Category Archives: Community

Anxiety and Sleep

Anxiety is more common than ever – especially with everything going on in our lives and around the world.  Anxious, racing thoughts not only interfere with our comfort and focus during the day, they often also keep us from getting the kind of quality sleep that we desperately need.

The number of antianxiety prescriptions dispensed have increased by over 35% during this pandemic including those for Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan. Medications for sleep disorders increased by 15%.  Though these drugs act fast and do work, they are usually used short-term and at the lowest effective dose closely monitored by a health care provider.

Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium are all benzodiazepines (a class of sedating drugs), which can cause a host of issues including memory problems, drowsiness, confusion, and addiction.  They can be very difficult to discontinue and should not be stopped abruptly as severe withdrawal syndrome can develop that can include anxiety, irritability, and seizures in some cases. When combined with alcohol or other sedating drugs, overdose can occur.

Drugs such as Ambien and Lunesta are used by many, but they also have many downsides. They can limit REM sleep causing a hangover effect, brain fog, and memory problems.  Most people have also heard the stories of episodes of sleep walking, sleep driving, and other odd behaviors that can occur.  This can happen at any time during use. People have no recollection that they did these things the following day.  Both benzodiazepines and the above sleep drugs carry the FDA’s black box warning for serious side effects.

Is there a better way?  After all, sleep is important for our body, mind, and spirit!

First and foremost, don’t wait.  If you are having sleep problems, take action now!

Here are some tips to improve sleep quality.

  • Because sleep is so important, MAKE IT A PRIORITY.
  • Address any biological issues that affect your sleep such as chronic pain, sleep apnea, acid reflux, untreated thyroid issues, heart conditions, etc.
  • Treat mental health conditions and substance use disorders that you’re aware of.
  • Go to sleep when you are truly tired.
  • Go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule.
  • Develop good sleep hygiene.
  • Create a restful sleeping environment
  • Your bedroom should be a peaceful place for rest.
  • Control comfortable temperature, lighting and noise
  • If you have a pet that disturbs you, consider having him/her sleep elsewhere.
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable – not too soft or too hard, not too small.
  • Exercise regularly, but not too late in the day as it will keep you alert.
  • Eat light at night.  Too much food or drink at night can keep you up.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep.
  • If you’re going to nap, do it early in the day.
  • Try to relax before bed.
  • Warm bath or shower, quiet music, a good book (not exciting), meditation, gentle yoga, etc. to relax mind/body/spirit.
  • Are you a worrier?  Write down every concern that comes to mind before going to bed.  If you wake up in the middle of the night ruminating on worries, write them down at that time, too!
  • Try sound therapy (soothing sounds to lull you to sleep)
  • Keep technology out of your bedroom.
  • Keep your clock out of your sight.
  • If you simply cannot sleep, get out of bed and occupy yourself with something relaxing.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) uses techniques that specifically address the root cause of insomnia.
  • Consider natural supplements such as melatonin, magnesium, l-theanine, GABA, and 5-HTP to help calm the brain and promote healthy sleep.  Talk to your healthcare provider about them.  Be aware, however, that some physicians may not be familiar with these supplements and their effect on sleep. 

Seek professional help if these tips are not working for you.  Sleep disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and other mental health issues are not things to put off. Your mental well-being is extremely important, especially with all the stresses going on right now. Waiting to get treatment until the pandemic is over could make you feel worse over time. 

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/anti-anxiety-medication-prescriptions-have-spiked-34-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-2020-04-16

https://www.healthline.com/health/xanax-and-alcohol#xanax-and-alcohol-side-effects   

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/10-tips-to-beat-insomnia/

https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/importance-getting-good-sleep/

5 Everyday Actions That Will Expand and Strengthen Your Network

Need to strengthen your network but not sure how to start? The task can sound overwhelming, particularly when you’re at a crossroads with your job or struggling to find that next opportunity. But working on your network is actually more straightforward than it seems – it is simply strengthening existing relationships and creating new ones. You can do this through easy, everyday actions which can have a huge impact on your career and future goals. Here are 5 to help get you started!

1. Send a personal message to 5 people. Start with the network you already have before trying to create new relationships, even if the connections you want seem different than what you think your existing network can offer. Reach out to contacts from past job experiences or your personal life, since they know your strengths and can endorse you when a relevant opportunity arises. This networking exercise is a good way to organize your contacts and determine the types of contacts you should message. In your message, update your contacts about what’s new in your career and life, and ask them for an update as well.  Don’t ask them for an introduction or recommendation if they’re not someone you’ve been in touch with regularly, but do tell them you’re looking to strengthen your network and connect with other professionals. If you’re contacting someone you have kept in touch with, you can take this opportunity to let them know about your career goals or who would you like to meet. You may be surprised by who they know or the opportunities they come across.

