Posts Tagged workplace

Publication Update December 2017

Just a quick update.

Dr. Robert Mines (chairman and psychologist) and Dr. Dani Kimlinger (CEO) from the MINES Team were honored to contribute to an article by Bruce Shutan in this month’s issue of The Self-Insurer. The article is called Beyond Opioids and covers how EAPs, like MINES, and good benefit-plan design can help treat addictions and other substance use issues in an employee population as well as control overall health care spending.

The issue can be viewed here:

 

Check out other Self-Insurer publications here: https://goo.gl/2TjaUV

And check out other MINES publications here: www.minesandassociates.com/about_staff_publications.html

 

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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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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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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Peer Assistance Services Founders Awards 2017

Left to right: Dr. Richard Lindsey (MINES), Elizabeth Pace (PAS), and Dr. Robert Mines (MINES) at the 2017 Peer Assistance Annual Awareness Event

We are Honored

MINES and Associates is proud to announce that we have been the recipients of not one, but two 2017 Founder’s awards from the great people at Peer Assistance Services. Dr. Robert Mines, MINES and Associates founder and Chairman, and Dr. Richard Lindsey, former COO of MINES, have each been awarded the prestigious award for their work and support of Peer Assistance Services and their mission and were presented these awards at this year’s Peer Assistance Services Annual Awareness Event.

PAS History

First, a brief history and context around this award and the great work that Peer Assistance Services does every day. For those of you that don’t know Peer Assistance Services is a Colorado-based non-profit agency founded in 1984. Since their inception, PAS has been developing and implementing high-quality and accessible services in communities and workplaces all over Colorado to address substance abuse issues and the impact that has on our communities. They began by providing services to nurses suffering from substance abuse issues but have grown exponentially and today have a robust set of programs including Health Assistance Programs for a variety of industries, several community-based prevention programs, and the critical SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment) program that spreads awareness and helps identify need for substance abuse treatment. MINES is a proud a part of the SBIRT initiative, helping to screen at-risk individuals and triage treatment until the SAMHSA-funded SBIRT grant expired and continuing to integrate the SBIRT screening questions as part of our service delivery to this day.

The Founders Award is an award created in 1999 by Peer Assistance as a way to recognize various individuals and organizations for their support and contribution to the initiatives that PAS has set out to accomplish.

The Founders Award

As we mentioned, this year MINES was the proud recipient of two of these awards. We are told that no company has won two in one year before and obviously, we are very grateful and humbled to be recognized to this degree by such an outstanding organization as Peer Assistance Services.

The two awards were given to Dr. Robert Mines for his support of PAS with them stating “Last year, PAS lost a large contract requiring a 60% reduction in force. During this time, Bob provided consultation and debriefing to our executive management team. Expert MINES staff conducted employee transition meetings statewide to assist staff with the layoff. Transition meetings focused on change management including resources and training on how to access unemployment, resume writing, and other transition services. All of this was over and above the contracted services. We received numerous reports from employees about how much they appreciated the communication during this difficult time. We are so grateful to Bob for his leadership and counsel through the years.”

Dr. Richard Lindsey also received the award for his support with PAS stating “Rick provided clinical supervision for Peer Assistance Services staff for many years. His knowledge regarding substance use disorders and clinical practice was invaluable to agency staff working with diverse populations. He focused his professional attention on the development of delivery systems that optimally combine the best human and technological practices toward the alleviation of pain and suffering. This skill set was indispensable to the partnership with PAS and the Colorado SBIRT program. He shepherded individuals through the SBIRT referral process, ensuring seamless service delivery.  He was a member of the SBIRT strategic implementation team for many years, providing expert consultation on policy and program implementation. We are grateful to Rick for his support, his many kindnesses, and remarkable expertise.”

Thank you!

In the wake of these awards we want to take this opportunity to thank Peer Assistance Services for these awards and the honor of allowing MINES to be a part of their admirable mission and vision, and collaborating with MINES on so many great projects. We thank them for continuing to fight substance abuse and provide support to so many people that desperately need help. We hope to continue to work with PAS for years to come and strive to support our communities in becoming healthier and happier and to make substance abuse and mental health services higher quality and more accessible to all. Thank you to everyone at Peer Assistance Services for the work you do every day!

 

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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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: 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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Total Wellbeing: October 2016

 

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October 2016: Emotional Wellbeing

Get Involved!

 

death_to_stock_photography_bodytruths_7Welcome to the October 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 it is time again to look at emotional wellbeing and how your emotional state can affect other facets of your overall health. Certain things like motivation, enjoyment of activities, eating habits, and social interaction, just to name a few, are all things that your emotional state can impact. If you are aware of this interconnection then you can begin to leverage your other wellbeing dimensions to lift your spirits. For instance you may find getting some exercise helps alleviate some anxiety, or how going out with friends may help with any stress you may be feeling. We know that it might be hard to put yourself in a mindset to be productive, but trust us you will be happy you did.  For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

September’s MINESblog posts covered a couple topics. To help you celebrate Labor day, our first post talked about being mindful of your free time and gave some tips on how you can keep unplanned events and bad moods from getting in the way of your relaxation time. Next, on a much more serious note we took Suicide Prevention week as an opportunity to provide some important information on warning signs of suicide and what you can do to help someone you think might have suicidal thoughts. Keep in mind if you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts or depression, and you don’t know where to turn.  You can always call MINES, we are here to help.

