Category Archives: Wellness

What’s an Employer to Do During a Tripledemic?

COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, but remember when other things made us sick? They’re still around, lingering and ready for mingling. ‘Tis the season… for a tripledemic.

Medical experts and health officials are worried about this winter’s rising flu, COVID-19, and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) cases colliding into a so-called “tripledemic.”

The Situation

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Unfortunately, children are among the hardest hit this season for a variety of reasons, including lack of exposure during COVID contributing to more severe illness once kids do get sick, and viruses surging earlier. The current surge in illnesses is even contributing to shortages of over the counter children’s cold medications used for symptom relief, as well as certain prescription drugs. All of this contributes to the stress of caring for a sick child, even when moderately ill and recovering at home.

Even normal cold and flu season sets off a certain chain reaction of scrambling: kids are out of childcare or school, parents have to figure out work, and employers have to fill in the gaps. COVID took this scenario to a whole new level. But here we are in the final stretch of 2022, and according to recent US Department of Labor data, absences from work due to childcare issues hit a record high just this past October.

You might think that the past two plus years taught us something about how to plan for illness, absence, and “plan B” a bit better. But the fact of the matter is: employers are still figuring it out (some better than others). COVID’s hard lessons, when everyone seemed to be sick, and no one could go to work or school, at times seem easily forgotten now.

While entire school and childcare facilities aren’t closing these days, employees caring for kids sick with the flu, COVID, RSV, or something else are feeling the squeeze during this latest surge of sickness. But employers need to keep things going, too.

Obligations and Opportunities

So, what’s an employer to do during a tripledemic? Much depends on the details, of course, but these steps are a good place to start.

  1. Comply with leave laws. An employer, and more specifically those handling absence and leave requests for an employer, should know and understand the state and local leave laws that apply to the organization. When an employee needs time away from work to care for a sick child, employer reps must be able to recognize what’s covered under the law to ensure that an employee receives all the time off to which they are entitled. This may include leave under temporary leave laws that sprang up during COVID, as well as permanent paid sick leave laws, family and medical leave laws, and public health emergency leave laws covering vaccination, quarantine, or other specified events. But employers should also not forget about the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which may provide eligible employees with job-protected leave if a child’s respiratory illness meets the definition of a serious health condition.
  2. Follow (or implement) time off policies. An employer may have paid or unpaid sick leave, family and medical leave, or other time off policies that may apply to eligible employees with qualifying child care needs. Employer reps need to know and understand when these policies apply to childcare-related situations, too. Also, if your organization is in a jurisdiction with mandatory leave laws, ensure that the organization’s own policies do not conflict with the law’s requirements. An employer without such a policy may wish to consider implementing one to address childcare-related needs.
  3. Consider flexible work. An employer may wish to consider temporary flexible work arrangements (remote work, flexible schedules, shift swapping, etc.), either in conjunction with a leave of absence or after an employee has exhausted their available leave time. Be mindful, however, of how you handle these requests and avoid discriminatory treatment (e.g., denying an older employee unpaid leave or the opportunity to work remotely while allowing younger parents to do so; or treating a childcare-related accommodation or leave request differently based on an employee’s gender). Administered appropriately, flexible work can bridge gaps for an employee with temporary childcare challenges while allowing an employer to retain talented and valued employees.


  • Start with a conversation. Employers should involve employees in discussions about childcare challenges and possible solutions (and document them).
  • Communicate expectations. If flexible work will be part of a childcare challenge solution, an employer should clearly communicate its expectations of the employee during this period. For example, you can use a remote work agreement to memorialize what you expect from the employee in terms of performance, work hours, responsibilities, and timekeeping.
  • Accept that separation may occur. Understand that in some situations, employee separation (whether voluntary or based on an employer’s business needs) may be unavoidable. For example, an employee may resign if no leave options or remote work options are available.

Final Thoughts

‘Tis the season for empathy and understanding, too. A little grace can go a long way towards helping everyone get through this sanity-stealing season.

This tripledemic may not be the holiday gift anyone wants, but it may provide employers with a lesson worth revisiting: planning for illness and absence, and having a “plan B” is critical, no matter the season.

Source:  XpertHR

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.

How Success Is Like Chinese Bamboo

In the age of social media, YouTube sensations, and “viral” posts, it seems like we witness the  “overnight success” story over and over. But is there such a thing? Most entrepreneurs will tell you “no”.  While a business or product may appear to be an overnight success, it’s actually just consumers suddenly realizing its value.  What they don’t see are the years of hard work, failures, dedication, and relationship-building it took for the creators to get the market’s attention.

