Posts Tagged Tips

International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the ADA: The Legal Side of Psychological Wellbeing at Work

December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and this year’s theme is “Transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society for all”. Transforming workplaces so that they foster resilience among all employees is a worthy goal – one that both MINES and I share with real passion.

Fortunately, most employers now generally understand the links between employee mental health, productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. This is real progress. Unfortunately, only 15% of supervisors and managers are actually trained in how to recognize and respond to employees who may be struggling. This is a problem that MINES and I are taking steps to remedy through our work with our clients and by offering training and consultations to supporters of campaigns like Colorado Mental Wellness Network’s Mental Health Equality at Work.

Employers do not generally associate the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Medical Leave Act with psychological or mood-related conditions. This knowledge deficit can be problematic because more often than not an employee will reach a point of crisis before exploring potential job accommodations. By that time, it is often too late to save the employment relationship and everybody loses.

This common pattern of “waiting until a crisis” may partly explain the recent surge in depression-related employment discrimination claims filed with the EEOC. These filings increased by 56% between 2003 and 2013, and the EEOC issued written guidance for employees with mental health conditions, as well as their health care providers, for the first time in December 2016.2016

I train supervisors, managers, and HR staff in how to create psychologically healthy workplaces, how to use accommodations as everyday management tools, and how to comply with the ADA and FMLA. Managers are always happy to learn about low- or no-cost accommodation tools they can use right away, instead of making their employees wait for a crisis to occur before requesting them. And, they are relieved to learn that the ADA does not require the elimination of essential functions – a common yet erroneous assumption.

One of the areas I partner with MINES on is training supervisors how to have the early conversation with employees who may be struggling. This is a skill that does not come naturally to most of us – managers don’t want to pry, say the wrong thing, violate an employee’s privacy, play the role of therapist, or step over a legal line of which they’re unaware. MINES personnel have truly mastered this skill over the years.

Another exciting area of partnership with MINES is providing highly specialized mediation and case management services for the toughest ADA and/or FMLA cases involving mental health conditions. Most ADA requests are not challenging to manage. However, some cases are so complex they require the expertise of seasoned psychologists to provide case management guidance and support. Examples include rare diagnoses, some types of personality disorders, and difficulty in finding the right medication or treatment plan. MINES plays an indispensable role in guiding these cases to a sustainable path forward for both the employee and employer.

Lastly, MINES and I collaborate in providing outsourced disability and absence management services nationwide. When we take on this role for our clients, we are truly in the best position to transform workplaces to foster resilience among all employees.

In closing, I hope everyone will celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities with us, by taking proactive steps to accommodate employees at all levels of cognitive, emotional, and social functioning.

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Judge (Ret.) Mary McClatchey

MINES Consultant

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Total Wellbeing: December 2017

 

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December 2017: Physical Wellbeing and Stress

Get Involved!

Welcome to the December issue of TotalWellbeing! If you have been following TotalWellbeing you know that every month we focus on one of the 8 Dimensions of Wellbeing. As we come to the end of the year, stress can increase and your attention to your physical wellbeing may decrease. As the holidays bring forth stress around money for gift giving and around family gatherings, and the many holiday parties you may attend certainly don’t help your nutrition commitments. Please take this time focus on what matters, use your emotional resilience skills to de-stress, and focus on eating healthy.

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 newest infographic on Stress for some helpful information around stress in the US and how to managed a stressful situation in  a healthy way.

In case you missed it, November was a great month on MINESblog! We started off with a great post from our affiliate and Alzheimer’s/Dementia expert JJ Jordan for Alzheimer’s Awareness month. Next, we celebrated World Kindness Day with a post talking about how to use kindness to improve your life and the lives of those around you. And finally, we posted about the interplay between stress and physical wellbeing as a tee up to this month’s focus. Be sure to check all of these out for great information and practical resources.

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: Health, Holidays, and Stress

Physical Wellbeing can encompass a lot of things from exercising regularly, eating healthy, taking time to make sure your stress is worked out through physical activity, and getting enough sleep. Stress can exasperate many medical and mental health conditions. This month is a perfect time to work on your stress by focusing on your physical wellbeing which will help resolve the side effects of stress. The blog on stress and physical wellbeing has some great tips and thoughts on this subject. As the holidays approach it is easy to put aside eating healthy and exercising. However, this is the best time to focus on doing this as it can actually improve your holiday experience and your overall wellbeing.

Check out these tips to incorporate healthy habits during the holidays!

Tips for you:

Emotions are a healthy part of the human experience. Acknowledging emotions and understanding your personal stress style is the first step in beginning to control them. In this session, we will discuss a selection of customary stressors as well as techniques for exercising control over them.

Check out the webinar here!

