Posts Tagged workplace

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

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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

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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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Total Wellbeing: June 2016

 

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June 2016: Occupational Wellbeing

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Death_to_Stock_Photography_BodyTruths_9Welcome to the June issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we discuss Occupational Wellbeing. We’ve all heard the concept of work/life balance before, but when you think about it, isn’t work part of life? In fact, many of us spend a substantial amount of our lives at work. This way of looking at it highlights the importance of supporting ourselves and our goals while at work rather than just putting our lives on hold when we clock in every morning, or night depending on your schedule. Maintaining perspective on your ambitions and goals while at work is critical to maintaining occupational wellbeing and avoiding burning out. Look for opportunities at your job to grow and support your mind and body. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

MINESblog saw some interesting posts last month, it being Mental Health Awareness Month and all. We looked at the mentality and systemic causes of bullying and why it is important to treat even bullies with empathy. Next in our latest Psychology of Performance post we explored the critical interplay between innovation and maintenance within an organization and how our assumptions on these concepts need to be updated. Finally, we discussed the importance of family involvement in the therapy of children with a mental health diagnosis.

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: Environmental Wellbeing and the Future

Occupational Wellbeing is about balance, usually between work and life, but life doesn’t stop when you arrive at work and start again when you go home. To properly support occupational wellbeing many of us can’t afford to put our life on hold while at work. Think about ways to develop yourself while on the job. Ask yourself in what ways your job can help you learn new skills, how you might be able to connect better with co-workers, and identify opportunities to support your health and wellness in other areas while at work. Stay connected with co-workers to avoid working in a secluded environment if possible, set goals you can achieve at the workplace to work towards in order to give yourself something to strive for both personally and professionally. Stay connected with the outside world as well. While on break, check in on family members or take a moment to yourself to read, play a quick game, or study something new you are learning. Make the most of your time while at work as well as at home and you will be more satisfied with both.

Tips for you:

Making work/life balance work for you is important. No two people have the same set of circumstances and demands, so figuring out what works best for you is crucial. Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time, and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.

Watch Talk 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:

If you are successful and happy that is a great thing. You know what else is great, when those who know what it takes to be happy and successful share their knowledge and help others achieve. A great way to do that is through mentoring. Did you know that through www.Micromentor.org you can sign up to help mentor young professionals and help them get a leg up in their careers? If you’re a young professional, you can find a mentor here, too! Check it out!

See how you can help!

 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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Psychology of Performance #56: Innovation and Maintenance

Man having an idea!

Our businesses and as us as individuals have expectations, beliefs, and assumptions that if we don’t innovate (or as individuals, have new achievements and personal bests) we will lose business, lose ground against the competition, lose our position, and just plain lose in life. Farnam Street (newsletter@farnamstreetblog.com) has many resources on this topic and how these beliefs and assumptions affect performance. This week it highlighted an article by Andrew Russell & Lee Vinsel called Hail the Maintainers.

https://aeon.co/essays/innovation-is-overvalued-maintenance-often-matters-more

This article is a wonderful resource and stimulated my thinking for this blog post.

The assumption is that if business does not innovate, disruptive events can occur that will reduce performance, up to and including, the end of the business. Russell and Vinsel noted that innovation has become what psychologists would call an embedded, unchallenged assumption.  They go on to state that innovation is a small percentage of the time and activity of most businesses. What is actually the case is that many aspects of performance are focused on maintenance. Those who do the maintenance, the day-to-day tasks, recalibration, and incremental improvements deliver consistent results for their customers and clients. They are able to continue and perform day after day. A key element is improvement versus innovation. What does improvement mean for your business performance?

On an individual performance level, it is important that we do our own personal maintenance. This involves getting adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and connecting moments. This also implies avoiding behavior patterns that detract from maintaining ourselves optimally such as smoking, over eating, working too much, and others.

On an individual performance level, we are faced everyday with maintenance and recalibration choices. Our self-talk related to these choices — our beliefs and judgments about these choices — influence our ability to stay within an optimal maintenance range. This is a complex range of behaviors and attitudes, not very amenable to all-or-none thinking. “Good enough,” “just show up,” “do your best, forget the rest,” and  “soft face, calm interior” are a few handrails that can be used to override thoughts and judgments that may interfere with individual performance.

My dear friend, colleague, and business partner, Dr. Richard T. Lindsey, used phone cords as his metaphor for the importance of maintenance. His mission was to straighten all the phone cords that were tangled as a picture of maintaining our tools and gifts for optimal performance. He has been so successful that most of our phones no longer even bother having cords! !

