Being Happy at Work Doesn’t Have to Be Work

There are only 24 hours in a day, and we spend a big chunk of that at work. Sometimes our work even spills into our time at home. Achieving that work/life balance can be challenging, but being productive and happy at work is a good start. There are steps you can take every day to improve your work life and here are some tips:

Choose to be happy
Sound easy? Well, some may debate this, but you can choose to be happy. Maybe not all aspects of work make you happy, but if you refrain from dwelling on what you do not enjoy, it gives you time to focus on what you do – from the mission of the organization, to good co-workers, flexibility, new opportunities, benefits, etc.  Start looking at happiness as a choice, not just a reaction, and see how your perceptions may change.

Find meaning, a sense of purpose
Every job has a purpose and contributes to the organizational goals. Even if you don’t feel appreciated or feel no one notices your effort, take some time to do your own reflection. Write down who relies on you, who you help, what you have learned, the good you promote, and see how you might look at your role with more meaning.

Take a breath
Whether you are overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do or someone is pushing your buttons, taking a timeout can help you regroup. Learning relaxation techniques can relieve tension, help you regain focus, and make you feel better overall. A few techniques to try include:

  • Practice deep breathing. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth. Repeat several times. This is a great way to reduce stress because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax.
  • Get moving. Engaging in physical exercise can reduce stress, improve mood, increase energy levels, and boost brain power during the workday. And so take a walk (get outside if you can), do some stretching exercises (maybe your favorite yoga pose), and get creative by doing walking meetings or standing during a conference call (maybe add in some squats or walking in place).
  • Do mindfulness meditation. Being mindful is purposely paying attention to what is going on in the present moment without passing judgment on it. In formal practice, you can find a quiet place to sit upright and follow your breath as it naturally flows in and out without controlling or forcing it. You can observe your thoughts and emotions, but let them pass without judgment, and simply return to your breathing. More informally, you can use mindfulness to transition from one task to the next, taking a few breaths before answering the phone, sending an email, talking to your co-worker, or entering a meeting. This gives you time to direct your full attention to the task at hand and be fully present in the moment.

Take frequent breaks to stay on task
Taking a break several times a day can help you stay on task and be more productive. Set a reminder to take a 5 minute break 5 times a day to clear out any distractions (especially the bombardment of electronic streams of information) and identify if you are still on task. Productivity levels are higher when focusing on one task at a time. For those of you who believe multitasking is more effective, it is not, and it is likely taking you more time to finish the tasks at hand than if you focus on one at a time.

Do what you dread first
When you find yourself procrastinating that dreaded task, it ends up hovering over you all day. This leaves you distracted and may impact your ability to get the most out of your workday. And so prioritize your tasks based on those tasks you dread and those you don’t. Consider completing the tasks you dread first so that the rest of your day may seem lighter.

Avoid negativity
Negativity can be contagious. To keep your positive attitude and be happy at work, avoid negative conversations, gossip, or those negative Nellies and Neds. It will make a big difference in remaining positive, as well as being a positive influence on others.

Ask for feedback frequently
Sometimes we can let uncertainty fuel our anxiety and stress at work. Instead of wondering how your boss feels about your work, if you are taking the right direction on a new project, or unsure of how recent changes may affect you, set up regular meetings with your superior and don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for feedback. It could be a quick and easy way to settle the unsettled.

Take charge of your professional development
Take a class, learn a new skill, volunteer for a project at work. Continuing to challenge yourself not only can help you at your job, but it can help sharpen cognitive skills and add a new sense of accomplishment.

Don’t forget to smile and laugh
Smiling and laughing releases endorphins which increases happiness and lowers stress levels. Whether you feel like it or not, you still get the benefits if you take these positive actions. So start now and crack a smile!

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Safety Tips for the Holidays

The following safety tips are intended to help protect you from theft, fraud or other criminal activity. Pay attention when expecting packages, doing holiday shopping, traveling, putting out your trash, and holiday weather.

Holiday Safety Tips

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Avoid Holiday Traps: Increase the Spirit, Not the Stress

Do you remember how you felt last holiday season? Were you filled with holiday cheer? Did you feel a lot of stress? Or did you feel lonely and sad?

We all experience the holidays differently. If you are part of the group that is filled with cheer, then you are likely looking forward to the season. If you feel the holidays are becoming harder to enjoy, then the sights, sounds, and smells of the holidays probably have you in anticipation.

To prepare yourself for a more positive holiday season, avoid the many holiday traps. Start by identifying two to three things that you believe most contribute to your holiday stress or blues and take an alternative approach this season with these tips.