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 look at how you can expand your knowledge and skills within your community in regards to physical activities. Check out your local community’s website for senior centers where you could volunteer to help take people on a hike or to do yoga. Or look for other ways you can improve your, and others, physical wellbeing.

Click here to find a place to use your skills near you!

If your organization has access to PersonalAdvantage make sure to check out this customizable online benefit available through MINES. It has tons of the same great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and a whole section on having a stress free holiday season! 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.

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

BizPsych

2017 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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Physical Wellbeing and Stress

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), being mindful of your physical wellbeing means recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep in order to maintain a healthy mind and body. Physical wellbeing is an important concept on many levels as your level of physical health has a huge influence on other parts of your life such stress levels, optimal hormone production, and energy levels to name a few. In this blog, my intention is to look at how stress and physical wellbeing interact with each other on a day-to-day basis and explore some things that we can all do to boost our physical wellbeing and lower our stress levels at the same time.

What does Physical Wellbeing Look Like?

The choice to maintain your overall physical wellbeing is one of balance. It doesn’t mean that you need to eat a super strict diet and exercise every day. It is more about creating healthy habits that you do on a consistent basis. If you are mindful of what you eat and how much you exercise, you will naturally start to move towards the healthier path. The more you repeat the behavior, the more you will begin to see the effects and the easier it will become to develop a routine. As you choose the healthier path more often than not, the good habits will grow and soon you won’t have to think about it, eating healthy foods will become the norm and a day where you don’t exercise or do some type of physical activity will feel strange and unproductive.

Before we get ahead of ourselves it is important to remember that physical wellbeing is just as much about making good decisions as it is about avoiding bad ones. For example, excessive drinking and drugs will impact your physical wellbeing in a huge way, as will eating junk food or never exercising, so remain vigilant and avoid the dangerous stuff just as much as you seek out the healthy. If we learn to moderate and balance ourselves it can go a long way in managing the impact of one of the biggest health hazards around, stress.

What is Stress?

Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. While the definition is pretty broad, how each of us experience stress, and the circumstances that may be responsible for our stress, can be very specific and personal. This is one of the reasons there is no “cure-all” or universal way to eliminate stress from your life. The important thing is to monitor yourself for signs of stress and manage any stress in a proactive way to minimize any effects on your wellbeing.

So, what happens when we don’t manage our stress in a healthy and proactive manner? Well, stress can lead to numerous negative effects that can impact our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Some signs of unmanaged stress include fatigue, nausea, muscle tremors, twitches, headaches, anxiety, guilt, grief, fear, depression, irritability, inability to rest, memory and attention problems, trouble sleeping, and more. Again, since each of us has our own unique sources of stress, it is important to understand how you as an individual react to stress and monitor yourself for signs.

How Physical Wellbeing Interacts with Stress

The good news is that there are things that we can do to manage and reduce the stress that we experience. For the purpose of this blog, I will focus on the physical wellbeing side, which includes physical activity, good nutrition, and sleep. Focusing on your physical wellbeing can both manage current stress as well as prevent future stressors such as disease and health conditions caused by poor physical wellbeing, so it really is a win/win situation!

Exercise

First, as a proactive management tool, exercise is one of the best and healthiest ways to manage the stressors of our daily lives. Exercise helps your muscles get rid of stress-induced tension and acids that build up, while also helping your body release feel-good endorphins that will help you relax. It will be important to develop an exercise routine that is aerobic, so you get all the heart-healthy benefits and make it fun so you’ll continue to enjoy doing it.

In addition to higher energy levels and relaxation benefits, another “pro” of regular exercise is a higher quantity and better quality of sleep. Now we will talk about sleep more in a bit, but for now I just wanted to note that it is important to stick to your exercise routine when you are stressed or tired. One of the reasons for this is that while we sleep our body uses this time to regulate chemicals in our body including neurotransmitters and hormones. When we don’t get enough sleep, those chemicals can be out of balance, but when we exercise it helps to balance out those same chemicals, meaning that when you don’t get enough sleep it becomes more important to exercise in order to keep your body in stasis.

Some exercise tips include:

  • Get a workout buddy. When you have a reliable partner to workout with, it makes exercise more fun. You can encourage and hold each other to the commitments that you have both made.
  • Talk to your doctor. A doctor can help gauge where your physical wellbeing is at now and help set healthy goals to strive for. This will also help you approach your goals in a safe and calculated way specific to your individual needs.
  • Avoid Boredom. Don’t set yourself up for failure by selecting activities you know you hate. If you can’t stand running in place on a treadmill, run outside or bike instead. Working out in solitary not your thing? Try group classes to shake things up.

Nutrition

Next up is nutrition. Good eating habits centered around eating regular, nutritious meals will further help your body stay chemically balanced, improve energy levels, and reduce the chances of stress causing disease caused from poor nutrition including obesity and diabetes.

