Frontline Employee – June 2020

Frontline Employee – June 2020

Three “To-Do’s” with Your New Boss

 

Making a good impression in a new job and with the boss is everyone’s goal. Unfortunately, being a new employee means missteps are going to happen, so focus on gaining an overall view of your job, the work culture, and especially patterns of communication. That’s a lot to handle the first week, so set the stage for a positive relationship with your boss using these three quick tips. Observe which workplace issues create unease and concern for your manager—you’ll gain empathy for what they face and potentially understand their priorities. Ask your manager the form and frequency of communication they prefer. And show positivity. Managers live for it and feel validated when they experience it from those they supervise.

 

You’re Committed, So Show It

 

Employers know what a committed worker looks like. It’s not those who simply perform duties and assignments well. Committed workers bring something extra that helps advance the work unit’s mission. 1) They solve problems; they don’t just point them out. 2) They show enthusiasm rather than casual acceptance. 3) They are proactive in reporting progress on what they are doing. 4) They demonstrate initiative—they act on perceived needs that fit with their duties before being asked. If you want to show you are a committed worker, walk the talk with these distinguishing work habits.

 

Fried Food and Focus Don’t Mix

 

Skip the burger and fries at lunch. You will have a clearer head and better focus in the afternoon. New research shows one meal of fried food high in fat can zap your ability to stay focused on an important task or project shortly after it is consumed. At work, that means choosing fewer fatty and fried foods at lunch in favor of more nutritious choices may help you score that big win or big deal, or deliver a more effective presentation! Source: www.academic.oup.com/ajcn [search “saturated fat”].

 

Avoid Aggressive Driving

 

Celebrate National Safety Month by putting the brakes on aggressive driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research shows that aggressive driving plays a role in 56% of fatal crashes. Aggressive driving is “operation of a motor vehicle that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” (Road rage is a criminal form of aggressive driving.) Riding bumpers, using your vehicle to “teach someone a lesson” (like blocking their ability to pass you), zooming around a slow driver, laying on the horn, using hand gestures—these behaviors point to how your driving practices may be influenced by anger. Learn about triggers, behaviors, and prevention at bit.ly/aggressive-driver.

 

Lessons from Social Distancing: Loneliness as a Health Concern

 

“Flattening the curve” with social distancing is the worldwide intervention being used to reduce coronavirus infections and death, but it has also created social isolation. For millions, social isolation is a risk factor for loneliness, and loneliness is a demonstrated health concern. Are you feeling the effects of loneliness? We’re not talking about “Zoom fatigue” but symptoms like low self-esteem, depression, anger, nightmares, anxiety, and easily triggered anger at loved ones, to name a few. Humans are hard-wired to be social creatures, so when they are deprived of this innate biological need to engage with others, physical symptoms result. Symptoms of loneliness feel as if they are of mental origin, but they are physiologically driven, according to researchers. Before the coronavirus pandemic, loneliness was hot research news. Medical researchers call it the “new smoking” because of its adverse health effects. Note that loneliness is not equal to being alone. Loneliness is your body saying, “Find people with whom to socially interact!” The inability to get to your favorite gym, gather with friends at a favorite hangout, or mingle with coworkers who bring meaning to your life can have natural health consequences. Learning about loneliness is a key lesson of our collective experience with the coronavirus. Social distancing is likely to end in the future, but connecting to a mental health counselor now—even if it means one more Zoom session to do it—is worth the effort if it can help you lessen the impact of loneliness. Learn more at www.news.gallup.com [Search: “adults less worry”]

 

Bored with a Great Job?

 

With over 30 million newly unemployed in the U.S., imagine having a great job you can’t stand. Don’t feel guilty. All of us have a need for fulfillment as much as we have a need for food, clothing, and shelter. Without fulfillment, you will cast a wandering eye toward whatever might help you feel more alive. If boredom and feeling unmotivated have lasted for months or years, step one is to get a depression screening to rule out this disease. Boredom and blahs may be a symptom, not the problem. Engaging a career coach, starting new projects, taking a vacation, volunteering in the community—any of these activities could help energize your life. But if nothing is lighting your fire, a medical issue like depression could underlie it all.

