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Four simple ways to harness gratitude and combat depression in the workplace

Many of us struggle to work due to our depression. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates over 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression, so it's no stranger to the office. Depression profoundly affects employee health and wellness and can decrease your productivity, increase absenteeism, and lower your overall job satisfaction. How can you battle your depression? Use gratitude. Studies show when you practice gratitude – actively acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of your life – you can significantly reduce feelings of stress and depression. Gratitude shifts your focus away from negative thoughts/feelings and toward a positive viewpoint. When you [...]

How to Live Through Loneliness

By Chelsie Batterman, T-LMLP  Well, it’s that time of the year. The time for gratitude and good cheer. The time for joy, shopping, parties, and people. The time for eating, drinking, and merriment. But for many of us, the most wonderful time of the year becomes the loneliest. Despite ongoing opportunities for celebration, we may feel least connected to others during the holiday season. Maybe this is because seasonal optimism compels us to face the reality of unfulfilling relationships or reminds us of those who are no longer with us. Maybe it’s the weather, or maybe it’s the prospect of [...]

How to Pursue Your Happiness

By Bridgette Miller, MS, LCMFT, LBSW We think happiness comes from meeting other people's expectations, but really it comes from creating our own.  There are many misconceptions about what happiness is, such as feeling joyful all the time. Life has highs and lows, and so happiness will fluctuate. When you find meaning and purpose within your life, you create happiness, as well as having different experiences where we can feel “psychologically rich.” Unfortunately, society’s expectations/views are not always realistic and can unduly influence us. Happiness has no boundaries or limits and thus can look vastly different and consistently change. [...]

Take control of your health and wellness

By Kim Lake August is National Wellness Month! We encourage all types of wellness – so I was asked to share some of my story.  I am 50 years old, and for about 15 years, I have been on a quest to feel better and be healthier. It started with just wanting to eat better and exercise to control my weight, help my mood, and increase my energy. At that time, I was working in healthcare in a fairly physical job. To others, I seemed like I was doing well, but on the inside, I was hurting. I was [...]

5 simple strategies to sharpen your assertive communication skills

By Coby Cushenberry, LMFT Because we live in a society, we will all inevitably find ourselves at odds with someone. Whether that be a spouse, friend, coworker, or boss, the ability to communicate effectively is crucial to ensuring our needs are met.  You may find communication challenging and uncomfortable, and sometimes your attempts to discuss your needs might even end in disaster.  To help improve your communication skills, we offer this introduction to assertive communication -- finding ways to communicate that benefit all parties.  When you use assertive communication, you respect the needs, boundaries, and autonomy of others while [...]

Change your perspective and improve your mental health wellness

By Lea Aunins, LMSW Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could experience every encounter in our lives as positive? This may seem impossible, but I believe we can significantly change our experiences by changing our focus.  I recently ended one of my workdays feeling exhausted and frustrated with several of the encounters I had had that day. As I was recounting the events of the day to my family that evening, I realized that the challenges of my day hadn’t been any different from other days, but rather my perspective had changed due to some temporary life stressors and [...]

5 tips to better cope with your anxiety

By Tori Drake  There is often a sigh of relief as we move out of the winter months into the spring and summer. However, experiencing anxiety can put a damper on the lengthening days and family fun. To help you with this transition, take a look at five ways you can help manage anxiety in your everyday life.  Expand your support circle. Isolating yourself when you don’t feel mentally well can be tempting. But when you get in touch with others, you will lessen any obsessing and prevent getting stuck in a thought spiral. Visit a friend or family [...]

How you can manage forgiveness and reconciliation in relationships

By Jake Miller Forgiveness and reconciliation are fundamental aspects of any healthy relationship. While the two aspects are closely connected, they have distinct meanings.  Forgiveness involves releasing negative emotions, such as anger, bitterness, and resentment toward someone who hurt us, without seeking revenge or holding onto grudges.  Reconciliation, on the other hand, involves rebuilding a damaged or broken relationship after forgiveness has been granted. This process involves repairing damage, rebuilding trust, and moving forward with mutual understanding and respect. It's important to understand that reconciliation isn't always possible or appropriate, even after granting forgiveness. There could be instances where [...]

