Washington State EAP COVID-19-related Webinars for July and August

The Washington State Employee Assistance Program, EAP, is offering webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related topics to support emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Register for an upcoming live session or view a pre-recorded session on-demand below. More sessions will be added regularly.

EAP also has a website with links by topic to helpful resources from addiction to finances to parenting to support for marginalized communities.

Navigating Change in Challenging Times

In our ever changing world, learning how to navigate change is an essential skill—one that can be developed. In this webinar we’ll talk about the impact of change, actions you can take to navigate change based on your unique response to stress, and resources available to support you.

  • Friday, July 24, 2020 8:30-10:00am  Register
  • Tuesday, July 28, 2020  3:30-5:00pm  Register
  • Wednesday, August 5, 2020 2:00pm-3:30pm  Register
  • Tuesday, August 11, 2020  10:00am-11:30am  Register
  • Thursday, August 20, 2020  9:30am-11:00am  Register
  • Thursday, August 27, 2020  1:00pm-2:30pm  Register

Navigating Change Handouts:

Self Care with the WA State EAP

This webinar addresses the emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and offers ideas for self-care and strategies for managing stress and fear.

  • Wednesday, July 22, 2020  3:00-4:30pm  Register
  • Monday, July 27, 2020  2:00-3:30pm  Register
  • Tuesday, August 4, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Thursday, August 13, 2020  1:00pm-2:30pm  Register
  • Tuesday, August 25, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register

How to Build Resilience When Your Job Involves Helping Others in Crisis

This webinar is intended for those who are supporting others in crisis e.g. customers, clients, students, employees/staff. During this webinar you will learn how your mind and body responds to stress, possible impacts on your emotional and physical well-being, strategies to build resilience, and supports and resources available to you.

  • Tuesday, July 21, 2020  8:30-10:00am  Register
  • Wednesday, July 29, 2020  2:00-3:30pm  Register
  • Thursday, August 6, 2020  9:30am-11:00am  Register
  • Wednesday, August 12, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Tuesday, August 18, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register

For more information about the Washington State Employee Assistance Program or to view other COVID-19 related resources, please visit

Washington State Employee Assistance Program

Phone: (360) 407-9490 or toll-free at (877) 313-4455

Visit the EAP website.

Covered by PEBB or SEBB? Use Smart Health to Support Your Mental Health

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Washington State Employee Assistance Program July 2020 newsletter.

SmartHealth logo

If you have medical coverage through SEBB or PEBB, the SmartHealth wellness platform is another free tool you can sue to help support your mental health and wellbeing. SmartHealth offers a wide variety of free activities that can help reduce stress, build resiliency and increase connections. And you’ll earn points for each activity you complete. if you earn 2,000 points by Nov. 30, you’ll qualify for the $125 wellness incentive (for most, a $125 deduction to your 2021 medical plan deductible).

For example, through the following SmartHealth activities you can earn 100 points and:

  • Build a mindfulness practice with the video series: A Beginners Guide to Mindfulness
  • Learn how to increase your happiness through “Offered by Yale: The Science of Well Being” course
  • Become more knowledgeable about COVID through “COVID Resources: Plan, Prepare, Respond”

To find out more, go to your PEBB or SEBB SmartHealth benefit page, or login to SmartHealth to get started.

Many of us are now experiencing depression or anxiety. Here’s how to recognize signs and get help

depression

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the Washington State Employee Assistance Program’s July Newsletter.

Nearly one third of adults in the U.S. now show signs of clinical levels of depression or anxiety, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).  For some, it can be difficult to know when to reach out for professional help.  Please consider contacting the EAP for support, at 877-313-4455, if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • a traumatic event or vicarious trauma leads to prolonged symptoms of re-experiencing (flashbacks, nightmares), avoidance (of thoughts, people, situations), negative thoughts and mood (shame, fear), and arousal & reactivity (irritable, angry, reckless, issues with concentration or sleep).
  • anxiety causes you to worry excessively in intensity, frequency, or amount of distress it causes, or when you find it difficult to control the worry (or stop worrying) once it starts.
  • you are feeling little interest or pleasure in doing things you once enjoyed, or you are feeling down, depressed, hopeless, or are having thoughts of suicide.

In the NCHS survey, Black and Latinx/Hispanic adults were more likely to report anxiety or depression than whites or Asians. This tragic yet unsurprising result makes sense, given the harsh realities and impacts of longstanding systemic racism in our country coupled with the disproportionate health and economic burden of COVID on BIPOC. Know that EAP is committed to and is actively working to dismantle oppression within our program and services. We wholeheartedly support your right to have a safe space in counseling, and you are welcome and encouraged to ask for a counselor who identifies as a person of color—we will do our best to accommodate your request.

