Wellness Works® is an exclusive UBA Partner Firm newsletter focusing on your biggest and most personal asset – wellness.
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JANUARY 2024 | AVOID WORKPLACE BURNOUT
Avoid Workplace Burnout
Work-related burnout can impact your energy level, with almost half of the respondents of a recent study reporting low energy at the end of a workday. Studies have shown that prolonged work without breaks can reduce motivation and increase stress and burnout. Taking breaks during the workday is crucial for aligning your brain's natural rhythm, which cycles between heightened focus and rest. Regular breaks can significantly improve your focus, creativity, and job satisfaction.
Develop a work break strategy.
Start incorporating breaks during working hours to enhance your productivity, mental health, and overall job satisfaction.
Balance relaxation and engagement breaks by switching between physical, cognitive, and social activities.
Find the optimal balance for break frequency and length, recognizing the benefits of regular, brief breaks for cognitive refreshment and increased productivity.
Prioritize breaks for mental health to enhance serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals that influence happiness and focus.
Add breaks to your calendar to avoid skipping them.
Disconnect mentally and physically from work-related tasks during breaks.
Stay hydrated and choose healthy, nourishing snacks to fuel your body and mind.
Practice deep breathing exercises during breaks to calm your mind and reduce stress.
Spend breaks outside in nature for a refreshing experience, if possible.
Use mental health apps to learn best practices for meditation, breathing, or stress reduction.
Taking work breaks may be essential to sustain a well-rounded and satisfying work life. You can combat work-related burnout by implementing a deliberate break strategy to improve productivity and job satisfaction. Rather than a luxury, view breaks as an essential activity for resilience and overall well-being.
BOOK REVIEW | The Burnout Challenge: A Comprehensive Approach to Workplace Well-Being
In The Burnout Challenge, co-authored by Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter, the focus shifts from coping with job burnout to preventing it at its core. The book delves into the roots of burnout, identifying it as a stress response to chronic job stressors and advocating for effective stress management.
Prevent Burnout The book emphasizes a proactive approach to prevent burnout, acknowledging it as a stress response rather than a medical condition. It underscores the importance of managing chronic job stressors for long-term well-being.
Be Guided in Six Core Areas Maslach and Leiter introduce a comprehensive framework of six core areas—workload, control, reward, community, fairness, and values. These areas serve as a guide to assess workplace problems and design effective solutions.
Focus on Prevention The book challenges the common question of "who is burned out" and redirects attention to "why people are burned out." Focusing on long-term prevention solutions aims to modify job stressors and create sustainable workplace well-being.
The Final Word The Burnout Challenge envisions a workplace where individuals can flourish, emphasizing the need to design better job environments for improved outcomes at all levels. By systematically addressing burnout, the book contributes to creating a win-win situation where workers and organizations thrive.
DECEMBER 2023 | navigate holiday stress
Navigate Holiday Stress
As the holiday season approaches, it's common to experience increased stress at work. Actively managing your increased stress levels is essential for maintaining well-being and staying productive at work during the holidays.
Here's a practical guide to assist you in navigating holiday stress within the workplace.
Seek Flexibility Acknowledge and express the challenges you may face during the holidays, such as increased workloads and deadline pressures. Advocate for flexibility from your team to create a supportive work environment.
Collaborate The combination of team PTO and year-end deadlines can add stress to the busy holiday season. Foster open communication within your team to prioritize collaboration and distribute tasks evenly to prevent anyone from feeling overwhelmed. Take a minute to celebrate project achievements and extend acts of kindness throughout the holiday season.
Prioritize Self-Care Make self-care a priority during the holiday hustle. Carve out time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Whether it's a workout, a walk outdoors, or simply taking scheduled breaks, these practices contribute to your mental well-being. Don't hesitate to disconnect from work daily to recharge and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Apply Practical Stress-Reduction Tips Implement practical tips to minimize holiday stress. Plan for work commitments and social events, learn to say no when needed and create a realistic budget to manage finances. Support your well-being by adopting healthy eating habits, including watching your diet with mindful eating.
