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GOOD GRIEF

What is grief?

Grief is a natural reaction to loss. It can be a loved one, friend, co-worker, pet, and even sometimes objects such as a house or car. It’s important to understand that grief is a way in which our minds and bodies cope and that grief can be a healthy, even necessary, process. Everyone experiences grief at some point in their lives and works through it on their own terms. In fact, 1 in 5 people will experience the death of someone close to them by the time they are 18. Grief can be an extremely personal time where people may reach out to others or isolate themselves. We will discuss the difference between healthy and unhealthy grieving, along with the common stages of grief.

The stages of grief

Depending on where you look you can find anywhere from 5 to 7 stages of grief. For sake of brevity, we will focus on the core 5 stages. The stages are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

While these stages represent an overall progression, it is important to note that it is possible to move back and forth between stages, skip stages and even begin the stages again once you’ve reached acceptance. For instance, you may skip the bargaining stage and go straight into the depression stage but then fall back into the anger stage before finally reaching the acceptance stage. The healing process will be painful and depending on the level of grief you are experiencing can often take a long time. Sometimes it may take weeks, other times it can years to reach some form of resolution to the grieving process. It is important to focus on happy memories and positive thoughts when working through a loss. In 2008 psychologist Dale Lund of California State University surveyed 292 recently bereaved men and women age 50 and older and found that 75 percent reported finding humor and laughter in their daily lives and at levels much higher than they had expected. Other research has shown that being able to draw on happy memories of the deceased helps you heal — those who are able to smile when describing their relationship to their husband or wife six months after the loss were happier and healthier 14 months out than those who could only speak of the deceased with sadness, fear, and anger. Everyone works through grief their own way and in their own time but it is important to recognize when the grieving process has stagnated and is not progressing toward acceptance in a healthy way. This may be a sign that professional help is needed.

When is grieving good/bad?

As we mentioned above grief is a very natural, human reaction to tragedy and necessary to our healing process. Grieving is healthy when we are able to use it to process our thoughts and emotions in a way that lets us heal and eventually reach a state of acceptance that lets us move on from the tragedy. This does not mean forgetting about the people we may have lost or the events that might have happened, but simply reaching a place emotionally that allows us to live our lives normally. Grief is unhealthy when we stop progressing through the stages and get stuck. This may happen in any one of the stages and you may even switch between a couple but are never able to reach the acceptance stage. This can happen for any number of reasons. Depression, isolation, and compounding life sources of stress and grief are just a few factors that could lead to obstacles in the grieving process. If this becomes the case, it is often best to seek professional help. Contacting a professional grief counselor is the best first step in assessing where you are in the grieving process and to determine if there are other areas of concern that need attention. To get in touch with a qualified counselor you can talk to your primary care doctor and they can often make a referral. You may also have direct lines to behavioral health benefits through your employer’s health plan or Employee Assistance Program. Check with your Human Resources Department if you are not sure.

How to grieve in a healthy way

As we said, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there is healthy and unhealthy grieving. In order to help yourself stay positive and productive in the healing process it is helpful to keep in mind:

  • You are not alone – Friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, church groups, and others you know socially can help. Think about whom you know that can support you.
  • Don’t let others tell you how you should feel – Only you know what’s right for you. What someone else went through when they dealt with grief may not be what you experience.
  • Let others know how they can help – What you need while navigating the grieving process may be different from moment to moment, day to day, and week to week. Let others know how your needs are changing.
  • Everyone’s grief is unique – There is no guide to tell you when to start and stop grieving or when to move from one stage of the process to the next. However, if you feel that your grief is getting worse and that you are not progressing, there is help. Contact a grief counselor or EAP to get in touch with help. If your EAP is MINES our contact information is below.

Of course, this is not a comprehensive list and as you navigate through the healing process you may find that certain things help and others don’t. Find what works best for you.