There are events such as new laws, new technology, and new delivery models that are innovative and affect performance of business and individuals in dramatic ways. These are game changers, however, they are often not category killers.  On the other hand, the majority of  businesses and individuals that deliver consistently good service and products continue to perform in their sectorsWhat are the high performance markers for your organization? These indicators would include: profit margin, cash reserves (how long is your runway if a disruptive event occurred?), debt, cash flow, positive culture, organizational life span challenges and resolutions, clear organizational structure with bench strength and lines of authority,  leadership that has clear vision and ability to execute, along with long range cognitive complexity, and finally the organizational ability to identify and make incremental changes as well as remove constraints in work processes and flow.

Individually, we also have high performance markers. What is your overall health level? Have you been healthier this year than last year? How is your daily energy? Is it improving or declining? What are your markers on endurance, strength, flexibility, and your immune system? Are your finances better or worse this year? How are your interpersonal relationships?

Whether organizationally or individually, noting the tension between innovation and maintenance can be an important awareness that allows for mindful and intentional management.

Have a day filled with loving kindness and compassion!

Bob

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist

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Psychology of Performance #55: The Role of ADA, FMLA, Mental Health Accommodations and Employee Performance

Employee work performance can be impacted and/or affected by numerous variables. This blog focuses specifically on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the implications for employer accommodations for those with mental health diagnoses. There is still stigma and urban myth regarding employees with mental health diagnoses which lead to a number of problems for employees and employers alike.  Employers may not understand that an employee with a mental health diagnosis needs an accommodation, much less what that accommodation might be. Whether the employer understands this or not, the employer is legally obligated, unless it poses an undue hardship, to accommodate the employee so the employee can perform optimally. This blog does not address the myriad legal issues associated with the ADA and mental health accommodations. It focuses on providing a context for the complexity of mental health diagnoses and the need for understanding each employee’s needs and how the accommodation will enhance their work performance.

How does the employer determine what is a reasonable accommodation for a mental health ADA request?

This is particularly difficult given the variance in a diagnosis, much less across diagnoses. There are cognitive considerations, interpersonal considerations, physical space considerations, energy restoration elements, work group dynamics, HIPAA privacy concerns, employer limits on what can be requested and asked, threat to the individual’s health as well as to others.

In addition, how does the employer manage FMLA requests related to mental health illnesses?

  • What amounts of time are appropriate to be out of work?
  • What is the treatment plan to get back to work?
  • Does the employer have the expertise to even begin to evaluate the requests?

Psychological Assessment of Functioning and Performance

The array of broad psychological diagnostic categories that may require accommodations is large. The following broad categories include: depressive disorders, bipolar disorders, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive spectrum, trauma and stressor-related disorders, sleep wake disorders, dissociative disorders, mood disorders, neurocognitive disorders, personality and personality disorders, schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, eating disorders, substance related disorders, and a number of others. Each of these may have specific symptoms of a particular intensity, frequency, or duration that may require an accommodation. For the purpose of this blog, depressive disorders will be the focus of discussion.

  • Depressive Disorders “include disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, major depressive disorder (including major depressive episode), persistent depressive disorder, (dysthymia), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, substance/medication-induced depressive disorder, depressive disorder due to another medical condition, other specified depressive disorder, and unspecified depressive disorder” (p. 155, DSM-5)
  • The assessment must be related to job function. For example, in the case of depression, accommodations could be coming in later due to the impact of medication or because an early morning depressive feature gets better throughout the day; a nap that is medication related or sleep related; tools to improve cognitive functioning, which can be affected by depression (such as memory, concentration, complex problem solving) such as memory aids, quality assurance reviews. An accommodation may also be needed for time to see a psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist.
  • Second opinions for ADA accommodation requests. It may be the case that a mental health professional signs a letter asking for an accommodation without any idea of the specific job functions that the employee is asking to be accommodated for. An employer should send the accommodation request back to the mental health professional with the job description and ask what accommodations may allow the employee to do the essential functions of the job. Accommodations may need to be permanent or just temporary while the employee heals.

Intense and/or Complex Case Management for Absence Management

Human Resources and management in all likelihood do not have the time or expertise to manage these types of accommodation requests or absence requests. Providing case management expertise to support the employee in getting good care and returning to work can expedite the entire process. The following are considerations for case management.

  • Intensive case management for all cases that have either a primary psychological diagnosis or co-morbid psychological diagnosis.
  • Adherence and relapse considerations related to treatment and return to work are central to this approach.
  • Communication among all providers, the employer, and the employee/employee’s family is essential for a timely return to work.
  • When the employee returns to work, what, if any, accommodations will be needed? In the area of psychological diagnosis, each case stands on its own merits related to frequency, intensity, and duration of symptoms. For example, a diagnosis of depression can range from mild to severe/treatment resistant. There are no cookie cutter accommodations that can be applied across the board. This is where consultation with the case manager, the provider, and the employer is crucial for the success of the employee and the department the employee is returning to.