2. Have coffee with a diverse colleague or contact. Meet with someone from a different department or function, since they may be exposed to different contacts and opportunities than you. The same goes for contacts who are in a different age group, race, or industry. Strengthening the more diverse areas of your network can lead to finding “linchpins” or connectors to other groups, in which you have no connections. Also, diverse colleagues and contacts think differently than you, so they are the best to contacts to help spur new ideas and expand your perception.

3. Contact 1 person you admire per week. Find people who inspire you or have the career path you desire, even if they are outside your existing network. Mention why you admire them and share your goals. You’d be surprised how many successful professionals want to help others succeed and are just waiting for them to ask. Add value when you can, be specific about why you admire them and make it clear that you’re interested in a relationship, not a favor. Even if you already have a mentor, experts suggest you should have many people in your network  providing you with mentorship and advice, not just one person.

4. Update your social media profile. Based on your industry and position, you can choose which social media platforms provide you with the best opportunities to connect and build your presence on them. Regardless of what industry you’re in, be sure to keep your LinkedIn profile updated. An estimated 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, and are attracted to the following aspects of a profile that you can easily update:

  • A high-resolution, professional profile picture (increases your views by 14 times)
  • Your current position (increases your connection requests by 5 times)
  • 5 relevant skills (increases your messages by 31 times)

Another easy way to boost your visibility and make positive connections on LinkedIn is by endorsing others for skills. The gesture is likely to get you some endorsements in return!

5. Add value to another person’s life. As important as networking is to our personal careers and goals, successful networking requires adopting an “others-first” mindset. If you want others to connect you with opportunities and contacts, you need to exhibit that same behavior. Adding value requires understanding your contacts’ needs and challenges (personal or professional). Do they need a connection that you can provide? Can you contribute your time to something they are working on? Increase the likelihood of someone in your network wanting to help you by helping them first.

Contrary to what you may think, strengthening your network doesn’t need to be a massive endeavor. Start by leveraging your existing relationships first then expand to new contacts through simple actions like sending a message. You will be surprised how these everyday actions can make a big difference in your network online and offline and can lead to unexpected opportunities!

 

Let Allied help you improve your networking skills!  Referring someone for a job is a great way to help your network!  Who do you know that is looking for work?  Contact Allied today!

Pride in the Workplace

Employers must protect individuals identifying as LGBTQ+ from workplace discrimination. Awareness of issues affecting LGBTQ+ individuals is also important, including sensitivity to the needs of transgender individuals who may be transitioning or undergoing sexual reassignment surgery.

Take Complaints Seriously

Create an atmosphere of open communication and trust so that employees can voice their concerns without fear of retaliation.

Firmly commit to taking all complaints based on LGBTQ+ status seriously, and promptly investigate them. Assure employees, managers and supervisors that they will not be retaliated against for bringing a complaint and that the complaint will be kept confidential to the extent possible.

Conduct a thorough investigation by reviewing any evidence and interviewing the complainant, the alleged perpetrator and any potential witnesses. Document the entire investigation process and the steps taken in response to the complaint. Consider implementing interim measures such as separating the complainant from the alleged perpetrator during the course of the investigation. Take remedial and/or disciplinary measures, if warranted. Then follow up with the employee to ensure that no further incidents have occurred.

Provide Reasonable Accommodations

Carefully consider all accommodation requests from LGBTQ+ individuals. Discuss the request with the employee, and provide reasonable accommodations when possible. For example, consider allowing all employees and third parties to use the restroom or locker room that corresponds with their current gender identity and presentation regardless of the individual’s sex at birth. Single-occupant, gender-neutral restrooms provide increased privacy for all individuals. If an employer maintains multi-occupant restrooms with stalls, it may want to consider additional privacy measures such as stall doors and dividers. An employee who is uncomfortable with an LGBTQ+ individual using a particular restroom should be permitted to use another facility.

When it comes to accommodation requests relating to dress codes, allow an individual to dress consistently with their gender identity, as long as the individual looks professional and appropriate for the particular workplace and position. This also applies to policies related to uniforms, grooming, jewelry and makeup.

Handle a transgender employee’s name change using the same policies and procedures for other employee name changes (e.g., after marriage or divorce). Also find out their preferred pronouns and then use them. Make sure all managers, supervisors and colleagues do the same.

