Mental Health and Building Resilience
- Tuesday, September 28th
- Noon to 12:30 pm
Click here to register.
Well Wisconsin Radio is a monthly podcast style program that interviews health and wellness experts from around the state. Participants can get credit for attending live or by listening in to the recording.
Fill your bucket this summer by doing things that feel good to you! Our Summer Bucket List Challenge has some great ideas or create your own. Set a goal and then get to fillin’ your bucket!
Treat yo’ self!
- Stargaze—contemplate just how amazing life is
- Use PTO to leave work early to do your own thing!
- Enjoy a book or magazine at your favorite cafe
- Tap in to your artistic side with sidewalk chalk
- Take a nap or read in the warm shade
- Say “no” to something that feels stressful
- Say “yes!” to something fun and indulgent
- Relax in the bath, pool, hot tub, lake—you choose
- Sit outside, close your eyes, and just listen
I like to move it, move it!
- Dance to music that moves you
- Beat the heat—get up for an early morning walk/run
- Start your day with yoga in the sunshine
- Walk to do an errand or get a summer treat
- Try a NEW activity—geocaching, paddle boarding, etc.
- Grab a friend and go for a bike ride
- Work in your garden or yard
- Hand wash your car
- Go for a hike and have a picnic
Get ‘er done!
Goals, productivity, professional development
- Get rid of 25 items from your house
- Organize a space—don’t forget before and after photos
- Set one professional or personal goal for the summer
- Don’t check work email when you are on vacation
- Make an emergency/natural disaster plan with family
- Aim for a no-waste week—reduce, reuse, recycle
- Listen to a professional/personal development podcast
- Read an article that will help you toward a goal
- Plan a fall/winter vacation
Weekend ideas with friends and family
- Go camping
- Visit a museum—pose like an exhibit (pictures!)
- Catch a summer blockbuster to escape the heat
- Have fun with animals—zoo, aquarium, or your pet
- Go to an outdoor concert, festival, fair or sports game
- Try an outdoor ropes course or ziplining
- Go to brunch or have a picnic in the park
- Visit a pool, river, lake, or coast for a water adventure
- Tour your local town or a new city you want to see
For the love of full bellies!
Food and drink
- Make a healthy, cool summer treat—share the recipe!
- Organize a progressive dinner with some neighbors
- Enjoy a treat from an ice-cream truck
- Make real homemade lemonade (no powdered stuff!)
- Eat your favorite summer produce—savor every bite
- Have a BBQ and snap a photo of the grill master
- Try a cold summer soup recipe
- Make fruit popsicles
- Pick up fruits and veggies from a farmers’ market
You do you!
Create your own list
- Supporting Your Mental Health While Working from Home
- Enhancing Resilience
- Dealing with Grief, Loss, and Change as an Employee
- Avoiding Burnout
- Mindful Meditations for Work and Life
- Managing Your Emotions at Work
- The Five Thieves of Happiness
- Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
- Developing Resilience and Grit
There is no quick fix or magic pill for mental health issues, but I’m confident that together, as we learn and talk about them more, we’ll start to turn every month into one where mental health is a priority, both at home and at work. To your good health!
Teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic can make you feel like you’re working all the time. Know how to set boundaries between your work and personal life, as well as avoid professional isolation.
If your office is closed due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, you might be working from home for the first time. While teleworking can offer many benefits, teleworking during the pandemic poses unique challenges. Consider these tips for maintaining work-life balance and avoiding professional isolation while social distancing.
Pros and cons of teleworking
Before the pandemic, research suggested that teleworking can increase employees’ job satisfaction and commitment to an organization and even slightly improve their performance at work. Teleworking can also reduce exhaustion and work-related stress, possibly due to a reduced commute or more-flexible hours. Other benefits include a reduction in commuting costs and more freedom to work independently.
