“How are you?”
“Oh, I’m fine. How are you?”
“Good, good, just busy.” “Same here.”
We know how to answer, “How are you?” It’s a conversation many of us have without any further thought. Yet what happens when you’re asked, “Are you well?”
Unsurprisingly, in a world of constant change and risk assessment, for many, it’s not a straightforward question to answer. More than half of American adults (53%) say they struggle with the ups and downs of the pandemic (American Psychological Association, 2021). The compounding stress over the past two years reveals itself in no shortage of psychological and behavioral changes. If you’ve felt unmotivated, tired, or distracted in the last few months, you are not alone.
In October 2021, 74% of U.S. adults said they experienced headaches, feeling overwhelmed, fatigue, or changes in sleeping habits as a result of stress. Additionally, common behavioral changes due to stress included avoiding social situations, altering eating habits, procrastination, or altering physical activity patterns (American Psychological Association, 2021).
Just as pervasive as the pandemic itself it seems are its’ ramifications on society and well-being. It is a condition the Department of Emergency Medicine recognizes and actively confronts in all realms of the workplace. Most recently the department has established its inaugural staff wellness committee.
The staff wellness committee includes seven staff members, all of whom are driven by a bold commitment to wellness and dedicated to promoting connection in the workplace. Its mission statement: To encourage staff engagement and positively improve employee morale while aligning with The Department of Emergency Medicine’s Mission and Vision.
Cultivating social connection among peers amidst a pandemic requires creativity. To date, the staff wellness committee has hosted a walk on the canal, a tour of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, a month of welcome to celebrate a return to the office, a fall party, and a virtual mindfulness learning session with more to come in 2022. Specifically, staff can look forward to events that encourage balance between work and life outside. On February 11th, the committee will host “Fighting Frustration, Exhaustion, and Burnout” with Lisa Stallworth, MSW, LCSW with IU Health Employee Assistance Program.
In the meantime, the committee encourages readers to take a break to review the practical steps outlined by Mental Health America for a healthier professional and personal workload. Be sure to keep an eye out for events in the future and most importantly, be well!
If you have any ideas of any staff wellness events or ideas, please feel free to reach out to any of the committee members.
Staff Wellness Committee
Cara Ikerd, Chair Kris Powell, Co-Chair Vince Benchino
American Psychological Association. (2021, October 26). Stress and decision-making during the pandemic. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2021/october-decision-making