 

Stress Management for Pandemic Heroes

 

If you are an essential service employee and working face-to-face with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic or you are in a job placing you at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, you can count yourself among the heroes. (Loved ones who support you and worry about you—they’re heroes, too.) It’s likely your employer has striven to reduce the risk of your contracting COVID-19, but it’s not a 100% worry-free time. You’ve answered a higher calling so others can live as normally as possible during this time. If worry, anxiety, exhaustion, sleeplessness, family stress, and fear affect you, contact a professional, a support network, or your EAP for help. Tips like getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol before bedtime, and practicing relaxation exercises are verified ideas for reducing stress and remaining resilient. They work, and you can learn more about them at heart.org [search “stressed essential workers”].

 

Curb Impulse Purchases to Save Money

 

If the household budget is stretched, cutting costs without added hardship can be difficult. Consider curbing impulse purchases as a path to finding more dollars. You could save over $5,000 a year by decreasing this behavior. Impulse purchasing is the tendency to engage repeatedly in spontaneous, on-the-spot purchases without consideration of the potential consequences. Sixty-four percent of us do it. The risk of an impulse purchase begins as soon as you enter a store, not when you see the item of interest. Most impulse purchases are groceries, not clothing. Try these tips: 1) Shop with a buddy. 2) Use cash. 3) Gain control and insight from two studies: A) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc [search “eyes wide shopped”] and B) www.slickdeals.net/corp/impulse-spending.html.

 

 

© 2020 by DFA Publishing and Consulting, LLC
Please refer to your subscription license for use and distribution information and limitations.
Disclaimer: This information is provided with the understanding that the authors and/or publishers are not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services. The authors and/or publishers disclaim any liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this information. Read and approve the content for its suitability for your readership. This information is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified professional.

Frontline Employee – June 2020

Frontline Employee – May 2020

Have a Team Refresher Meeting

Will you need to reenergize your team after months of social distancing? Consider a refresher meeting:

1) Meet with your team and reaffirm that trust and open communication with each other is the mutually desired goal. Have each member discuss what this means to them. 2) Ask if there are any outstanding issues that need to be discussed. For example: a) Do we have any unresolved concerns about communication between ourselves or management? b) Do our duties or roles need clarifying? c) Are resources to do our jobs lacking? d) Do any roadblocks exist to impede our work at this time? Spend a few minutes during meetings revisiting these questions, and then periodically in the future. Your team will bounce back fast.

 

Don’t Tough Out Acute Stress Disorder

 

Does your job include a higher risk of witnessing workplace violence? If you are exposed to such an event, be sure to meet with a qualified mental health professional to discuss your experience and understand symptoms of acute stress disorder (ASD). ASD can follow any type of traumatic event. Don’t tough it out or assume “Ah, I’m okay.” Proper care for symptoms may help prevent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental disorder that can follow if ASD symptoms don’t resolve after six months. ASD may include anxiety, depressed mood, sleep disturbances, nightmares, being constantly tense, being easily startled, irritability, poor concentration, and more.

 

Parenting Stress, Isolation, and Coronavirus

 

Many national associations for child abuse prevention are concerned about incidents of child abuse being underreported during the COVID-19 pandemic. School closures, child care centers, and other programs are not open or operating. Typically, this is how adults outside the home spot signs and symptoms of abuse and make reports. Are you a parent who needs more parenting support or at least great ideas for child behavior management? Find hundreds of ideas at www.preventchildabuse.org/coronavirus-resources. (You will also find great ideas for taking care of, and even pampering, yourself during this difficult time.)

 

Grief, Loss, and the Pandemic

 

Those needing to attend or arrange funerals are facing extreme challenges because of social distancing and travel restrictions related to COVID-19. These circumstances can make grief and loss worse. Thoughtful and effective answers to almost every question imaginable about funerary services and COVID-19 can be found at www.rememberingalife.com, with new content posted by the National Funeral Directors Association. You will find the answers about communication, support, grief, overcoming long-distance challenges, funeral options, safe viewing processionals, planning, leveraging technology, holding multiple small ceremonies, and dozens of other issues.

