Categories for Perseverance

Navigating the Stress of the Long COVID-19 Journey

This blog is the first of a two-part series written primarily for those who provide services to our senior adults (but is applicable to us all). Given the ongoing struggles with COVID-19, we are concerned about the health and well-being of all employees, and especially those who give direct care in difficult settings (medicine, schools, long-term care, etc.). To aid in this process we have created versions of our Motivating by Appreciation Inventory for these settings – most recently for those who serve in Senior Care. The action items for each language of appreciation are tailored for the unique circumstances and demands... Continue reading...

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August 23, 2021 9:00 am
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Should We Focus on “Mental Health” in the Workplace?

Since the COVID-19 virus appeared, the focus on the mental health of employees has increased significantly. And rightfully so. As a result of the pandemic, major social changes occurred in 2020: “stay-at-home” orders, tens of millions of workers shifted to working from home, children were educated remotely, we were required to maintain social distance from one another (and cover our faces with masks). Family and community relationships were hindered. The practical consequences? Isolation. Dramatic changes in daily life routines. Uncertainty. These tectonic shifts in our lives shook our daily lives to the foundations and created an enormous amount of stress... Continue reading...

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July 19, 2021 9:00 am
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What do ‘mental health’ problems actually look like?

Frequent headlines in the news report “the level of mental health” among Americans is declining or “mental health issues are a primary concern” as a long-term consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. But what do mental health problems look like practically in our daily lives?  The issue may impact us personally, as well as our family members and/or our colleagues at work. Defining ‘Mental Health Problems’ As a psychologist, I often bristle at the use of generic terms in the mainstream media (and those who comment on the topics in social media) without really defining what the terms mean. One government... Continue reading...

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February 22, 2021 8:59 am
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The Most Important (Countercultural) Steps for Making 2021 a Success

Individuals who do well in life commonly utilize four key skills to help their lives move forward in a healthy direction. That is, people who achieve healthy personal goals tend to incorporate the same tools to assist them in moving toward their aspirations.  Unfortunately, some of these tools are not valued or embraced in our culture, which makes consistently utilizing them more difficult. Yes, believe it or not, we need to acknowledge that some of the beliefs and values of the majority Western culture are actually not helpful to us in living our lives well. Four Important (but often Countercultural)... Continue reading...

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January 4, 2021 9:00 am
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Coping with Schooling at Home While Working From Home

  “How am I supposed to get my work done while I’m also expected to oversee my children’s schoolwork?” This critical question is one of the most common concerns raised by parents who are working from home. And with the schoolyear just beginning, this challenge, facing millions is both a very real and practical one. First, some context regarding my credibility. Prior to and during my work focused on work-based relationships and workplace culture, my professional focus included evaluating students with learning challenges, and consulting with parents and schools on the best ways to help their students learn. Additionally, we... Continue reading...

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September 14, 2020 9:00 am
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Preparing for a Storm – Lessons from Tornado Alley

As a country, it appears likely we are headed for stormy times. Why do I think so?  First, as a psychologist and social scientist, I’m trained to observe patterns in social behaviors that assist us in predicting future likely behavior patterns. Secondly, because I’m from the Midwest in the heart of “tornado alley” and we are experts in being able to see the signs leading to severe weather. And the two sets of patterns and conditions are quite similar. Stormy Weather I’m not going to go through all of the different circumstances that lead up to severe weather in the... Continue reading...

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August 10, 2020 8:55 am
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Are You Running Out of Gas? How to Avoid Burning Out

Have you ever run out of gas on a trip?  From personal experience, I can tell you it’s not a fun experience. (Fortunately, the last time this happened to me was several years ago!) Similarly, experiencing burnout in life or at work is painful, as well. The two experiences are quite similar and ones you want to avoid. When your car runs out of gas, the event itself isn’t that bad – the vehicle just stops and you can’t go anywhere, but you can’t get restarted. The consequences that follow are what creates the disruptions in your life.  First, you... Continue reading...

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July 13, 2020 9:00 am
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“The New Normal” – What are you expecting?