Holiday Trap:  The Overextender, The Procrastinator

Holiday stress is no stranger to the individual who overextends oneself or the one who procrastinates. Whether you are a procrastinator or an overextender, the same principles are important for both personalities: Time Management.

Keep a regular schedule
Big disruptions in your regular schedule can compound stress. Grab your calendar now and list holiday tasks that you can fit into your existing routine. Making a list of what takes the most time can help you pace yourself during the holiday season and incorporate one big task at a time. Starting early will be vital.

Schedule your priorities: Prioritize what needs to be done, give it a timeline, and assign to a person. You don’t need to go at it alone. If you need to meet weekly to see if everyone is doing their part, then do so. What causes stress for many is that they feel like the majority of the responsibilities fall upon them. Spread it out, ask for help.

Make plans and avoid hectic schedules
Remember, you don’t have to fit EVERYTHING in and you can say no. Determine which events are the most special, and which ones are not so important. After you review and make your list of plans, put your calendar of events on the refrigerator. If the calendar looks too full, it probably is. Re-evaluate and get a schedule that doesn’t make your heart race.

Have realistic expectations
Everyone has a different idea of what the holidays should look like and feel like. Finding the best present, getting compliments for the dinner you cooked, hoping your house wins the community decorating contest, or wishing for that “perfect” holiday can bring on undue stress. Give yourself a break by being more focused on the overall joy of the season, not just monotonous details.

Holiday Trap: Financial Blues

Holidays may include going to events, buying presents, hosting dinners for family and friends, traveling out of town, etc. And what does this all translate into = MONEY. Going into the holiday season financially blind, could put a strain on your bank account.

Set a Budget: You don’t need to break the bank
Determine ahead of time how much money you will devote to the holidays.  Consider all expenses that go into the preparation, planning, and even recovery from the various events and gatherings (hostess gifts, teacher gifts, holiday cards and postage, shipping costs, gift boxes, wrapping paper, the tree, decorations, etc.).  Start planning and saving now – and stick to your budget.

Limit credit card use
Credit cards can tempt you to break the budget and spend what you don’t have. Put cash in envelopes and mark each for its purpose – presents, food, travel, etc. If there is no cash left in the respective envelope, you have hit your budget.  If you have to use a credit card, determine what amount is acceptable and that can be paid off within the next couple of statement cycles.

Don’t buy impulsively
Impulse buying is made easy by retailers.  Fight the marketing ploys by making a list of presents you need and don’t go beyond this list. Just because you see something else that you know they would love, or it is on sale, doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Stick to your list.

Bargain shop
Extra time spent looking for sales could mean extra money in your wallet. Shopping early and planning around sales can help. Search for coupons or promotional codes

Be creative
Make your own gifts – photo album, recipe book, ornaments, or maybe it is handing something down. Offer the gift of time: Your services could be very valuable to someone (babysitting, pet sitting, errands). Families that who may continue to grow might start drawing names for gift giving or start pooling resources to buy gifts for friends or family.

Holiday Trap: Forgoing Healthy Eating and Exercising

Holidays may not be the time to go on a weight loss program, but you can be mindful of what you are eating and how often you are eating. Although more food tends to be lurking at home and at work during the holidays, you can have a plan to not go overboard. Use these tips to stay on track.

Things to avoid:

  • Eating so fast and going back for seconds and thirds
  • Eating like every day is a holiday – consuming anything you want all day and everyday
  • Eating too much of one food group, especially those carbs and sugars that can weigh you down
  • Taking plenty of stimulants
  • Not exercising
  • Added calories (dressings, gravies, sweets)

Tips for healthier holidays:

  • Be mindful of the foods you’re eating
  • Allow yourself 20-30 minutes to eat your meal before going back for seconds
  • Enjoy holiday foods on the specific holiday
  • Choose foods you most enjoy, skip those you don’t
  • Decrease caffeine, sugar, nicotine, and other stimulants
  • Watch portion sizes
  • Have healthy snacks available
  • Be mindful of all or nothing thinking
  • Incorporate physical activity (sign up for a race, be active with the family, wear a fitbit) 

Holiday Trap: Bah Humbug

Not everyone is full of cheer during the holidays. Some are dealing with the loss of loved ones or not having family around. Others face family conflict or holiday disappointment. But the holidays don’t have to be bah humbug.