Support Transitioning Employees

While the Supreme Court recognized that its decision does not provide employers with guidance on issues surrounding sex-specific changing facilities and restrooms, employers can still strive to be sensitive to transgender employees who are transitioning and/or undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

Processes around how an employee can make a name change, update employee records, resolve conflicts over restroom use, comply with the dress code, or request a change in duties or responsibilities, a potential transfer and other accommodations that an employee may need while they are transitioning should be discussed and handled on a case-by-case basis.

Keep all discussions private and confidential, to the extent possible, but also work through with the employee how and when they want co-workers and third parties to be advised of the change.

Also, be aware of any state or local laws that may impact the employer’s decision. For example, in New York City, employers may not require an individual to use a single-occupancy restroom or other facility. However, employers can accommodate requests to use single-occupancy restrooms and can provide single-occupancy restrooms and private space within multi-user facilities for anyone who has privacy concerns.

Review Recruiting and Hiring Practices

LGBTQ+ individuals should be treated fairly in all aspects of employment including recruiting and hiring.

Recruitment practices should aim to attract applicants from as wide a talent pool as possible. Inclusive recruitment practices include:

  • Stating the employer’s adherence to anti-discrimination laws in job postings. An employer could even consider listing the specific grounds on which it will not discriminate;
  • Recruiting from broad-reaching sources (e.g., post job ads on general job boards) and targeting under-represented groups (e.g., provide job ads to LGBTQ+ advocacy groups to post on their website); and
  • If using an employment agency or external recruiter, clearly explaining the employer’s stance on discrimination.

Hiring decisions should be based on merit, skills and qualifications. Ensure interviewers do not talk about personal matters, especially ones that could lead an applicant to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity or other protected characteristic (e.g., asking about family status, assuming a male candidate’s spouse is a woman).

Any background checks or reference checks that require applicants to provide a prior name could expose a transgender applicant. Such information should be kept confidential and not shared with the hiring decision-makers.

Tips for Shift Workers

Work schedules that fall anywhere outside the hours of 7 am to 6 pm are considered shift work. These schedules may consist of fixed hours, rotating or split shifts, or irregular work times. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 16% of full-time salary and wage workers in the U.S. worked non-daytime shifts in 2017 and 2018. Recently, many employees have also been forced to take on shift work in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alarm clock in the middle of the night insomnia or dreaming

Common occupations that require shift work include:

  • Food preparers and servers
  • Hairdressers, fitness trainers, and other personal care professionals
  • Sales and retail staff
  • Police officers, firefighters, and other first responders
  • Doctors, nurses, and other medical staff
  • Transportation, warehouse, and manufacturing plant workers

Shift work can be demanding when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, especially for those who work night, early morning, or rotating shifts. Over time these employees may develop shift work disorder, a condition characterized by insomnia symptoms when they attempt to sleep and excessive tiredness while they are at work. Shift work disorder not only causes cognitive impairments and physical complications but also affects occupational performance and makes workers more prone to errors and accidents.

Getting a good night’s rest and feeling alert upon waking is essential for any shift worker, regardless of their specific profession. For many, adopting a consistent sleep schedule and creating a bedroom environment conducive to rest can have a huge impact.

How To Set a Night Work Sleep Schedule

Sleep consistency is key for many employees working night shift schedules. If you wake up at 5 pm for your night shift and normally go to sleep at 8 am after getting home from work, then you also should maintain this sleep-wake schedule on your days off.

Obviously, this can be difficult to accomplish. Make sure significant others, children, roommates, and anyone else sharing your roof understands the importance of your designated sleep time. They should not wake you up unless there’s a true emergency.

Light and noise exposure may be other issues for sleeping during the day. Try drawing the shades or sleeping with an eye mask if your bedroom tends to be bright during the day. Earplugs and white noise machines can be effective at blocking outside sounds. Unless you are on call, consider turning your phone off while you sleep.

Rather than immediately going to bed, some shift workers prefer to stay up for a few hours after arriving home as one might do after a day at work on a traditional 9-5 schedule. This way, they can wake up closer to the time when they start their next night shift. For others, a split-nap schedule is more effective. This entails napping for a few hours after getting home in the morning and then sleeping for longer in the hours leading up to the next shift’s start time.

Before going to bed, consider a hot shower or bath, meditation, or another relaxing activity. Consuming alcohol before bed can lead to sleep disruptions. Although alcohol has sedative properties that help you fall asleep more easily, you may experience sleep disturbances or fragmented sleep as your body breaks down the alcohol. Some shift workers take melatonin supplements to fall asleep during the day, but you should consult with your doctor or another licensed physician before taking melatonin because it can have an impact on your sleep-wake rhythms.