Access Mental Health Support Recognize the importance of mental health during the holiday season and take the time to explore mindfulness and meditation apps and online resources. If you're in therapy, prioritize your sessions during this busy season. Reach out for support from friends, family, or mental health professionals if needed, acknowledging that the holidays can bring unique challenges.
As you navigate the holiday season amid workplace demands, remember that prioritizing your well-being is a gift to yourself and is important in fostering a positive and productive work environment. As you actively engage in these strategies, you not only manage your holiday stress but also play a pivotal role in creating a workplace culture that values and supports the well-being of each team member. Doing so contributes to a healthier and more positive work experience, making the holiday season a time of joy and accomplishment.
BOOK REVIEW | The Stress Prescription: Seven Days to More Joy and Ease
In her book, The Stress Prescription, Dr. Elissa Epel offers a transformative and practical guide to turning stress into strength in just seven days. The author shares science-based techniques and a seven-day plan to embrace and harness stress for a more positive and purposeful life.
Practical Plan Dr. Epel outlines an actionable seven-day prescription, providing a structured journey that addresses the dimensions of stress, making it relatable to diverse lifestyles.
Mind-Body Connection The book examines the intricate mind-body connection and offers a holistic approach to guide you to a beneficial stress response that enhances overall health.
Flexibility and Resilience With an emphasis on how to "stress better," you can be empowered to develop a resilient mindset and turn stress into strength. This strategic mindset can offer a path to fill days with joy, connection, and ease.
The Final Word The Stress Prescription: Seven Days to More Joy and Ease can be a valuable resource if you are seeking a practical and science-backed approach to managing stress. The seven-day plan and insights into the mind-body connection set this book apart as a guide to surviving stress and harnessing it for personal growth, resilience, and a more fulfilling life.
NOVEMBER 2023 | a journey toward inner strength
Embrace Reciprocity and Gratitude
Integrating reciprocity and gratitude into your life can fundamentally shift your perceptions and interactions with others. Although both principles seem simple, they can be potent tools for nurturing your inner well-being. Leaders who make reciprocity and gratitude part of their team culture can build collaboration and trust.
Reciprocity is ingrained in our human nature, reflecting our inherent tendency to respond to acts of kindness with comparable or even amplified positive gestures. When you authentically acknowledge the actions of others, you build trust and establish a sense of belonging. These principles extend beyond your immediate circles; they shape your interactions with the world, leading to positive connections and enriching your emotional experiences. Picture it as the foundation of your support system.
Gratitude is more than just saying thank you — it's about regularly acknowledging the positive aspects of your life. To accomplish this, consider keeping a gratitude journal, practicing mindfulness, or creating a recognition program in your workplace. Incorporating gratitude into your life can foster a positive environment where you can thrive even when faced with daily challenges.
During the busy holiday season, actively practice reciprocity and gratitude to reduce the stress amid the celebrations and festivities.
Engage in acts of kindness, no matter how small, to create a positive ripple effect.
Express your gratitude openly and sincerely by taking moments to appreciate and acknowledge the efforts and contributions of others.
By consciously incorporating reciprocity and gratitude into your daily routine, even in challenging situations, you enhance your well-being and contribute to a more harmonious and meaningful experience for everyone around you. Try to carry the spirit of reciprocity and gratitude into the new year and create a positive outlook in all your interactions and experiences.
BOOK REVIEW | Leading with Gratitude: Eight Leadership Practices for Extraordinary Business Results
In their book Leading with Gratitude, bestselling authors Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick shed light on a simple yet often overlooked tool in leadership – gratitude. The authors emphasize the profound impact of showing appreciation at the workplace, boosting morale and efficiency, and enhancing profitability.
Vital Need to Feel Valued The book presents compelling research demonstrating how expressing gratitude boosts employee engagement and creates a positive cycle where team members reciprocate those gestures, strengthening team bonds.
Express Appreciation Effectively By sharing real-life success stories, the authors provide tangible examples of how incorporating gratitude into leadership styles can yield remarkable results.