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: Emotional Wellbeing and Your Body

As we typically like to point out here at MINES, coins have two sides and it is important to look at both. In this case, heads, as in your head, can experience some negative emotions and with those comes some risk depending on how you choose to handle these feelings. Just as positive mindsets can invigorate you and boost things like confidence, ambition, and desire for social activity, negative emotions can deplete your energy and ambition. This can cause you to be less active, eat less healthily, and socialize less, all of which can lead to your negative emotions perpetuating themselves. But that’s where the other side of the coin comes in. This emotion-driven energy dynamic goes both ways. Activity in the other wellbeing areas such as exercising (physical wellbeing), meditating or relaxing in your preferred method (spiritual wellbeing), and even going out with friends (social wellbeing), can make you feel more productive, boost your endorphin production, and help you see things from a different perspective. These proactive activities improve your mental wellbeing meaning the next time you feel down, resist the urge to shut down. Instead get up and go do your favorite activities and get some fresh blood to the brain and we guarantee you’ll begin to feel better.

Tips for you:

Your emotions can impact your physical health in many ways. Luckily there are just as many techniques and daily activities that can help you maintain your health while keeping your emotions in a healthy space. Take a look at what FamilyDoctor.org says about your emotion’s impact and tips on improving your overall emotional 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 Breast Cancer Awareness month, and to help support awareness, funding for research, and support to those who are dealing with this devastating disease, Making Strides is hosting walks around the country. If you want to get involved and help in any way you can check out the link below to locate an event near you.

Find an Event Near You!

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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Total Wellbeing: August 2016

 

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August 2016: Spiritual Wellbeing

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photo-1422222948315-28aadb7a2cb8

Welcome to the August issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we talk about Spiritual Wellbeing. This topic can be hard to define as it often means different things to different people depending on values, goals, beliefs, and background. But there is one aspect of Spiritual wellbeing that is common to us all and that is the drive to accept ourselves, the world, and our place within it. If you are feeling out of sync with yourself or the world around you it is important to take the time to meditate on the issue(s) that may be affecting you. While it is never a good idea to dwell on negative feelings, it is important to understand why we may be feeling them so that we can make changes, refine our values and understandings, and ultimately bring ourselves back into alignment so that we can feel better and move forward. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Much more information on a variety of topics is available on MINESblog. Here you can expect blogs, articles, and tips provided by members of the MINES Team. Last month you may have heard about a little game called PokemonGo. In case you didn’t notice it has been quite the social phenomenon, and we couldn’t help but look at some of the wellness and social psychology implications of the game, so check out what Ryan Lucas, our Manager of Engagement & Development, had to say about this latest craze. And of course we will have some more great articles coming up so make sure to subscribe.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. See you next month!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: Spiritual Wellbeing and Perspective

To be at peace with your surroundings you must first be at peace with yourself. This is no secret.  If you are stressed, distracted, or otherwise out of alignment with yourself it is hard to focus on your day-to-day life. You may find yourself unable to enjoy certain activities, find it hard to focus at work, or find your productivity slipping, all because there is something on your mind that is distracting you, or making you question your values or purpose. When that happens it is important to take the time to self-reflect and think about why you feel this way. To help bring yourself back into a place where you feel satisfied and fulfilled on a spiritual level, it is important to take time for yourself. Relax, seek to define or re-define your values, think about how those values guide your actions in your day to day life, and consider how you can refine the aspects of your life that you can control and let go of the things that you cannot such as the values and actions of others, or the state of the world as a whole. Come to terms with these things and it will be much easier to come to terms with yourself and find inner-peace.

Tips for you:

One of the key ingredients to Spiritual Wellbeing is self-acceptance and mindfulness. The ability to be self-aware without being overly critical of yourself can be tricky but not impossible. The key is to get above the negative thoughts in your head that are keeping you from being fully present in the moment. Don’t try to stop negative thoughts, as that is almost impossible, instead simply try to accept them and let them pass without affecting you. Use these 8 techniques for self-acceptance to help practice.

Try the Exercises 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:

While Spiritual Wellbeing focuses on looking within, we can’t truly be at peace with ourselves unless we understand our place in the world around us. It is important to remind ourselves from time to time how we work within the grand scheme of things. A great way to do that is to get out and interact with other people and at the same time find purpose for ourselves by helping others. Volunteering and helping with community-based events is a great way to do this. Volunteermatch.com makes it easy to find opportunities in your area where you can reach out and make an impact in your own community.

Find Opportunities 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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A Few Pointers on Supporting Your Transgender Employees!