Finding the right system for you may require some trial and error. The key is getting enough sleep every 24 hours. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of daily sleep for most adults between the ages of 18 and 64, and seven to eight hours of sleep for most adults 65 and older. Some adults can get by on slightly less or may need slightly more sleep, but we don’t recommend fewer than five to six hours or more than 10 to 11 hours of sleep per day.

Tips for Staying Awake During Shift Work

While you are at work during an irregular shift, strategies to stay refreshed and alert may include:

  • Caffeine in moderation: Caffeine can provide an energy boost for shift workers, but it should be consumed carefully and in moderation. A cup of coffee or caffeinated soda is recommended at the beginning of your shift. The caffeine will usually take effect within 15-20 minutes. Moderate amounts of caffeine every one to two hours will be more effective than heavy amounts. You should avoid consuming caffeine within three to four hours of the time you plan to go to sleep.
  • Get the blood moving: If you have enough time during a scheduled break, consider a brief workout or a jog around your workplace. Even a small amount of exercise can provide an energy boost.
  • Take a nap: You can also snooze on your break if you’d rather sleep than exercise. A nap of 10-20 minutes is considered ideal because you won’t enter deep sleep and feel excessively groggy when it’s time to wake up. For some shift workers, the “coffee nap” can be effective. This strategy involves drinking a cup of coffee and then taking a nap that lasts 15-20 minutes. Your wake-up time will coincide with the caffeine in the coffee taking effect.
  • Exercise caution: People who experience sleep problems due to shift work are at higher risk of on-the-job errors and accidents. The same is true of employees who are new to shift work, or those who are working shifts that are longer than usual.
  • Consider a post-work snooze: Drowsy driving accidents are another hazard associated with shift work. According to the most recent statistics, midnight to 6 am is one of the most dangerous periods of the day for drowsy driving. If your workplace does not have a room where you can nap undisturbed, you can try dozing for a few minutes in your car before leaving the property. If you begin to feel drowsy behind the wheel, pull over at the next available opportunity where you can park safely and nap for a few minutes.

Tips for Employees With Rotating Shifts

Fixed shift work creates plenty of sleep challenges for employees, but rotating shifts that involve different start and times for shifts during a given week or month can exacerbate these issues. Rotating shifts vary by workplace, but some of the most common rotating schedules for employees include the following:

  • Dupont: This schedule operates on a four-week cycle and consists of four different teams covering 12-hour shifts. A given team will work blocks of both day and night shifts lasting three to four days, interspersed with one to three consecutive days off. Each team also receives a seven-day block of days off for every four-week period.
  • Panama: Also known as 2-2-3 or the Pitman, the Panama schedule consists of four teams. Two teams trade day shifts throughout the week in two- or three-day blocks, while the other two teams trade off night shifts in two- or three-day blocks. Each team will receive seven non-consecutive days off every two weeks.
  • Southern Swing: This schedule requires employees to work eight hours per shift for seven consecutive days. After each seven-day block of work, employees receive two to three days off. Upon returning to work, the employee’s team will adopt different hours from the previous seven-hour block. Most Southern Swing schedules rotate teams between day, swing, and night shifts.

Shift workers with rotating schedules should prepare for shift changes by adjusting their sleep times. Let’s say you are currently working a day shift and planning to rotate to a night shift the following week. You should gradually delay your bedtime by one or two hours each night a few days prior to starting the night shift if possible. This will help you get enough rest and avoid sudden changes.

Some rotating shifts are better for sleep than others. For example, rotating from day to afternoon to night shifts is a more natural progression that is easier on your body compared to rotating in the opposite direction or in random patterns. Rotating shifts every two to three days may also be better for workers than rotating their shifts every five to seven days, and too many consecutive night shifts can be problematic.

If you work a rotating schedule and the routine is wearing you down, consider having a word with your supervisor. They may be able to adjust your shifts or rotations and provide a schedule that is better for your sleep schedule.

Source:  Sleep Foundation

Job Fairs Are Back! Here’s How To Get the Most Out Of Them

In-person job fairs are one of the many things that haven’t happened much in the past 2 years, thanks to COVID.  2022 marks the return of one of the largest job fairs in the Lehigh Valley:  The Morning Call Career Fair.

Attending a job fair can be an excellent way to get your job search started, or to re-energize a search that may feel stalled. It’s a great chance to get in front of many employers in a single day and see what companies are hiring. But in order to make the most of a job fair, it’s important to be prepared.