Three ways to practice navigating change and transition

By Tana McKee There are a few things in life that are absolutely guaranteed—and one of those is CHANGE!  Sometimes change gets a bad rap for not being a good thing, but there are many things that change or transition for good reasons and eventually lead us to new and better things.   At the beginning of spring, daylight saving time starts, and many of us are able to enjoy Spring Break Week – both lead to differences in our schedules. At first, it can seem a bit challenging, and we might grumble about some of the inconveniences resulting from [...]

Elevate the positivity in your couple relationship

By Rita Buffington, LCMFT, Counselor Many of us celebrated Valentine’s Day with our partners, and we hope you were able to enjoy. But this special day also made us think about ways we can improve our relationships with our significant others. Sometimes it’s easy to look at the negative side of things – especially when we’re stressed. So we’d like to offer three simple suggestions on how you can focus on cultivating positivity between you and your partner.  Look For, Create, and Take Small Moments to Connect with Your Partner Daily. Over coffee in the morning, spend a few [...]

How you can practice self-compassion

By Stacey Winter, LCMFT, empac CEO There is a story that all too often plays in your head. It plays over and over, causing you to be down, distracted, and stressed.  “I should have spoken up in that meeting.”   “I should have called her when her mom died.”   “Why did I lose my temper with my kids and husband tonight?”  “I didn’t get the report done on time, and my boss is already irritated. I probably just got myself fired. I can’t do anything right.” It may be embarrassing to admit the things we say to ourselves and say [...]

Collaboration in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

By Natasha Santiago-Mason, EAP Staff Intern In a time where employee retention aligns with creating healthy, holistic work environments, organizations and companies are looking to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) to assist in creating a workplace where employees thrive.  Your company or organization may be working on DEIB efforts – whether you are just beginning the discussion or you have implemented your unique DEIB statement, formed a committee, and are engaged in the 5th year of your strategic plan. But if you’re like many organizations, you’re just beginning and may not understand the meaning of these words and [...]

Create More Meaningful Connections with Others

By Dabria VanGieson In the last few years, several factors seem to have played into our ability, or rather inability, to connect with each other in an empathetic, genuine manner. These factors include the pandemic, social injustice, as well as the political environment. In a time where everything seems to be divisive, it is so important to focus on genuinely and empathetically connecting with others. One of the simplest ways to connect with others is by asking questions that lead to discussions as opposed to one-word answers. Many of us are programmed to check in with others with [...]

Successfully Navigate Another Season of Change

By Lea Aunins, LMSW, Account Manager It seems that life is filled with constant changes. Are your kiddos returning to school soon or headed off to college for the first time? Did you just get married, build a house, have a baby, or start a new job? All of these things are common occurrences but can have a significant impact on our day-to-day lives. Some changes occur in our lives by choice, and we are given time to prepare, while some are imposed on us with minimal warning or control over the process. Regardless of the type of [...]

Normalizing Men’s Mental Health

By Heather Weaver The stigma of men’s mental health When I read the first paragraph of the recent article, “A Silent Crisis - The Unpacking of Men’s Mental Health in America,” it gave me an immediate feeling of uneasiness and despair. Learning that 75% of all suicide victims in the United States are men, and the leading cause of death among men is the entanglement of depression and suicide.  Sadly, from my perspective, there has always been a stigma around mental health, especially for men. I’ve heard phrases such as, “I don’t want to be weak.” or “I’m fine.” [...]

Awareness and Prevention: Sexual Assault

By Dabria VanGieson, LCMFT, RPT, Clinical Manager SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION.  Three words that immediately get our attention.  But overall, not only is it hard to acknowledge the facts when it comes to sexual assault - but I think the tendency is for most of us to try and put it out of our minds entirely since it’s unpleasant to think about and often even more uncomfortable to talk about.  Statistics show us that most sexual assaults happen the first time between the ages of 11-17 years old; so in theory, our focus should really be on sexual assault [...]

