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Take care of yourself

By Becky Comet, AAC Member Benefits Manager

We say and hear, “Take care of yourself,” all the time, to the point that we do not really think about what it means. If we do think about it, we make excuses why we cannot take care of ourselves right now: there were the elections, the holidays, the new year, (for some) taking on a new office, the legislative session. If all that is not enough, we can always use the weather as an excuse. After all, it has been all over the page this winter. It is time to stop and actually think about and put into action the things we need to do to take care of ourselves. You only have this one life. No one can do this for you.

Here are a few suggestions:

Be aware of the quality of the things that you eat. You would not put kerosene in your car and expect it to run well. Your body needs good fuel too. Eat some fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and good proteins. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email.

  • Get some exercise. It does not have to be a brutal workout at the gym. Do something you enjoy — take a walk, ride a bike, go dancing.
  • Drink water. There are countless benefits to drinking water. Make it your go-to drink.
  • Get some rest. Sleep is a must. That is the time your body rebuilds and rejuvenates.
  • Learn something new. It is good for your brain. Learning new things keeps your brain healthy, engaged, and active.
  • Schedule some time for you. Even five minutes a day is better than nothing. Pray, read, meditate, watch the sunset. When you have more time, take a leisurely walk or drive to a place you enjoy. Get a massage. Take a relaxing, hot bath. When you do take time for yourself, make sure to disconnect from technology.
  • Do a good deed. Give someone a compliment. Open a door. Pay for the person behind you in the drive-through. It does not have to be big or expensive. Look for opportunities to do a kind deed. It will warm your heart as much as the object of your kindness.

The above are some things for you to do for yourself. However, this is a publication for counties, county officials, and county employees. So, let’s talk about the place where you spend at least 1/3 of your time — your office, job, work environment. It’s a place that can give you great enjoyment and satisfaction, as well as frustration and stress, all in the same day. We would all like to show up to work and have everyone get along and work hard toward a common goal on a daily basis. Some of us are blessed to be in a situation like that. Some of us have to work a little harder to create that environment. Nevertheless, it is an environment worth working for. If it is not a healthy working environment it will affect your physical and mental health.

If you want a cohesive, productive, effective team you might want to consider supplementing your managerial abilities with some skill building and team building training. The Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) has a partnership with a service called Southwest Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This organization offers support through individual counseling, educating, behavioral risk management, and training. Southwest EAP staff will come to your county and provide educational and prevention training for employees in these areas: marital and family relationships, substance abuse, stress, interpersonal relationships, healthy habits, financial issues, work/life balance, diversity, effective communication, workplace violence, and harassment prevention. Southwest EAP also offers additional training for supervisors in these areas: reasonable suspicion drug testing, identifying and managing poor performance, conflict resolution, time management, personality management, project management, communication and dynamic listening, and team building.

You may think this service is way too expensive for your county. To receive individual counseling for employees and their families — families are included — the education and training mentioned above done in your building, crisis response services, and more is $19 per employee per year.

We need to “take care” in our individual lives. Yet, we also need to “take care” of our work lives as well. We all have stress. We all have conflicts. We all have problems. That is part of life. How we handle those stresses, conflicts, and problems makes all the difference. If you need assistance in creating a more positive, cohesive environment in your office to enhance the effectiveness or your staff, call Southwest EAP. Here’s the necessary contact information:

Terri Murphree
Southwest EAP
415 N. McKinley St, Suite 520
Little Rock, AR 72205
501-663-1797 or 1-800-777-1797
www.southwesteap.com

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions at bcomet@arcounties.org or (501) 372-7550.

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