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Work-Life Integration — July 2019

Work-Life Integration — July 2019


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A 21st Century Take on Work-Life Balance

The concept of work-life balance was introduced in the 1970’s as baby boomers struggled to balance their careers, families, friends and hobbies with staying healthy. The idea is to ‘balance’ your work with your private life. Work-life balance means focusing on your job when at work and making time outside of work to enjoy family and friends, as well as engage in other activities you enjoy.

As technology changes the way some people work, work-life integration has emerged as a popular approach. It recognizes that our personal lives affect the way we approach our work and our careers have an impact outside the workplace. Smartphones and Internet connections make it easy to be available 24/7 for work needs, and to have more flexible work schedules. As a result, the line between work and personal lives becomes blurred. For example, you might take time to attend your child’s sporting event and then work later (at the end of the day or into the evening). Or, during a vacation or staycation, you allow time to answer emails or for phone meetings.

Integrating work and life can pose new challenges. There are work requirements so those who work at home have to set clear boundaries with family and friends. You won’t be able to watch children and care for elderly parents just because you are working from home. It can also be a challenge to stay present in your primary activity or with the people around you when you multitask. For example, if it’s your night to cook dinner for the family, how do you balance completing dinner and your work for that day?

Whether your job is more suited to a work-life balance or work-life integration approach, one thing is certain: if your work overtakes your life or your personal life interferes with work, you are more likely to experience stress, fatigue, and new or worsening health problems. 

Seeking Balance

Everyone has stressful times at work when deadlines loom and challenging times at home with the competing demands of a family. At these times, it may make sense to adjust your work hours or ask for some flexible work time to attend to family issues.

Stress is actually good for us, up-to a point: it motivates us to get things done and take on new challenges. But chronic stress weakens our immune system; it can make us feel tired, zap our ability to concentrate, make us irritable or depressed, and interfere with our work and personal relationships. That’s when new health problems can creep up or existing medical conditions worsen.  

So, what can you do about it? The most important part of managing stress is recognizing that you are in control of your life! We can’t control all the things that happen, but we can control how we react and act. Managing stress means taking charge of your thoughts, your lifestyle and the way you approach problems.

The first step is to understand what your stressors are. The big life stressors like getting married/divorced, moving or changing jobs are easy to identify. Sometimes it’s the less obvious things that are hard to spot. Maybe it’s regular work deadlines or tense relations with friends, family or co-workers. Or maybe stress is caused by a tendency to procrastinate. Whatever your stressors are, naming them gives you something to problem-solve.

Some stressors in life can be avoided more easily than others. By saying no to things, you can avoid taking on more than you can handle. It helps to know your limits and saying no can help protect them. Another relatively easy fix is to avoid things or people that add to your stress. That doesn’t mean ignore problems that need to be addressed, but you can turn off the news if it makes you anxious or limit your time with people who trigger stress. Here are some more tips for restoring your life to a healthier balance.

  • Try to reframe problems by looking at them from a positive perspective. Does the traffic jam give you more time to enjoy some music on the radio or to be alone with your thoughts a little longer? If you are upset about something, think of ways to communicate your concerns in a respectful way, rather than bottling them inside or ignoring them.
  • Know your work options. If flextime, a compressed workweek, job sharing, telecommuting or other scheduling flexibilities are available to you, consider if they could help your situation. If you work at home, be sure to follow home-work policies so you get the job done without distractions from home life.
  • Set a balanced schedule that allows time for work and family life, social time with friends and enough downtime to recharge. Take a good look at your responsibilities and set reasonable goals for each day. Keep a to-do list to help you stay on task. Let less essential tasks fall to the bottom of the list or maybe even eliminate them.
  • Learn what triggers stress for you and make adjustments as needed to minimize the triggers. If you know you are going to have a difficult meeting or perform a challenging task, plan a relaxing evening after. This will allow time to recover.
  • Take care of yourself. Aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night and eat a healthy diet (vegetables, fruits, chicken, fish, nuts, healthy oils). Make time for fun and relaxation; maybe take a vacation or staycation. Stay active by exercising for 30 minutes nearly every day.
  • Know when to seek professional help. If you can’t seem to break the stressful cycle on your own, ask for a helping hand. Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) as part of their benefits packages. Private counselors, social workers and psychologists can provide short or long-term support. Keep your primary care provider in the loop.