However, teleworking has always had drawbacks, including social and professional isolation, decreased information sharing opportunities, and difficulty separating work and personal time. The lack of a physical separation between these two worlds can cause family obligations to intrude on work and work obligations to bleed into family time. This can cause teleworkers to work extra hours to prove themselves, resulting in burnout. The ability to be constantly connected to work through a variety of technologies also can cause employees to feel like they are always on or unable to unplug at the end of the day.
Teleworking due to the coronavirus
Teleworking during the pandemic brings extra challenges.
Those new to working from home likely aren’t used to being isolated from co-workers and might not have a home office or area conducive to doing work. With other family members also potentially at home, including children or a partner, avoiding distractions and interruptions might be next to impossible. To find privacy, employees could find themselves in the awkward position of conducting meetings from their bedrooms or kitchens. And getting virtual meeting technology to work properly isn’t always easy. These changes can cause anxiety, stress and frustration.
Preventing professional isolation while teleworking
For those new to teleworking, the biggest challenge of working from home during the pandemic might be the lack of in-person collaboration with colleagues. Teleworkers don’t get to see their managers, staff or team members in the hallway or at the watercooler. As a result, regular contact through email, phone calls and virtual meetings is crucial. You might make time at the start of meetings specifically for small talk to give people time to interact.
Managers might consider having a regular five-minute check-in with each staff member, even if there is no pressing business to discuss. For colleagues, consider scheduling virtual lunch and coffee meetings to catch up on each other’s projects and maintain your relationships. Online communication platforms also can help keep you connected throughout the day.
Teleworking and work-life balance during the coronavirus
The key to work-life balance as a teleworker is being able to set boundaries — both for your work and personal obligations. To get started:
- Develop a routine. Come up with rituals that help you define the beginning and end of your workday. For example, make your bed and get dressed each morning as if you were going into the office. When you’re done working each day, change your outfit, take a drive or walk — in place of your normal commute — or do an activity with your kids. Starting and stopping work at around the same time each day might help, too.
- Exercise your willpower. Take care of yourself by eating healthy and working out. Resisting the temptation to do otherwise will help you when you need the discipline to set boundaries for your work and personal life.
- Talk to your manager. Discuss your manager’s expectations for your availability and the obstacles you might be facing at home. Ask what time of day is acceptable for you to stop checking your work emails or responding to work requests. Or agree on an alternative schedule with flexibility that allows you to spend some time caring for your kids during the day and make up hours at other times.
- Talk to your family. If you are working from home due to the pandemic and also have family at home, try to establish guidelines regarding interruptions. If your children are young, you’ll likely need to regularly talk to them about when you are working and can’t play, as well as come up with activities or temporary distractions for them. If there is more than one caregiver at home, you might take turns caring for the kids. You might also remind family and friends what times of day you can and can’t talk or text.
- Think before you press send. Working from home might mean emailing, messaging or texting every time you want to talk to a co-worker. Reduce the burden on your colleagues by making it clear when a request is urgent or important. If you’re in a leadership role, consider how sending late-night emails might affect your employees’ ability to unwind and enjoy time away from work.
- Prioritize your work. Focus on your most important work right now. Working all of the time isn’t good for you — or your family.
Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic requires patience, creativity and persistence. Keep experimenting to figure out what works best for you during this uncertain period.
Source: Mayo Clinic/2020, from FEI website
The University of Wisconsin System announced a new online behavioral health tool, SilverCloud, that offers self-guided programs for anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, and resilience. The tool is now available to faculty, staff, and students at any time, on any device, and at no cost.
“While the behavioral health of our students, faculty, and staff has always been a high priority for the UW System, the current COVID-19 pandemic has put those needs into even sharper focus,” said UW System President Tommy Thompson. “We are working hard to find ways to provide these vital services to our UW community and this online tool is a great option.”
System experts have been broadly reviewing the behavioral health challenges facing students, the availability of existing services, and the need for additional services. The SilverCloud tool emerged as one of several strategies.