Close the Gap The book addresses the disparity between the awareness of gratitude's benefits and its implementation in the workplace. It challenges leaders to reevaluate their management strategies, emphasizing that showing appreciation isn't just a nicety but a strategic and intelligent approach to leadership.
The Final Word Through practical advice, compelling research, and inspiring stories, Elton and Gostick demonstrate that gratitude is not just a soft skill but a potent tool for creating a thriving work environment.
OCTOBER 2023 | navigating team dynamics
Dealing with a "Bad Apple"
Occasionally, you will encounter a "bad apple" — a colleague who disrupts by not following directions, doing the bare minimum, gossiping, or being negative. Their behavior makes a productive and cohesive work environment challenging.
Recognizing a "Bad Apple"
Research shows that team performance suffers when a "bad apple" is on a team. Teams without a "bad apple" achieve top-tier performance 21.3% of the time vs. 10% on teams with a "bad apple." Consequently, dealing with a "bad apple" is an important skill set to minimize:
Wasting time putting out fires
Setting a poor example of acceptable behavior
Jeopardizing your organization's reputation, client relationships, or bottom line
Working with a "Bad Apple"
First and foremost, keep your composure and stay objective when confronted with disruptive behavior because reacting emotionally can make the situation worse. Maintain your professionalism by refraining from gossiping about the "bad apple" or the disruptions they cause. Prioritize self-care to keep your positive outlook and manage your stress.
Rise above disruptive coworkers by:
Maintaining professionalism and emotional composure
Setting clear boundaries
Addressing issues through proper channels, such as HR or supervisors, when necessary
Engage in Open Communication Initiate open and continuous communication with the "bad apple." Clearly outline expectations for improvement and how they can enhance their contributions while minimizing disruptions on future projects. Emphasize your willingness to support and coach them as needed throughout an upcoming project.
Reinforce Accountability Implement a two-stage evaluation approach to reinforce accountability. Schedule initial and final assessments with the "bad apple" to establish progress checkpoints during a project. These evaluations encourage ongoing discussions about the impact of their behavior on the team and emphasize your dedication to cultivating a healthy work environment.
Seek Support If the behavior persists and negatively impacts the team or the organization, involve human resources or upper management. They can help mediate the situation, enforce policies, or initiate disciplinary actions if necessary.
Focus on the work and your contributions, seeking support from colleagues and supervisors as needed. By staying resilient, constructive, and proactive, you can navigate dealing with a "bad apple" and continue to excel in your role.
BOOK REVIEW | Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People
Mastering effective work relationships is vital for success. In Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People, communications expert Renee Evenson offers a comprehensive guide with essential strategies to navigate challenging workplace dynamics.
Access to a Strategic Communication Toolbox Evenson equips readers with a versatile toolkit of 325 powerful phrases and actionable steps, empowering them to communicate confidently and assertively in various work scenarios.
Navigate Workplace Challenges The book delves into 30 common personality traits and behaviors, offering customized phrases for each, allowing readers to tailor their responses to specific workplace challenges precisely.
Transform Conflict Beyond verbal skills, the book explores nonverbal cues, provides sample dialogues for real-world context, and outlines a structured five-step conflict resolution process, enhancing readers' abilities to transform conflicts into opportunities for growth.
The Final Word When interpersonal competence can be as important as technical knowledge, Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People by Renee Evenson can be an indispensable resource for managers. It equips professionals with the tools to navigate relationship complexities and communicate effectively.
SEPTEMBER 2023 | UNLOCK YOUR PRIME-TIME ENERGY LEVEL
Achieve Optimal Productivity
In a world where many things compete for your attention, achieving a productive day can be challenging. Sometimes, working more hours can help you get more done, but it can also make you feel tired and stressed. Everyone only has 24 hours in a day. An essential aspect of enhancing productivity is identifying peak energy periods and directing your efforts toward tasks during these moments.
Imagine a part of the day when your mind is brimming with creativity, your concentration is unwavering, and your problem-solving skills are at their peak. Your biological prime time is when handling complex tasks, making crucial decisions, and engaging in profound work is most effective.