1) Research. Find out what companies will be there. Most job fairs include a list of employers in advertisements for the event. Visit the websites of those companies to check out current job openings. If there are opportunities you are interested in, take a minute to learn more about the company. Then when you speak with a recruiter at the job fair, you are able to talk about a specific opening or about their company’s business and really stand out from the crowd.

2) Prepare.  This is the one time you won’t be able to customize your resume. Since you will be presenting it to multiple employers for various opportunities, make your objective specific to the way you’d like your skills to be used and to the type of work environment you prefer. For this occasion, this is better than trying to specify a position or an industry.

3) Practice.  Do you have your 30-second commercial ready? This is one tool you absolutely must have ready for a job fair. Prepare it and practice it. A job fair is a great opportunity to end your commercial with a question; this will help you start a dialogue with the recruiter.

4) Attire.   Going to a job fair is a lot like going to a bunch of mini-interviews, so dress as you would for an interview. Often the setting for a job fair is casual, but don’t dress for the venue.  Workplace dress codes also have become much more casual in the past 2 years, so a full business suit may not be necessary, but it is still important to dress to make a great first impression.

5) Prioritize.  Rather than start at one end of the job fair and visit every single booth, determine your game plan before you arrive. Because you’ve done your research, you will know the employers you are most interested in visiting. Start with those. If the recruiters are tied up with a line of people waiting, it may be best to stop back. For some very popular employers, there may be no downtime for the recruiters, and waiting in line may be your only option.

6) Respect.   At a busy job fair, you need to be respectful of the recruiter’s time. If there are a large number of job seekers, you may not get a chance to do much more than introduce yourself and drop off your resume. Don’t monopolize a recruiter’s time with excessive explanations about your work history or with multiple questions about their openings. You want to be remembered but not as the person who talked excessively.

7) Follow-up.   Get business cards and contact information for the companies you are interested in and follow up with them. A short, hand-written thank you note reconfirming your interest in the company or in a particular opening is a simple way to give a recruiter a reason to pull your resume out of the stack they have from the job fair.

Don’t be intimidated by long lines at job fairs or by the volume of resumes you see stacked on a recruiter’s table. If you play your cards right, you’ll be on the “first call back pile” and a new employment opportunity may find its way to you.

Planing on attending The Morning Call Career Fair on May 3rd?  Be sure to stop by and say hello to the Allied team!  

 

Daily Habits of Your Lucky Friends

You probably have friends who come to mind when you think of lucky. They happen upon tickets to the most in-demand events, get invited on really great trips, skip lines, succeed in their careers, and stumble into one awesome experience after another.

While these events seem to occur randomly and with very little effort, research shows that lucky people have similar habits and beliefs. London-based author, physician, and mind coach Stephen Simpson says that luck is actually something that can be learned and increased. How are your lucky friends attracting all their good fortune?

  1. They go out of their way to meet people. As Max Gunther writes in his book How to Get Lucky, “Luck flows along linked chains of people until it hits targets.” A lot of what we consider luck is really just opportunities landing at our feet. Those opportunities flow through people. The more people you know, the more opportunities are presented.
  2. They say “yes”. Lucky people say “yes” to offers that come their way, even if it’s not something they originally planned. This flexibility allows them to experience more, meet more people, and parlay those experiences into more opportunities. While it’s important to have a plan, it’s just as important to let yourself deviate from your plan to explore ideas or opportunities that interest you.
  3. They trust their gut. Simpson, who works with professional poker players, says the lucky players listen to their gut feelings. “Intuition, like any other skill, can be improved with practice,” he says. Becoming more in touch with your inner voice, and developing the ability to read people and understand unspoken social cues can improve your intuition. “The next step is trusting your intuition and acting on it,” Simpson says.
  4. They stay positive. Lucky people aren’t lucky all the time. Everyone faces adversity and experiences failure, but you won’t find your lucky friends ruminating over a bad break. People who appear lucky take hardships and turn them into something positive. They learn from their mistakes and use them to make their next experience better.
  5. They give. Lucky people are givers. This has nothing to do with karma and everything to do with making a lasting impression. Lucky people don’t just meet more people, they connect better, and maintain relationships. They know a lot of people, but more importantly, a lot of people know them. When you meet new people, focusing on what you can give to them, rather than what you can get from them is the best way to build genuine relationships and make a lasting impression. Give your time, give your full attention, and look for ways to add value to your new relationship. At first, you may have to make a conscious effort to make giving your focus, but eventually, it becomes second nature — as it is for many lucky people.
  6. They think outside the box. Lucky people are creative thinkers. In 1975, Gary Dahl invented the pet rock. The fad lasted six months, but it was enough to make Dahl a millionaire. It’s one of those ideas that makes you think, “Why didn’t I come up with that?” His success could be attributed to luck, but really he saw an opportunity to solve a problem. Dahl came up with his brilliant idea when he was at a bar in Los Gatos, CA with some friends, and they were complaining about how they had to walk, feed, groom and clean up after their pets. His out-of-the-box thinking about how to solve pet problems changed his life. Your lucky friends, who experience success in business, probably have the same ability to look at a problem from a different vantage point and come up with a creative solution.

