hiding from My Shadow

groundhog-629863_960_720Last week it was that peculiar time of year where we watch a furry little rodent, made famous by the infamous Bill Murray movie, pop out and either rejoice in the delight of incoming spring or run back into the ground prepping for 6 more weeks of impending winter, all based on whether or not it sees its shadow. Well, I don’t know about you but that raises some questions for me. First, why retreat from the winter weather, doesn’t the groundhog ever go skiing? Couldn’t the groundhog just have come out facing the other way? And lastly, why does the groundhog have to be so pessimistic? Before we look at some of these a bit deeper let’s discuss why this is relevant in the first place. I think that there is a little groundhog in all of us and when things get a bit gloomy they will pop their heads out and react in either a positive or negative manner. Whether we run in fear of 6 more weeks of winter or come out and face the world with optimism is up to us.

What is the groundhog scared of anyway?

Of course by now you’ve realized that we are talking about more than just a groundhog’s shadow here. The shadow really is anything that might represent unknown situations, new paths in life, or adverse situations that we may be worried about that may be stressful or undesirable like a lost job or medical procedure. Like the winter months, uncertainties and uncontrollable circumstances are unavoidable. These are the shadows in our lives and how we learn to think of these shadows can make all the difference when it comes to maintaining a positive mindset and continuing on with our lives productively and without causing ourselves undue stress. While it is natural to face challenging situations with caution, you must not let the need to be careful and thoughtful lead to fear and anxiety. Instead it is important to focus on what you can control and let logic, mindfulness, and confidence guide your thoughts because by letting go of what you can’t control you give yourself less to worry about that can’t be helped while more energy is spent on matters you can actually impact in a positive way.

Look at the bright side

Being optimistic is all about maintaining focus on the good in our lives while letting go of the bad. This sounds simple but as most of us can agree this can sometimes be very difficult to achieve. With the right tools and a little practice it is totally possible. Your mental state and perception can have a profound effect on how you feel physically and emotionally – affecting things like how much energy you have, how motivated you are to do physical or strenuous tasks, or how much anxiety or grief a negative interaction can create. To combat this, it is helpful to set your expectations in a positive manner by imagining positive outcomes rather than always feeling the worst will happen. Try using positive self-talk to promote good thoughts that bolster your confidence. This includes internal phrases such as “I can do it,” “This will work,” and “Everything will be okay.” These may sound cliché but it is important that we have these positive expressions in our repertoire to act as a counter to the negative thoughts that can creep into our minds in order to give you a way to balance out the nature of thoughts that may be passing through your mind at any given moment.

If anxiety, worry, or fear are a common occurrence you can help break your mind of these habits with practice. Working on being proactively mindful throughout the day can help with this. There are many ways to do this and it is important to figure out what works best for you because there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to positive thinking.

To get you started here are a few ideas. Practice meditation or just some mindful breathing exercises for a temporary respite from your day. Find quiet spots where you can spend a moment or two to unwind and take a few deep breaths during your routine. If you have more time you can schedule in regular meditative or mindfulness practice. While tough at first, meditation becomes easier. For starters you can try a mindful breathing exercise. To do this simply close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly making each inhalation and exhalation last 4-6 seconds. Count the seconds in your head or out loud if it helps and make sure to focus on each breath as it flows in and out. You will slow your heart rate and begin to relax. I recommend doing this for at least a minute but go for as long as you want as the longer you practice this the more at rest you will feel. This is a great way to wind down at night before you go to sleep as well.

This next one is a tip that a counselor once recommended to stop negative thoughts, or all thoughts really, if you are feeling overwhelmed. This may sound odd but what you do is dunk your face or even your entire head in cold water. What this does is provide a shock to your system that acts as a thought interruption and force some reallocation of blood flow. This will help distract your mind from negative thoughts you may be dwelling on and reset your fight or flight response. Again this one may sound uncomfortable, but trust me, when you do it your anxiety will definitely feel less overbearing.

Here at MINES there is an exercise that we ask people to do when we are teaching our clients about optimism and positive thinking. First thing you need to do is find a partner as you will need two or more people. Next, think of a challenging situation or instance that would normally trigger pessimistic thoughts or negative thinking. Share your thoughts, pessimism, and reasons behind them to your partner(s). Your partner(s) then challenge your beliefs or thoughts about the situation. This exercise is designed to show you how different perspectives can be had around the same situation and to challenge the basis of negative thinking. Another benefit of this group dynamic is that you get to share your worries and thoughts, more often than not finding that others share similar feelings. This creates a sense that you are not alone which helps create another source of comfort.

