The holiday season is upon us and with it comes joy, anticipation and stress. It is very easy to allow this season to swallow you up with all the demands of family expectations and financial obligations. With some simple planning, we can all make it a joyous holiday season. Hopefully, these simple tips will alleviate some pressure and allow you to enjoy peace and joy with those you love most.
Plan ahead. Try to give yourself plenty of time to get everything done and do not wait until the last moment. Write out a list of things that you need to get done and set a deadline for completion.
Stay in control of your spending. Instead of buying on credit which will always add more stress, stay within your means and then you will not have to play catch up for the next year. Get creative and personally make a portion of your gifts or draw names for gifts.
Get enough sleep and exercise. Do not neglect taking good care of yourself during this time. Lack of sleep and exercise can lead to a lack of patience and an increase in irritability.
Examine your priorities and reassess what matters most to you.
Be aware of your strengths and use them. Whether you have time, money or creativity-use them to your advantage.
Take time to write out a list of things that you are thankful for and review it when you are tempted to feel depressed or overwhelmed.
Ask for help. Assign tasks to your spouse and or children. If you are hosting an event don’t be afraid to ask others to chip in and help with whatever you need.
Take some time off of work and go shopping during the day instead of fighting the weekend crowds.
Be mindful of expectations of having a “perfect” time and just do what you can.
Lastly, schedule in some alone time and do something relaxing or do nothing at all!
eni’s experienced clinicians are available 24/7 to help our member’s deal with stressors of everyday life! To find out more, check out eni’s BalanceWorks Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The schoolyard bully is not a new phenomenon. However it seems that lately this subject has come under intense scrutiny in the media due to the fact that bullying in the 21st century has taken on a new dimension. Children not only have to contend with the bully on the playground or in the park. Thanks to the widespread use of text messaging, cell phones and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube bullying has become more pervasive and easier to perpetrate. As a result, a child who is the victim of bullying may feel depressed, anxious and scared and may be reluctant to go to school, play with friends or report the bullying for fear of further retaliation.
If a child is the victim of a bully it is important to intervene as quickly as possible. Bullying should not be seen as a “rite of passage” or an accepted part of childhood. Bullying can have long term psychological and emotional l effects and every child has the right to feel safe and supported.
If you suspect your child or a child you know is a victim of a bully there are several steps you can take:
Be aware of the warning signs. Children may have difficulty sleeping or eating. They may be moody or anxious and may avoid activities that they previously enjoyed. They may report valued personal possession as “lost” or “missing”. Children may also feign illness to avoid school or try to intentionally miss the school bus.
Children may be reluctant to report bullying. They don’t want to be branded as a ‘snitch’ or a ‘tattler’. If this is the case use a more roundabout way to explore the topic. Discuss a situation you may have seen on TV or in the news and ask: “What would you have done in this situation?” Use this as an opening to discuss situations that may be occurring in the child’s life.
If the child discloses that they are the victim of a bully make them feel safe and supported. Many children are embarrassed to report bullying; they may feel afraid, angry or helpless. As an adult it is your responsibility to assure the child do the right thing by reporting the bullying and praise them for their bravery.
If the bullying is taking place at school it is important to notify the school administration. Most schools have anti-bullying program in place and bullying is treated as a serious matter. Every child has the right to feel safe at school and the school administration has a moral and legal responsibility to provide a safe environment.
In case of extreme bullying or harassment the authorities may need to become involved to help address the behaviors. Contact your local police department for assistance.
Bullying should not be treated lightly or as “kids being kids”. It can have serious, long term repercussions and may directly impact a child’s education and development. As adults we have the responsibility to make the world safe for all children. Recognize the signs of bullying and intervene quickly to prevent needless pain and suffering in a child’s life.
eni’ clinicians are available to assist your employees with a myriad of issues and concerns. Contact eni today to learn more.