A Personalized Journey to Productive Excellence
Determining your biological prime time is a process that combines self-reflection with data collection. Here's a step-by-step guide to discovering your unique energy peaks.
Gather Data Take two weeks to carefully track your energy levels throughout the day. Use a scale of 1 to 5 to measure your energy at various hours.
Spot Patterns Study the data for consistent trends after these two weeks to reveal the hours when your energy consistently peaks and tends to dip.
Understand Sleep Patterns Consider your sleep habits. Are you a morning person or a night owl? These habits significantly impact your biological prime time. Keep a regular sleep schedule for accurate insights.
Temporarily Avoid Caffeine To understand your natural energy rhythms, temporarily reduce or abstain from caffeine to help distinguish between genuine energy spikes and those caused by caffeine.
Organizing Your Day for Peak Performance
Once you have a grasp of your biological prime time, you can adjust your daily routine to make the most of this valuable resource.
Prioritize Key Tasks Reserve your prime energy hours for tasks that require intense mental focus and creativity. These hours are ideal for handling complex projects, making important decisions, and immersing yourself in focused work.
Minimize Distractions Create a setting free from interruptions during your biological prime time. Turn off notifications, put your phone away, and close unnecessary tabs on your computer to stay focused.
Plan Breaks Intentionally Acknowledge your energy level's natural ebb and flow. Use your low-energy periods for breaks, less demanding tasks, and recharging to maintain productivity and prevent burnout.
Be Consistent Whenever possible, align your daily routine with your biological prime time. Keep a regular sleep schedule to optimize your energy cycles.
In a world full of distractions and where time is limited, the concept of biological prime time is a game-changer. It empowers you to work smarter, not harder, by syncing tasks with our natural energy patterns. By incorporating this concept into your life, you can transform your approach to productivity, enhance efficiency, and embark on a journey toward your goals with newfound clarity and determination. Discover the power of your biological prime time and tap into an undiscovered well of your potential.
BOOK REVIEW | At Your Best: How to Get Time, Energy, and Priorities Working in Your Favor
Be Better at Using Your Time Nieuwhof gives tips for reducing stress and burnout by doing similar tasks together, avoiding distractions, and finding the times when you work the best to help you get more done without feeling overwhelmed.
Get More Energy Instead of just talking about managing time, Nieuwhof talks about managing your energy, which is like fuel for your body and mind. He talks about exercising, staying calm, and having good relationships to feel more awake and less tired. It's like learning how to recharge your batteries.
Focus on What's Important This book helps readers determine what matters and how to make those things a bigger part of their lives. He talks about how to say "no" to things that aren't that important and how to make choices that make you happy.
The Final Word At Your Best is like a toolbox full of great ideas for anyone who wants more control over their busy life. Carey Nieuwhof writes in a way that's easy to understand, and you'll learn how to deal with being busy and tired in a much better way. If you want to stop feeling overwhelmed and enjoy life more, this book is an excellent choice.
AUGUST 2023 | UNLOCK YOUR MOTIVATION
Ignite Your Drive for Success
Motivation can be the secret sauce that propels us to achieve success. But did you know that not all motivation is created equal? Individual personality traits affect our goals and how we face life's challenges and demands. Understanding what motivates you is the key to unleashing your inner drive and unlocking your full potential. Let's explore the two distinct motivational types: promotion-focused and prevention-focused.
Promotion-focused individuals are all about growth, achievement, and taking daring risks. They thrive in dynamic and collaborative environments, constantly motivated by the promise of exciting rewards. They're "in it to win it."
On the other hand, prevention-focused individuals prioritize stability and security. They're more risk-averse and plan to "not lose." They are the masters of careful planning and meticulous execution, excelling in detail-oriented settings where avoiding mistakes and failures is paramount.
If you're a promotion-focused go-getter, you:
Set audacious goals that challenge and excite you.
Embrace innovation and think outside the box.
Surround yourself with fellow dream-chasers who share your passion.
If you're a prevention-focused guardian of stability, you:
Mitigate risks by carefully planning and preparing for potential hurdles.
Seek out a stable and structured environment that allows you to excel.
Boost your confidence by becoming an expert in your field.
