Newsletter from Employee Health Promotions

April 2020

See You Again (Charlie Puth, Wiz Khalifa), Cover by One Voice Children's Choir

Finding a new way in new times

I can't say anything to make things better right now. Yet, like so many people, I’m struggling through day-to-day life and still want to connect with others, share ideas, and extend myself so I don’t feel like I’m going through this alone. Right now, I’m taking pleasure in the simplest things. Clean, crisp sheets, a hot shower, a good book. A hug from my teenage son. It’s only been a week but everything has changed.

I’ve had to give myself space (and permission) to be unproductive even though my instinct is to crank up my effort and energy to keep all things running. It’s all about balance. I want to help our clients tackle this uncharted territory. I want to help my son’s school and classmates adapt to remote learning. I want to help my neighbors get the stuff they need without endangering themselves. But I also know I have to chill out and take a break to stay energized. Sometimes chilling out looks like browsing TikTok for an hour, other times it’s reading poetry, and sometimes it’s going for yet another walk with my dog.

Despite not being able to fix most things right now, I realize I can offer some perspective on one of the biggest changes our culture experienced last week: remote working. Most workplaces went from having (maybe) a few remote workers to now having entirely distributed workforces. That’s a huge shift for work, and for the people doing the work. But I have been working like that for 20 years, so I hope I can offer some perspective that isn’t so much about the immediate how-tos of setting up and operating a remote office, but more about establishing a mindset for the shift and the unfamiliarity of what’s happening.

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about.

Our personal and professional boundaries will get very blurred while we adapt. We’re about to meet everyone’s cats and dogs, see our colleagues’ kids interrupt a meeting at least once, and get a view of the bookshelves and artworks at our homes. This might feel overwhelming and vulnerable to some people — it can be weird for people to suddenly see what we consider our private space (since not everyone has home offices). When that happens, I try to be respectful, curious, and human by smiling and acknowledging this unusual time.

Go easy on yourself and the people around you. We are so wound up and stressed about non-work things, let’s try to make the work part as supportive as possible. There is no way we can work at our usual pace or with our usual concentration. We might even not be able to work on our typical projects. For many of us, our confidence and identities are intertwined with our jobs. A decreasing ability to focus or a drop in productivity might have a cascading effect on how we feel about ourselves. Be kind to yourself and others during this roller coaster of a time.

Contagion, it’s on our minds 24/7 with the news cycle, but there is also another side to contagion. I have been trying to find ways to spread positive energy amidst the chaos. Doing something positive feels better and affects the people around you. I’m not saying you have to be cheery (that’s a bit much right now), but asking how people are coping, checking in on colleagues about their families, and offering something joyful can spread a little good energy.

written by Nancy Lyons

taken from her newsletter The Nan-Cave, you can subscribe here.

A school speech day surprise at Monkton, Bath, England

Web-based Learning Resources for YOU and YOUR FAMILY

Calm - Sleep, stress, meditations, gratitude resources, masterclass opportunities, resources for kids

Headspace - Meditation, movement, & sleep exercises

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation - Assorted kindness/positivity resources

Yale - Science of Wellbeing Course

Directions to sign up for the VITAL phone app  username-mankatoschools, password -member

Vital Worklife Employee Assistance Program

Vital Worklife Employee Assistance Program. This service is available to ALL EMPLOYEES and geared toward recognizing an employee's life situations and helping to find appropriate help. It is confidential and is available to both the employee and members of their household - at no cost to the employee.

Examples of services available:

  • Phone Coaching

  • Online Seminars

  • Chemical Dependency Assessment

  • Face to Face counseling

  • Legal and Financial discounts

  • Click HERE for a complete list of services offered by this provider.

Phone number is: 1-800-383-1908.

Website is: username-mankatoschools, password -member

We all have fear of the unknown, what one does with that fear will make all the difference in the world.  Quote by Lillian Russell

Congratulations to MAPS Employees Who Won Prizes!

The following MAPS Employees will receive a Minnesota State Park Annual Pass, for their participation in the March wellness challenge, 10K-A-Day. Your participation matters and is rewarded! Enjoy a drive or walk through the parks, and remember to keep up social distancing!

Clayton Reedstrom

Vesna Bozhinoska

Britt Cline

Laura Mitchell

Dawn Dahline

Beverly Peters

Jackie Ortmeier Crance

Sarah Schroeder

Karissa Nickels

Jennelle Zarn

Ruth Tweto

Beth Baker

Jody Rittmiller

Andrew Westberg

Debra Peterson

Sherilyn Becker

Renee Luedke

Katie Orchard

Heather Tentis

Cheryl Ellstrom

Samantha Kaeter

Sheryl Gulden

Mardell Brauer

Marnie Kortuem

Tanah Janike

Emma Marquardt

Laura Heinze

Angie Johnston

Becky Bailey

Tia Dupont

We Couldn't Resist!

Couch Choir - (They Long To Be) Close To You