When developing your nutritional goals, it will be important to focus on foods low in fat, sodium, and refined sugars. Look for foods containing complex and complete carbohydrates such as whole wheat breads and flours. When purchasing meat, think about using leaner options such as turkey bacon and chicken over fat-heavy pork. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and limit alcohol consumption.

It can also be important how you eat. As much as you can help it, eating should not be a rushed or stressed endeavor. Try to set aside enough time that you don’t need to rush through your food. Not only will this lead to easier digestion, but mindful eating can be a time for relaxation and contemplation. For instance, try this mindful eating exercise next time you are having dinner. Begin by taking the time to look at your food and notice how it looks, if it’s a hot meal pay attention to how the steam rises from the dish, and how the colors of the various food items look. Take a single bite and focus on how the food tastes, what the texture is like, and what you enjoy about each bite. If you are eating with family members have them describe their own thoughts about the food and the eating experience. Mindful eating not only helps you appreciate the food and the overall experience of eating, it also has physical benefits such as easier digestion from the slower eating pace. Eating slower also means your body will have more time to tell you it’s full before you take those few extra bites. Of course, this is just one example of using a simple everyday activity as a mindfulness exercise, but it should get you thinking about other activities in your own day-to-day life that have mindful potential. Leveraging these small “mindful moments” can go a long way in helping you maintain perspective and stay present among all the external stressors in your life.

Some other nutrition tips include:

  • Do not go to the store hungry and stock only healthy foods at home. Not going to the store hungry and making sure to only buy healthy food means that when you are hungry and craving the junk food you will simply not have access to it. Over time you will begin to truly enjoy and crave the good, healthier options.
  • Make simple swaps for a leaner diet. Rather than eliminating foods you love, try simply making them healthier with a few substitutions. Prepare veggies without sauces or butter, reduce your fatty meat portions, grill instead of fry, dip food in sauce rather than smother it, and choose whole-grain, low-salt, and low-fat options when shopping.
  • Make a meal log. Keeping a list of the meals you eat can help you visualize your eating habits, identify patterns, and find opportunities for improvement. Sometimes you just don’t realize that you had 3 cheeseburgers already this week, but if you keep a list it becomes easier to find those bad habits you may not think about otherwise.

Sleep

Sleep can be a huge issue for many people, and the frustrating thing about the sleep/stress cycle is that stress can often be the cause of sleepless nights and in turn being tired makes you less resilient to the effects of stress. This can cause an exhausting spiral that can quickly take its toll on your wellbeing and other good habits such as your exercise routine, even though as I mentioned above, it’s even more important to exercise when you have had poor sleep.

In addition to magnifying the effects of stress, not getting enough sleep causes all sorts of negative effects and can be dangerous. Drowsiness can cause delayed reaction time, impaired judgement, poor vision quality, decreased motivation, irritability, and lack of focus. All of these side effects are bad by themselves but when combined with activities like driving or operating machinery, the risk factor goes way up. To combat these risks, you need to be mindful and purposeful of your sleeping routine. Make it a goal to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and build your bedtime routine around this effort. Begin by building a bedtime ritual that you start at the same time every night. Pick relaxing activities that help you wind down. This could be reading a book, meditating, taking a warm bath, journaling, or something else you find enjoyable and relaxing. Try to avoid any activities that involve a screen like a TV, computer, or mobile device as these screens can emit light within a specific spectrum that can interfere with, and alter, your sleep/wake cycle.

Some sleep tips include:

  • Keep to the same bedtime and wake time schedule, even on weekends.
  • Eliminate noise and light from your sleep environment (use eye masks and earplugs).
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages and foods close to bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol; although it may seem to improve sleep initially, tolerance develops quickly and it will soon disturb sleep.

Other Considerations

By now you should have at least some idea around how stress and physical wellbeing interact with each other and may even have an idea of how you’re going to use your physical activities to help reduce stress. No matter what your physical and nutrition plan is, balance and moderation will be important. Don’t exercise yourself into exhaustion and don’t diet yourself into a nutrient deficiency. In fact, we would advise that you talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen or diet. Find out what path works for your unique set of needs and proceed slowly. Start developing those good habits while you scale back the bad ones and before you know it these changes you make will become habitual and most importantly, sustainable.

It is practically impossible to avoid stress in our daily lives, and we must accept that many things are outside our control. However, by maintaining the facets of our lives we do have control over, we can be infinitely better prepared to handle the stressors that inevitably come our way. It is crucial that we maintain healthy habits that will build “positive spirals” in our lifestyle and overall health. The journey is not always an easy one but the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to your social network of friends and family and see who wants to take the journey with you or is at least willing to encourage you and help you stick to your convictions. Read self-help books on topics your struggling with, talk to others that may have experience, and try out local support groups.