Once you've identified your dominant motivational focus, it's time to put it to work. Your focus guides what you value, what you pay attention to, the mentors you seek out, and how you feel when you reach or miss your goals. Understanding your motivations can offer insights into what drives others on your team, how they communicate best, and how to use different skill sets to achieve a goal.
Remember, understanding your motivational focus is just one key to personal growth and success. Align your unique drive and talents with your goals, tasks, and surroundings. Embrace what makes you tick, and let it propel you toward authentic and fulfilling achievements.
BOOK REVIEW | How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
Empowering Personal Growth. This book equips readers with valuable tools to take charge of their lives and make positive adjustments. By understanding the science behind change, individuals can set meaningful goals, overcome self-limiting beliefs, and build resilience, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and purposeful life.
Relevance to Professional Development. Professionals from various fields can benefit from this book's applicable strategies to enhance leadership skills, foster a growth mindset, and excel in career development. Additionally, understanding the science behind behavioral change can empower professionals, including HR experts, to design more effective training programs and cultivate thriving work environments.
Credible and Evidence-Based Approach. How to Change distinguishes itself with its strong foundation in research and evidence. Readers can trust the science-backed principles presented in the book, providing a reliable resource to facilitate successful and sustainable changes in multiple aspects of life.
The Final Word How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be is for individuals seeking personal growth and professional development. Its evidence-based insights and practical strategies offer a roadmap for overcoming challenges that can lead to positive transformations.
JuLY 2023 | BATTLING IMPOSTER SYNDROME
Have you ever felt like a fraud when starting a new job or facing an important project? Symptoms of “imposter syndrome,” a term coined in the late 1970s, include feeling anxious, guilty, and full of self-doubt. More than just a lack of self-confidence, the syndrome is more common than you would think — research suggests that 70% of people are plagued with imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. Because of its potential to undermine career and personal development, knowing how to manage it is imperative.
A few simple techniques can help when feeling overwhelmed:
Use mindfulness. Imposter syndrome involves a large amount of anxiety about what could happen. Worrying about the future takes you out of the present. Take a break to do some deep breathing techniques or listen to a guided meditation.
Check the facts. Untangle your emotions by drawing upon a simple technique to focus on facts. In one column, write down a thought contributing to these feelings. In the second column, record evidence that counters that thought. For example, counter the statement “I am not qualified to do this presentation” by listing other presentations you have done like this in the past and your subject matter expertise.
Call your support team. Everyone needs a “cheerleading” team to get through tough times. While it may feel counterintuitive, now is the time to be vulnerable. Share your feelings of doubt with someone you trust. Human connection may offer another perspective and help you see you are not alone in these feelings.
Celebrate your successes. Remember that your wins are not just luck but are due to your skills and ability to work with others to accomplish a goal. Keep a list of wins – large and small – and the skills you used to achieve them.
Knowing what to do when these feelings overwhelm you can help you confidently move forward. Above all, be gentle with yourself, call on your support network, and learn from your experiences. Embrace your successes, both big and small. By incorporating these techniques into your routine, you can gradually ease the grip of imposter syndrome, allowing your true capabilities to shine. Remember, you are not alone in experiencing these doubts, and with perseverance and self-belief, you can conquer any challenge that comes your way.
As you navigate your career and personal development, imposter syndrome may surface, but it doesn’t define you. Trust in your abilities; the only true fraud would be to deny yourself the opportunity to thrive.
APP REVIEW | I am - Daily affirmations
I Am is an app that supplies positive affirmations to help you counter negative thoughts and change your mindset. Google Play Store Average Rating: 4.8 (175,000 reviews)
Pros Users rave about daily unique and motivating content. Save feature to store favorite affirmations. Subscribers enjoy a low cost for premium membership.
Cons Additional content is only available to premium members. Ads are distracting.
Is this app right for you? You could use a dose of daily encouragement. You find yourself "doom scrolling" and need another avenue to inspire positive thoughts.
June 2023 | Exercise Your Empathy Muscles
Empathy is a critical leadership skill in today’s ever-changing workplace. Empathy is the ability to identify and understand feelings in yourself and others. It improves relationships, increases collaboration, and amplifies innovation.