This post is not to say that everyone is dealt the same hand in life and all luck is created. Many people have innate privilege or fortunate circumstances that contribute to their luck or success. But what you make of the hand you were dealt is up to you. What do your lucky friends do? They leverage it into opportunities.

There are plenty of opportunities over on our Job Board!  Check out all of our current openings and apply today!

 

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME—HOW TO SPRING FORWARD BEFORE THE CLOCKS DO

Source:  Verilux

The start of daylight saving time and springing forward means our unsuspecting bodies (and our four-legged friends) will be jolted awake an hour earlier. Though one hour doesn’t sound like a lot of lost sleep, science shows that the time change can have a huge effect on our health and well-being.

The number of strokes and heart attacks actually increases in the days following DST while students’ SAT scores significantly decrease. Crazy, right? The fact is that the time change has the ability to throw your body and mind into a quick tailspin. But there are things you can do to protect your well-being. Here are a few helpful tips to keep you feeling your best during the start of daylight saving time. 

WAKE UP EARLY THIS WEEKEND 

We hate to start this list with something as “fun” as waking up early, but if you have to get up a whole extra hour earlier on Monday, you can get ahead of the time change by incrementally upping your wake time the weekend before. Even just two days of getting up just 15 minutes earlier than your normal weekday schedule will help cut the time change in half. That can have a seriously positive impact come Monday morning. Though you may not be completely eager to skip your normal weekend sleep-in, keep in mind that the numbers just don’t lie.

GET YOUR DAILY DOSE OF BRIGHT LIGHT—IN THE MORNING

An easy way to prep for the sleep transition is by getting some bright light into your morning routine. Doing so before the time change will help set your body clock so that you get a good night’s sleep in anticipation of the change, and doing so after the time change, will help you feel more energized on those otherwise groggy mornings. Sunshine. Light therapy. Sitting near a large window. Do what you must – just make sure that you get bright light before noon and not afterward. The closer to your wake-up time, the better and the more in line with nature you’ll be.

HEAD OUT INTO THE GREAT OUTDOORS

If you’re already heading out into the sunshine, this will be a simple one. Add some activity to your outdoor adventure to get your heart pumping and your glands sweating. We all know we sleep better after a day full of sunshine and exercise, so this one is a no-brainer. If it’s cold where you live, bundle up appropriately and make sure you dress in layers to regulate your body temperature safely.

GO TO BED EARLY THIS WEEKEND, TOO

For all you night owls, this is not the weekend to galavant around the town. And for all those early-to-bed folks, this is the weekend to delight in your early-bird ways. Simply put, going to bed early means that you’ll wake up early. (Need a quick reminder about why this is good? See the first tip). 

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE WELL BEFORE YOUR BEDTIME

We’ve all heard it a million times, but this weekend it’s especially important to not use your phone in the hours before bed. Think about it—if your body is stimulated by blue light at the 11th hour in the day, it’s actually the 12th hour in the day, which is technically… tomorrow. So yeah, phones down, PJs on.

SET THE SCENE FOR SOME SERIOUS ZZZ’S

No great night’s sleep ever started with a glass of wine, an uncomfortably cold bedroom, and the tiny annoying blinking lights of electronic devices. This weekend is the time to treat yourself like you live at a spa. Hot tea, warm steamy bath, and total darkness with the slight hint of aromatherapy. If you’ve been putting off a luxurious weekend all winter, now’s a great time to indulge in a little R&R, and doing so will pay you back in dividends. 

GET YOUR LANDING PAD READY

Continue your home spa weekend by creating the absolute most comfortable bed to rest your weary head. If you’ve been tolerating an uncomfortable pillow, putting up with sheets that pop off the corner of the bed, or a comforter that really needs a good dry clean, it’s time to fix these. Doing your future self a favor of creating a comfy sleep experience is truly worth it. 