If your employer offers one, you can also reach out to your Employee Assistance Program to see what resources they can offer to help such as MINES’ wellness programs or online portal, PersonalAdvantage, that provides articles, assessments, tips, trainings, and other resources on fitness, nutrition, stress, and much more. Call us at 1-800-873-7138 or email us at communications@minesandassociates.com if you have any questions.

 

To your wellbeing,

Nic Mckane

The MINES Team

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Kindness at In Its Simplest Form

Kindness

According to the Oxford dictionary, kindness is “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate”. But it goes beyond just being friendly or considerate. It is the act of stepping outside your norm and doing something for someone else just for the sake of being nice. Today try celebrating #WorldKindessDay by finding unique ways to help those around you and yourself. You may be surprised at how much happier you will be and may even notice a permanent change in your environmental wellbeing at home and at work by simply celebrating this day in a new way.

Ways to be Kind at Work

Some days it can be tough to be kind at work, especially if there are hurt feelings, frustration around responsibilities, or if you are just plain busy. However, those are the best days to take a couple of moments out and force yourself to do something kind for those around you.

Here are 10 simple things you could do at work today to celebrate this important concept.

  1. Take a co-worker out to lunch or coffee who may be going through a stressful time (or bring them in a cup of their favorite beverage).
  2. Ask a co-worker who is struggling with caregiving or is having a hard time, what you can do to help or offer to babysit one night for them.
  3. Write a thank you note or bring in a treat for your janitorial staff who are rarely seen but do a ton of work to make sure your office is clean and ready to go for you.
  4. Say thank you to your receptionist for their hard work making sure your office runs smoothly.
  5. Send an encouragement note out to a co-worker.
  6. Smile at everyone you see in the hallway. This will encourage you and your co-workers!
  7. Don’t wait to be asked, but stay late or come in early and help a co-worker out on a big project.
  8. Stop and say “good morning” to a co-worker that you don’t normally interact with.
  9. Bring in a big crock pot of soup to share with everyone who wants some.
  10. Publicly recognize someone’s strengths and thank them for a job well done.

And remember, if you see someone struggling that needs help or should talk to someone, the EAP is a great resource and MINES and Associates has counselors available 24/7 to talk. Please give them our number at 1-800-873-7138 and offer to help them call.

Ways to be Kind at Home

We all know about random acts of kindness as there are countless stories of people buying coffee for the person behind them or passing along the good holiday cheer to strangers. This is an important aspect of what this day is all about. However, it is also important to bring this home to your family and friends.

  1. Offer to help a family member or friend work on their weekend to-do list.
  2. Take someone a meal so they don’t have to cook dinner for a day.
  3. Have everyone in your home (whether it is just you, your significant other, and/or your kids) write a thank you note to each person in the house.
  4. Do a chore for someone that you know they don’t like to do.
  5. Try writing up a list of random acts of kindness that someone could do for others in the house. Then every week draw from that list and do that action.
  6. Send a gift to someone who is having a hard day.
  7. Leave a treat for your mailman in your mailbox.
  8. Clean your kids’ room for them, without grumbling.
  9. Thank someone for their everyday contribution.
  10. Set time aside to have that lengthy conversation with your relative that likes to talk.

Ways to be Kind to Yourself

There are plenty of acts you can do that are selfless and helpful to those around you. However, have you considered that you need to be kind to yourself? Those times you feel guilty, stressed by your actions, or unsure about yourself, take this day to look inward at how you can build your personal wellbeing and improve yourself. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Treat yourself to something special. Most nutrition experts will agree that having a cheat day built into your healthy food schedule allows for habits to solidify and for you to enjoy life and those special occasions. So, take this time to examine what makes you happy and what you can do to support your needs. And take the time to tell a friend, co-worker, or family member your needs so they can support you in the future. Communication is key and we are all in this crazy world together trying to make the best of each day.

And it is always a good idea to talk to a counselor if you feel you need help or want to find ways to improve your wellbeing. MINES is happy to talk with you and help you set goals around this. Or you can check out our monthly communication that dives deeper into all 8 areas of wellbeing to see how you can support your needs.

Celebrate Kindness Every Day!

Use this day to start finding ways to incorporate kindness into your life. As you do this, you will be amazed at how satisfied you feel, how helpful you feel, and how much you can influence those around you. Smile, give generously, be helpful in small ways.

Here’s to your continued journey to total wellbeing,

 

Raena Chatwin

MINES and Associates

 

References

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/kindness

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Total Wellbeing: November 2017

 

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November 2017: Emotional Wellbeing and Eldercare

Get Involved!