Students and trauma – how to help

School districts have resumed in-person learning and children can now enjoy being with their teachers and interacting with their classmates, rather than navigating their way through remote learning or from a hybrid route. “With all these changes, it is important that parents, family members, teachers, coaches, and other mentors educate themselves,” Lea Aunins, empac Account Manager shares. “Check in with and respond to children who have experienced an increase in stress and anxiety and possibly the absence of safety and security previously known to them.” An article written by the U.S. Department of Education, titled, “Tips for Helping Students [...]

Help Your Employees Thrive Amid the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation is continuing with no real sign of letting up. While many point to the COIVD-19 pandemic as the cause of the Great Resignation, there's plenty of evidence to suggest that this has been brewing long before the pandemic began. In 2017, former staff writer Bourree Lam wrote in the Atlantic that more and more Americans believe that hard work did not, in fact, actually pay off. That's not just a trend in America, though. The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer shows people worldwide are starting to believe that hard work will no longer pay off for [...]

Sheriff’s Office Culture Change and Empac

It's OK to not be OK. And it's OK to ask for help. These are two messages empac emphasizes when working with Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office employees and other law enforcement officers and first responders. "Empac has started to have a cultural change in our organization," Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter says. Counseling from empac's licensed and certified staff is helping employees at the Sheriff's Office open up. "To get law enforcement to open up is very difficult," Easter said. "The therapists at empac have been able to build that trust." Sheriff's employees "have to thrive in everything they are [...]

Logan Woodbridge’s Empac story

Compassion. Confidentiality. Caring. Those are the words Logan Woodbridge uses to describe the staff at empac.  “Empac is really good about just making you feel safe and making you feel like an actual friend who listens to you, and they actually care about what is going on in your personal life,” says Logan.  When serving at INTRUST Bank, Logan worked as empac’s account manager. He was impressed with their desire to help people. With the challenges and stress of COVID-19, empac has been an even more invaluable partner, and knowing that empac is available to help INTRUST Bank employees with [...]

Fight the Turnover Tsunami and Retain Talent

Getting your employees the resources they need to be healthy and thrive is more critical now than ever. “We’re living in what they call a ‘turnover tsunami,’ and talent is one of our most precious resources,” says Bryan Herwig. In his role as Director of Organizational Development at Vortex Global, Bryan says partnering with empac has been transformational. It’s been a true blessing to have the resource available to not only the employees but also the company leaders, Bryan says.  “In my role, I’m responsible for improving productivity and developing people and the culture at Vortex,” he says, “When I [...]

Donielle Watson’s Empac Story

Law enforcement officers and first responders see a lot of trauma in their jobs that inevitably follows them home. Empac works with Wichita Police Department officers to help them better manage their stress. “Our local, non-profit employee assistance program, empac, is an excellent tool for the department,” says Officer Donielle Watson. Our employee assistance program services help law enforcement officers stay on top of their mental health. “It’s extremely critical because of the amount of trauma we see on a day-to-day basis,” Watson says. “Every officer is impacted. It’s important to take care of our own mental health so we [...]

YMCA Values Empac

Much like empac, the Greater Wichita YMCA is focused on wellness — people’s spirits, minds, and bodies. That synergy is why our experts are a great fit for the YMCA.  Brandy Weber serves as the Associate Vice President of Human Resources at the Greater Wichita YMCA. Empac's licensed and certified experts are helping YMCA employees thrive, just as their employees help their members thrive.  Empac helps “us serve the spirit and the mind,” Brandy says. “Empac is a service we use with our employees and our families. Any time we have an employee struggling in any way, we can offer [...]

Introducing A New Logo And Website

For 40 years empac has been driven by a simple premise: we believe healthy, well-balanced employees and families make thriving companies and strong communities. Along with that, we are excited to announce the updating of our company logo to better reflect who we are today and where we are going in the future. Our new, dynamic look embodies the word “thrive” by demonstrating how growth is empowering. The color represents trust, loyalty, confidence, and stability. You will see the new look rolled out across all of our platforms. We will continue to serve clients with the exceptional service you have [...]

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