For additional resources, check out our COVID-19 Resources and Racism & Mental Health Resources pages.

Remember: you are irreplaceable, and your mental health and wellbeing are precious. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us, at 877-313-4455.

State Employee Assistance Program Webinars for the Month of June 2020

home office

The Washington State Employee Assistance Program is offering webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related topics to support emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Register today for these upcoming live webinars:

*New* Couples: Managing Your Way through COVID-19 (live)

  • Thursday, June 4, 2020 4:00-4:30 pm – Register
  • Friday, June 12, 2020 3:30-4:00 pm – Register

Self Care with the WA State EAP (live)

  • Tuesday, June 2, 2020 8:30-10:00 am – Register
  • Wednesday, June 10, 2020 3:00-4:30 pm – Register
  • Monday, June 15, 2020 1:30-3:00 pm – Register

Washington: Coming Together to Learn, Support, & Connect (live)

  • Thursday, June 4, 2020 12:00-12:30 pm – Register
  • Thursday, June 11, 2020 12:00-12:30 pm – Register
  • Thursday, June 18, 2020 12:00-12:30 pm – Register

How to Build Resilience When Your Job Involves Helping Others in Crisis (live)

  • Monday, June 1, 2020 3:00-4:30 pm   – Register
  • Monday, June 8, 2020 8:30-10:00 am – Register
  • Thursday, June 18, 2020 9:30-11:00 am – Register
  • Thursday, June 25, 2020 3:00-4:30 pm – Register
EAP also has a website with links by topic to helpful resources from addiction to finances to parenting to support for marginalized communities.

Cancelled by COVID 19: Managing Disappointment

cat making frowny face
You may have made this face a few times in the past few months. The COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled many concerts, meeting and family gatherings for many. The EAP offers some tips on handling disappointment.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the May 2020 Washington State Employee Assistance Program Newsletter

In addition to fear and anxiety, COVID-19 is causing many to struggle with feelings of disappointment. Whether it is a cancelled celebration or a postponed vacation, If not managed in a healthy way, disappointment can lead to lingering feelings of sadness and even depression. Here are four positive steps to help work through feelings of disappointment.

1) Give yourself permission to be disappointed. Adults are often so uncomfortable with negative emotions that there is a tendency to try to rush past them. However, if you allow yourself to experience the disappointment, as well as any other feelings you’re experiencing such as sadness and anger, you stand a better chance of being able to process your feelings in a healthy way. Genuinely experiencing emotions, no matter how painful, is part of the human experience. As you learn how to move through negative emotions rather than circumventing them, you help strengthen your personal resilience.

2) Find support. There is an old Yiddish saying, “Man plans, and God laughs.” As you know, the unexpected can suddenly pull the rug out from under cherished plans. Maybe you also know that when you share your disappointment with someone you trust, you will find support. Talking about disappointment can help release some of its fuel. In addition, the person you share with can offer comfort and may help you gain additional perspective.

3) Identify what you value. Disappointment reveals what really matters. If you are dejected because your child’s graduation ceremony was cancelled due to coronavirus, what does that reveal about what you care about? Is it a reflection of how proud you are of them or how eager you were to celebrate their achievement? Or, did you view their graduation as your graduation as well? Digging deeper and understanding what is at the root of your disappointment can be a very healthy exercise. From there you can move on to other ways to honor what you value.

4) Channel your disappointment. Once you uncover what you value, you can channel the energy of your disappointment to positive actions honoring that value. For the cancelled graduation, as an example, perhaps that means offering to spearhead a virtual graduation ceremony or creating a video with personal messages of congratulations.

While you do not have the power to change things outside of your control, you are able to control how you respond. If you are dealing with a COVID-19 related disappointment, know that you are not alone and, there is the possibility of understanding, learning from and growing through disappointment. If you’d like support to dig deeper and better understand your feelings, or if you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, don’t hesitate to reach out to the EAP for support, at 877-313-4455

February is National Black History Month

Martin Luther King, Jr

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the Washington State Employee Assistance Program’s February 2020 newsletter:

In February, we celebrate National Black History Month, to recognize and honor the experience and achievements of Black Americans. Each year the Association for the Study of African American Life and Heritage designates a theme for Black History Month. This year’s theme is “African Americans and the Vote” to mark the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment which established the right of women to vote, as well as the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870 which technically gave Black men the right to vote. In actuality, African Americans living in the South were almost entirely disenfranchised due to the passage of laws that erected barriers to voting, from poll taxes to literacy tests. You can read more about the prolonged struggle for African American voting rights that continued through the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and beyond.

Here are some additional ways to commemorate Black History Month:

With so much to learn, honor, and remember, we invite you to celebrate black history and culture all year-round.