Welcome to the November issue of TotalWellbeing! If you have been following TotalWellbeing you know that every month we focus on one of the 8 Dimensions of Wellbeing. As we dive into the last quarter of the year, we start to think about our friends and family that may be missing from the holiday dinner or about how much things have changed with our elderly family members and friends. This time of year is a perfect time to look deeper at our emotional wellbeing and how we can be resilient through the next couple of months. It is also a great time to look at how we can support and uplift those who have the incredibly hard job of taking care of their elderly family members, or work in the field of eldercare, as they also may struggle with their emotional wellbeing.

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 newest infographic on Eldercare for some data and tips around planning for long-term care, or check out some helpful tips sheets here and here.

To catch you up on MINESblog, October saw two important posts. The first post was around World Mental Health Day. Our post covered some information and history around mental wellbeing, and provided some helpful links to mental health resources. Our second post provided a firsthand account of emotional resilience in the wake of the Vegas Shooting from one of our team members that was in Las Vegas shortly after the tragedy.  And don’t forget to check out the latest edition of BalancedLiving with great fall related resources just in time for the holidays.

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: When Eldercare and Emotions Collide

It can be quite emotional to be the caretaker of a loved one. Whether you are the sole-caretaker or part of a team caring for someone, it drains you emotionally and physically. The responsibility of caring for another means you may not go out socially, you struggle with decisions that you may not want to make, and you may have financial strain all while living your own life. It is important to keep in mind if you know a caretaker, or are one, that you need to take time to examine your emotions and find a way to support your emotional wellbeing among everything else or to find a way to support the people you know. Remember self-care is just as important as eating healthy when it comes to your wellbeing. And if you know someone who is caring for someone else, remember to take time this month to thank them for what they are doing and check in with them to see what you can do to uplift them and their needs.

Check out a great website for some great tips improve your emotional wellbeing here!

Tips for you:

It is never too early to start creating a care plan for an aging loved one. Check out this month’s webinar to learn what Elder Law encompasses and how an Elder Law attorney can help you as you age. The discussion will focus on estate documents such as powers of attorney, healthcare directives, living wills, wills and trusts, and will discuss long-term care planning including the different programs and planning available to help with the costs of long-term care and protecting your assets for your loved ones.

Check out the webinar here!

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 look at how you can expand your knowledge and skills within your community. Check out your local community’s website for senior centers or other places you could volunteer to help someone in your community.

Click here to find a place to use your skills near you!

If your organization has access to PersonalAdvantage make sure to check out this customizable online benefit available through MINES. It has tons of the same great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and a whole section of trainings on Resilience! 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.

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

BizPsych

2017 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: September 2017

 

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September 2017: Occupational Wellbeing and Resilience

Get Involved!

Welcome to the September issue of TotalWellbeing! If you have been following TotalWellbeing you know that every month we focus on one of the 8 Dimensions of Wellbeing. In today’s workplace the word “resiliency” is brought up a lot. But what does resiliency mean to you and how can you apply your personal definition of it to your work and personal life? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to change” however you could define it in several ways as we are asked daily to make micro-adjustments in our lives. This month, we hope you can take advantage of these blogs and webinars, and consider how they might help you thrive at work even more than you may be doing now.

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 latest infographic for some tips on how to be more resilient. Always feel free to print these resources and post them around if you feel they would be helpful.

These next few months mark some busy times in the world of Employee Assistance Programs. As such MINES will be on the road talking about wellbeing and employee health all over the country. We may even be seeing some of you in the process. To help track us down we posted an overview of where we will be and what the MINES Team will be up to. Of course, as events and trips draw closer we will update you all so be sure to follow us on MINESblog! And for some more resilience resources check out this throwback post on the ability to bounce back.

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: How to Improve Your Resilience at Work

Occupational wellbeing is just as important as any of the eight facets and so it is important to look at how to feed your happiness and sense of accomplishment at work. Resiliency is about bouncing back from setbacks and looking at those changes or setbacks as an opportunity to improve your situation. When we are looking at the occupational wellbeing and resilience, it is easy to see how they go hand in hand. If you are able to find a way to be resilient and accept change, you will be able to better succeed in your occupation, thus allowing you to feel personal satisfaction of a job well done. The first steps are finding the positive in every situation and communicating your struggles with those you work with as you never know what solutions or suggestions they may know of. With these two things accomplished you can find ways to thrive in your occupation.

Here are some quick and easy tips to help improve your occupational wellbeing and productivity!

Check out the tips here!

Tips for you:

Do you ever ask yourself, “What can I do today to change my life for the better?” Thankfully, research supports that there is something we can do about it, and it’s actually quite easy. Check out this month’s webinar on two actionable concepts that you will enjoy adding to your daily/weekly routine and that will help you live a resilient, happier, positive, more purposeful life!

Check out the webinar here!

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 look at how you can expand your knowledge and skills within your community. Check out your local community’s website for classes you could take or find a way to use your skills to help someone in your community.