“We aren’t going to return to ‘normal’ – there will be a ‘new normal’” is a phrase commonly heard these days – from news media, economic gurus and business consultants. But what do they mean? What do you (or I) mean when we use the phrase “new normal?” I don’t think most of us really know. It is a phrase we are used to using, but rarely define. What is ‘Normal’ Anyway? We need to start by asking ourselves, “What does ‘normal’ mean?” What do we expect when we “just want things to get back to normal?” It’s a word... Continue reading...

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June 15, 2020 8:57 am
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Tips for Surviving Working from Home – From Remote Employees Themselves

Working from home (WFH) has moved from a short-term hassle to a longer, “this is life now” stage. The novelty is gone. The changes for the initial transition are in place. We now have to figure out how to make this scenario work for a while. Who best to learn from than other remote, WFH employees? We recently followed a group of WFH workers, having them fill out a questionnaire once a week for four weeks. We asked a lot of questions, and the results are just being published in Training this week. We inquired about their level of anxiety,... Continue reading...

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June 8, 2020 8:55 am
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Memorial Day in the Time of COVID-19

A typical Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. represents a variety of things to different people: A day off of work The beginning of summer Going to the lake Having a barbeque with friends and family The Indianapolis 500 Visiting family gravesites Veterans parades and celebrations Watching war movies This year has already brought substantial changes in our daily lives and this weekend will be no exception. Sporting events and parades are cancelled. BBQs and travel, if they happen at all, will look markedly different. I usually take time over the Memorial Day weekend to gather with my family and... Continue reading...

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May 22, 2020 8:27 am
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Change Goes Better When Staff Feel Appreciated

Change in the workplace is often inevitable. Previously, changes had to be made in response to external circumstances, like marketplace forces, or they were part of a larger institutional plan to create growth and improvement. Now, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, change seems to be the only constant in the workplace. Changes in the foundations of how we work and where we work are ever evolving and they can take their toll on employees — which leads to uncertainty, anxiety, resistance, low morale and more. The good news is, managing reactions to change can be made easier if... Continue reading...

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May 18, 2020 9:00 am
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Feeling Overwhelmed? Stressed? Emotionally worn down? Here’s why (and some tactics to help)

Are you (like me) feeling overwhelmed? You are “tired of this.” You don’t know how to make decisions because you don’t know what information to believe? Are you sick of all the “newness” in your life, and the constant adjustments you have to make as a result? Welcome to life in the USA COVID-19 2020. Stressed. Emotionally drained. Feeling unsettled. All of these reactions are normal, given what is going on around us. But they still aren’t fun. What’s Going On Let’s take a quick look at the factors that have turned our lives upside down: 1.Unpredictability and instability. In... Continue reading...

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May 11, 2020 9:00 am
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Encouragement, Support, and Staying Connected During Quarantine

Last week we conducted a small survey to see how our readers were feeling supported and encouraged, how they were supporting and encouraging others and what has helped them stay positive. We were overwhelmed by the positive answers and examples you gave us. First, we asked you: How much have you felt supported and encouraged by someone with whom you work since the COVID-19 crisis has developed? The average of all responses was a “4” (1 = Not at all; 5 = Extremely)! We were glad to learn that many of you are feeling supported and encouraged during this difficult... Continue reading...

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May 4, 2020 9:00 am
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How Do You Successfully Encourage Employees During Difficult Times?

Anxiety. Discouragement. Feeling disconnected. Worried about the future. All are currently common experiences for hundreds of thousands of workers in the U.S. We are told “we’re all in this together,” “we’ll get through this,” “it will get better soon” – all of which are true (to some degree). But almost all of us have moments when we are emotionally worn out, lose hope, and want to give up. Some of us cycle through these periods rather quickly, others linger in the dark space for a while, and some of us have difficulty climbing out of the cave. Enter: the need for encouragement and... Continue reading...

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April 27, 2020 9:00 am
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Spring and the Importance of Newness in Our Lives

Spring is late in coming in my part of the country. The mornings have been cold; the days are often cloudy and dreary. And Spring – the vibrancy and newness of life – has been put on hold across the country due to shelter in place and social distancing policies. Being able to get out and about, get together with friends and family, and go “do something” has been essentially written out of our lives. As a result, many people feel stagnant. Bored. Unstimulated. All of which can lead to depression and irritability. These feelings, coupled with the underlying anxiety... Continue reading...