Communication is Key

Keeping a healthy work-life balance involves staying in good communication with the important people in your work and personal lives. If you can’t seem to ever get caught up at work, talk with your manager about your job responsibilities. S/he should be able to prioritize tasks so you can work smarter and feel a better sense of accomplishment. Read our newsletter about Working Smart here

Communication with your family and friends is important too. Let them know your schedule and things you are excited, and concerned, about. Open and calm conversation can relieve stress and keep everyone in the know.

Also check out our newsletter, The Path to Emotional Wellness here.

How’s it Working? 

We’d love to hear how you juggle your work and personal life in the age of work-life integration. Use the comments section in this posting to share your tricks for keeping the balance.

KnovaSolutions can help you keep the balance between work and personal demands too! We are available to assist with all aspects of your mental and physical health. Call us at 800/355-0885, Monday to Friday, 8 am-8 pm, Mountain Time.

Click here to view/download the full newsletter. We encourage you to leave a comment or question below and a KnovaSolutions nurse or pharmacist will reply.

The information contained in this newsletter is for general, educational purposes. It should not be considered a replacement for consultation with your healthcare provider.  If you have concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare provider.




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Medication Benefits and Risks — June 2019

Medication Benefits and Risks — June 2019


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Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

Taking medicine is part of a daily routine for many people. Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC)medications treat disease and improve health in many ways. Lowering cholesterol, fighting infection, controlling blood sugar levels, reducing pain—these are just some of the helpful effects. Along with the benefits of feeling better and getting well, medicines also pose the risk of unwanted side effects or unexpected adverse events.

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Food for Thought — May 2019

Food for Thought — May 2019


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Healthy Food and Other Ways to Feed Your Brain

Our brains never rest. They hold down a highly specialized 24/7 job. As one of our largest and most complex organs, the brain contains more than 100 billion nerves that communicate through synapses, or connections, to control thinking, breathing, memory, sleep, hearing, digestion, feelings, heart rate, and so much more. Think of your brain as your body’s command center; it controls everything! Weighing just 3 pounds, the brain has a hefty job.

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Is Breaking News Breaking You? — February 2019

Is Breaking News Breaking You? — February 2019


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How to Stay Informed while Minimizing Stress

Almost two-thirds of all Americans say that the daily news causes them stress, according to an American Psychological Association (APA) survey. Feeling anxious, depressed, hopeless, irritable and worn out are some of the symptoms of “headline stress disorder,” a phrase coined by psychologist Steven Stosny.

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Managing Your Weight — January 2019

Managing Your Weight — January 2019


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For a Healthy Body and Mind

Carrying excess weight takes a toll on every part of the body. It affects walking, breathing, sleeping and mood, and can have a negative impact on quality of life. Being overweight can also increase the risk of developing serious medical conditions. The risk might rise from the stress the heart and joints suffer from carrying extra pounds. Or it may be due to complex changes in hormones and metabolism (how the body uses calories and fat).

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Over-the-Counter Medications — December 2018

Over-the-Counter Medications — December 2018

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Taking These (and Supplements) Safely

Over-the-counter medications (OTC) are easy to find at the store. They offer relief from common health problems like stuffy noses, seasonal allergies and achy muscles. They also can help prevent problems like constipation and nausea. You may feel empowered to solve a health issue without having to see your primary care provider for advice or a prescription.
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Complementing Your Medical Care — October 2018

Complementing Your Medical Care — October 2018

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With Approaches That Benefit Your Health

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 30 percent of adults use healthcare approaches developed outside of mainstream western medicine. These approaches are called complementary and alternative —terms that are often used interchangeably. However, it is important to note that they are different.

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Calcium and Vitamin D — September 2018

Calcium and Vitamin D — September 2018

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Essential Nutrients that Work Hand-in-Hand

No matter our age, our bodies need calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, as well as other important functions. However, without enough vitamin D, calcium can’t be absorbed by the body. What happens then? The body draws from calcium stored in the bones, which weakens them and can lead to osteoporosis, a condition where bones become fragile, brittle and prone to breaks. Maintaining calcium and vitamin D levels in a healthy range over your lifetime can help prevent the risks of weak bones, teeth and other potential issues.

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Common Medical Conditions — August 2018

Common Medical Conditions — August 2018

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Can They Be Prevented or Reversed?

Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. One in two adults has a chronic disease and one in four has two or more, according to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

When it comes to our health, there are things we can’t control and those that we can try to influence. We can’t change our genetic makeup, gender, race or age—some of the factors that can make us more likely to develop a chronic medical condition. However, many health conditions are caused by lifestyle factors that we do have some ability to manage—our diet, exercise, stress management, weight and smoking habits.