It’s an exciting time when your child has graduated high school and is ready for the new adventure of college. The summer is fading fast and they will soon be starting a new chapter of life. It’s a transition for both children and parents alike. Chances are your child is filled with excitement and fear about starting new classes, new responsibilities, maybe living with a roommate, and moving to a different area. Parents most likely have some of those same fears since they have spend 18+ years of raising their child and being able to interact with them on a daily basis. Here are some ways for parents to help their child transition to college smoothly.
Be Involved: Help your child pack & buy items for college. Lots of stores give helpful lists of what to buy and college’s admission departments will often give some suggestions. If possible, take your child to college and get acquainted with the campus so when your child talks about locations you’ll be able to picture it in your mind. Go to parents’ weekend if at all possible to visit your child or plan a weekend to go visit within the first month or two of starting college. Encourage them to stay at school for the first month or two so they can get used to campus life and make new friends.
Talk: College students have very busy schedules so finding time to talk may be difficult especially in the beginning. Try to encourage your child to call once a week so they can touch base and let you know how they are doing. As the parent, you may want to talk more often such as on a daily basis but understand that your child is adjusting to a new schedule, maybe managing both school and a job or sport and having a lot more homework. Let your child know your expectation and try to keep a list of things you want to tell them to ensure you will remember once you speak with them.
Be Positive: Transition can be difficult whether you’re the child going to college or the parent supporting them. Try to focus on the positives. Many times it’s a freshman’s first time away from home for an extended period so it’s understandable if your child experiences some home sickness. Many times just knowing that a parent is only a phone call away and willing to lend a listening ear is helpful. If you receive such a call, listening is key and try to encourage your child as they transition that it will get better as the semester goes. A syllabus can be very overwhelming but when the student puts the due dates in their planner it helps them to start prioritizing. If experiencing difficulty with a roommate remind your child that it may be a transition for both of them and they have Resident Assistants (RA) and Resident Directors (RD) that they can go to for help or direction at any time. Listening to their concerns helps your child to feel validated and giving positive solutions or even a word of encouragement lets them know that you are supporting them & often helps your child to have a positive outlook too. Care packages help too- there is nothing like receiving mail!!! Send a note or some homemade chocolate chip cookies to encourage your child and let them know you care!
Make it Known: Let your child know that you and others are available to help if they start to feel overwhelmed and it’s ok to ask for help!!! Transitions are hard especially when it’s a new atmosphere, new people, and a lot of schoolwork all at once. Sometimes, these demands can make students feel sad, lonely, anxious, or depressed. Some students experience test anxiety or have fears of public speaking. If your child expresses the feelings above or you notice they are overly anxious or have feelings of depression it’s important to make it known that they can seek help! Sometimes, it helps to talk to someone whom is a third party.
An EAP benefit can help both parents and children adjust with transitioning to college. Contact eni today to learn more!
Moving can be an extremely stressful time of planning, packing, and coordinating lots of details. Moving means transition no matter if it’s to a different state or just across town. Transition may cause several emotions such as fear of the unknown, sadness over leaving your home and friends, and excitement over the opportunities that await you. Facing a lot of changes at once can be overwhelming at times.
Taking some time for yourself is very important when handling a transition. Self care is so important, especially when life gets little stressful. You may think that it’s impossible with all you have to do, but even giving yourself a few minutes a day to focus on you will help your transition to new location. Listed below are some ways to take care of yourself:
Stay Connected - to friends and family. A good support system can help you adjust to your new location whether friends and family are near or far away. It will also give you a chance to talk through your feelings, your experiences and help you to continue to foster those relationships despite being in a different area. These confidants have been a big part of your life and still can be as long as you make the effort to stay connected.
Get Connected - Meeting new people can be challenging when moving to a new location. However, there are so many ways to help you meet new friends and connections in your new area. Think of things you enjoy being a part of. You could: join a dance class, sign up for an exercise group at the gym such as Zumba, or participate in societies/clubs such as the Rotary club, or get involved in a small group at church. These are just a few of the many ways you can get to know new people. Often times, these groups bring people from many of walks of life together and provide a great opportunity to meet others that share a common interest with you. Don’t put this off as it can be a vital way to help you get connected with your new environment. It can be scary trying something new but it can also lead to some new friendships which will help you feel more at home in your location.