 

Avoid Virtual Harassment as a Remote Employee

 

Know your responsibilities for avoiding sexual harassment and increase your awareness if you telecommute. On the job, we are surrounded by coworkers, managers, and usually a dynamic workplace. These factors naturally create social and environmental controls that positively influence our civil behavior, manners, and communication. Many of these controls diminish or disappear entirely when we work remotely, although technology tools allow for more contact, along with more options for communication, including texting, chatting, videoconferencing, and telephone—most of it recorded. So, what if you type, text, or voice mail something to your coworker and they reject it, express displeasure with it, or otherwise take offense? The answer is, don’t repeat it. Common sexual harassment behaviors include discussing one’s sex life, asking a coworker about their sex life, sharing inappropriate photos or background images, making indecent jokes, sending suggestive texts, sending unwanted gifts, and repeatedly asking someone out on a date after they have said no. Most sexual harassment prevention relates to self-awareness, appreciating boundaries, and common courtesies. For example, with regard to communication, do you repeatedly use video chat when a simple text is sufficient? Do you sometimes say or do things at work that you suddenly realize you should not have said or done? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the EAP or a professional counselor for confidential assistance with issues associated with communication and on-the-job relationships. You can discover resources, strategies, and new skills to help you enjoy your job more.

 

Managing Workplace Criticism

 

No one escapes occasional criticism at work. But with a few steps, you can face it like a champ, gain from it, and decrease the “ouch.” Virtually all criticism produces tension, so remaining unflustered shows your professionalism while making the impression you want. Get this far, and other steps to success will fall in line. Remember you have control over accepting “what fits” as true about the criticism and what does not. Knowing this, view any criticism as a free gift. This will inspire an attitude that elevates your reputation. Our positive self-evaluations often hide our ability to see fully how well we perform, but you will triumph from criticism when you welcome rather than fear it.

 

Prevent ARDS Effects of COVID-19

 

Are you still considering an exercise program or attempting to motivate yourself to get fit? Here’s some motivation: New research shows that regular exercise can protect you against acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a possible complication of COVID-19. Avoiding ARDS can keep you off a ventilator. The myth about ventilators is that they help you breathe, and when you are well, you go home without any issues. Not exactly. A ventilator often leads to other complications, including damage to the lungs. The older you are, the higher this risk—along with the possibility that it can’t be removed. If the ventilator is successfully removed, risk of death from respiratory-related health problems later is also higher. COVID-19 is going to be around for a while, so if you are struggling to find the right exercise program, speak with an exercise coach, health advisor, doctor, or EAP.
Source: www.uga.edu (Search “ventilator elderly”) and www.news.virginia.edu (Search “COVID exercise”)

 

Challenges of Working Remotely

 

If you are new to working remotely, then you are discovering the challenges that come with it. The most frustrating are distractions. As soon as the last one is gone, the next one appears. To deal with distractions, rely less on willpower and more on strategies for each one. Start by keeping a list of distractions you notice. How many did you find or experience, such as dings from email, TV and radio, pet needs, social media, phone calls, text messages, wandering thoughts, and leftover pie that calls out to you? Next, decide on an intervention for each one. If you still struggle, try setting a kitchen timer for 10 to 15 minutes of solid chunks of work time that you blast through—then repeat.

 

© 2019 by DFA Publishing and Consulting, LLC

Please refer to your subscription license for use and distribution information and limitations.

Disclaimer: This information is provided with the understanding that the authors and/or publishers are not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services. The authors and/or publishers disclaim any liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this information. Read and approve the content for its suitability for your readership. This information is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified professional.

Employee Assistance Program: COVID-19 Resources

Employee Assistance Program: COVID-19 Resources

In an effort to support Staff during this uncertain time, EAP has listed a wide range of resources that employees may find helpful.

EAP staff continues to be available for appointments via WebEx, telephone and email communication. Simply call an EAP counselor at (828) 263-0121 and schedule an appointment.

Click each box below for more information

Local Resources
  1. Hunger and Health Coalition – List of school established feeding sites, community meal sites, and food agencies/resources
  2. Boone Area Chamber of Commerce – List of local businesses and restaurants open for business
  3. Avery County Chamber of Commerce – List of restaurants open for business
  4. Feeding Avery Families – Food Bank and Community Food Pantries
Domestic violence support
Guidance for leadership and management
Frontline Employee – February 2020

Frontline Employee – February 2020

Is Past Trauma Still Affecting You?