How to help others grieve

At this point, you should see that grief is personal and can be a sensitive topic to some people. It can be hard to find ways to talk about grief or offer help if you know someone is grieving or struggling with a loss. There are things you can do, however, that offer support without being intrusive or overbearing. Things you might try include:

  • Just being around – Sometimes there is nothing you can say that will make a person feel better. But just the fact that you are around can help. By being present and ready should they need something, the grieving person will feel supported even if you or they don’t know exactly what to say at the moment.
  • Food – When someone is grieving, sometimes food is the last thing on their mind. They may not feel up to cooking or going out to get something. Or they may be suffering from lack of appetite which is common during grief. Being handy with quick, nutritious, easy to eat items such as fruit, veggies, or simple dishes can be a great help. As well as helping them remember when they ate last and ensuring they are getting enough sustenance.
  • Support for decisions – When depressed, people’s decision-making ability can suffer. Try to help the griever put off big decisions until they are in a better state of mind. If necessary be there to act as a voice of reason and clear thought should important choices come up that need to be addressed.
  • Listening – If and when the grieving person is ready to open up and talk, be there to listen. Offer simple understanding and words of support. Try and keep them talking so that they can vent their emotions when they have a chance. Steer away from any judgment and instead offer encouragement as much as possible. Talking is healing.
  • Let them cry – Seeing our loved one’s cry can be painful, but don’t let that make you discourage them from doing so. Crying can be an important part of emotional processing. Instead, comfort them, offer them tissues, and even cry with them.

Be there for the person in need but allow them the chance to choose to open up to you on their own terms and in their own time. Trust that if you are there for them they will let you know when they need you. Intervene only if you sense that they are getting worse and not taking care of themselves in a way that will help them get better in time.

Moving on

If you are currently grieving, supporting someone who is, or have grieved in the past but have reached acceptance, continue to focus on and preserve the good memories you have. You may always feel the sting of the loss to some extent but as you remember your passed loved one, lost relationship, or even a lost pet, the pain will slowly disappear over time and the fond memories and times that made you laugh and smile will be all that remain. If you are struggling and having trouble reaching the point of acceptance and do not feel as if you are healing, please reach out to someone. Find a close friend or family member you can confide in, seek out a grief counselor to talk to, and again if your employer has an Employee Assistance Program use that resource to find the help you need. If you have MINES as your EAP, we are always here to talk 24/7, please reach out to us anytime at 1-800-873-7138.

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Nic Mckane

The MINES Team

 

Sources

Children’s Grief Awareness Day. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from https://www.childrensgriefawarenessday.org/cgad2/index.shtml

Konigsberg, R. D. (2011, March 14). Grief, Bereavement, Mourning Death of Spouse. Retrieved March 24, 2017, from http://www.aarp.org/relationships/grief-loss/info-03-2011/truth-about-grief.html

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Through Imagination and Exploration, Find Joy at Work

This March compiles three events that are all based on children and the importance of remembering to explore the world, use your imaginative side, and have fun. Children demonstrate all you need to know to have good work/life balance. From the re-imagined Disney® classic Beauty and the Beast coming out to celebrating Little Red Wagon Day, we are reminded that we can (and should) use the same lessons that we teach the younger generation. We’re also reminded of the importance of looking at problems from all sides and discovering new avenues to work through everything.

From the original to Disney®

This month Disney® released the reimagined Beauty and the Beast in a live-action retelling of a story that was originally written by a French novelist in the 1740s to audiences (http://bit.ly/2mNh3EU). Disney’s® 1991 version brought a variation of the original story that wowed audiences. Disney® captured the story of a beast, a magical castle with a magical rose, and the love between a father and daughter and transformed it into a story of love and exploration with plenty of imagination thrown in with talking furniture and accessories. However, even with adding some elements to the original story, Disney® honed in on life principles that can be applied to everyone. Both the original story and the 1991 movie focus on the love between a father and selfless child, and about giving up something precious to discover more. It is about looking beyond the veil and not accepting the status quo.

Takeaways from the new Beauty and the Beast

The new rendition that debuted this month focuses on a girl trying to find her place in the world and includes plenty of imagination and laughter. Bringing together elements from the original story, the Broadway musical, and the 1991 Disney version, this story centers on looking past first impressions and addressing the pain and hurt each character dealt with in the past. (Spoiler alert! The remainder of this paragraph contains minor spoilers for the new movie. Please skip to the next section if you wish to avoid this.) This version hones in on the explanation of why the rose is important to Belle to why the Beast reacts to everyone around him, along with closing the other characters’ stories. Belle discovers the truth of her past and the Beast realizes he is stuck in the past. Maurice is a grief-stricken father who struggles providing for his daughter and feeling guilty of his past actions. However, both Maurice and Belle allow their imagination to rule and accept magic which in turn allowed them to explore their past so they could succeed in their future. The movie concludes with all the characters being reunited with their loved ones and they all, well almost all, lived happily ever after.