Click here to find a place to use your skills near you!

If your organization has access to PersonalAdvantage make sure to check out this customizable online benefit available through MINES. It has tons of the same great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and a whole section of trainings on Resilience! 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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Total Wellbeing: August 2017

 

 Total Wellbeing Icon

August 2017: Environmental Wellbeing and Communication

Get Involved!

Welcome to the August issue of TotalWellbeing! If you have been following TotalWellbeing you know that every month we focus on one of the 8 Dimensions of Wellbeing. August’s focus on the environment usually immediately goes to the fate of our world in regards to pollution and recycling. However, this month we hope you will consider how your environment relates to communication. Take a moment to listen to your surroundings (environment) and ask yourself what does it say to you, and in turn what do you say back either verbally or with your actions? This two-way interaction is happening everyday whether we are aware of it or not, and it is important to understand this connection when considering your environmental wellbeing. Every person, animal, and plant communicates and each respective environment is effected by how these entities interact with each other and their surroundings. Keep in mind communication can be passive or active; think about talking versus subconscious body language. Both can be equally effective depending on the situation.

For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below or view our latest infographic on the importance of communication. Always feel free to print these resources and post them around if you feel they would be helpful.

On MINESblog July was a great month to be talking about mindfulness, wellbeing, and reducing stress. First, we took a moment to use “National Father/Daughter Take a Walk Day” to highlight the importance of communicating with the people you love. We celebrated “Toss Away the Could Haves and Should Haves Day” with a post to help you let go of the past and move forward. Next, we wrapped up with two more posts; one about the MINES Health Champion designation from the American Diabetes Association to help boost awareness of the disease and provide some resources around how others can help the cause. Finally we wrapped up the month with a post about the cultural nuances of Emojis in honor of communication and National Emoji day.

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: How do we communicate about our environmental wellbeing?

You can improve your environmental wellbeing and general health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments, according to SAMHSA. Your environment includes those external factors that influence the other seven areas of your wellbeing (emotional, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual). So, as we look at how you can commune with your environment, we are looking at how you deal with those external factors. Are you able to verbalize how you are feeling in regards to your emotional state? Are you able to communicate to your loved ones about how you are planning your will and estate? Are you able be in your work environment and succeed, or is there something that would make it better for your overall wellbeing? If you are struggling with any of these, take a moment this month to consider how you can fix that. Is there a conversation you can have with someone or a proposal you can present to your work to increase your environmental wellbeing? Or does your body language convey something that it shouldn’t? What a great time of year to get outside and enjoy the weather, and ponder these things!

For example, here are some great reminders of how to improve your environmental awareness and therefore your environmental wellbeing.

Check it out here!

Tips for you:

There is so much more to communications than the spoken word, in fact, over 60 percent of your message is communicated without words. Check out this month’s webinar to learn about non-verbal communication, communication channels through social media, and perceptions of communication through one’s appearance.

Check out the webinar here!

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 enhance your communication and community by working together for the benefit of the environment. It’s a win/win!

See how you can help here!

We’re happy to announce that PersonalAdvantage, an online benefit available through MINES, has been redesigned and is better than ever. It still has tons of the same great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and assistance for Estate Planning, and now has a new look, easier navigation, and works great on mobile too. 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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Break Free from Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Summer is a time that brings freedom to the forefront of many peoples’ minds.  We celebrate Independence Day, epic road trips and “getaway vacations” are undertaken, and our own neighborhoods and backyards become the settings for great adventures.  Created by Martha J. Ross-Rodgers and celebrated on July 15th this year and every third Saturday in July, “Toss Away the ‘could haves’ and ‘should haves’ Day” offers each of us a new kind of freedom; an opportunity to shrug off the weight of the past and embrace freedom from regret.  The MINES team invites you to join us in embracing this liberating holiday this year.

All you need to celebrate “Toss Away the ‘could haves’ and ‘should haves’ Day” is old-fashioned pen and paper, a trash can, and a few moments for reflection. For an environmentally friendly twist use scrap paper or the back of a document you were already going to throw away or recycle. These pesky “could haves” and “should haves” don’t deserve your good paper anyway! To get started take a moment to write down all the “should haves” and “could haves” that come to mind. Go ahead; we’ll wait.  Having trouble getting started? Here are a few of our own “should haves” and “could haves.”