Exercise your empathy muscles in everyday work conversations.
Practice active listening. Give your undivided attention to the speaker. Adopt positive body language: make eye contact and lean in. Put away distracting technology. Paraphrase what you heard to ensure you are getting the heart of their message.
Be curious. Avoid making assumptions about how the other person feels. Instead, ask questions to further understand. Use open-ended questions (who, what, where, when, and why) to allow the speaker to explain from their point of view.
Know your audience. This rule of thumb helps you personalize individual messages. For example, what is the preferred communication style of team members? Do they prefer email or face-to-face communication? Do they need time to process a message before having a more detailed conversation about next steps?
Demonstrate perspective taking. Your ability to see a situation through someone else’s eyes shows your openness. For example, consider the client’s or a colleague’s viewpoint. Try to understand their perspective, especially when dealing with conflict.
Each person shows up to work with their own unique values, beliefs, and perspectives. Your job as a leader is to better understand your team and create an environment where they can grow. Use one of your next conversations as an opportunity to develop your empathy skills and build more trust in the process.
APP REVIEW | Mood Journal
Mood Journal is a daily mood tracker that promotes self-reflection and offers exercises to improve your mental health. Google Play Store Average Rating: 4.5 (539 reviews)
Pros Simple app helps users identify and process emotions. Users enjoy meditation, breathing exercises, and articles to improve mood. Described as an easy-to-use self-care tool.
Cons Unpaid option includes distracting advertisements and banners. Some users would like to see new article content.
Is this app right for you? You are looking for a simple way to track your moods and see your progress over time. Sometimes you are at a loss for words when trying to identify your feelings.
MAY 2023 | VALUES-BASED DECISION MAKING
Researchers at Stanford University and Columbia University conducted a study called “The Jam Experiment” which evaluated how the number of choices affected decisions.
Presented with samples of more than 20 types of jam or just six types, more shoppers visited the larger display, but only 3% bought a jar of jam. Conversely, 30% of the shoppers who stopped at the smaller display followed through with a purchase. The results showed that minimizing options facilitated the decision-making process (and led to more jam sales).
The same applies in the real world, as too many choices can be overwhelming. Decision-makers should consider a framework to reduce the number of options and make decisions easier. One option is using personal values to provide a decision-making framework.
Identify your values. Helpful methods to clarify your personal values include free online tests, apps, and journalling prompts. Choose five to seven core values and rank them in order of importance. Think of “you at your best” as you make and organize these selections.
Clarify the decision. Gather facts and data about the decision you face. Then, outline the distinct options you see today and consider if there are additional options.
Vet options against your values. How do the options align with your values? Discard options that are in opposition to your core values. For example, if financial independence is a top priority, eliminate any options that require you to take out a loan or ask for financial support.
Make your decision. As you evaluate the remaining options, do any of your values take on more importance? Are there values that you do not want to compromise? Finally, with this in mind, which choice is the best option?
Values-based decision making can profoundly resonate with your authentic self. Using your values as a “north star” makes it less likely that you will experience regret and ultimately be satisfied with your decision.
APP REVIEW | Values Card Sort
Values Card Sort is a tool to help you identify and prioritize your personal values. Google Play Store Average Rating: 4.0 (26 reviews)
Pros Users describe it as an easy-to-use tool with a simple layout.
Cons Saving options are currently unavailable. Users would like to revisit their selections to see if they change over time.
Is this app right for you? You want a visual tool to help identify your most important values. You are striving to make values-based decisions.
APRIL 2023 | give your brain what it needs: movement
More than 85% of Americans sit during work hours. The repercussions of a sedentary job are more significant than just a sore back. Research shows your mind craves movement as well as your body. Your focus, creativity, and problem-solving skills increase when you are active.
So how can you increase physical activity while meeting the demands of a desk job? There are simple ways to add movement to your day.
Look for opportunities to stand up. For example, introduce yourself in person instead of sending a welcome email to a new employee. Store your lunch in the breakroom to get some steps before eating. Opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stand up while on video calls.