 

Can past traumatic events affect your health today, even if you hardly ever think about them anymore? You may have “moved past” those memories of abuse or assault you experienced years ago, but if perceived as fearful enough—and you may not recall just how much—a type of invisible assault on the brain may have occurred involving stress responses of the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. Effects can persist for years, contribute to nightmares, help explain your jumpiness, or perhaps why you’re easily startled, or struggle with vulnerability in relationships. Seven to eight percent of people will experience post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives. The EAP can discuss symptoms, help you decide if PTSD affects you, and locate the right help. Learn more: www.ptsd.va.gov

 

Avoid Financial Health Denial

 

Are your money management habits leading to a financial crisis in the future? If you’re thinking, “maybe, but it will all work out later,” then you may be using financial health denial to avoid critical changes you need to make right now. See the EAP or get financial counseling if 1) credit card debt is growing, 2) you’re unable to save up a small emergency fund, or 3) money worries are zapping your energy, interfering with sleep, or undermining happiness.

 

Help for Compulsive Video Gaming

 

Video gaming addiction is obsessive preoccupation with online games at the expense of real-life activities or obligations. It is not a recognized psychiatric disorder, but has the same psychosocial consequences of other compulsive disorders like gambling addiction. In 2002, On-Line Gamers Anonymous (OLGA) was formed. It offers support, strength, and hope to addicted gamers and their families so they can heal and recover from this rapidly growing and disabling condition. Talk to a professional counselor first. Then discover what resources are available to help you or a loved one. Source: www.olganon.org

 

First Responders, Relationships, and Stress

 

If you are a firefighter or other first responder, you know that work relationships are critical for feeling support, buffering stress, and experiencing overall job satisfaction. Recent research shows, however, that you may be protecting and shielding your spouse or partner from the stress and horrible knowledge you are exposed to at work. You might behave at home as if work is not affecting you. This desire to protect but also pretend that all is well can create additional stress that leads to conflicts at home and ultimately in relationships you value. Sound familiar? If so, and you’re concerned, talk to the EAP. Read the study: bit.ly/firefighter22

 

Keeping Work Stress from Coming Home

 

Is work stress coming home with you, along with tension, irritability, and anxiety? Experiment with these environmental controls and behavioral tactics to see if they don’t steer your thoughts and reflexes away from work and worries. 1) Before leaving work, participate in a ritual that “completes your day.” For example, put things away, stack paper neatly, roll your chair under your desk, dust a couple of shelves, and empty the wastebasket. Take a good look at your office or work space, “feel the completion” of your day—and leave. These behaviors, practiced daily for just a week, will begin to compartmentalize work and home. 2) If bringing work home is unavoidable, don’t place it on the kitchen counter, dinette, or with house clutter as you walk through the door. Instead, create a special location in your home physically removed from areas where you engage with loved ones. 3) Create digital communication habits that reinforce boundaries. For example, on your voice mail, say that you are gladly available, but only if it is urgent, along with instructions for the caller for what to do next. Note that you can experience a 99% reduction in unnecessary phone calls if you simply allow the caller to decide if the concern is so urgent that it can’t wait. Most of the time, it really can. Compartmentalization, boundaries, and smartphone management—these are instruments of work-life balance. Make them work for you.

 

Making the Most of a Bad Day at Work

 

Everyone experiences job-related setbacks and mistakes at work (“a bad day”). Our initial focus is usually how awful we feel or how unfair “it” all seemed. The challenge is moving past the negativity. Accomplish these strategies that add to your resilience. Here are six “T’s” to recapture a positive you: Temporary: Remind yourself that feeling bad is temporary; it will soon dissipate. Teach: What can the day teach you? What part of it will add to your skills and abilities? Talk: Talk and vent your experience with a friend to experience emotional release. Twirl: Move, exercise, or play—engage in physical activity to influence a positive mood. Transcribe: Write down your feelings. Thanks: Focus on two to three things you are grateful for despite the setback, to help reenergize positivity.