Tips to Keep the Holidays Stress Free

holiday-stress

Editor’s Note: this article first appeared on the Washington State Department of Corrections’ intranet.

The holidays are in full swing. That means extra guests, menu planning, events and managing budgets. Here are some tips on how to manage stress during the festivities.

Tips for Dealing With Holiday Stress 

  • Make Your Well Being a Priority If you don’t take care of yourself no one else will. And if you wish to care for others remember, just like on an airplane, be sure to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others with theirs.                                   
  • Identify Your Stressors We all have particular family members or events that press our buttons, it is important that you know what they are. Identifying the problem is the first step to solving one.                                                                                   
  • Plan Proactively Now that you’ve identified your stressors, how can you handle those situations differently? How can you change your attitude toward those people and events to make things tolerable and even meaningful to you?                                   
  • Get Adequate Rest Put down the phone and tablet 30 minutes before you go to bed. Create a schedule that allows for the sleep you need and stick to it. The Walking Dead isn’t just a TV show.                                                                                                            
  • Maintain Healthy Eating Habits Don’t eat your feelings. Fuel your body, live your life and reflect on your feelings. Practice portion control and eat and drink in moderation. Experiment with mindful eating, using the senses in each bite and slowly savoring the flavors and moment.                                                                                
  • Maintain Healthy Exercise Habits Was there ever a better time to begin practicing some healthy stress management? Exercise can help you manage a stressful situation, give you a sense of accomplishment, and give you a pleasant endorphin rush! Remember that exercise comes in many forms, going to the gym, running, walking, actively playing with your pets or kids, dancing, climbing walls, video workouts of all sorts…Anything that gets your blood pumping.                                         
  • Practice Gratitude The holidays are a great time to reflect on the blessings in your lives. Try thinking about a time in the last month when you had a genuine moment of connection with another person, an animal or in nature. Reflect on that experience. What in this experience are you grateful for?                                                   
  • Connect Meaningfully with Others Use the holidays as an opportunity to intentionally spend time with people you care about. The holidays also present several opportunities to volunteer in your community both formally and informally.                                                                                                                                      
  • Have a Sense of Humor It won’t all be perfect, but at least we can laugh about it! Laughter can help you manage the stress and put that stress into the perspective it deserves.  

 Resources

The Department of Enterprise Services offers an  Employee Assistance Program for state workers at: https://des.wa.gov/services/hr-finance/washington-state-employee-assistance-program-eap (877) 313-4455

You can also get help for yourself or a loved one by calling the National Suicide Prevention hotline: (800) 273-8255

 

 

Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

Editor’s note: The Washington State Department of Enterprise Services‘ Employee Assistance Program publishes a monthly Frontline newsletter that’s full of tips for maintaining a healthy work life balance and tips to succeed in the workplace. It’s available to all state employees. You can read this month’s newsletter here, as well as sign up to receive the monthly newsletter. Below is one of this month’s articles:

sleep

Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep:

Set a schedule: Go to bed at a set time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Disrupting this schedule may lead to insomnia. “Sleeping in” on weekends also makes it harder to wake up early on Monday morning because it resets your sleep cycles for a later awakening.

Exercise: Try to exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day. Daily exercise often helps people sleep, although a workout soon before bedtime may interfere with sleep. For maximum benefit, try to get your exercise about 5 to 6 hours before going to bed.

Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol: Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, which acts as a stimulant and keeps people awake. Sources of caffeine include coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, non-herbal teas, diet drugs, and some pain relievers. Smokers tend to sleep very lightly and often wake up in the early morning due to nicotine withdrawal. Alcohol robs people of deep sleep and REM sleep and keeps them in the lighter stages of sleep.

Relax before bed: A warm bath, reading, or another relaxing routine can make it easier to fall sleep. You can train yourself to associate certain restful activities with sleep and make them part of your bedtime ritual. Sleep until sunlight: If possible, wake up with the sun, or use very bright lights in the morning. Sunlight helps the body’s internal biological clock reset itself each day. Sleep experts recommend exposure to an hour of morning sunlight for people having problems falling asleep.

Don’t lie in bed awake: If you can’t get to sleep, don’t just lie in bed. Do something else, like reading, watching television, or listening to music, until you feel tired. The anxiety of being unable to fall asleep can actually contribute to insomnia.

Control your room temperature: Maintain a comfortable temperature in the bedroom. Extreme temperatures may disrupt sleep or prevent you from falling asleep.

See a doctor if the sleeping problem continues: If you have trouble falling asleep night after night, or if you always feel tired the next day, then you may have a sleep disorder and should see a physician. Your primary care physician may be able to help you; if not, you can probably find a sleep specialist at a major hospital.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)