Don’t isolate
Having feelings of sadness or loneliness may lead some to isolate. But whether you are dealing with loss or don’t have family around, you don’t have to be alone during the holidays. Commit to attending events (RSVP early and buy tickets) where you can be surrounded by people who care about you or take advantage of holiday events where you can meet new people. Seek out new experiences or revisit holiday activities that have given you joy in the past. Find out who else may be alone this holiday season and form your own holiday get together.  Consider volunteering and helping others who are in need.

Keep your expectations in check
Real life is not like the movies or pictures in magazines. We can easily be disappointed when we have such high expectations for the holidays. Review your expectations – are they yours or someone else’s? Is this picture still feasible or have things changed? You might check in with others – maybe you are focusing on things that are no longer important to others. Do yourself a favor and take a ‘good enough’ approach this year.

Don’t invite conflict
You’ve heard of the saying, “You can’t pick your family.”  For some, holiday gatherings can lead to dread. Remember, the holidays aren’t a time to talk about controversial things or rehash old wounds. If you are afraid these wounds might be reopened, talk to your family members involved and agree to not discuss during the holidays. If you are struggling to please everyone, make sure you are upfront about your plans (especially if you have to share your time between several families). And remember to pick your battles and know when you need a break. If you know Aunt Ida is going to make a comment again – have your polite response ready so you are not caught off guard.

If you can, the holidays are a great time forgive and let go.

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Are Your Workplace Habits Affecting Your Productivity?

With increasing demands at work and having to do more with less, it is important to stay focused and productive. And although technology can make our lives easier, it also can tie us down and interfere with our thought processes. So what workplace habits help us be more productive, and which workplace habits hurt us?  First, identify a common feeling(s) that you have at work and then look at behaviors that are contributing to those feelings and to your productivity levels.

Do any of these sound familiar?
I have writer’s block
I can’t think
I can’t focus

If you said yes, check your technology patterns.
In this digital age, being tied to technology can affect our ability to stay focused on work goals. Studies have shown that when we are constantly bombarded with several streams of electronic information – juggling e-mail, instant messaging, reading blogs, interacting on social media and other incoming information – it undermines our brain’s ability to focus because we are unable to filter out what’s irrelevant to the task at hand. This failure to filter means we are slowed down by the irrelevant information resulting in decreased efficiency during the day.

What can you do?
Step away and unplug for 5 minutes, 5 times a day. This may help you revive creativity, focus better, and increase thought processes.

Do you ever feel this way?
I feel so unproductive
What did I even get done today
I’ve started so many things, but haven’t finished one thing

If you said yes, ask yourself if you are trying to multi-task.
When we have so much to do, multi-tasking seems to be the key to functioning most days. But research shows that the brain’s capacity for processing more than one task simultaneously is sharply limited. We might think that we are multi-tasking, but in reality, our brain is rapidly switching its attention resources back and forth from one task to another.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t walk and chew gum, but in general, tasks that require some mental processing seem to be handled sequentially by the brain, not simultaneously. Studies actually suggest that it takes the brain up to 50 percent more time to do two task at once vs. one at a time.

What can you do?
Try to work on one task at a time, giving that task your full attention. Start with 15 minute intervals. To monitor your productivity level, write a to-do list and mark off tasks one at a time and see if you feel more productive at the end of day than when you are so called multi-tasking.

Does this describe your particular day?
I have so much to do
How am I going to get all this done
Where do I start

If you said yes, then take a look at how you schedule your day.
With your task list growing and no more hours in the day, you can easily become overwhelmed and not know even where to begin.  Everything is important, isn’t it!

Stephen Covey shares, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”  Essentially, Mr. Covey is suggesting that if it’s important, it must be scheduled just like an important meeting. Otherwise, you run the risk of it not getting done, or at least not on time.

What can you do?
Take time each morning to plan your day. Start with a simple to do list, identifying your two most critical tasks and allocate prime brain time to them. If one task will take 2 hours, schedule that in your day just like an appointment. Keep in mind deadlines, how much time to complete a task, and what time of day you feel most productive. This well help organize your priorities and have a scheduled plan to tackle them.

Do you ever say this to yourself?
I don’t feel challenged
I don’t get excited to come to work
I ‘m forgetting or slowing down

If you said yes, ask yourself if you are stuck in routine.
Sometimes we feel most comfortable in routines, but it is not always best for our minds or our morale. When thoughts, conversations, and activities become routine, our brain gets bored and goes backward. You might have noticed that your productivity has slowed, you are less creative, maybe even forgetful. Remember that changing it up is good for the brain.

