January 2021 Meeting Preview: Resolve to Survive, Revive and Thrive

image of fireworks courtesy Pixabay.com

by Julie Hyde, Washington State Department of Health

It’s a new year, and most of us are looking forward to fresh beginnings and hope for better things after the unprecedented events of 2020.

For the first meeting of the new year, ICSEW will have presentations on building resiliency after a crisis and how to successfully manage stress.  We’ll also have a news update from the Washington State Women’s Commission.

You’re invited to join the Interagency Committee of State Employed Women on Zoom and Facebook Live from 8:30 am to noon on January 19, 2021.

Attendees should register via EventBrite. When you register on EventBrite, you will receive an email with Zoom instructions.

All regular ICSEW meetings are free and open to anyone, regardless of gender or employment status.  A 1-hour ICSEW executive board meeting immediately follows the regular meeting, which is also open for attendees to observe.

Descriptions of the presentations are below:

How to Survive, Revive and Thrive Professionally in a Crisis

Are you feeling overwhelmed, ineffective, worried or stressed about your professional life during this COVID-19 crisis? You are not alone! We are not only facing a health crisis but also an economic crisis that the world has never experienced before.

It’s OK not to know what to do when your very survival is threatened. However, once we can move ourselves and our loved ones into a safe environment and have a moment to breathe, there are some simple tools that will give you a professional advantage during this COVID-19 pandemic.

In this presentation, Ann Hiatt, will share with us some extraordinary insights about how to SURVIVE, REVIVE, AND THRIVE Professionally in the midst of crisis. 

Washington State Women’s Commission Update

The Washington State Women’s Commission improves the life of every woman by ensuring equitable opportunities and removing systemic barriers through engagement, advocacy, and public policy, while being inclusive of our diverse populations.

The Women’s Commission recently appointed Regina Malveaux as its new director. Malveaux will speak about very important topics including the impact of COVID-19 on women and internet access crisis for families working from home.

Building Resilience to Manage Stress

During these challenging times building resilience is key to managing stress. In this presentation you’ll learn how stress can impact you, ways resilience can help you weather life’s ups and downs, strategies to build and maintain resilience, and supports and resources available.

About the Presenters

Ann Hiatt

Ann Hiatt is a Silicon Valley veteran who received her initial business training during 15 years as the Executive Business Partner to Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon) and Chief-of-Staff to Eric Schmidt (CEO and Executive Chairman at Google/Alphabet).

Her very first job was at 16 when she worked at a startup in Redmond, Washington called MusicWare – back when no one knew what a startup was. Growing up in Seattle during the original dotcom boom, surrounded by companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks, was a master class in innovation and it changed the course of her life.

Hiatt  now consults with executives and companies across the globe to reverse engineer their moonshot goals and get results by applying the lessons of innovation, ambition, growth at scale and forward-thinking leadership she learned at Amazon and Google. Aside from this, Hiatt is committed to democratizing the internet and bringing underrepresented voices to the forefront

Hiatt  is a sought-after international speaker, angel investor and sits on several boards in the UK. Ann has recently relocated from Silicon Valley to Europe and brings with her a unique perspective on what it takes to succeed in business today. Ann is also the author of Bet On Yourself which will be published by HarperCollins in 2021.

Regina Malveaux

Appointed to Governor Jay Inslee’s cabinet as Director of the Washington State Women’s Commission, Regina Malveaux has served as one of our nine inaugural Commissioners for the past two years. Malveaux  has over 20 years of experience as a tenacious advocate for women and children as a non-profit executive, victim’s services provider, community leader and policy advocate.

Malveaux served as CEO of the YWCA, Executive Director of the YWCA South Hampton Roads, Legal Advocate at the YWCA San Diego and founder of the Women’s Legal Center. Through her work with the YWCA, she established a national reputation as an aggressive advocate on issues related to gender-based violence and funding supports for families experiencing poverty.

Malveaux  holds an undergraduate degree in Social Policy from San Diego State University, a law degree from Howard University School of Law and a certificate in Non-profit Management from the Harvard University School of Business. During law school, she worked in both the White House and in Congress, for First Lady Hillary Clinton and the Honorable Maxine Waters respectively.

She has worked to train a new generation of advocates as an adjunct professor in Political, Women’s and African American studies at San Diego State University, the Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Old Dominion University, and Whitworth University.