30 Minutes for You - Strive to take 30 minutes a day to relax and do something you love. Taking some time for you will help you to relieve stress which is vital when facing a new transition in life. It’s OK to ignore the boxes for a few minutes and give yourself some time to unwind. Go for a walk around the block & enjoy the outdoors, go to the gym for a quick work out, take a relaxing bath, call an old friend, or watch a favorite TV show. It may be hard to find 30 minutes especially with unpacking, caring for the kids, or getting dinner on the table, however, take a look at your schedule maybe you can fit in these 30 minutes in the morning before work or in the evening before bed. Whatever the time you choose remind yourself it’s important to take time for you!
We’re Here to Help – eni’s experienced clinicians can help you deal with the stressors of moving. In addition, eni’s EAP offers Personal Assistant services that can help you plan your move, research your children’s new school, or find a moving company. Once you’ve moved, our Personal Assistant’s can help you locate a new gym & research costs, find a new church, a society or club you want to join, or even attractions in your new area. Contact eni today to learn more!
One of the great new aspects of eni's recently upgraded member web portals is the convenient and simple to use Ask-a-Counselor feature. The Ask-a-Counselor feature is available to eni’s EAP and Work/life clients through their personalized web portals.
Read below to get all the facts on this exciting new feature!
What is ASK-A-COUNSELOR?
ASK-A-COUNSELOR is an enhancement to your existing BalanceWorks EAP benefit! ASK-A-COUNSELOR is an online confidential service that offers professional advice and answers to your non-emergency behavioral health requests.
What are the benefits to using ASK-A-COUNSELOR?
ASK-A-COUNSELOR offers an additional channel of communication between you and eni. Submitting your questions online is convenient, simple, and available 24/7.
Is ASK-A-COUNSELOR replacing my ability to obtain face-to-face or telephonic counseling sessions?
No, ASK-A-COUNSELOR is not replacing face-to-face or telephonic referrals and counseling session. It is simply enhancing your connection with eni and expanding access to those who have a behavioral health question that does not require a full counseling session. ASK-A-COUNSELOR is a reflection of our commitment to enhancing the member experience and the services provided.
Who should use ASK-A-COUNSELOR?
ASK-A-COUNSELOR is appropriate for those who have non emergency behavioral health questions or concerns and who do not need face-to-face counseling or are looking for a more immediate response.
What types of issues are appropriate for the ASK-A-COUNSELOR forum?
Tips for managing anxiety and stress
Advice for handling basic communication issues
General relationship questions and concerns
General parenting tips and/or information on eldercare
When is ASK-A-COUNSELOR not appropriate?
ASK-A-COUNSELOR is not intended for emergency counseling or for any issues that require client intake and assessment and would be better addressed through long or short term counseling.
How do I submit an ASK-A-COUNSELOR request?
Simply login to your BalanceWorks web portal and click on the ASK-A-COUNSELOR icon on the left sidebar of your home page. Then click on the Start New Request tab, read the disclaimer, check yes if you agree and click submit. Next, simply fill out the form and click the submit button.
Who will respond to my request?
One of eni’s highly trained Master’s level clinicians will respond to your request.
How soon will I receive a response?
You will receive a response to your Ask-A-Counselor request within 2 business days.
Contact eni today to learn more about our extremely robust EAP and Work/life program!
The saying “Children do not come with owner’s manuals” has been joked about often at baby showers, in grocery lines, and at your child’s day care. However, there will be times you wish you could find a manual. You have probably experienced one too many times when you have the overwhelming feeling of embarrassment, that only a parent or caretaker knows, in which you wish you could hide under the nearest table. This usually happens when your child feels that the best time to display their independence happens to also be the only time you are in a crowd. Don’t worry! You are not alone and although there is not a manual, we hope that this will help.
