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Stress & Wellbeing

By Madison Hanscom, PhD Researchers collected data from over a thousand adults in the U.S. to get a sense of what factors were associated with an individual having greater psychological resilience during the first few weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown (Kilgore, Taylor, Cloonan, & Dailey, 2020). They defined resilience as the ability to withstand setbacks, adapt positively, and bounce back from adversity. There are a great deal of factors related to resiliency. The researchers found the following factors to be significantly associated with greater resilience during the COVID-19 lockdown: • More days a week spent outside in the sunshine (at least 10 mins)•

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By Madison Hanscom, PhD Burnout is deep and pervasive. It is marked by emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue, cynicism towards others, and depleted mental resources (1). The bad news: Burnout has negative effects on everyone. It is related to turnover, lessened productivity, counterproductive work behavior, lower motivation, and negative health outcomes (3). The side effects of burnout can last a long time. Burnout in time is associated with diseases in the long term (e.g., musculoskeletal, cardiovascular) and mental health consequences such as depression, insomnia, and anxiety (4). Helping a workforce suffering from burnout is not an easy task. The good news: Burnout does not appear overnight.

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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 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 are

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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. Less stressful workplace When stress becomes unmanageable, it can become detrimental. When we don’t have the resources to deal with

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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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