Malveaux  has served on a number of boards aimed at advancing racial justice, economic empowerment and victim safety including the San Diego NAACP, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and the YWCA USA. Malveaux  is the mother of two adult children and currently resides in Olympia.

Kari Uhlman

Kari Uhlman is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Counselor for Washington State and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She supports public employees and family members in identifying and resolving personal and workplace concerns and provides EAP presentations on work/life topics throughout Washington State.  Prior to becoming a counselor, Uhlman was in the field of training, leadership, and organizational development for 20 years in healthcare and higher education.

Uhlman has a special place in her heart for foster and adopted children as she previously specialized in working with these families. 

Commentary: Taking Care of Yourself When Your Job Involves Taking Care of Others

Editor’s Note: This commentary originally appeared in the December 2020 Frontline Supervisor Newsletter published by the Washington State Employee Assistance Program. Cindy Guertin-Anderson, assistant director for workforce support and development shares she personal experience about how easy it can be to neglect taking care of yourself during emergencies like this pandemic.

Message from Cindy Guertin-Anderson, Asst. Director, Workforce Support and Development

Hello leaders! Over the last pandemic-burdened months, the EAP has provided you with encouragement and advice on how to take care of the employees you serve. Certainly, that’s critical. But here’s the other critical thing that you might be ignoring as outside pressures mount: Are YOU okay? When the EAP recently sent out an invitation for post-election support, a friend at another agency forwarded the email to me with the simple question: “But who supports the supporters? Hope you are hanging in there!” I answered jokingly to send an emergency supply of chocolate…but it’s a serious question, and I’m passing along that helpful question to you: Who or what is sustaining you? Are you, managers and HR professionals in your role as supporters, getting your own needs met?

At a recent state HR managers’ meeting, a participant raised the topic of compassion fatigue. And a litany of responses came into the chat—offers reaching out to chat 1:1, talk of creating a support group to process and debrief together with folks who understand what it’s like to be in their positions, desire for a space to refuel and connect together on their humanity. I’ve heard several people say that during team check-ins everyone else says they are doing just fine, “so I say I’m fine too…even though I’m not.” I’m in meetings with leaders who seem to be holding it all together perfectly well, but then I see a glimpse of their exhaustion, their despair. I see many of you—managers, leaders, human resource professionals—both going beyond the call of duty to lead in an ongoing crisis, but also beleaguered. Resilient yes, yet in some moments exhausted and with little or nothing left to give. I believe both can be true at the same time.

I received a letter from my doctor’s office reminding me that I was past due for my annual checkup. And it occurred to me that somehow amidst a pandemic that’s forcing us not to be out socializing, I had also neglected to go to the dentist (despite a minor toothache), neglected to get my eyes checked (despite the fact that I can no longer make out subtitles on my TV screen), and even neglected to keep up with my yoga practice at home (despite that year I spent in yoga teacher training). While I was busy creating wellness messages for the state workforce and trying to lead from a place of compassion, I wasn’t walking the talk. And so a few weeks later I found myself sitting in my doctor’s office for a wellness check. Her simple question, “How’s it going?” brought an unexpected cascade of tears. In other spaces I’ve been responding to that question with my standard, “Pretty well, all things considered,” but somehow in that moment I let my defenses down and I crumpled. I was not okay. I felt lonely and weary. She listened with kindness, told me what I was feeling was normal and expected, and recommended that I do something about it. What she recommended were obvious things, the things I preach but haven’t practiced. I found a counselor. I reached out to a colleague to talk. I made those neglected appointments.

My hunch is that many of you reading this are in a similar situation. You may be working overtime making sure your agency mission is achieved, while neglecting even the most basic of self-care. It’s not that you don’t know what you need to do to care for yourself; it’s just that it can feel overwhelming or exhausting to muster the energy to do it. Laura van Dernoot Lipsky in her 2018 book The Age of Overwhelm, says “Let us aspire to not allow overwhelm in the midst of suffering to leave us feeling powerless. There is always something we can do….It is never too late to start a new practice, merging the reality of insight about who you are—with an understanding of all you’ve got going on—with awareness of the choices you can make to help you sustain for the long haul. Do something. Every day.”

