Wellconnect June 2020

Avoid Aggressive Driving

Celebrate National Safety Month by putting the brakes on aggressive driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research shows that aggressive driving plays a role in 56% of fatal crashes. Aggressive driving is the operation of a motor vehicle that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” (Road rage is a criminal form of aggressive driving.) Riding bumpers, using your vehicle to “teach someone a lesson” (like blocking their ability to pass you), zooming around a slow driver, laying on the horn, using hand gestures—these behaviors point to how your driving practices may be influenced by anger. Learn about triggers, behaviors, and prevention at bit.ly/aggressive-driver.

Stress Management for Pandemic Heroes

If you are an essential service employee and working face-to-face with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic or you are in a job placing you at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, you can count yourself among the heroes. (Loved ones who support you and worry about you—they’re heroes, too.) It’s likely your employer has striven to reduce the risk of your contracting COVID- 19, but it’s not a 100% worry-free time. You’ve answered a higher calling so others can live as normally as possible during this time. Worry anxiety, exhaustion, sleeplessness, family stress, and fear affect you, contact a professional, a support network, or your EAP for help. Tips like getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol before bedtime, and practicing relaxation exercises are verified ideas for reducing stress and remaining resilient. They work, and you can learn more about them at heart.org [search “stressed essential workers”].

Curb Impulse Purchases to Save Money

If the household budget is stretched, cutting costs without added hardship can be difficult. Consider curbing impulse purchases as a path to find- ing more dollars. You could save over $5,000 a year by decreasing this behavior. Impulse purchasing is the tendency to engage repeatedly in spontaneous, on-the-spot purchases without consideration of the potential consequences. Sixty-four percent of us do it. The risk of an impulse purchase begins as soon as you enter a store, not when you see the item of interest. Most impulse purchases are groceries, not clothing. Try these tips:

1) Shop with a buddy.

2) Use cash.

3) Gain control and insight from two studies:
A) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc [search “eyes wide shopped”] and
B) http://www.slickdeals.net/corp/impulse-spending.html.

Loneliness as a Health Concern

Flattening the curve” with social distancing is the worldwide intervention be- ing used to reduce coronavirus infections and death, but it has also created social isolation. For millions, social isolation is a risk factor for loneliness, and loneliness is a
demonstrated health concern. Are you feeling the effects of loneliness? We’re not talking about “Zoom fatigue” but symptoms like low self-esteem, depression, anger, nightmares, anxiety, and easily triggered anger at loved ones, to name a few. Humans are hard-wired to be social creatures, so when they are deprived of this innate biological need to engage with others, physical symptoms result. Symptoms of loneliness feel as if they are of mental origin, but they are physiologically driven, according to researchers. Before the coronavirus pandemic, loneliness was hot research news. Medical researchers call it the “new smoking” because of its adverse health effects. Note that loneliness is not equal to being alone. Loneliness is your body saying, “Find people with whom to socially interact!” The inability to get to your favorite gym, gather with friends at a favorite hangout, or mingle with coworkers who bring meaning to your life can have natural health consequences. Learning about loneliness is a key lesson of our collective experience with the coronavirus. Social distancing is likely to end in the future, but connecting to a mental health counselor now— even if it means one more Zoom session to do it—is worth the effort if it can help you lessen the impact of loneliness. Learn more at http://www.news.gallup.com [Search: “adults less worry”]

Fried Food and Focus Don’t Mix

Skip the burger and fries at lunch. You will have a clearer head and better focus in the afternoon. New research shows one meal of fried food high in fat can zap your ability to stay focused on an important task or project shortly after it is consumed. At work, that means choosing fewer fatty and fried foods at lunch in favor of more nutritious choices may help you score that big win or big deal, or deliver a more effective presentation!