LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 6, 2020) — For most of us, our daily lives look very different from only a month ago. Due to COVID-19, we are practicing social distancing, washing our hands frequently, perhaps working from home and even homeschooling children. University of Kentucky Human Resources is available to UK employees who are looking for help in navigating these transitions.
“In today’s challenging and uncertain times, we are all experiencing varying levels of stress and quite a bit of change,” says Jody Ensman, manager of UK HR Health and Wellness. “It is more important than ever to take the time to care for ourselves and sustain our well-being. At UK, support for emotional, physical and nutritional well-being is available through many resources. Our trained professionals are still here for you online, by phone and through social media.”
Mental and Emotional Health According to an article in Psychology Today, it is important to recognize that feeling stress and anxiety is normal.
“Most people tend to wildly over-estimate what they can finish in a single day, and then feel discouraged,” according to Amy Rodquist-Kodet, certified health coach with UK HR Health and Wellness. “Be gentle and reasonable with yourself. Give yourself extra doses of kindness as you do the best you can. We’re all in this together!”
HR Health and Wellness and Work+Life have health coaches and therapists available to help you manage stress through online and phone consults, online and a YouTube playlist of recorded presentations, and Zoom sessions.
Take a 15-minute break Tuesday, April 7, for “Circle of Control: A Tool for Rumination and Worry,” watch “No One is an Island (avoiding isolation)” Thursday, April 9, “Establishing New Habits in Times of Change” on Tuesday, April 14, and more. These short presentations will remind you to stop, breathe and be mindful. You can view live versions at 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, or see recorded versions later.
Physical Health “In these ever-changing times, it’s important to keep moving as part of your health and well-being,” says Carrie Davidson, fitness specialist for UK HR Health and Wellness. “Think outside of the box — take a walk in the neighborhood, push-mow the lawn, go up and down the stairs once per hour. Contact us to let us know what resources you have at home, and we’ll set up a plan just for you!”
Staying inside, practicing social distancing and working from home, you may not realize how much your physical activity has been reduced. While you may not be able to visit the gym, our fitness specialists are there for you online, by phone and through social media to keep you moving. If you have been a part of MoveWell Rewards — the program is still going, and so should you! And look for presentations on YouTube, like “When Your ‘Workout’ Routine is Interrupted, What Now?” Thursday, April 21, and “Creative Ways to Move” on Thursday, May 7. You can find more ideas on the Health and Wellness blog.
Nutritional Health You’re working on a report. Your desk is near the kitchen. Location, stress, anxiety — before you know it, you’ve made several trips to the fridge or have forgotten to eat. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
“Transitioning to working from home can pose unique challenges to healthful eating habits. You have more access to food and less structure, combined with heightened stress, all of which can lead to mindless and emotional eating,” says Vanessa Oliver, registered dietitian with UK HR Health and Wellness.
Making new, healthy habits like keeping a routine, controlling your environment and being mindful of when and what you eat are all strategies that will help you and your family adjust to your new situation.
If you would like guidance about what to keep in your pantry or what recipes might work best during the coming months, our dietitians are available for consults online or by phone. You can also find recipes on the Health and Wellness blog.
The dietitians will also be conducting online presentations, like “Learning to Embrace ‘Good Enough’ Food Choices” on Tuesday, April 21, and “How to Tame Emotional Eating” Thursday, April 30.
“Allow self-care to be a priority with your new routine. Choose a healthy morning routine, spend time outdoors and do all you can to make every moment precious,” says Jackie Hanson, UK HR Health and Wellness health coach. The university’s well-being resources are here to help you achieve that goal.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.