What should you do?
Take on a new task at work, volunteer for an upcoming project or assignment, learn a new software program, or cross-train with colleagues. Don’t be scared of change or a new challenge – your brain will thank you for it.

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What You Can Do for Brain Health

While the thought of diminished brain health is frightening, there is something you can do about it!

Possible risks or threats to brain health

  • Some medicines or improper use of them
  • Smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems
  • Poor diet
  • Insufficient sleep
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Little social activity and being alone most of the time

What you can do to protect brain health
Focus on the following five key areas to boost brain health:

Take care of your health

  • Get the recommended health screenings suggested for your age
  • Manage health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
  • Consult with your health care provider to make sure your medicines are right for you
  • Reduce risk for brain injuries due to falls and other types of accidents
  • Quit smoking

Eat healthy foods

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Lean meats, fish, and poultry
  • Low-fat or non-fat dairy products
  • Less solid fat, sugar, and salt
  • Proper portion sizes
  • Adequate fluids

Get moving

  • Physical activity may reduce risks of diabetes, heart disease, depression, and stroke
  • Prevent injuries
  • Improve connections among brain cells
  • Get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. Move about 30 minutes on most days
  • Walking is a good start
  • Join programs that can help you learn to move
  • Check with your health care provider if you haven’t been active and want to start a vigorous exercise program
  • Not doing physical activity can be bad for you, no matter your age or health condition

Keep your mind active

  • Do mentally stimulating activities
  • Read books and magazines
  • Play games
  • Learn new things
  • Take or teach a class
  • Be social through work or volunteering
  • Clinical trials have not proven that these types of activities will prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but they can be fun

Stay connected

  • People who have meaningful activities, like volunteering, say they feel happier and healthier
  • Social activities are linked to reduced risk for some health problems, including dementia

What can you do today?

  • Pick one thing you can do that may help your brain
  • Think of small first steps, such as:
    • Taking a 10-minute walk a few times a week
    • Adding one serving of vegetables each day
    • Making an appointment for health screenings or a physical exam
    • Write down what you will do and when.
    • Get support from family, friends, or community groups


U.S. Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging. (2014). In Brain health as you age: Educator guide. Retrieved September 9, 2015, from

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October is Depression Awareness Month

Clinical depression is a common medical illness affecting more than 19 million American adults each year. Clinical depression affects men and women of all ages, races, and socioeconomic groups. One in four women and one in 10 men will experience depression at some point during their lifetimes. Two-thirds of those suffering from the illness do not seek the necessary treatment. Depression can co-occur and complicate other medical conditions. More than 80 percent of all cases of clinical depression can be effectively treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both.

Mental Health America provides a variety of resources and tools, including mental health screenings. Screenings are often the first step in getting help.  Click here to take that first step and complete a screening. Your EAP is also a great resource to help you navigate through what you may be experiencing and provide the assistance needed.

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Benefits of Resilient Teams During Change

When change happens in the workplace, some may feel a loss of the familiar, an increased sense of uncertainty, or an overall concern about the future. Others may view change more positively – as creating new opportunities, a chance to be challenged and learn new things, an ability to be creative, and a time to rally self and others around the changes.

Keeping your organization’s productivity and morale up during these times can be a challenge. Organizations must focus on clear change initiatives and create a culture and capacity to undertake these change initiatives.

And so how do you build a team that can excel through change, and not be stifled by it? And how does an individual recognize their own capacity to adapt to change? The key is resiliency. Resiliency refers to the ability to recover from or adjust easily to change so that there are not significant declines in functioning; therefore, allowing quality work and effective operation of the organization to continue.

There are five characteristics of resilient individuals: positive, focused, flexible, organized, and proactive.

Positive: A resilient individual sees opportunity.
Although challenges might present themselves, a resilient individual will seek out positive aspects of change and embrace the opportunity to learn. This individual also expects change to occur and does not necessarily resist it.

Focused: A resilient individual can set and achieve goals despite changes or setbacks.
Despite disruptions, this individual can develop a clear vision of objectives and define what needs to be accomplished to meet new objectives.

Flexible: A resilient individual can find innovative and creative ways to approach new situations.
This individual is able to manage change by displaying patience, utilizing strengths, and modifying assumptions or frames of reference to adapt to change.

Organized: A resilient individual manages the ambiguity that comes with change.
This individual can manage the stress amongst new demands and changing priorities, and asks for help when needed.

Proactive: A resilient individual engages with change rather than evades it.
This individual takes initiative, implements new approaches, invests energy into problem solving, and can positively influence others and creatively resolve conflict.