 

Couples Counseling: Finding Motivation to Go

 

More couples have discussed couples counseling than will ever go. Many checklists online will help you decide whether your relationship could use help, but only a strong enough reason will empower you to make the call. If you’re hesitating, you may have misconceptions about couples counseling. One common fear is the therapist will align with your partner and together confront all your imperfections. That won’t happen with an experienced professional. Instead, you will be put at ease, and what you envision as the stereotype will be quickly dismissed. Each of you will discover what you’re doing healthfully, along with what you can consider doing differently in your relationship to make it what you want. The good news is the likelihood of feeling more empowered while you work toward changes you and your partner agree on. With commitment, most couples enjoy a reduction in tension they have grown weary of experiencing each day, along with hope that the changes sought will last.

 

Mechanics of Making Deadlines

 

Don’t allow the quality of your work to suffer by missing deadlines. Meeting deadlines is an acquired skill with two influences—motivational and mechanical. Motivational: Agree on the deadline with your partner (recipient of the work). Next, commit to the deadline. Then, acknowledge and empathize with the direct and indirect consequences of not meeting the deadline. Make an accountability pact—allow your partner to contact you at any time about progress. Mechanical: Know how much time each part of your project will take. Divide it into mini-deadlines. Adopt an early completion point (your buffer). Success will reinforce your on-time habit, and a positive reputation will follow.

 

© 2019 by DFA Publishing and Consulting, LLC

Please refer to your subscription license for use and distribution information and limitations.

Disclaimer: This information is provided with the understanding that the authors and/or publishers are not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services. The authors and/or publishers disclaim any liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this information. Read and approve the content for its suitability for your readership. This information is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified professional.

Frontline Employee – February 2020

Frontline Employee – October 2019

Give Your Brain a Break

 

Be more productive at work by taking breaks. Here’s your motivation if you are inclined to skip them: a neurologic discovery called “voluntary” and “involuntary” attention. Each type of attention engages different uses of your brain. When you focus on work, whether it is a computer or a car engine, you are purposeful, intense, and focused; this is voluntary attention. In contrast, involuntary attention occurs when you walk down a sidewalk; you are not focused, but you are “attending” to the environment as it appears—butterflies, clouds, traffic, trees, flowers, wind, sunshine, sounds, and sensations. This process of allowing your brain to engage the world this way (being “pulled” along rather than “pushed”) is what relieves your stress and refreshes you neurologically. The payoff is improved memory and attention back at work. Learn more: Google “how nature soothes involuntarily.”

 

Marijuana and the Developing Brain

 

You need reliable information if you are a parent or guardian seeking to help children understand the dangers of marijuana so they hopefully decide to stay away from it. You can view refreshed information at the drugabuse.gov web site. Its information is well scrutinized, so you can rely on it. New information there includes street forms of THC and street terms used for concentrated THC oils, research summaries on the impact of marijuana on the adolescent brain, and more. Example: Did you know that 9% to 30% of marijuana users will develop a form of substance use disorder? Source: DrugAbuse.gov

 

Promoted to Supervisor? Congrats!

 

If you are a new supervisor, don’t learn the following skills by trial and error: 1) observing performance; 2) documenting properly; 3) correcting performance; 4) evaluating fairly; 5) giving feedback; 6) praising and inspiring employees; 7) delegating effectively; 8) resolving conflicts; 9) team building; and 10) communicating effectively with upper management. For a better career, seek these skills out instead. Put “how-to” information in an easy-access binder. There are other skills to learn, like helping prevent violence or investigating complaints, but these ten are the building blocks for nearly all others.

 

World’s Most Enabling Statement

 

Drop the use of the term “functional alcoholic.” Often used to describe an alcoholic whose drinking practices do not appear to cause life problems, this is perhaps the world’s most enabling utterance. Alcoholism, like cancer, tends to be a chronic health problem and likely leads to death if left untreated. You may observe that family members who are the most affected by alcoholism virtually never use this phrase. In practical terms, functional alcoholism means “the alcoholic’s drinking doesn’t bother me.” Unfortunately, this phrase fuels denial, offering an excuse to avoid interventions that might otherwise save a life.

 

Is Your Patience Running Thin?