Challenge yourself at your desk. On busy days, look for the chance to move while sitting. Engage your core by sitting on an exercise ball. Try a standing desk or treadmill desk while answering emails.
Make it a group effort. Schedule walking meetings with coworkers. A side-by-side format increases creative solutions by 60% and can make difficult conversations much less intimidating. Create a Slack to Teams channel where colleagues can share their favorite desk exercises. Start team meetings with a five-minute stretch.
Use technology to your advantage. Apps on your phone enable you to work while moving. Identify blocks of time where you can participate on the go. For example, can you answer Teams messages while doing a few leg lifts? Or get a few steps in while answering emails?
A sweaty workout may come to mind when you think of exercise. But getting regular movement during your day also benefits your body and mind. Do you need more motivation? Ask a colleague (or your team) to join you. There is a good chance this will lead to more creative ideas back at your desks.
APP REVIEW | Map My Run by Under Armour
Map My Run is a coaching and training tool to support running or walking goals, includes nutrition guidance, and boasts an active community of 60 million runners. Google Play Store Average Rating: 4.7 (408,000 reviews)
Pros Described as easy and accurate. Offers personalized coaching tips – posture, foot positioning, and stride – to fine-tune running technique. Bluetooth syncing options are available for watches or Under Armour shoes.
Cons Bugs identified in the training plan voice coaching and syncing features. Problems were reported in saving workouts and routes.
Is this app right for you? You want to start a running, walking, or hiking routine and need help to stay motivated, track your exercise, and identify running paths in your area.
MARCH 2023 | PETS CAN SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH
Dogs are often at the top of emotional support animal wish lists. These furry friends can be empathetic and comforting during stressful times. However, if you have an allergy or your housing situation prohibits dogs, there are many options. Other animals could match your lifestyle and offer positive mental health benefits.
Pets to Consider
Fish Do you want to invite some calm into your life? Observing these creatures move through the water can instantly quiet a busy mind. Fish have been shown to decrease stress and lessen anxiety and are easy to care for.
Cats Do you prefer a pet that will make a good roommate? Cats are ideal for pet parents who enjoy their independence. Felines avoid eye contact and naturally understand personal boundaries. According to one Australian study, people with cats have better psychological health than those without pets.
Rabbits Are you seeking a low-maintenance companion? Rabbits are naturally sociable, bond quickly with owners, and adjust easily to new environments. You can get your daily dose of endorphins (feel-good hormones) by petting a rabbit.
Birds Do you need some music in your life? Many varieties of birds sing. A King's College London study found that hearing or seeing birds can boost your mental well-being for up to eight hours. Birds may be a good match if you prefer a pet that lights up the room but stays in a cage.
Lizards Do you want a low-maintenance pet? Lizards are independent and don't need too much attention. You may not like snakes, but geckos and other smaller lizards are popular options.
The mental health benefits of pets are numerous and include decreasing loneliness, increasing physical activity, and boosting self-esteem. Having a pet in your life also provides a sense of purpose. If you aren't ready to be a pet parent, consider volunteer opportunities at a nearby pet shelter.
APP REVIEW | Petfinder: Adopt a Pet
Petfinder is a pet marketplace that connects you with shelters and rescue groups to find your next pet. Includes filter features and polling options to get feedback from friends and family. Google Play Store Average Rating: 4.7 (10,800 reviews)
Pros Fans love the filter options (breed, temperament, and size, to name a few) and the ability to track "favorites."
Cons Recent users complain about slow loading and pixelated images. The site doesn't recall your recent searches, which can be time intensive. Critics say the online site is easier to use and navigate.
Is this app right for you? You are considering getting a new pet but haven't narrowed your options You prefer to adopt and need help to sort through local shelters.
FEB. 2023 | VOLUNTEERING: A NATURAL BOOST TO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Whether volunteering with colleagues or on your own, donating time at a soup kitchen or teaching English language classes, volunteering is an opportunity to give back to your community. Research shows volunteering is also an investment in your mental health and well-being.