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April 20, 2020 9:00 am
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Why Relational Connection Is So Important During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the need for social distancing, quarantine and isolation so that vulnerable individuals are not exposed to the virus and healthcare systems are not overwhelmed. Collectively, we understand the goodness of “flattening the curve” by each of us doing our part to slow the spread of the virus. COVID-19 is not the only epidemic we are facing. Separating ourselves because of COVID-19 comes at a time when America and many other nations are in the midst of an epidemic of loneliness whose antidote is greater positive social connection. Our current situation—the simultaneous need... Continue reading...

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April 13, 2020 9:00 am
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Newly Remote Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Snapshot of Their Perceptions, Feelings and Concerns

We recently initiated a research project to gather information from newly remote employees to assess their current life circumstances; their perceptions, feelings and behaviors; their top concerns, as well as positive aspects of their life currently. Study Participants Eighty-five newly remote employees responded to an invitation to fill out an online questionnaire about working remotely (88% Female, 12% Male). The questionnaires were completed within two business days (ending March 30, 2020), just after “Stay In Place” orders had been put in place for several states, and just prior to the Federal CARE Act being passed by the Senate. Interestingly, 41% of the... Continue reading...

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April 9, 2020 11:00 am
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Recognizing and Coping with Discouragement

You work hard, try your best, and still, things don’t work out as you hoped. You plan, prepare, think ahead — and yet, something unforeseen comes out of nowhere and creates another obstacle you have to overcome. Life, both at work and outside of work, is difficult. This is especially true now with shelter in place rules, kids at home, and new work arrangements. What is discouragement, really?  Discouragement literally means, “without courage.” We lose that fighting edge to “go get ’em” and attack the challenges of the day. We lose heart. We are worn out. We wonder if “it”... Continue reading...

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April 6, 2020 7:54 am
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Understanding and Managing Anxiety

Life in the twenty-first century is often colored by anxiety— not major, life-crippling anxiety, but those small, little worries about daily life activities and events. And now, with the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, anxiety has been brought front and center for many of us. If we don’t take steps to combat it, anxiety can rule our days and distract us from the things we need and want to be doing. Defining Anxiety First and foremost, anxiety is fear. We are afraid we are going to become sick. We worry about our financial future. We are concerned about what... Continue reading...

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March 30, 2020 3:11 pm
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Why “Thinking Outside of the Box” (by itself) Doesn’t Work

Most of us would agree that we all have a certain way of thinking. We’ve been taught our whole lives that our own way of thinking is thinking “inside the box.” We’ve been told many times that we need to learn to think “outside the box.” I contend that this doesn’t work. When we’re in a box (our way of thinking), we may hear or see something that encourages us to make a change. We are encouraged, and we decide to attempt to get outside of our normal way of thinking. But when we get outside of our box, we... Continue reading...

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February 3, 2020 9:00 am
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Setting Goals for the New Year? Consider Finishing Some of Last Year’s Instead

It’s that time of the year again – when we think about resolutions for the new year. Rather than considering a new list of “to do’s,” I’ve been thinking more about the role of perseverance in our lives, and in the lives of those who accomplish meaningful goals. While resolving to start new habits or achieve new goals is obviously a worthy endeavor, I believe sticking to and finishing those tasks not yet completed may be a better use of our time and energy. Our culture idolizes the “new” and really doesn’t think much of the boring, “steady as she goes,” day in... Continue reading...

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December 30, 2019 10:06 am
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The Power of Using Stories to Lead

How Effective Leaders Grab the Hearts of their Team Members Most leaders tend to focus on data and factual information. And accurate data is important for making good management decisions. But throughout history, communicating through facts has not been the most utilized method for sharing and developing leadership qualities. Rather, stories have been used more than any other form of verbal expression. For evidence, look to Greek philosophers, wisdom literature from Asia, and the wide range of stories from multiple cultures across the centuries designed to teach guiding principles for life. Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Confucius and Jesus all used stories grounded in daily... Continue reading...