 

Patience is a learned skill, but unlearning patience can happen in our quick-to-deliver technological world. A study from the United Kingdom found that most people demonstrate a short fuse at 25 seconds for a red light, 16 seconds for a web page to load, and 28 seconds for a cup of tea to boil. Recapturing your sense of patience starts with awareness of how impatience increases stress and how undesirable experiencing anger can be. Don’t get mad at technology or lose yourself to a fast-paced, hurry-up society. Instead, practice patience by challenging yourself when the opportunity appears. From red traffic lights to checkout lines, you will have plenty of opportunities to react as usual or rebel. Choose the slower line at a drive-in, the longer line at the checkout counter, or learn how to use waiting time to complete a to-do list or another cerebral task. While waiting, notice the world around you and enjoy escaping the pressure as you take back control over the push to be impatient. Celebrate taking charge, getting your life back, and having more resilience to withstand everyday life events we all find stressful. If pressure builds, breathe in slowly, hold it a few seconds, and exhale slowly to reinforce a relaxed feeling.

 

Improving Communication with Your Boss

 

A top stressor for many employees is relationship conflict with the boss. But delve deeper and what often appears is irregular or unclear communication. A quiet supervisor one day or an abrupt short answer to a question the next might leave you distracted and wondering about the status of your relationship. “Is everything all right with my work?” “Is the boss upset with me?” “What’s on his (her) mind?” Avoid these stressful guessing games. Early on or starting now in your relationship, get clarity with three “traditions:” ask your boss how he or she likes to communicate and how much; ask about the perceived acceptability of your work periodically; and be personable (i.e., “How was your weekend?”). Small civil exchanges make it easier to engage and increase the likelihood you’ll team up earlier, more often, and more effectively when the going gets tough.

 

Organizational Change and Older Workers

 

If you have a work history where change came slowly, today’s organizational change can be a shocker. It is often sudden and disruptive. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stay positive. Avoid cynicism. Let your employer know what will help you be more productive and contribute more. Avoid isolation, remain engaged, and keep a close circle of workers you can turn to for clarification on change and its impact on your work unit. If you’re thinking, “Wow, I have never seen things this bad,” turn to the EAP for support to process fears of uncertainty and loss, and allow the program to talk you through your next move, life step, finding more meaning in your current job, examining opportunities, and making the best of where you are right now. Such conversations fall under EAP confidentiality.

 

Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone?

 

Smartphone addiction is not a recognized mental disorder, but it gets a lot of attention in the news. One in three people can’t get through a meal without looking at their phones, according to one study. Signs of problematic phone use may include feeling anxious without your phone, constantly checking your phone without a reason, reaching for your phone when bored, losing track of time while using your phone, being distracted while with friends or watching TV because you are on your phone, and texting while driving—especially after attempts to stop the practice following a near accident or close call. Compulsive behaviors are actions people engage in repeatedly even though they wish they could stop. Smartphone addiction can be one of them. Don’t stay frustrated, feeling out of control. Talk with a counselor or your EAP.

 

© 2019 by DFA Publishing and Consulting, LLC

Please refer to your subscription license for use and distribution information and limitations.

Disclaimer: This information is provided with the understanding that the authors and/or publishers are not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services. The authors and/or publishers disclaim any liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this information. Read and approve the content for its suitability for your readership. This information is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified professional.

Frontline Employee – September 2019

Frontline Employee – September 2019

How to Be More Proactive

 

Are you a proactive employee? Being proactive means acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes. Proactive employees naturally get more stuff done with fewer crises and less work strain. Not being proactive does not mean you don’t act or respond to critical issues, but that you may just act later on these things. This means being prompted by a crisis that includes more stress. To be proactive: 1) Pay attention to your gut telling you to act now on what you’re facing. 2) Resist the temptation to use procrastination as a way to manage work, causing you to respond daily to only what’s urgent. 3) On the job, keep the big picture in mind. Doing so will cause you to feel more energized by work tasks, rather than perceive them as burdens to avoid or postpone.

 

Fight the Stigma of Mental Illness in the Workplace

 

The stigma of mental illness in the workplace contributes to denial and avoidance of treatment. Some studies have shown stigma contributing to the delay of treatment for up to eight years! That’s a lot of needless suffering. Since 25% of employees will eventually have a mental health diagnosis, fighting stigma is crucial. To fight for change, take two powerful steps: 1) Talk about mental wellness just as you would physical wellness. 2) Just as you know to avoid derogatory terms for physical disabilities, also discourage language (crazy, nut-case, whacked-out, etc.) historically associated with mental illness. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov [Search: PMC5347358]

 

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

 

ID theft is a growing problem. Here’s what’s hot right now: Many background check Web sites have information about you—e.g., Truthfinder.com, etc. Thieves acquire this information for free. But that free info is not enough to steal your identity. That comes next—by sending you an apparently foolproof, convincing email that appears to come from a friend—who was hacked. The email asks you to click a link that obtains the missing piece of information. The fix: Don’t click a link in an email that comes from a friend until you have verified it is not fraudulent.