Are you a Beast, Belle, or Maurice at work?

No matter which version you watch or read, these characters appear as a prince turned into a beast due to his arrogance and self-focus, a young lady who loves knowledge and sees past initial impressions, and a father who loves his daughter and will do anything to see her succeed. Each character makes good and bad choices along the adventure and it isn’t until they learn to get along that they can reverse the bad situation they are in.

Everyone has bad days and it can be hard to let go of the past. However, if you take the time to look deeper, you will see that not everything is the way it appears. When you are feeling frustrated by a co-worker’s actions, take the time to review the situation and check in with your co-worker to see if there is something going on in their lives that may have caused them to react other than you were expecting. Review your past and see what is holding you back from building relationships with your co-workers or seeking to improve your work-life balance. Each Beauty and the Beast character drives home another point about not accepting things at face value and using the talents of those around you.

Imagination is key to all ages

The imagination that Disney® brings to the screen helps provide a formula that makes the movie a success. Imagination is a great tool, whether it is with inventing something that can take you where you need to go or helping you find solutions to problems at work. We all go through changes at work and at home and struggle with how those changes affect us. Next time you are struggling, think outside the box to find solutions. You will be amazed how a little imagination will help you achieve your goal. If you struggle with staying engaged with your work or with your team, find a creative team-building activity to do or use your imagination to find new ways to stay engaged. Sometimes you need to explore new avenues to find joy in your job.

Exploration is essential

Let your imagination take you places so you can continue to succeed and grow both professionally and personally. Take time to explore and enjoy the world you live in – both at home and at work. Spending time in nature is known to help reduce anxiety and stress. Whether it is taking five minutes see what is outside your work building or taking the time to look at your company’s website, take the time to explore what new things you can find and appreciate. You never know what new possibilities you might find or new ideas that will come through exploration. When Belle showed the beauty that surrounded Beast’s castle, the Beast’s eyes were opened and his heart began to heal. Without exploring what can be, it is easy to become disillusioned with your job and lose that joy of working for a great company.

Take action

Using these key things, do something. Don’t sit and complain. Be like Belle’s dad, Maurice, and take action. Don’t sit back when you see something isn’t going right. Stand up for what is right even if you co-workers think you are “odd”.  Do something to make work even better! Does your company have a Wellness committee? Would this help you be more successful? Your “happily ever after” is possible only if you act to secure it.

From work to your community

March 30th celebrates Little Red Wagon Day and provides a chance to celebrate imagination and to encourage kids to get outside and be active.  Radio Flyer, which is perhaps one of the most well-known red wagon producers, states that “The majority of Americans have owned a red wagon, and a majority of those people will pass their wagon down to the next generation.” For almost 100 years, Radio Flyer has been creating warm memories that last a lifetime and support unstructured outdoor play.

Use this day to see how you can use your imagination and explore ways to help your community live up to the spirit of this day. Check out Radio Flyer’s website here for more information and suggestions on how you can do this. http://www.radioflyer.com/little-red-wagon-day/

 

To your wellbeing,

Raena Chatwin,

The MINES Team

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Total Wellbeing: March 2017

 

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March 2017: Financial Wellbeing and Internet Safety

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Heart HandsWelcome to the March 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 how your emotional wellbeing dictates how you work through change. Change is hard no matter how you look at it. Whether it is changes at work or in your personal life, it is hard to recalibrate and accept the changes that inevitably come. The state of your emotional wellbeing will determine how you are able to deal with these changes.

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!