  • “I would be making more money if I had gone back to school”
  • “I could have been more adventurous.”
  • “I should have made my friends more of a priority”
  • “I wish I would have summited the 14er”

The cost

Not convinced it’s worth the work? Believe it or not, there are many “costs” associated with your “Shoulda Woulda Couldas.” They affect your mental and physical health.  For a brief second, let’s look at how it can affect your Mental Health. They can cause…

  • Panic Attacks/Anxiety
  • Behavioral & Personality Changes
  • Depression
  • Relationship Problems
  • Substance Abuse

Now, let’s look at the effects on your physical health. There are always symptoms associated with Anxiety and Depression. Depending on the depth of your “Shoulda Woulda Couldas” and how much anxiety and or depression it causes you, you could start to feel

  • Nervousness, Irritability, Restlessness
  • Trouble Sleeping, Fatigue
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Heartbeat/Breathing
  • Chest Pain
  • Perspiration
  • Numbness/Tingling

The reward

You’ve seen what your regrets are costing you, but what is the payout for this mental housekeeping? For starters, the time and energy that were being put it the past can be redirected to the present! You have freed up precious mental resources to mindfully engage in the activates that promote your happiness and wellbeing. Rather than negative thoughts that reduce self-esteem, you can focus on mood-boosting positive thoughts about the now. Not only that, an article by Charles Q. Choi suggests that letting go of regrets could be associated with better mental health later in life.  What better time than now to develop a new habit that could lead to a happier more fulfilled life even into your later years?

Finishing up

Feeling motivated to get rid of those regrets you’ve written down? We sure are!  Take that piece of paper, crumble it up in a little ball, and for added luck in the future give it a great big goodbye kiss, then toss it away. Put it in the trash can, burn it in a campfire, do whatever feels right to get rid of it, just please don’t litter.

I will now be able to focus on the “Everything happens for a reason approach” and turn “I should have made my friends more of a priority” into “I might not have been able to attend that friend’s dinner party, but I was able to tie up loose ends at home instead”. And “I wish I would’ve summited the 14er” into “I may not have been able to summit the 14er this time, but I got further than I ever have before, and now I can train harder and I will know what to expect the next time!”

Remember, the past is the past. You cannot change 5 minutes ago, let alone 5 years ago. Use this year’s “Toss Away the ‘could haves’ and ‘should haves’ Day”, to be clutter free from the past. To quote Bil Keane “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why we call it the present”.

 

To your wellbeing,

Ann Hendricks and Eugenia Janssen

Administrative Coordinators

The MINES Team

 

References

https://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/toss-away-the-could-haves-and-should-haves-day-third-saturday-in-july/

https://www.livescience.com/19788-regrets-healthy-aging.html

http://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/effects-on-body

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The Importance of Walking and Talking

Celebrating National Father Daughter Take A Walk Day

Tomorrow we celebrate the special bond between fathers and daughters and making the effort to spend quality time together by taking a walk. Although this idea can be easily applied to parents spending time with their kids, this is a unique day evokes memories and reminds me of the important role my father has played in my life. So, if you are a father or a daughter, try to find time this week to take a walk together in some fashion. Check out https://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/national-father-daughter-take-a-walk-day-july-7/ for more information.

The Gift of Time

Time is so valuable, especially when you are a child. You observe those around you to see how they spend their time and there is nothing better than to have someone give you their undivided attention and time. No matter what age you are, the time you have with your parents can be both valuable and enjoyable. And the time you take out of your busy schedule to be with your children can only help your overall wellbeing as there is much we can take away from our children and the younger generations as a whole. In today’s society, it is common to have the father out of touch with his kids as he works long hours to provide for the family. It has changed a bit over the years, but this day is a great reminder of the importance for not only fathers to spend time with their daughters but every parent out there to mindfully spend time with their children. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the block or laying in the yard finding animals in the clouds, or it can be taking the time to do a craft or go to the zoo together. The important thing is to give your undivided, focused attention and is something that is mutually beneficial and enjoyed by both parties (i.e. not going to the grocery store because you have to).

Walking and Wellbeing

As mentioned in one MINES’ previous blogs, walking is healthy and a great way to exercise. Walking reduces various health risks and is fairly easy to do. Walking can be a great excuse to get outdoors and enjoy your environment. Our world is an amazing place to be in and there are so many things you can observe while you are walking outdoors. Walking also lends itself to help you be mindful of your surroundings and gives you a quieter time away from your computer to think things through. Whether it is a short walk to the grocery store, or a longer hike to see the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, walking is a great exercise to do with the whole family.

Walking and Defining My Identity

One of my favorite memories growing up was taking walks with my dad. Whether it was walking the dog around the block, walking to the nearby lake to go fishing, or hiking while camping, my dad and I always had a great time talking and learning from each other. I learned the importance of integrity through his stories of his business successes and failures. I learned the importance of understanding your history and background through his storytelling of my ancestors’ adventures and how they persevered through the Depression and helped everyone they knew. I learned the importance of failing and hardships in order to ultimately succeed through his descriptions of his misspent teenage adventures and losing his father. I learned all about love and sacrifice through listening about how he and my mom met, dated, and the struggles of their marriage. Most importantly, I learned how to forgive and be positive, especially when it is hard, through our conversations about family relationships and the wrong that has been done to him and seeing how he dealt with those situations.