Typically, individuals may possess a combination of resilient characteristics. One individual may be positive, proactive, and flexible, while another individual may be focused, organized, and proactive. Building a resilient team would include individuals that complement each other, and together as a team, possess the five resilient characteristics to draw on strengths rather than weaknesses.

Resilient characteristics are important, but they need to coexist with clear goals and the perception that reaching the defined goals depends on the effort of each team member. Team members must also value differences and be able to listen to input from others and be open to looking at different perspectives in support of the team and its goals.

Building resilient teams are not easy, but careful cultivation of a resilient team would reflect the following characteristics:
Positive: The team recognizes the contribution of each member to the team and its overall ability to positively influence during change.
Focused: The team remains focused on the common goal rather than individual agendas.
Flexible: The team appreciates each member’s ideas and recognizes the value of the whole team in creating the best solutions during change.
Organized: The team is able to make sense out of the confusion that may occur during change, filter out what is important, and set appropriate priorities during change.
Proactive: The team takes action in spite of ambiguity and makes adjustments as needed to ensure effectiveness.

The benefits of resilient teams will keep your organization functioning in the most productive and effective way during the uncertainty of change.

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Nothing Endures But Change-Heraclitus

Heraclitus had it right: Change is a fact of life. In the Greek philosopher’s time, change tended to unfold gradually. But today’s world changes at an alarmingly rapid pace. Thanks to television and the internet, images and information zip around the globe in seconds, and we’re sometimes expected to respond just as quickly.

Change can take many forms and affect every aspect of our lives. It occurs in our family, work, social life, and well-being. Some changes involve additions, such as births, new friends or relationships, and new possessions. Others involve losses, such as death, divorce, or illness. Some changes are sudden, such as losing your job, while others are more gradual, such as entering middle age.

Change can be good or bad, depending on the person and the circumstances. For example, a divorce may be seen as a tragedy or a relief. A promotion is generally viewed as a change for the good, but if you’re anxious or unsure of your skills, you may view it as negative or threatening. Change may be sought out, appreciated or accepted, or it may be forced upon you, and resented or resisted. It can challenge or stimulate you, or make you feel anxious and threatened. Too little change can make life boring or depressing, while too much change can be uncomfortable or overwhelming.

Whatever its form, change requires an adjustment of some kind. This takes energy and, when the demands are too great, it can drain you physically and mentally. Change creates stress, and so it needs to be managed effectively to prevent the development of stress-related symptoms and illnesses. Unmanaged stress can cause physical and emotional disorders, including everything from headaches and digestive problems to high blood pressure and insomnia.

The key to coping with change is to recognize it, understand its effects, and bring it—or your responses to it—under control as much as possible. When you can’t control the change itself, adjusting your attitude toward it can help lessen any stress or tension. You’ll stay healthier that way.

Tips for Making Change

Strive for moderate change. Change is stressful, even when it’s positive and welcome. But no change at all can make us feel like we’re stagnating. Strive for balance. Too much stress at once, or even a moderate amount of stress over a long period of time, can be unhealthy. People who experience a lot of changes in a brief period—within a year, for instance—are more likely to experience an accident or illness within that period than people who face fewer changes, research shows.

Try to see the opportunities in change. The Chinese word for crisis is made up of two symbols: the symbol for danger and the symbol for opportunity. Try to think of change as a mixture of crisis (or danger, or uncertainty) and opportunity. Ask yourself what lesson you might learn, what skill you might develop, or what aspect of yourself you might strengthen as a result of coping with this change.

Physical health will support mental health. During times of change and high stress, remember that regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep is needed to maintain your ability to cope.

For more articles and resources on change, visit, click on the Work Life Button, and enter your company password.

Workplace Options. (Reviewed 2015). Coping with change. Raleigh, NC: Author.

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Addressing Mental Health Before Stage 4 (#B4Stage4)

When we think about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start before Stage 4 – we begin with prevention. When people are in the first stage of those diseases, and are beginning to show signs of symptoms like a persistent cough, high blood pressure, or high blood sugar, we try immediately to reverse these symptoms. We don’t ignore them. In fact, we develop a plan of action to reverse and sometimes stop the progression of the disease.

So why aren’t we doing the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness?

When you or someone close to you starts to experience the early warning signs of mental illness, knowing what the risk factors and symptoms are will help to catch them early. Often time, family and friends are the first to step in to support a person through these early stages. Experiencing symptoms such as loss of sleep, feeling tired for no reason, feeling low, feeling anxious, or hearing voices, shouldn’t be ignored or brushed aside in the hopes that they go away. Like other diseases, we need to address these symptoms early, identify the underlying disease, and plan an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health. Mental health conditions should be addressed long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process – before Stage 4.