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency. We can’t stress enough how consistency is one of the most important aspects of behavior modification. There has to be establish boundaries in your child’s life. These boundaries need to be specific to your child’s needs and the values you have as a family. Some boundaries would be regarding safety, schedules (meals, nap time, play time etc), and values. The biggest obstacle in consistency is keeping everyone in your child’s life consistent. You may have a spouse/significant other, daycare, grandparents, care givers or others in your child’s life that need to hold to the boundaries you have. This can be challenging, but it is worth the effort in the end.
Another important aspect of consistency is correction. This is our second C. If your child is acting out, make sure that when you are correcting them, you are going to follow through with the consequences. Also make sure that whatever you say is appropriate for the behavior. There will be times you will have to apologize to your child and lessen the consequences because they are not fair; “The punishment doesn’t fit the crime”. An example of an appropriate punishment would be, if your child is refusing to eat anything for dinner but wants dessert and you say “if you don’t at least try and eat some of your dinner, you will not have dessert”. Unfortunately, what happens often is the parent gives in and gives the child dessert. This has just confirmed to your child that they can do what they want and behavior problems begin. This can be exhausting when your child test the boundaries and you have to correct what seems to be a 100 times, but it will pay off.
The last and most essential C is compassion. When setting boundaries, being consistent, and correcting your child, you need to have compassion and love. Never correct when you are angry. It makes it worse for both you and the child. Remember that correcting and being consistent are showing love and helping teach your child rules that will help them as they grow. Remember that after you correct, whether it be withholding a dessert or placing in time-out, that you hug, kiss and reassure them that you love them. Your child will be grateful for your consistency, your compassion and even your correction. They just won’t always say it…..at least not right now.
Contact eni today to learn more about our EAP service and connect with our behavioral health experts.
eni’s Corporate Trainers are often asked to deliver training sessions on Stress Management. The common reason being that people are doing more work with less resources. Employees across the country are feeling the pain. The pain I’m referring to is employee burnout. Not your problem, you think? After all, lots of people would be happy to have a job, right? Wrong.
Employee burnout is very much your problem as an employer or a manager or an HR specialist. Did you know?
Employees most susceptible to burnout tend to be your best employees. Yes, these are your star performers, your idea-machines, your "nothing is too hard for me" champions. So when they go down....well...you get the picture.
Burnt out employees tend to self-treat by working harder. This makes them burn out even faster and deeper. Sounds counter intuitive, but it's true. They push and work and try to get through their burnout by giving more. And if you're like most employers, you encourage that. Reward it, even. Until they crash or quit or make some dangerous mistake...which brings us to our next point
Burnt out employees make mistakes. Lots of them and bigger ones and because these tend to be your stars, odds are they have the access and the authority to do a lot of damage when they mess up, meaning those mistakes can cost you a lot of money.
Employees suffering from burn out at work usually start messing up other aspects of their life. It is pretty well documented that employee burn out leads to an increased level of stress. This can result in marital and family problems, family abuse issues and even illness.
So what can you do?
First, know the symptoms. Sudden increases in work hours and more projects accepted than can be realistically accomplished can be a sign. Another sign can be when a developed employee starts spending hours surfing the web, talking on the phone, or shows a lack of interest in their work.
Discourage working late and coming in early, as well as taking work home. Insist that vacations days are used, even if it's just for stay-cations. Make it a company policy, if you need to. Employee burnout is both caused by and symptomatic of an imbalance in work/life time. The few extra hours of work you may "lose" will be more than balanced by keeping your best and brightest employees happy and productive.
Our mental health professionals at eni can help talk with your employees about stress on the job and offer strategies to reduce stress and restore work/life balance. If you don’t have a robust Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in place in your organization you might consider visiting us at www.eniweb.com.
The beauty of the autumn and winter seasons may go unnoticed and lose its appeal because of overwhelming symptoms of depression that some people experience. When depression occurs only during the colder, darker months it may indicate a temporary condition is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms may include sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, irritability, loss of energy and interest, isolation, and a change in eating and sleeping patterns. These symptoms then usually recede when it’s sunnier and warmer outside.