If you resonate with some of what I’ve shared so far, here’s a nudge for a few concrete actions you can take to combat compassion fatigue (either spend 15 minutes now, or find a 15 minute timeslot on your calendar this week and make an appointment to do the following):

  1. Think of a peer or colleague who might be in a similar hard spot right now, maybe someone at a different agency, and send them an email asking how they are managing these days. Invite them to meet for a virtual coffee break to chat. The person you reach out to probably needs connection just as much as you do.
  2. Grab a scrap of paper and jot down 3 things you did well in the past week, no matter how trivial. Read it aloud. Notice what happens to your mind and body when you acknowledge successes.
  3. Send a note of gratitude to someone—it can be the briefest of emails or a Skype chat—just to say “I was thinking of you and wanted to tell you that I’m glad you are in my life” or “Thanks for all you do – I feel lucky to work with you.”

And if no one has said it to you recently, I’ll end with this. Thank you for all you have done to support employees in the past 9 months. You are doing a great job. You need and deserve support too. What choice will you make today to sustain for the long haul?

PS: If you missed the October State HR Lunch and Learn on Workplace Resilience featuring Dr. Kira Mauseth from the WA DOH Behavioral Health Strike Team, give it listen. It’s well worth the hour.

Resource: Webinar: How to Build Resilience When Your Job Involves Helping Others in Crisis The EAP has an upcoming webinar from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday Dec. 7. You can register here or visit the EAP website for on-demand recordings of this webinar topic.

Post-Election Support Resource Guide

drawing of US capitol
Image from Pixabay.com

This week, the Washington State Employee Assistance program is offering a special series of live post-election support sessions. One per day on weekdays starting the day after Election Day through Monday, November 9. The EAP is also offering several webinars on keeping up on your mental health and wellbeing. Below are the details from the director of the Employee Assistance Program:

A message from Darrow Brown, Director of the Employee Assistance Program:

In the midst of a pandemic, civil unrest, racial discord and household financial insecurity, we have now arrived at Election Day 2020 – a day that has certainly heightened the stress, worry and anxiety for many.  To support you and your employees, the Washington State Employee Assistance Program offers the attached resource guide.  Note, the list is not an exhaustive one, but should help to provide you and your employees support and a way forward during the coming days.  Please be sure to send the guide to your employees.

Post Election Support Sessions

In the guide, you’ll see that the EAP is offering live, supportive post-election sessions starting Wednesday 11/4.  At present, there will be one session per day on Wednesday 11/4, Thursday 11/5, Friday 11/6 and Monday 11/9.  We will assess the schedule and frequency, based on requests and feedback in the coming days.  To see a list of dates and times and to register, you and your employees can visit our Webinars page.  We here at the EAP understand the potentially precarious and emotionally-charged nature of these sessions.  The intention is to provide a guided, facilitated and supportive response that attends to employees’ emotional and behavioral needs. The underlying EAP approach is to “do no harm”, including not inviting and/or allowing discussions of a political nature.

Thank you for the continued support of The Washington State Employee Assistance Program and for your dedication to employee wellness.

EAP Webinars on Mental Health and Wellbeing during COVID Schedule for Sept/Oct

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.

(New) Leading the Human Side of Change

From the Washington State Employee Assistance Program:

Leading the Human Side of Change

We are currently experiencing a rapid transformation of the workplace. As a leader, you may find yourself struggling with how to navigate and lead your team through the challenges that can come with change. In this webinar you’ll learn about the human side of change, how change impacts you as a leader and your work group, strategies to support your team through change, and what resources are available to support both you and your employees.

  • Wednesday, October 28, 2020  2:00pm-3:30pm  Register

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.

  • Wednesday, September 23, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Thursday, October 1, 2020  1:00pm-2:30pm  Register
  • Thursday, October 22, 2020 2:00pm-3:30pm  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.

  • Thursday, September 24, 2020  2:00pm-3:30pm  Register
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2020  10:00am-11:30am  Register
  • Tuesday, October 6, 2020 10:30am-12:00pm  Register

For more resources and to view a list of recorded webinars, visit https://des.wa.gov/services/hr-finance/washington-state-employee-assistance-program-eap

EAP Self-Care and Resilience Building Webinars Schedule for August and September 2020

home office

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.

  • Thursday, August 20, 2020  9:30am-11:00am  Register
  • Thursday, August 27, 2020  1:00pm-2:30pm  Register
  • Wednesday, September 23, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Thursday, October 1, 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.

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Thursday, September 17, 2020   2:00pm-3:30pm 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, August 18, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Tuesday, September 15, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Thursday, September 24, 2020  2:00pm-3:30pm  Register
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2020  10:00am-11:30am  Register

Washington State Employee Assistance Program

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

Visit the EAP website.

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