Many people do not seek treatment in the early stages of mental illnesses because they don’t recognize the symptoms. Up to 84% of the time between the first signs of mental illness and first treatment is spent not recognizing the symptoms.

Mental Health America’s screening tools can help. Taken online at, screening is an anonymous, free and private way to learn about your mental health and see if you are showing warning signs of a mental illness. A screening only takes a few minutes, and after you are finished you will be given information about the next steps you should take based on the results. A screening is not a diagnosis, but it can be a helpful tool for starting a conversation with your doctor or a loved one about your mental health.

This May is Mental Health Month and aims to raise awareness of the important role mental health plays in our lives and encouraging members of the community to learn more about their own mental health and to take action immediately if they are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness.

Mental illnesses are not only common, they are treatable. There is a wide variety of treatment options for mental illnesses ranging from talk therapy to medication to peer support, and it may take some time for a person to find the right treatment or combination of treatments that works best for them. But when they do, the results can be truly amazing and life changing. Your EAP wants to help people learn what they can do both to protect their mental health and know the signs of mental illness #B4Stage4.

It’s up to all of us to know the signs and take action so that mental illnesses can be caught early and treated, and we can live up to our full potential. We know that intervening effectively during early stages of mental illness can save lives and change the trajectories of people living with mental illnesses. Be aware of your mental health and get screened #B4Stage4 today!

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Work/Life Balance: How Do You Achieve It?

Maintaining a work/life balance sounds great, but how do you achieve it? Where do you start?

Determine Your Priorities
First, take some time to reflect on what is most important to you. This could include family, friends, civic involvement, spirituality, exercise/health, sleep, finances, job, hobbies, household, recreation/entertainment, or other goals or areas of importance. After reflecting on what is most important in both your personal and professional life, write down the list of priorities that you have determined in order of importance.

Track Your Time
Second, create a picture of how you currently allocate your time to activities. One way to do this is to keep a time log for a week and track how much time you spend on each activity. Tracking your time could include some of the items of importance you noted, but could also include other areas that consume your time such as watching TV, social media, commuting, reading, chores, or other time takers or responsibilities. Understanding how you use your time or lose your time will be important to finding opportunities for a better work/life balance.

Get a Reality Check
Next, take your time log and figure out what percent of your time is spent on each activity. Then compare these percentages with your list of priorities. Are you allocating your time to correspond with your priorities? If not, start asking yourself what you would like to do differently. For example, you might notice that your health is at the top of your priority list, but you are allocating more time to watching TV than to exercise. To implement change, it is important to set goals related to integrating more exercise into your life.

Set New Goals
To start the change process, take your list of proposed changes and set concrete, measurable goals. For example, if you are setting a goal to exercise more, you might cut out one hour of TV a day and replace it with exercise. Or, you might hop on your treadmill while watching your favorite shows. You might set a goal of going to the gym for one hour after work to log 5 hours of exercise a week. Treat your activities like you would do a work meeting – schedule a block of time in your calendar for each activity. Do this exercise for other areas of your life that you want to allocate more time to because it is a priority and it is important to your overall well-being.

Take Care of You
People who tend to struggle with work/life balance feel overwhelmed and stressed. Determining what drains you and what refuels you can be a simple way of figuring out what you need less of and what you need more of. Eating the right foods, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep is essential for one’s health, energy level, concentration, mood, and productivity. Learning stress management will help you identify when stress has moved from productive (adequate levels of stress) to destructive (chronic levels of stress). When stress becomes unproductive and results in negative physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral effects (know your stress symptoms), it is important to take a time out and breathe, take a walk, do relaxation exercises, meditate, utilize your support network, or do something that gives you joy and can give you relief from the harmful effects of stress.

Helpful Tips

  • Set aside 10-15 minutes at the beginning of each day (or the night before) to plan your daily activities that support your priorities and goals.
  • Set boundaries to keep your goals. This might be informing those at work or at home that you will be assigning time to a certain activity. Having clear boundaries between work and home will be important to functioning well at both.
  • Continue to review your time management skills to ensure that you are allocating the time you need to activities that are important to you. There are many apps you can download to help you with planning your activities.

When to Seek Help
If you are struggling to find a work/life balance, experiencing chronic stress, or are not functioning at home or at work like you would like, contact your EAP to provide assistance.

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