Transgender discrimination in the workplace is a significant problem. In fact, approximately 90 percent of transgender employees report experiencing some type of harassment in the workplace. Almost 20 percent of gay and transgender employees report that they were passed over on a promotion or were fired because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.[i]  Over 60 percent of transgender employees make less than $25,000 annually.[ii] Shockingly, it is still legal in 32 states to terminate or deny employment to an employee based on their gender identity.[iii] About 40 percent of transgender employees are underemployed.[iv]

According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are still a number of employer-sponsored health plans which do not cover gender reassignment surgery. The average cost of a gender reassignment procedure is $16,000. Additionally, if the employer does not allow the employee to utilize leave for treatments leading up to and including gender reassignment surgery, there is an even more significant cost to the transgender employee.

What can you, as the employer do to support a work environment that is open and inclusive to all persons, including transgender candidates and employees?

  • Champion support for an inclusive and diverse work environment at all levels of the organization with the loudest voices at the top!
  • Offer non-discriminatory health plans! Work with your plans to ensure that you have removed exclusions for gender reassignment transition and hormone therapy.
  • Be sure to include gender identity in your anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. Consider zero-tolerance policies.
  • Treat transgender employee(s) as an individual, offer them the opportunity to lead their transitional process with the organization including; communicating their name, pronouns, how they want to inform their colleagues, their timelines, and how they best want to be supported.
  • Include gender identity awareness in your trainings whenever possible; consider your diversity, respectful workplace, and civility trainings as starting places.
  • Incorporate gender identity and transition into your leave policies. Transitioning can be a lengthy process. Keep the dialogues going with your transgender employees. Offer time off and discuss support needs along the way.
  • Support looks different to everyone! It might be handy to put together a supportive tool-kit for employees intending to transition. This toolkit may provide explanations about benefits for transgender employees such as health insurance, leave, and employee assistance programs. The toolkit may also include information about how to talk to managers and colleagues about the transition, restroom information, and a contact person to support them as well as their team. Your employee may or may not use the tool kit but if the resources are there, then they will be able to utilize them if needed.
  • Consult with your Employee Assistance Program with any questions and support around transitioning employees, policies, language and resources. Support and help is available.
  • Utilize education and support to work through any personal concerns you may have regarding supporting transitioning employees. Supporting al lemployees equally is a legal responsibility.

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Dani Kimlinger, Ph.D., MHA, SPHR, SHRM- SCP and Patrick Hiester, LPC

The MINES Team

 

[i] Gay and Transgender People Face High Rates of Workplace Discrimination and Harassment. Data Demonstrate Need for Federal Law. By Crosby Burns and Jeff Krehely. June 2, 2011

[ii] 37 Shocking LGBT Discrimination Statistics. Brandon Gaille. January 14, 2015.

[iii] The Transgender Community by the Numbers. Marie Claire. Kenny Thapoung

[iv] Transgender Workers at Greater Risk For Unemployment and Poverty. Human Rights Campaign. September 6, 2013

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Total Wellbeing: July 2016

 

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July 2016: Financial Wellbeing

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piggy bank brownWelcome to the July issue of TotalWellbeing! This month it’s time for everyone’s favorite topic, Financial Wellbeing. Smart, informed decisions are the key to building a financial foundation that you can grow from. Spend, save, and invest in smart ways. Be critical of information sources and be sure people you talk to have your best interest in mind. Be patient, save where you can and we promise small steps now will add up down the road. To help we have provided a retirement calculator and links to a community-based service-trading site to help you leverage your skills and save a buck while you’re at it. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Much more information on a variety of topics is available on MINESblog. Here you can expect blogs, articles, and tips provided by members of the MINES Team. Last month was Pride Month and we had a great article on how employers can support their transgender employees and make sure they are providing a safe and accommodating environment. We will continue to post regular and relevant material here so follow us if you’re not already.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. See you next month!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: FinancialWellbeing and the Future

Financial Wellbeing is about making informed choices and building a foundation that you can grow from. It is important to consistently make the best decision possible with the information you have. That said, you also must make sure the information that you are basing your choices on is quality information and not coming from somewhere that does not have your best interest in mind. Even financial advisors can sometimes give poor advice or have ulterior motives, so take anything you hear with a grain of salt until you can do your research. Be smart, be patient, and don’t outspend your means.  Over time you will slowly but surely put in place a financial foundation that you can further build upon and use to perpetuate your life.

Tips for you:

Financial planning is unique for everyone. Different income, circumstances, and goals mean everyone needs something a little different. There are self-help tools and calculators all over the place to help you analyze and plan. Charles Schwab offers one such tool on their website to help plan for retirement and offers financial planning if needed.

Check It Out 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:

When we think of buying power, most people think of tangible assets such as money and items of value. But what about skills, knowledge, and expertise? Are these not valuable too? What if we could trade these things to others in exchange for their skills, knowledge, and expertise? Well you can! Simbi.com hosts a whole community of thousands of people doing just that. Think you have something to offer? Check it out!

See What Simbi Offers 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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