Last month we hit many important topics on MINESblog. First, in the wake of the Super Bowl, our own Dr. Robert Mines examined the psychology behind professional athletes in high pressure situations. Next, we took a step back to look at the tradition of Groundhog’s Day and looked at ways you can avoid running from your own shadow. Finally, Dr. Robert Mines and our CIO Ryan Lucas took an in-depth look at the gap of care that exists between students and care providers, and how Employee Assistance Programs can help get students the care they need. Finally, we also had a friend and community member, Amy Babich share her insights on Eating Disorders as Feb. 27 – Mar. 3 is Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

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

Emotions and change go hand-in-hand. The changes you have experienced in your career and in your home life affect your emotional state and depending on your emotional state, change may be harder to accept or work through. When you lose the promotion you have been waiting for, you may react negatively and feel like you failed yourself, especially if you are not able to find a way to stay positive and you do not have the emotional support needed to survive this type of change. When you decide to change your current behaviors and work on those New Year Resolutions, how you look at the failure or success of those resolutions is determined by your emotional wellbeing. The key is to find ways to stay emotionally healthy so you can work through these changes and thrive no matter what is thrown your way. Make sure you take time for yourself and work on your emotional resilience, so that when you come across these changes, regardless if they are changes you can control or not, you can work through them successfully. Get perspective about managing change. Take the time to talk to someone who has dealt with change in their life and see how they reacted to that change and what you can learn from them.  Those who have dealt with daily changes that they have no control over have very different, but effective, ways to handle change and their emotional wellbeing related to those changes.

Check out these resources about how to best manage changes in your life.

Tips for you:

Choose one change at a time and think SMART when you decide how you want to work on that change. Choose a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely and accept that it is ok to slip up on occasion. Check out this webinar for more about change.

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 check out this link to find ways to help foster change in others’ lives. Click here to learn more

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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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

 

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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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Total Wellbeing: January 2017

 

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January 2017: Occupational Wellbeing and Retirement Planning

Get Involved!

 

death_to_stock_communicate_hands_1Welcome to the January 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 year will be looking at these dimensions in conjunction with a monthly topic and how those two things vary in our communities. This month we will hone in on Retirement Planning and how different people may view how to go about that and how planning for your retirement affects your Occupational Wellbeing. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Last month MINESblog saw two important posts that we hope you found useful. To recap, in case you missed them, we talked about Colorado Gives Day which is an annual charity day that supports Colorado non-profit organizations that do great work all year around. If you missed it but still want to donate head over to coloradogives.org to see how you might still contribute. Next, we know that the holidays can be a stressful time of year so we posted a guide to find joy amidst all the holiday madness.

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 Retirement Planning Affects Your Wellbeing

Did you know that almost every country has some form of pension and social security benefits whether it is government funded or paid into by the employee? It is pretty incredible to think that so many countries see the importance and value of planning for the time when you will no longer work, either voluntarily or due to circumstances out of your control. Italy even has an elective residency visa that is generally used by foreigners who are retired and want to live in the Italian countryside. So how are you preparing for your retirement? Whether you are at the beginning or the end of your career it is important to your overall wellbeing to think about and find ways to start planning for retirement. Your occupational wellbeing is an important aspect of this. If you prepare for your retirement, you will feel happier as you get closer to that point. You will be able to focus your energy for your occupational wellbeing toward other work related issues rather than having to scramble that last year before you retire or feeling like you will never be able to retire.

It is never too early to start preparing for your retirement. Check out these resources.

Tips for you:

Talk to your co-workers or Human Resources and see what they have done to start preparing for the future. It is never too late to start that 401k or talk to a professional about it and you might have some great resources available at work.

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 contacting your local shelter or organization and helping others work on their occupational wellbeing, whether it is helping them write a resume, coaching them on interview techniques, or helping them develop computer skills. Use your individual skill set to help someone else take a step toward keeping their occupational wellbeing strong and healthy. Check out this website and look for ways you can help in your community here!

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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Finding Joy Amidst the Holiday Stress

Angry, Frustrated Woman --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

This month is not only packed full of holidays and events, it celebrates Weary Willie, the character played by Emmett Kelly in the mid-1900s.  Weary Willie day reminds us of the importance of laughter which is very appropriate when you think of how stressful this time of year can be with the holidays, from dealing with family to making sure you have enough money and time to buy presents for people.

Emmett who performed with Ringling Brothers and Barnum, along with other circuses, was one of the few clowns who were depicted as being sad. He was classified as a hobo clown who couldn’t do much right. However, he knew how to make people laugh but also evoked sympathy from the audience. By celebrating Weary Willie and the art of clowning this month, it reminds us to find fun and enjoyment during life’s struggles and the hardships that may happen during this time of year. Whether it is just finding ways to alleviate stress or taking time to learn to juggle or ride a unicycle, remember this season will pass and it is important to find ways to smile every day. To learn more about Weary Willie and the impact he had on the world of clowns, check out this article: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Emmett-Kelly

Don’t neglect your total wellbeing. Remember all 8 dimensions of your wellness are important to keep in focus during this season to help reduce stress and be able to enjoy this time of year. You need time to replenish so make sure you do! Take time to evaluate how you can make your Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Financial, Intellectual, Occupational, Social, and Environmental wellbeing be fulfilled so you can alleviate stress around these areas.