Psychological Considerations in ADA and FMLA Accommodation Requests

  • What psychological functioning needs accommodation?
  • How many ways can this accommodation occur?
  • What is the impact of the accommodation on the work group/coworkers?
  • How best can this be addressed with the work group so everyone understands and is on the same page without violating the employee’s privacy?
  • Who best can assess the accommodation needs?

Psychologists, Psychiatrists & Other Mental Health Professionals

  • What are their methods?
  • What is the validity and reliability of their methods?
  • Do they assess the workplace as well or just rely on employee self-report?

Common barriers to carrying out this type of intense/complex case management and accommodation process

  • Timeliness of communication between the professional parties.
  • Assessment methodology of treating professional.
  • Adequacy of the treatment plan.
  • Vested interest by the employee not to get better if it is possible with their condition. Getting the releases of information in a timely manner.

Ways to overcome barriers

  • Have HR get the releases of information signed when the accommodation request or leave request comes in.
  • The case manager needs to join with the provider in a collaborative manner rather than an adversarial manner with the best interests of the employee and employer in mind. This can be communicated up front with the provider to ensure timely communication.
  • The case manager can ask for skill based assessment information. If the provider is not able to do so, second opinions should be sought out to allow for a more informed decision process related to the accommodation. The point of the accommodation is to optimize the employee’s success on the job.
  • If the condition is one that should show improvement with treatment and the employee is not getting better, the case manager needs to address this with the provider and determine if it is the correct treatment. Are there secondary gains for the employee to maintain the accommodations (e.g., working from home rather than commuting in when everyone else in the work group works at the office)?
  • If the case manager reviews the treatment plan and it does not look adequate, the case manager needs to confer with the provider to determine if the provider is able to enhance the treatment plans in a manner that more objectively show improvement and return the employee to work in a timely manner. The guideline is the longer employees are out of work, the lower the probability they will return to work.

The ADA allows employers to retain employees who work for them and can perform at high levels with some accommodations. There are several elements that need to be taken into account that when put into place help the employee to perform well, be self-sufficient, and contribute to the prosperity of the employer organization as well as their community.

 

Have a day filled with loving kindness and compassion,

Bob

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist

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Total Wellbeing: March 2016

 

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March 2016: Emotional Wellbeing

Get Involved!

Welcome to the March issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we are bringing you resources to support your Emotional Wellbeing. As you nurture your Emotional Wellbeing remember that it is important to look at the bright side. The interplay between our perception and our emotions is a powerful connection that is important to be aware of. Put simply, depending on your outlook, your mind can perceive a situation in a positive light or a negative one, in turn making the situation either better or worse than it may actually be. It is important to remember that you have the power to influence your perception and to take steps to make sure you maintain a positive outlook as you navigate life’s day-to-day challenges. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

We hope you saw our posts on MINESblog last month. If you missed it you’re sure to want to check out our examination of the leadership and culture of the Denver Broncos as they headed towards their Super Bowl 50 victory. Next our Leap day post may have explored what you can do with a little extra time on your hands, but don’t worry you don’t have to wait another 4 years to take advantage of it, seize the day now!

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: Emotional Wellbeing and Perspective

This month we’d like to talk about the relationship perspective has with our emotional wellbeing. It’s the old metaphor of looking at a glass as half full rather than half empty. Keeping your mind on the positive side of a situation can be a very powerful tool in your wellbeing repertoire. For instance if you try and perceive a typically anxiety-inducing situation as a challenge that you can overcome, rather than an insurmountable obstacle, you can begin to turn your anxiety into excitement as you strive to triumph over whatever is in your path. So if you need an emotional boost try changing your perspective, you can accomplish this by doing something that will put your mind into a different mode of thought. Try listening to some music you love, doing something creative like painting or writing, going outdoors for some fresh air, or try going somewhere new such as a new restaurant. You’ll find that a change in perspective may help you see things in a more positive light!

Tips for you:

Taking care of your emotional health is as important as taking care of your physical body. If your emotional health is out of balance, you may experience high blood pressure, ulcers, chest pain, or a host of other physical symptoms. Check out 10 ways that you can boost your own emotional wellbeing.

Read tips 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 the going gets tough even the tough can get emotional. Everyone needs support sometimes and there is nothing at all wrong with that. In fact it is very healthy to seek support when you need it. Friends and family are a great source for this type of support, however, sometimes you need to talk to people that can better relate with the situation. That’s where support groups come in. They can be a great way to connect with people that are going through the same thing you are. Check out Mental Health America’s database of support groups to find local support over a wide variety of topics.

Check out this great resource!

 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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