Provides a sense of purpose. Volunteering connects you with a cause bigger than yourself. And many individuals feel that where they volunteer says something about who they are. Volunteering can offer a sense of direction in what can feel like an unstable world.
Increases feelings of happiness. Do you prefer a pet that will make a good roommate? Cats are ideal for pet parents who enjoy their independence. Felines avoid eye contact and naturally understand personal boundaries. According to one Australian study, people with cats have better psychological health than those without pets.
Expands your social network. Loneliness has been described as an epidemic in the U.S. and making friends as an adult can be difficult. Volunteering is a remedy to this problem because it brings new people with a shared interest into your social circle.
There are many organizations seeking volunteers. If you need help figuring out where to start, groups like VolunteerMatch, the United Way, and Volunteer.gov can help you match your interests and talents to organizations that need help. Getting involved will boost your well-being and make a big difference in the community.
APP REVIEW | Schmoody: Improve Your Mood
Schmoody is an app that uses a fun, science-backed approach to building health habits. "Be the best version of you." This app is like a gym for your mental health, including options ranging from action plans to daily challenges. Google Play Store Average Rating: 4.6 (704 reviews)
Pros Subscribers give positive reviews on free features like white noise and daily meditations. Users enjoy the playful tone of the app that can feel like "talking to a close friend." Reviewers praise the daily planning and community chat options. Fans also rave about how responsive the development team is to app feedback.
Cons The biggest complaints are loading delays and audio issues. Reviewers wish navigation was slightly easier.
Is this app right for you? You want to increase your motivation on challenging days. You are excited by taking positive real-world steps to lift your mood and expand your personal development. You like to laugh.
JAN. 2023 | TIPS TO IMPLEMENT A DRY JANUARY
'Tis the season to make your 2023 resolutions for a healthier new year. Many take this opportunity to evaluate their habits, including drinking. Consider a Dry January challenge to cut down on or abstain from alcohol for a month. Though an alcoholic drink may feel like it "takes the edge off," alcohol is a natural depressant that can increase anxiety, depression, and stress.
Changing a habit can be difficult, especially one that has become a social scene fixture. It helps to have a plan in place. Here are a few techniques to reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption.
Keep your eyes on the prize. Be clear about your goals. Set yourself up for success by downloading an app or using a good old-fashioned spreadsheet to track your progress. Write down why you want to quit or slow down. Keep this "north star" in a place you can often see, like your phone or in your wallet. Refer to this when you are tempted.
Share with others. Tell your friends and family about your goal for additional support. You may be surprised that others are interested in joining you on this journey. Group accountability increases the likelihood you will stick to your goal.
Replace drinking with a new healthy habit. People, places, or events may encourage you to drink. Identify these triggers and replace your response with a new, healthy habit. For example, can you do a mindfulness exercise or stretch with a few yoga poses instead of having a cocktail after a bad day at work?
Substitute a non-alcoholic beverage. Alcohol-free drinks is a trend that has been sweeping the country. The 2022 Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report showed that 58% of global drinkers are choosing more non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beverages. Try purchasing non-alcoholic beer, wine, and cocktails to substitute for your drink favorites.
Alcohol is not a good mixer with your mental health. Choosing to cut back or stop drinking takes courage and support. Using these resources can help as you cut back on alcohol or decide to eliminate it.
APP REVIEW | Try Dry: Dry January® & beyond
Try Dry® was created to support individuals who are abstaining from alcohol or want to experiment with the idea. It allows you to track drinking goals, complete quests, and earn badges to celebrate your success. Google Play Store Average Rating: 3.9 (668 reviews)
Pros Users describe it as motivational and appreciate the ability to customize goals whether they are cutting back on drinking or abstaining. The expansive tracking feature includes dry days, units, calories, and money spent.
Cons The app requires internet access so is not useful when offline. Reviewers would like to see a home screen progress widget. Complaints abound about a lack of options for measurement units. Some users report that the app is "glitchy" and their favorites are not saved.
Is this app right for you? You want to give sobriety a go or would like to try cutting down your alcoholic intake and are motivated by apps that use gamification for motivation.
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