Here are some great tips while preparing yourself for this Holiday Season:

  1. Maintain your health. Watch what you eat and drink, get enough sleep, and don’t neglect doing your exercise program. By focusing your energy towards your wellness goals, you will feel better and be able to accomplish more.
  2. Be easy on yourself. It is ok to feel sad or grieve the loss of someone who isn’t here to enjoy the holidays with you. Acknowledge those feelings and express these normal feelings. It is natural during the holidays to feel blue sometimes. However, remember if your workplace offers an EAP they are there to help if you do want to talk to a professional about what you are feeling and if you want help processing those emotions.
  3. Carefully choose the events to attend that will bring the most joy to you. Focus on what the true meaning of the holidays are for you so your celebrations are the most meaningful. Celebrate each event you do this season so you can look back on this time as a good time verses something you have to do. This includes baking, decorating, writing a meaningful letter to someone, or choosing the perfect gift.
  4. Shop within your budget and plan in advance when, how, and where you will shop. Don’t let money worries add any stress. Giving from the heart is more important that giving an expensive gift.
  5. Be more realistic about holiday expectations – both yours and the ones others may have of you. Whether it is managing your time wisely and figuring out what you can cut out to reduce the stress or being reasonable about what you can accomplish by limiting your baking, decorating, and gift-giving. Make sure to give yourself and others a break if things don’t go according to plan.
  6. Find ways to experience happiness this season at work and at home. No matter what happens around you or who is a “Grinch”, don’t get ruffled by others’ behaviors and keep that smile on your face. Consider including your co-workers in your plans if they don’t have any or helping out in a soup kitchen, sharing something funny with someone every day, or buying yourself a gift no one will think of getting you to help make this season the best yet.
  7. Recognize that family differences won’t disappear just because it is the holidays. Work on building a relationship by finding common ground or starting a new tradition. Share fun stories and start to heal those past hurts through forgiveness and love.
  8. Take time to sit, enjoy your surroundings, and relax. Take in the weather, your home, and focus on finding a moment each day to enjoy the activities happening around you whether it is going snowboarding or sitting by the fireplace reading a good book.

We hope this list will help you have a successful, joyous, and wonderful holiday season that is stress-free!

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Raena Chatwin

Happy Holidays from the MINES Team

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Total Wellbeing: December 2016

 

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December 2016: Environmental Wellbeing

Get Involved!

 
1420510_42201730Welcome 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. This month we look inward in regards to Environmental Wellbeing and examine our interactions with the environment and how we can be more aware of our surroundings in our personal lives. The way we approach our exchanges with the environment is vital to our wellbeing. These exchanges can include how we recycle in our homes and work to how we help keep the lakes and nature paths clean so we can enjoy the scenery for generations to come. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

November was Alzheimer’s and Dementia awareness month. This topic is very close to our heart as it is to many of you since these terrible diseases touch so many of our lives in one way or another. Our posts on MINESblog paid homage to this topic and provided resources from a couple viewpoints. Our first post on Alzheimer’s Awareness provided information, stats, and resources aimed at providing a basic understanding of the issues at hand. Our follow-up post, on the other hand, borrowed from the spirit of thanksgiving and gave thanks to the caregivers that are out there every day making sacrifices and highlighted some of the many reasons these selfless people are so critical in the lives of the ones they care for.

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: Environmental Wellbeing and introspection

When we look more deeply at what environmental wellbeing includes it is important to look inward too. When was the last time you felt the grass beneath your bare feet, or sat and watched the snow fall? As we move into winter it is important to review and think about how we are affected by the environment around us and how daily life affects the environment. Introspection is about the examination of one’s conscious thoughts and feelings. So in respect to the environment it is important to take time out and reflect, and possibly revise, how you think of the environment and what actions you can take to help the environment, besides taking the time to enjoy the scenery around you. When you are out walking the dogs think about picking up the trash you see. When you are cleaning the snow off your walkways take a moment to breathe in the fresh cold air and think about what you can do to help keep our water supply clean. And when you are having those end-of-the-year celebrations taking in the colors, decorations, and lights think about how the use of electricity affects the environment and what you can do to help lower the environmental impact. The interactions between you and the environment are directly linked and it is important to enjoy the environment around you, along with taking the time to see what you can do to help.

