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Stress & Wellbeing

By Madison Hanscom, PhD   Leaders are in a unique position where they can make positive changes that influence the lives of their employees. Consider the following strategies: • Continually take a pulse. If you don’t check in with employees regularly about their workload and experience, you won’t have any idea about stress levels. When things are overwhelming and more stressful than usual — listen and understand why. This way you can isolate the factors that cause a negative experience. When things are less stressful than usual — also understand why! Particularly in times when workload is high, but stress is low. Those

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By Madison Hanscom, PhD Remember that not all stressors have the same impact, and not all stress interventions work similarly. There are different types of stressors. Some stress can actually be a great thing. It can be energizing, create engagement, or promote personal growth. A job without stress of any kind would be boring, and we certainly would not grow professionally! If you think back to some of your greatest achievements, there were likely stressful moments along the way. This is normal and healthy. When stress becomes unmanageable, it can become detrimental. When we don’t have the resources to deal with demands or

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By Madison Hanscom, PhD Take care of your own stress and work with employees to build a “stress management toolbox”. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this blog series, the right solutions are going to depend on the source of stress, and the best solutions are primary solutions that address the root of the problem. As a leader, you often have more power than employees to make changes that reduce stressors, so consider what you can do first to create a healthier work environment (see the second blog in this series). Sometimes we have to use secondary solutions for things we cannot change. This is

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By Madison Hanscom, PhD Working from home can be a positive opportunity for many individuals. It might come with a shorter commute, less interruptions, more productive work time, and less stress. Despite the huge number of employees who are enjoying working from home, a dark side to flex work for some can be the aspect of loneliness. What exactly is loneliness? It doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual is “alone”. You might meet someone who is lonely while working on a floor of 100 people. Conversely, you might meet someone else who doesn’t feel lonely at all, but they work alone remotely

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By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D. During a time of uncertainty, many of us fall into unhealthy thought patterns. A recent study uncovered just how much Americans are struggling with mental health this year. Compared to 2018, those sampled in 2020 were eight times more likely to report indicators related to serious mental illness (1). A common tendency when dealing with stress is to ruminate on stressors. Will my loved ones get sick? When will the economy be back to normal? When will my children go back to school? What will happen to my career? These thoughts are normal, but they can stir

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By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D. The current pandemic is shining a spotlight on mental health. Individuals are experiencing extreme mental distress and uncertainty — demonstrating a need for greater attention to this topic [1]. There have also been concerns that the new realities of this time, such as social isolation and loneliness, are creating a troublesome environment for many individuals because these are risk factors linked with suicide and substance abuse [2]. Another part of the conversation should be industry. People spend about a third of their day on average working; this time adds up quickly [3]. Industry is an important factor to

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