 

First Sign of Teen Drug Use

 

School has started. Will your youngster someday be influenced to experiment with illicit drugs? How could you possibly know? Is there a common first telltale sign? Unfortunately, the fact is that unsuspecting parents may never know. However, the first sign that is usually observed is a sudden change of friends with whom parents or guardians are not familiar or of whom they do not approve. The most powerful, too often unused tool for parents to prevent illicit drug use is communication. Research shows it is dreaded and seldom used by parents, or if used at all, it’s a one-shot thing. Best advice: Have the talk. Learn more: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov [Search PMC3257983]

 

When Your Coworker Seems Depressed

 

You can’t play doctor, but something’s not right with your coworker. He or she is coming in late, not “caring” as much about the work, putting things off, and not dressing as nicely as they once did. They appear a little absent-minded, unsure of themselves, “scattered” or unorganized, and a little bit isolated or withdrawn from the rest of the group. Sometimes they are snappy, too—not as pleasant to be around. Although you can’t diagnose, you can share your concerns. Listen and encourage him or her to get help. A whopping 23% of employees will suffer from depression and miss work because of it, according to one key study. Getting over depression is not an exercise in willpower. It’s a neurological disease process often requiring medical intervention to overcome. As a peer, you could have tremendous influence—likely more than a family member with whom the employee possibly engages in conflict. This means it doesn’t take much effort to influence a coworker’s decision to take action and get help. Simply sharing your observations (in private) and encouraging a coworker to get help could be enough to motivate him or her to do so. Depression left untreated can lead down a chronic path of worsening symptoms. You may help your coworker avoid years of pain as the illness grows worse, and coming to work may be a lot more pleasant for you, too. Source: www.employershealthco.com [search “depression”]

 

Stop Stressing Out about Stress

 

With all the talk about stress and stress management, it’s important to know that much of the stress we experience is not harmful, and serves us in many ways. The stress you feel before taking an exam helps you remain focused so you can do your best. This good stress is also called “eustress,” a term coined by Hans Selye, the father of stress theory. Stop stressing about stress. The type of stress to be watchful for is “chronic stress.” Chronic stress (ongoing stress experiences that do not let up) can be physically harmful. What it feels like: You have little control over how much stress you feel, how long the stress lasts, and when you’ll next experience it. Caregivers are highly prone to chronic stress. If you experience chronic stress, figure out how you will intervene to control it.

 

Tips for Overcoming Stage Fright

 

Late-night talk show hosts experience anxiety before they perform, just as you might experience before giving a presentation. They tame this nervousness with practices that reduce intensity so it becomes a tool of success. You can too. 1) Arrive early and greet members of your audience to feel closer to them. You will feel more familiar with your audience and therefore more in control. 2) Rehearse in private. Four or five times is ideal. Doing so “greases the wheel” and causes your words to flow more easily. Your confidence will grab hold and increase during your presentation. 3) Make eye contact with a few individual attendees while speaking. You will feel closer to your audience, thereby reducing your stress. 4) See your audience as people who really need what you have to offer. This empowers you to be genuine. 5) Breathe slowly and deeply as needed to release tension prior to speaking.

 

Foods That Prevent the Afternoon Crash

 

If that droopy feeling zaps your afternoon performance, examine your diet. The culprit might be lunchtime foods like white bread or white rice—or foods that contain white flour, like pasta. Are you eating enough protein? A protein deficit will affect your energy. Your body wants protein in order to do its jobs, like metabolizing and repairing. A little bit of unsaturated fat is a good thing to keep your metabolism up. Foods like avocados, nuts, and oily fish, like salmon, are good choices. These also supply energy without the crash. Finally, experiment with smaller, more frequent meals during the day, say every three hours, to see if your energy remains up. Keep a diary, and discover what works for you. Learn more at International Food Education Council www.foodinsight.org

 

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