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December 2, 2019 9:00 am
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How to Deal with Condescending Colleagues

Spend any time in the workforce, and there is a high possibility that you will be made to feel “small” by a colleague talking down to you or devaluing your input.  Taking some time, however, to understand what motivates condescension, as well as learning some strategies to combat it, can help make working with colleagues who tend to be condescending much more tolerable. What motivates condescension? A person who is condescending in their comments toward others often: 1) wants to “win” the discussion, usually by squelching any dissent 2) uses the situation to boost their own self-esteem by tearing down... Continue reading...

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February 18, 2019 8:50 am
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5 Signs of a Toxic Workplace

From negative communication patterns to low morale, five indicators that your workplace is sapping your energy and mental health. Plus a new resource to help. The 2018 Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year: TOXIC.  Not surprisingly, recent results from an anonymous survey found 52% of employees report they believe their work environment to be toxic. Is your workplace toxic? All workplaces have some challenges and negative characteristics, so it can be difficult to determine if your workplace has a normal amount of challenges, is seriously dysfunctional, or possibly really toxic. Here are five signs that will help you determine the... Continue reading...

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February 4, 2019 9:00 am
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Overcome the Two Main Obstacles to Reaching Your Goals

Most of us don’t need new goals for the year.  Really, we don’t. But we do need to continue to progress toward our current goals (and, hopefully even reach some).  Additionally, we need to make some adjustments from the feedback we are receiving from “real life”. In working with highly successful leaders for over two decades and interviewing them about what they believe contributed to their success, two principles rose to the top: Persevering in the face of difficulties, and Responding to the feedback they received from the marketplace. Most often, people don’t reach their goals because they give up... Continue reading...

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December 31, 2018 8:55 am
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Change Goes Better When Staff Feel Appreciated

Change in the workplace is often inevitable. Change can be imposed by outside circumstances, like the marketplace, or be part of a larger institutional plan to create growth and improvement.  Yet often the focus is more on how to transition systems and processes, with many organizations ignoring the ‘people side’ of transitions. Regardless of the cause, managing reactions to change – uncertainty, resistance, low morale – can be made easier if you have begun to build a culture of appreciation. Interestingly, when employees feel truly appreciated for what they do and who they are, resistance to change can be reduced... Continue reading...

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August 27, 2018 10:05 am
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Out of the Rut

Have you ever felt like you were in a rut or experiencing a particularly low point in your life? It’s times like these when we feel down, hopeless and stuck. This can run the spectrum of significance, such as being bored at work to grieving the death of a family member or friend, but the symptoms are the same. We become disengaged and cannot fully focus or show up with our best selves. The key to getting out of a rut is self-care, even when that feels like your lowest priority and the last thing you have time for. But... Continue reading...

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August 13, 2018 9:00 am
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PRACTICAL STEPS FOR REDUCING YOUR STRESS AT WORK

Part of my job as a psychologist is to observe – observe patterns of behavior, be attune to my own thoughts and feelings, and to derive some potentially helpful information from patterns I see.   I have observed some factors in life that really wear people down – they are not really hidden but are often subtle. Sometimes they are obvious and plain, but people (both the person experiencing the aspect of life as well as those around them) tend to minimize the impact the issue has on their life.   So let me share some of my observations (remember,... Continue reading...

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October 2, 2017 3:49 pm
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Consider Persevering in the New Year

It’s that time of the year again – when we think about resolutions for the new year. Rather than considering a new list of “to do’s”, I’ve been thinking more about the role of perseverance in our lives, and in the lives of those who accomplish meaningful goals. While resolving to start new habits or achieve new goals is obviously a worthy endeavor, I believe sticking to and finishing those tasks not yet completed (that we felt were of high importance last year) may be a better use of our time and energy.  For, you see, our culture idolizes the “new” and really... Continue reading...

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January 3, 2017 9:00 am
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What Does the “I Quit” Viral Video Tell Us? (Resend)

Friends, I am aware that the links to the two video clips did not work (they somehow got changed in the posting process).  I have corrected the links and you should be able to view the videos now.  Sorry for the inconvenience! *     *      *     *     *     * About a week ago, a frustrated young professional posted a video announcing and celebrating her quitting her job (ironically, at a company who creates videos to be watched on the Internet).  If you haven’t seen the video yet, please click here and take two minutes to watch it.  Why?  Well, first, it... Continue reading...

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October 10, 2013 8:30 am
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