GET YOUR MINDFULNESS ROUTINE ON

Let’s be honest—we can do all these tips as a precursor to daylight saving time, but if the Sunday Scaries hit and we don’t have a game plan to deal with them, it’s going to be a long Sunday night and a way-too-early Monday morning. So be sure to carve out time for some mindfulness even if you haven’t practiced it all February long. THIS is your weekend. Promise yourself 15 minutes of mindful meditation, journaling, or deep breathing before bed. Better yet, don’t just promise yourself, but also tell a friend or a partner your plan. The social pressure of having committed to it out loud will make you more likely to actually do it.

Because if there’s one thing we can leave you with from this list, it’s this—know you’re not alone. DST can be really difficult for a lot of people, so if you’re having a tough time, reach out to a friend and try your best to get your sleep schedule back to normal as quickly as possible. It’s not too much of a stretch to say that friends and a good night’s sleep are what makes the world go round. Oh yeah… and, of course, our furbabies.

References

Strickland, A. (2018, March 8). “Why Daylight Saving Time Can Be Bad for Your Health.” https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/11/health/daylight-saving-time-health-effects/index.html

Spector, D. (2012, March 12). “Daylight Saving Time May Be Making Us Dumber.” https://www.businessinsider.com/daylight-saving-time-affect-on-intelligence-2012-3

 

Source:  Verilux

WAYS TO BEAT DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

Daylight Savings Time is coming up on November 3 this year and, for many of us, changing the clocks may be the extent of our thoughts around the event (well, besides the extra hour of sleep we get).  What you may not know is that DST is relatively recent and holds its fair share of controversy.

HERE’S A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON THIS BI-ANNUAL EVENT

This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the events that brought about daylight savings time, but it will give you a good idea of how it came about!

1895: George Hudson, an entomologist, first proposed the concept of modern DST.  He suggested a 2-hour shift (not altruistically, he wanted more time to study insects in the afternoon!).

1902: William Willett proposed DST to the British Parliament as a way to prevent wasting daylight hours.  Despite gaining support from the likes of Winston Churchill, his efforts were in vain (at least at the time).

1916: As a way to save energy during WW1, the Germans were the first to implement DST.  Other countries involved in the conflict later adopted the same measures.

1918: The US Congress enacted the first law outlining DST (at which time, they also established the US time zones).

1966: Uniform Time Act established DST as the last Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October

2005: President George W Bush extended the DST period, changing it to the second Sunday in April and the first Sunday in November

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME FUN FACTS

Did you know that not all U.S. states (or territories for that matter) follow DST?  Hawaii, Arizona (except the Navajo nation), Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam do not observe DST.  Additionally, seven states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington) have petitioned Congress to make DST permanent!

USEFUL TIPS TO MANAGE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

That one-hour shift may seem like nothing, or it may have a big effect on you.  Regardless, here are some useful ways that you can manage the “fall back”!

CHANGE YOUR CLOCKS

While our internet-connected devices (computers, phones, tablets) will automatically change, there are a number of clocks that won’t (vehicle, microwave, fridge, household clocks).  Avoid the confusion and annoyance by changing those ahead of time.  When you go to bed that evening, everything should be set to reflect the upcoming time change!

AVOID ELECTRONICS BEFORE BED

Did you know that 90%  of the US population uses electronics within 1 hour of bed? We may not even think about it, after all, picking up the phone to check social media, email or messages has become part of our normal routine!  However, even low levels of light can delay sleep, reduce melatonin synthesis, and impair alertness the next day.  It may be helpful to set your mobile devices to “do not disturb” mode after a certain time.  This will stop any notifications from coming through and help you to avoid using them before bed.

MAKE INCREMENTAL SHIFTS 

If a 1-hour shift seems daunting to you, try breaking it up into smaller, incremental shifts.  You can shift your evening routine by 15’ each day leading up to DST.  Instead of having one day with a big, one-hour change, you will have a few days with small changes.  You will notice it less and it won’t feel so drastic to you!

EXERCISE

Exercising regularly can help you to regulate sleep and feel better during the day!  It doesn’t have to be a lot, but moving is important.  If you live in an area where commuting on foot or bike is possible, that is a quick and easy way to start the day on the right foot!  If that is difficult (because of distances or the weather), try 15 minutes of bodyweight exercises at home 2-3 times per week!  You will start to feel better in no time!

KEEP A SCHEDULE

While it may be very tempting to sleep in on the weekends, that can really throw off your schedule (and make Monday more difficult than it needs to be)!  If you wake up at a certain time for work each day, try to stay as close to that time as possible on the weekends (those of you with young children may not have much of a choice!).