According to experts, SAD may be caused by a lack of sunlight. Symptoms may begin as early as September and not end until spring. Factors that contribute to the symptoms are amount of light, body temperature, genetics, and hormones. Reduced sunlight can disrupt your body’s internal clock and cause a drop in a brain chemical called serotonin.
These feelings and symptoms of depression may affect your daily functioning and your relationships. It may seem that this emotional state will last forever, but if it is a seasonal disorder then the condition is fleeting. Don’t give up hope; you are not alone in this. Express and communicate your feelings and concerns. Seek out supportive networks, such as family, friends, medical and mental health providers, and clergy. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are steps you can apply to help you manage SAD. If these symptoms interfere with your functioning it may be beneficial to attend counseling and consider an anti-depressant medication. WebMD reports that doctors may prescribe light therapy to treat your depressive symptoms. Light therapy is easy to use as it operates with simulated sunlight treatment. It is recommended that you use the light treatment every day until the season changes. You may begin to feel better within a week.
In addition, self-care, stress management, socializing, and taking a trip may produce healthy thoughts and behaviors and help manage the symptoms of SAD. The quicker you recognize the depressive symptoms the easier you will be able to manage them with these steps.
eni is an employee assistance program (EAP) available to assist with emotional needs and support. For more information on EAP’s, contact eni today!
Internal emotional turmoil affects our daily health and well-being. The process of an emotion usually begins with an event occurring. The process then continues with our perception of this event, which leads to our thoughts about the event, which generates a feeling about the event, and then finally produces a behavior toward/about the event.
A major negative reaction that can impede on our functioning is anger. Anger doesn’t just come out of nowhere. A person’s behavior and/or an event may produce an awareness and sensitivity to a wrongdoing. Underlying feelings such as sadness, disappointment, shame, and a sense of injustice can trigger anger. Then feelings of bitterness and resentment may prolong the anger and create obstacles toward the process of forgiveness.
Forgiveness can be a key part of the process of anger management. According to the Mayo Clinic website “…forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge…Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.”
Forgiveness can improve relationships and one’s psychological well-being, lower stress levels and lessen feelings of anger and depression. In turn, because forgiveness can help decrease anger it can also assist with managing one’s anger, so you can learn how to express anger in a healthy manner.
In conclusion, anger management can help one communicate his or her needs, maintain physical, emotional, and psychological health, make better choices, take control over and take responsibility for one’s behaviors, and avoid addictive, unhealthy, dangerous paths.
eni’s BalanceWorks Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help your employees work through emotional concerns such as anger management without using their costly health insurance benefits. Contact us to learn more!
Practicing the techniques of music, dance, and art therapies can encourage positive self-expression and promote emotional well-being. You don’t have to be involved in a therapeutic environment in order to experience the benefits of body and mind therapies that have the potential to lift your soul. In addition, one doesn’t need to have an innate ability or talent in these areas in order to participate and benefit from these artistic therapeutic techniques.
Music, dance, and art therapy allow the opportunity to promote individualism, but also foster a sense of community if the class is offered in a group setting. These types of therapy techniques can also encourage a positive self-image and positive coping strategies to manage stress.
Part of the process of music therapy involves listening to music and identifying the emotions that develop from the music. Then, one embraces that feeling, which in turn can produce positive changes in one’s functioning. Dance therapy uses movement to encourage self-expression and to improve one’s physical and emotional well-being. Dance therapy is a form of exercise and promotes stress reduction. Art therapy offers the opportunity for people to express their thoughts and feelings that may be difficult to verbalize. The process of art therapy involves using activities to create art. This form of artistic communication produces a sense of emotional healing and positive well-being.
Each or all of these therapeutic techniques can offer the opportunity for mood stability and positive change in emotional and social functioning. Another benefit of these therapies is the sense of freedom and fun that exist with self-expression. These therapies offer healthy ways to relieve stress.
For more techniques on stress relief and positive self expression, contact eni to learn more about our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), our behavioral health experts are standing by!