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Ah, Summertime! — July 2018

Ah, Summertime! — July 2018

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How to Enjoy It While Staying Safe

Picnics, roasting marshmallows, swimming, camping, fishing—you name it—these are the treasures of summer. With longer days and schools closed, summer often means vacation time. But even if your summer doesn’t include a vacation, you’ve likely shed some layers and are spending more time outdoors. Being outside is a great way to reboot and revive the mind. To make the most of this more relaxed season, remember to take a few precautions to keep you and your family safe.

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Working Smart — June 2018

Working Smart — June 2018

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Finding Your Way to Workplace Wellness

Fulltime workers spend, on average, more than one-third of their day, five days per week at their place of work. We rely heavily on the fruits of our labor: skills, confidence, camaraderie, and most importantly, an income. Since our work life is so important to our livelihood, it makes sense to work smart. Workplace health and wellness includes activities and policies designed to promote the well-being of employees, support health behavior in the workplace, and decrease the risks of injuries. Employees can experience greater job satisfaction by making some key adjustments in the workplace.

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The Path to Emotional Wellness — May 2018

The Path to Emotional Wellness — May 2018

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How to Improve Your Resiliency

Your mental health and wellness affects practically every aspect of your life—how you think, feel and act at home and work, with family, friends, colleagues and the general public. People who are emotionally healthy tend to go about their day with a sense of purpose. They engage in enjoyable activities and balance them with their work and family life. They have fulfilling relationships and have a positive outlook.

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Why It’s Important to Have a PCP — April 2018

Why It’s Important to Have a PCP — April 2018

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And What to Do When Your PCP Isn’t Available

Your primary care provider (PCP) is that professional you see every year or so for preventive screening or more often if you are managing ongoing health concerns. S/he’s also the one you call when you get sick or develop concerning new symptoms. But, what if your PCP isn’t available? Your options depend upon the circumstances.

Wait, Back Up!

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Is Personalized Medicine for You? — January 2018

Is Personalized Medicine for You? — January 2018

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Evolving Field of Medicine Offers Promise

Healthcare providers have always sought to individualize care for their patients. But now, advances in medical research allow providers to study a person’s genes, offering another tool to guide decisions about preventing, diagnosing and treating disease. Personalized medicine, also called precision or individualized medicine, is an evolving field where providers use genetic testing to understand how a person’s disease risks are unique. Used alongside information about family history, symptoms and environmental factors, genetic testing can help providers prevent illness and/or determine which treatments will work best.

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How Walking Can Extend Life — December 2017

How Walking Can Extend Life — December 2017

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Even Minimal Walking Offers Health Benefits

You don’t have to run or bike intensively to get the health advantages of regular exercise. A new study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) showed that 120 minutes or less of moderate-intensity walking each week can add longevity to your life. 120 minutes? That’s less than 18 minutes a day!

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Confusing Cancer Terminology — November 2017

Confusing Cancer Terminology — November 2017

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Making Sense During Difficult Times

Almost 13 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer every year. People may experience unexplained pain, weight loss, fatigue and other symptoms followed by screening tests, imaging, and maybe biopsies before getting the dreaded diagnosis. Learning that you or a loved one has cancer is overwhelming and stressful.

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It’s Not Just Flu Shot Season — October 2017

It’s Not Just Flu Shot Season — October 2017

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Time to Review Your Vaccination Status

Vaccines are among the most cost-effective prevention services around. They do more than protect you from getting preventable diseases; they also reduce the spread of disease. If you’ve been vaccinated for an infectious disease (measles, chickenpox, hepatitis, influenza, etc.), you greatly reduce the risk of getting that disease and the chance of spreading it to others who are not immune.

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Suffer From Low Back Pain? — September 2017

Suffer From Low Back Pain? — September 2017

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A Look at Alternative/Complementary Therapies

The U.S. spends $90 billion a year on back pain! That’s more than the combined cost of care for high blood pressure, pregnancy AND depression. Back pain is one of the top reasons people see their doctor and the leading reason people miss work. Lost time and productivity is estimated to cost another $10-20 billion.

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Deprescribing: A Growing Trend — August 2017

Deprescribing: A Growing Trend — August 2017

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What Was Good Then May Not Be Now

It is becoming more and more common for people to take five or more medications. The more medications a person takes, the greater their risk for negative health outcomes, such as reduced quality of life, increased side effects, drug interactions, physical or mental impairment, falls, addiction, hospitalization or even, death. The use of some medications, especially as people age or become sicker, can do more harm than good. There is also greater risk of taking them incorrectly—the more medications, the more confusion.

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