Tips for you:

The environment affects your life every day. There are some great resources to help you find ways to start thinking about the environment in a new light and how to talk to your family and friends about this subject.  Take a look at http://www.epa.gov/recycle to help you learn more about environmental wellbeing.

Check Out the Article 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 is a great time to start helping out the environment and get involved in a local clean up event.

Check it out here!

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. 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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Thank You Caregivers!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and as such many of us are thinking of what we are thankful for in each of our lives. Good friends, loving family, and good health re: some of the common things that we find ourselves thinking of. So it is this spirit that MINES wants all of us to take a moment and thank the (sometimes thankless) caregivers that look after their loved ones who depend on them, often times sacrificing their own wellbeing in the process. There are countless reasons why one might become a caretaker or need a caretaker themselves but since it is Alzheimer’s awareness month we will focus on those that fall into the Alzheimer’s and dementia circle. About 15.7 million adult family caregivers care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. [Alzheimer’s Association. (2015). 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.]

Unsung (and unpaid) heroes

Given that a large percentage of caregivers are family members or friends of those that they care for, they are rarely paid or reimbursed for any of the time and resources that they spend caregiving. In fact, approximately 43.5 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months. [National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.] Not only do these folks go unpaid, they are often paying out of their own pocket for supplies, transportation, and lost wages due to missed work in the line of caregiver duty. Alzheimer’s and dementia are already ranked as some of the most expensive medical issues facing the US today, but with personal expenditures and lost wages for caregivers being hard to calculate exactly, this problem might be even worse than what the current stats say.

Who are they?

Despite their superhuman capacity for empathy, caregivers are normal people, and oftentimes do not have any formal caregiving training or background. They also come from just as diverse of backgrounds as that of the people that they care for. Typically, they are adults with the average age being 49.2 years old, with 48% of caregivers falling in between the ages of 18 and 49 years old. About a third of caregivers are older than 65. In terms of ethnicity, according to a 2015 survey, 62% of caregivers identify as White, while 17% identified as Hispanic, 13% as African-American, and 6% as Asian-American.  [National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.]

 

Women and Caregiving

A very important aspect of the Alzheimer’s/dementia crisis is that women are right at ground zero. Not only do women face a 60% greater chance of getting Alzheimer’s or dementia, but upwards of 75% of all caregivers are female, and may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than males. [Institute on Aging. (2016). Read How IOA Views Aging in America.]

 

While women account for the vast majority of caregivers, they also make up a large percentage of the individuals being cared for. In fact, 65% of care recipients are female, with an average age of 69.4. The younger the care recipient, the more likely the recipient is to be male. 45% of recipients aged 18-45 are male, while 33% of recipients aged 50 or higher are male. [National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.] Much of this is due to the fact that Alzheimer’s and many types of dementia tend show up in women a much higher rate than men. Researchers are trying to determine what the reason is behind this. It was once thought that it was because women tend to live longer than men, but as the average life expectancy becomes closer this is being challenged and other factors are being considered.

Who are they caring for?

While many caregivers do so professionally, many make the leap into the role of caregiver in order to care for family or close friends. This group actually makes up the vast majority of caregivers with 85% of all caregivers caring for a relative or other loved one. Of these caregivers 42% are caring for a parent, 15% are caring for a friend or other non-blood related loved one, 14% for a child, 7% for a parent-in-law, and 7% for a grandparent-in-law. [National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.]

What are they doing?

There is no set job description for caregiving. The day to day tasks vary from one individual to the next depending on the needs of those they care for. It is estimated that 96% of caregivers are charged with assisting or completely taking over normal everyday activities such as shopping, cooking, picking up prescriptions, and so forth which adds up fast, leaving little time for the caregivers’ own needs. [AARP and United Health Hospital Fund. (2012). Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care.]