Don’t Run from Your Own Shadow

It’s important to understand that a lot of our negative assumptions are rooted in habit, otherwise it’s easy to place blame on yourself which is counterproductive. And just like any bad habit it will take some determination, mindfulness, and patience to break. Always keep in mind that you are not alone in your efforts. Reach out to friends, family, and co-workers and help each other challenge negative thinking. We hope that some of the tips and techniques that we talked about here will help you stay positive, and if your employer has an EAP like MINES don’t hesitate to call them up and talk to someone that can help you with your goals. Continue to practice challenging your negative thoughts and maintaining an optimistic outlook and we are confident that regardless that the groundhog saw their shadow this year you certainly won’t be the one to hide from 6 more weeks of winter.

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Nic Mckane

The MINES Team

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Total Wellbeing: February 2017

 

 Total Wellbeing Icon

February 2017: Financial Wellbeing and Internet Safety

Get Involved!

8-ux-pitfalls-to-avoid-in-mobile-app-designWelcome to the February issue of TotalWellbeing! If you have been following TotalWellbeing you know that every month we focus on one of the 8 Dimensions of Wellbeing. This month we will review how internet safety can affect your financial wellbeing. These two topics intersect and influence each other on many levels and it is important to occasionally review where they may conflict and what you can do to protect yourself. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Speaking of internet safety, did you know last Saturday was National Data Privacy Day? If you have been keeping an eye on MINESblog you may have seen our own ideas around data security and the importance of being diligent with your information written by MINES’ own security officer and CIO, Ryan Lucas.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message, and to be notified when we post more resources and articles make sure to subscribe to MINESblog. See you next month!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: How Internet Safety Influences Your Financial Wellbeing

Whether you do all your shopping online, are a nominal internet user, or are a parent, internet safety is important. Not only is it important to take note of when you give out your personal information, it is important to take time to reflect how you spend your money online. With less and less people balancing a checkbook, it has become much easier to lose track of where your money is going and to catch mistakes when they happen. Whether you allow things to be paid automatically online or you allow websites that save your credit card information, it has become easier to spend more money without realizing it. You also need to be careful about what websites you allow to have your information so that your information isn’t stolen, which can severely impact your financial wellbeing. If you are a parent, you need to be aware of how your child is spending their time online and how much information they are sharing. A teenager may not think it is a big deal to share that your family is leaving town but if the wrong person finds out, you may be robbed while you are gone.

There is good news! By using websites and Wifi networks that are secured, it is possible to have stronger and safer financial wellbeing. By having quick access to your financial statements, being able to autopay or receive instant reminders to pay your bills, you can feel more confident in your financial status and reduce stress when it comes to trying to keep track of your financial wellbeing. If you are confident in your internet safety and do everything you can to protect yourself, the financial freedom the internet provides you is exhilarating and freeing.

 Check out these resources to help you hone your internet safety skills.

Tips for you:

Did you know the “S” in the URL stands for secure? Next time you are online, look at the URL (web address) to see if the site you are visiting is secured before you put your personal information in. You will know the URL is secured if the URL starts with “https://”. If the site you are visiting just says “http://” it is not a secured site and you should be careful about giving any personal information on there.

The Connection: Get Involved

Wellbeing does not simply start and stop at the individual. Our community is connected to each of our own individual wellbeing in a huge way. When we are well we can better function within our community.  We can help our fellow humans thrive, and in turn, when our community is prospering, it helps each of us reach our goals as individuals. So why not help our community so we can all thrive together? Each month we will strive to bring you resources that can help you enhance the wellbeing of those around you or get involved with important causes.

Community Wellbeing Resources:

This month, think about helping out a third world entrepreneur start their business by providing capital for their business even if it is a small amount. Just remember to be careful anytime you give your financial information out over the internet. Check out this website and look for ways you can help in your community https://www.lendwithcare.org/.

Don’t forget that PersonalAdvantage, your online benefit through MINES, has tons of great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and assistance for Retirement Planning. If you haven’t checked it out yet, or want to see what resources they have for this month’s topic check out the link below. You’ll need your company login, so make sure to get that from your employer or email us and we’ll be happy to provide that to you.

Check Out PersonalAdvantage Here!

 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.
 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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Important Event: A Man’s Journey: Learning, Loving and Living through Life’s Challenges Nov. 5th

Hi everyone,

We just wanted to share information concerning an important event that friends of the MINES team are hosting on November 5th here in Denver.

Suicide is a bleak topic and one that has touched many of our lives in one way or another. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, additionally men die from suicide 3.5 times more often than women. What are the underlying reasons for this? What can be done to help this situation? The upcoming event is designed to address these very questions and more.

Entitled, “A Man’s Journey: Learning, Loving and Living through Life’s Challenges” hosted by the Carson J Spencer Foundation on November 5th from 12:00-5:00 PM at Mountain States Employers Council in Denver. The goal of the forum is to help men overcome life stressors and cope with mental health challenges like depression, anxiety, anger and substance abuse. Tickets are only $10. Men and women are encouraged to attend. Info and Registration here: http://bit.ly/2efbewC

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To Your Wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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