“The Board of Regents has made student behavioral health a top priority,” said Regent President Andrew S. Petersen. “We are pleased that SilverCloud will be available to our students, staff, and faculty during the upcoming academic year, and we look forward to additional recommendations from our campus and System experts.”
In April 2019, a UW System report showed a 55 percent increase in demand for behavioral health support since 2010. That report, in conjunction with other behavioral health indicators, led the System to create three work groups that focused on identifying solutions and approaches to mitigate the growing behavioral health needs of the UW community. One work group reviewed crisis management services for students at risk of suicide or self-harm. A second looked at targeted interventions for vulnerable student populations, including veterans, students of color, and LGBTQ+ students. A third studied ways to foster healthy learning environments. The UW System Board of Regents will receive an update on this work at its meeting in October.
Based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles, the SilverCloud self-guided program allows individuals to manage day-to-day stressors personally and anonymously using interactive content and skill-building tools.
Studies have shown that online cognitive behavioral therapy can provide an effective form of care for those who are highly motivated and experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. The program can supplement traditional therapy or campus mental health services, while some individuals may use it without seeing a counselor at all.
To sign up or find out more about the tool, visit: https://uwsystem.silvercloudhealth.com/signup
Source: UW System
Source: The StayWell Company, LLC
The following article is from our
Employee Assistance Program, FEI
Spring EAPost: Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty
Human beings like certainty. We are hard-wired to want to know what is happening when and to notice things that feel threatening to us. When things feel uncertain or when we don’t generally feel safe, it’s normal to feel stressed. This very reaction, while there to protect us, can cause all sorts of havoc when there is a sense of uncertainty and conflicting information around us.
A large part of anxiety comes from a sense of what we think we should be able to control, but can’t. Right now, many of us are worried about COVID-19, known as the “Coronavirus”. We may feel helpless about what will happen or what we can do to prevent further stress. The uncertainty might also connect to our uncertainty about other aspects of our lives, or remind us of past times when we didn’t feel safe and the immediate future was uncertain.
In times like these, our mental health can suffer. We don’t always know it’s happening. You might feel more on edge than usual, angry, helpless or sad. You might notice that you are more frustrated with others or want to completely avoid any reminders of what is happening. For those of us who already struggle with our mental wellness, we might feel more depressed or less motivated to carry out our daily activities.
It’s important to note that we are not helpless in light of current news events. We can always choose our response. If you are struggling, here are some things you can do to take care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty:
- Separate what is in your control from what is not. There are things you can do, and it’s helpful to focus on those. Wash your hands. Remind others to wash theirs. Take your vitamins. Limit your consumption of news (Do you really need to know what is happening on a cruise ship you aren’t on?).
- Do what helps you feel a sense of safety. This will be different for everyone, and it’s important not to compare yourself to others. It’s ok if you’ve decided what makes you feel safe is to limit attendance of large social events, but make sure you separate when you are isolating based on potential for sickness versus isolating because it’s part of depression.
- Get outside in nature–even if you are avoiding crowds. I took a walk yesterday afternoon in my neighborhood with my daughter. The sun was shining, we got our dose of vitamin D, and it felt good to both get some fresh air and quality time together. Exercise also helps both your physical and mental health.
- Challenge yourself to stay in the present. Perhaps your worry is compounding—you are not only thinking about what is currently happening, but also projecting into the future. When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently bring yourself back to the present moment. Notice the sights, sounds, tastes and other sensory experiences in your immediate moment and name them. Engaging in mindfulness activities is one way to help stay grounded when things feel beyond your control.
- Stay connected and reach out if you need more support. Talk to trusted friends about what you are feeling. If you are feeling particularly anxious or if you are struggling with your mental health, it’s ok to reach out to a mental health professional for support. You don’t have to be alone with your worry and it can be comforting to share what you are experiencing with those trained to help.
We are in this together, and help is always available. If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can also reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention/2020
You can also contact FEI at 1-866-274-4723 or complete FEI’s contact form (https://fei.eapintake.com/).