 

According to a recent survey, on average, caregivers spend:

  • 13 days each month on tasks such as shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and giving medication;
  • 6 days per month on feeding, dressing, grooming, walking, bathing, and assistance toileting;
  • 13 hours per month researching care services or information on disease, coordinating physician visits or managing financial matters. [Gallup-Healthways. (2011). Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.]

 

To make matters worse, many of the tasks are complex and often medical in nature. A recent report that talked about caregivers who provide ongoing chronic care, 46% had to perform medical and nursing tasks on a regular basis, sometimes without the ability to obtain proper training to perform the needed tasks. [AARP and United Health Hospital Fund. (2012). Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care.]

 

It is important to mention that Alzheimer’s and other dementia related disease call for some of the more intensive and long term caregiving commitment. Measured by duration of care, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers provide care on average 1-4 years more than caregivers caring for someone with an illness other than Alzheimer’s disease. They are also more likely to be providing care for five years or longer. [Alzheimer’s Association. (2015). 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.]

How can we support them?

Caregivers report having difficulty finding time for one’s self (35%), managing emotional and physical stress (29%), and balancing work and family responsibilities (29%) (NAC, 2004). About 73% of surveyed caregivers said praying helps them cope with caregiving stress, 61% said that they talk with or seek advice from friends or relatives, and 44% read about caregiving in books or other materials (NAC, 2004). If you find yourself close to someone who is providing care for someone and you’d like to help out, keep in the mind the best way that you can help is to stay out of their way and instead go do daily tasks that they do not have time to do themselves such as shopping, picking up kids from school/activities, or offering company when they do get the rare moment to themselves. But remember if they just want to be alone make sure to give them the space they need to unwind.

Thank you!

So with all this in mind it’s easy to see that we should all be thankful to the caregivers in the world. Many people would be suffering even more without the time and personal sacrifices made by these special people every day. So this holiday season everyone at MINES says THANK YOU CAREGIVERS! Thank you for everything you do!

 

To Your wellbeing,

Nic Mckane

The MINES Team

Sources and Resources:

https://www.caregiver.org/caregiver-statistics-demographics. http://www.caregiving.org/caregiving2015/

http://www.cdc.gov/aging/caregiving/facts.htm, http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/info-11-2008/i13_caregiving.html

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Total Wellbeing: November 2016

 

 Total Wellbeing Icon

November 2016: Social Wellbeing

Get Involved!

 

death_to_stock_communicate_hands_4Welcome 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. This month we turn the magnifying glass to Social Wellbeing to discuss the influence social connections have on one another. Being aware of this influence is very important as the more we understand just how much our family, friends, co-workers, and other people in our lives actually impact our behavior, the better we can pick and choose good habits to emulate from others, and which behaviors to avoid. Likewise, no one wants to be a bad influence, so be aware of your impact on others and avoid conducting yourself in ways that may leave a negative impression on them. This is especially true with children, as their young minds are much more malleable than an adult’s and you never know where they might pick up behaviors from. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Last month we saw MINESblog cover Breast Cancer Awareness month with a post that looked at awareness, resilience, and resources for anyone whose life has been impacted in some way or another by cancer. Not our favorite topic to cover but one that can critically impact many dimensions of our wellbeing.

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: Social Wellbeing and Influence

One of the most important aspects of social wellbeing is the influence that others have on us, and conversely, the influence we have over others. As with most things this influence can be overt or subtle, good or bad, and purposeful or accidental. The key is being aware of this influence and making the most of it. This awareness brings with a degree of control over the external influences you let affect you as well as the influence you present to others. It is up to you to use this social influence to better yourself and others. The concept of a role model is the ideal example of this. We look up to role models and let their influence shape certain aspects of ourselves while in turn we are role models ourselves for those that look up to us.

Tips for you:

Maintaining healthy social connections can benefit your wellbeing in many ways. Take a look at an article over at Psychology Today that looks at the various impacts your social connections may have and examines 3 categories of social connectedness around life’s various relationships.

Check Out the Article 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:

Social influence often has the strongest hold over us when we are young and beginning to learn how the world works. This is the reason it is so critical to present a good example for young children. One way that we can help influence these impressionable young minds for the better is with community driven programs designed to help children strive and learn what they need to get ready for success in school and social activities. One such group that is making an impact is Early Milestones Colorado. Head over to their site to learn more about what they do and how you can get involved with the cause.

Check it out here!

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. 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.

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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