Walking and Developing New Relationships

My dad opened my eyes to a lot of things through our walks and talks and it has shaped me to strive to be all those things. I loved when I could make my dad’s eyes dance with mirth as I told him stories of my struggles at school or with friends, and I loved when I asked him questions and he would become serious as he considered the best way to answer. He never ducked behind the “because I said so” excuse and always treated me as a whole person. When I first introduced my husband, then boyfriend, to him, the walks became faster and longer as he tried to decipher how his little girl was growing up and liked this “boy”. His questions were good and brought lots of discussions between my husband and me, but in the end discussing those things, allowed us to build a strong, lasting relationship. Throughout the time my husband and I were dating, we would go on long walks around the city to talk things out and learn about each other. That time away from distractions was an amazing bonding time. In fact, to this day, I love going on walks with my dad or my husband to talk and figure things out.

Walking with the One’s You Love

This day celebrates Fathers and Daughters joining each other for a walk. However, the spirit of the day is to share a healthy lifestyle and spending time with your family. Whether you are a dad with a daughter or a friend of a busy family, dedicate some time today to take a walk with someone you care about. Take a deep breath of the fresh air, appreciate the woodland creatures that you see in the trees around you or in the sky, and just talk. Enjoy your social connection with those you love and let someone see a different side of you by sharing stories about yourself.

Concluding Thoughts

Whether it is a brisk walk or a leisurely stroll, enjoy the company of someone you love. If you are a parent, you only have 18 summers, unless you are a parent of a millennial then you could have 36 summers before your child could be gone from your daily life. Take advantage of this time and look for a way to connect and listen to what your kids have to say. And if you are unable to walk with your father or daughter, take a walk and think of all the wonderful memories of each other.

Happy National Father-Daughter Take a Walk Day!

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Raena Chatwin

MINES and Associates

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Total Wellbeing: July 2017

 

 Total Wellbeing Icon

July 2017: Social Wellbeing and Social Security

Get Involved!

Welcome to the July 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 are looking at how you can mature your sense of connection and grow your social wellbeing. What great timing to think about this as we start summer and are able to be outside more! This month we also are looking at expanding your knowledge about your social security benefits and delving into how social security is a part of your social support system.

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 latest infographic on how Social Security Benefits work. Always feel free to print these resources and post them around if you feel they would be helpful.

And of course, just a gentle reminder that for more resources you can check out MINESblog. This is where we always strive to bring you, helpful, informative, and inspirational content around topics that are important to wellbeing and community. Last month we had an inspiring post about the little know National Upsy-Daisy Day and how it’s a reminder to always take time the time to enjoy the small things throughout your day. MINES was also the recipient of two Founder’s Awards from Peer Assistance Services and you can read about that here.

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: Social Security Benefits and Social Wellbeing

When you think of Social Security, you may not automatically see the connection to your social wellness. However, Social Security is a social benefit by nature, meaning it is available to all, within its limitations, and it affects the community as a whole. It also affects your social support system as your family could receive Social Security benefits. Helping your support system understand your benefits can only help you feel more confident and prepared for the future which inevitably helps improve your social wellbeing.

Mankind is meant to be social. We are built to interact, connect, and support each other. Even if we are more introverted or prefer to be behind the scenes, we still look to our families and friends to be our support system and enjoy being around others to some extent. As you think what being social means to you, try to find a way this month to expand your social network either through social media or in your community or workplace. Take time to find an activity to do- go to a parade or concert- or take a road trip to discover something new about yourself and those around you.

Here are some great tips on how to be social even if you don’t feel like it or if you consider yourself to be an introvert.

Check out these great tips here!

Tips for you:

Social Security Benefits include financial assistance for you and your family members through retirement, disability, and Medicare coverage. Take the time to talk to your family and let them know what you have decided to do and how you can be financially secured regardless if you and your family have access to Social Security benefits. You can never be too prepared.

Check out this month’s webinar to learn more about how Social Security Benefits work, so you can feel equipped when you have to make a financial decision about Social Security for you or a family member.

Check out the webinar here!

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:

There are a lot of people who struggle with understanding their social security benefits. If you have an expertise in this area, consider going to your local retirement community and asking if you can share your knowledge with those who might be using it. If you don’t have this expertise, take time today to step into your community (and workplace) and share whatever is your expertise with those around you. Interacting with your community is a great way to be a part of a communal support system and help develop your sense of belonging.

Click here to find a place to use your skills near you!

We’re happy to announce that PersonalAdvantage, an online benefit available through MINES, has been redesigned and is better than ever. It still has tons of the same great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and assistance for Estate Planning, and now has a new look, easier navigation, and works great on mobile too. 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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