GET BRIGHT LIGHT IN THE MORNINGS

This may be a bit difficult if you wake up before the sun rises (and may even be in the office while it’s still dark).  If this is you, a HappyLight® Therapy Lamp is a great option to get that bright light in the morning. It helps to reset your body clock and puts you on the right path to a better day.

BE POSITIVE!

Whether you are dreading this change, or it is something that barely registers on your radar, or you are somewhere in between – you can get through it!  Be positive, try some of the management techniques to make it easier, and don’t let daylight savings time bring you down!

Source:  Verilux

LVEDC Q&A: Susan Larkin Discusses Staffing Challenges During COVID-19

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) is led by a Board of Directors with expertise that represents a broad cross-section of the regional economy. LVEDC Director and Allied Personnel Services Vice President Susan Larkin, who has more than two decades of experience in the staffing industry, recently shared her insights about the employment challenges businesses face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q: Please tell us about Allied Personnel Services and your role there.

A: Since 1984 Allied has been providing staffing and employment solutions to Lehigh Valley employers. We develop long-term partnerships with our clients, and many of the area’s most successful companies have been clients for 30+ years.  A key to Allied’s success is our ability to deliver timely and effective talent solutions that are flexible to quickly adjust to changing market conditions.

My role as Vice President is to oversee operations and to consult with our clients, developing strategic staffing programs and sharing critical labor market information based on the diverse insight and experience I’ve gained over my 25 years as an executive in the staffing industry.

Q: Before the pandemic, when unemployment was at record low levels, attracting and retaining talent was the biggest issue facing employers. How has the pandemic changed employer perspectives on the importance of talent supply?

A: The pandemic has elevated employers’ awareness of how fragile the talent supply is and how a high rate of unemployment doesn’t always equate to a robust talent supply.  Because of the strong distribution and biotech sectors in our area, layoffs in those areas were not as significant.  Add to that the challenges families face finding child care, the fears surrounding a return to work in the face of COVID, and the financial incentives offered through FCCRA [Families First Coronavirus Response Act] and unemployment, and the supply of available talent hasn’t significantly increased.  Retaining talent has really become an even bigger focus.  Keeping the hardworking, reliable, skilled employees on staff is critical to success when industries see a return to prior levels of workload.

Q: What types of jobs do employers need to fill during the quarantine economy and how do you expect that to change as restrictions are eased?

A: There continues to be a demand for skilled manufacturing roles, logistics staff, and scientific roles like quality control and lab work.  As restrictions ease, we expect to see the offices and smaller businesses rebound with a corresponding increase in demand across all skill levels.

Q: What role did school closures and the availability of child care play on employment during the pandemic and how will that affect the local economy as the economy opens back up?

A: It is an extremely difficult hurdle for families.  Some people were forced to leave the workforce completely to stay home with small children.  Others that had the luxury of moving to a work from home arrangement were forced to figure out how to both educate their own children and keep up with their own work.  If daycares and schools do not reopen in the fall, this will have a long-term negative impact on the talent supply and productivity of at home workers.  Workers will require increased flexibility for child and family care and employers should be prepared to adapt to accommodate these new employee needs.

Q: Explain why enhanced employment benefits may be a challenge for some employers to find workers?

A: Enhanced employment benefits were intended to provide workers affected by the pandemic with immediate, significant financial assistance to allow them to remain home during the stay-at-home order.  Unfortunately for essential businesses that have continued to operate, these enhanced benefits have had the unintended consequence of incentivizing people not to work.  Many are able to make significantly more money each week with unemployment than they could earn with the jobs available to them.  This has made recruiting for all types and levels of employees a challenge.

Q: How does social distancing and more rigorous disinfecting impact the number of workers an employer can hire even if there is demand for the product or service?

A: Complying with the ever-evolving CDC and OSHA guidelines has forced companies to rapidly adjust their operations.  Hiring, training, scheduling and workflows have all been adapted, and in some cases the number of workers able to work in certain areas has been reduced in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.  There have been some opportunities created with increased needs for sanitation and medical screening workers.  We’ve seen our clients reacting well to these new challenges, and certainly those who are able to pivot to a new normal quickly will see a quicker recovery.

Q: How does the Lehigh Valley talent supply initiative position the region coming out of the COVID-19?

A: The LVEDC Talent Supply Initiative recognized the need to prioritize building a strong workforce before COVID-19, and the work around developing and retaining talent will easily be able to be applied to the post-COVID labor market.  Areas such as career pathways, internships, and apprenticeships will all be vital in reshaping the workforce as we move forward, and the work that has been done in these areas already has prepared the Lehigh Valley to respond to the new challenges that employers will face.

Source:  LVEDC