A popular Chinese parable demonstrates this concept through the story of a farmer who put in years of hard work before successfully growing the plant of his dreams:

Like any other crop or plant, Chinese Bamboo needs to be nurtured in order to grow; fertile soil, water, and sunlight are crucial for its survival. As the story goes, a Chinese farmer once planted a bamboo tree as he heard that it can create miracles, and he needed one to care for his struggling family.

The farmer faithfully watered, fed, and cared for the soil, in which he planted the bamboo seeds, for an entire year but saw no sign of life. No growth, no sprouts, no hope. The second year was the same as were the third and fourth years. His patience and faith in this “miracle” bamboo plant started to fade. How could something he had so diligently cared for reap absolutely no reward? During the fifth year, just as he was about to give up on his dream of growing the plant, he noticed it started to sprout. The bamboo sprung up 60 feet over the next six weeks!

How did this happen? Did the bamboo lie dormant and then suddenly shoot up 60 feet in six weeks? Of course not. What the farmer couldn’t see during the first four years was the root system the plant was developing to support its rapid ascent above ground. Had the bamboo plant not developed a strong root system, it wouldn’t have been able to support such massive and quick growth. What’s more, if you’ve ever tried to control or get rid of bamboo, you know it’s nearly impossible. The root system is so strong, it’s prolific under almost any circumstances.

This story demonstrates that patience, faith, and perseverance pay off over time, and what appears to be “overnight success” is usually the product of years of hard work.

Like the farmer, we may not immediately see the fruits of our labor in our journey toward success, but here are three things we can learn from him:

  1. Authentic Relationships are Key to Success – relationships are your root system. Like the farmer’s bamboo, genuine relationships take years to build and often do not provide an immediate, visible payoff. However, strong relationships give you a strong foundation for success. If you develop and nurture them with care, relationships enable your business to thrive. Developing authentic relationships isn’t complicated, but it does require you to shift your focus, especially in a business setting. Your focus should be not on what you want from this person, but what you can give to them to strengthen your relationship. Look for ways to add value, make connections, demonstrate your support, and build trust
  2. Patience is a (Very Necessary) Virtue – the culture of impatience and instant gratification, in which we currently live, has us very accustomed to getting immediate results. Our culture, especially in the United States, highly values speed and convenience. However, in your career and in life, this is not always the best philosophy. When rapid success does occur, it’s very difficult to maintain. Lottery winners, who are most notorious for achieving quick success, typically declare bankruptcy within 3-5 years. Looking at success as a journey rather than a destination will help you practice patience. Rather than trying to hurry up and get to the next step, enjoy the step you’re in. If the farmer had impatiently dug up the bamboo seeds and replanted them over and over to see if he could get quicker results, he would never have seen the fruits of his labor. Remember, the best things in life are worth the wait
  3. You Gotta Have Faith – have faith in yourself and your business. Had the farmer become discouraged and given  up after two or three years, he wouldn’t have experienced his dream become a reality. JK Rowling, Jeff Bezos and Henry Ford are just a few examples of entrepreneurs who did not find mega-success until their 40s. Without their hard work and perseverance, we would live in a world without Harry Potter, Amazon or Ford vehicles. In his best-selling book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, Jim C. Collins writes, “The only truly reliable source of stability is a strong inner core and the willingness to change and adapt everything except that core.” Have faith in your dream. You might make mistakes, get frustrated, feel discouraged and want to quit along the way, but remember what’s driving you. Believing in yourself helps others believe in you too.

The farmer and the bamboo teach us that though success may appear to happen overnight, it’s really the result of hard work, perseverance, and faith, building what most people can’t see. The farmer was laughed at and called crazy when he watched for growth from the tree for five long years. Time placed doubt in his mind, but all along he was building the foundation he didn’t even know he needed for the amount of growth that was to come.

Let everyone laugh at you while you continue to build the relationships that will form the root system of your future success!

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

Why Sleep is Sacred for Productivity and Relationships

An exhausted or tired businessman is sleeping on a keyboard in the office.

Sleep is essential to our productivity, well-being, and relationships. Science proves it, and most of us know it. However, with jam-packed schedules and the ability to work and connect anytime, anywhere, sleep gets put on the back burner, reserved for “when we’re dead”. But poor sleep may be affecting your relationships, productivity, and life more than you know. Below are a few eye-opening facts that may prompt a little more eye closing for all of us. Sleep deficiency:

  • Decreases your desire to build relationships: A powerful study shows that when you are sleep-deprived, you are less likely to want to interact with others and others are less likely to want to interact with you. According to the research, sleep-deprived people did not have as much activity in the areas of the brain that would otherwise encourage social interactions, and instead, viewed others as a threat. Conversely, a night of good sleep increased participants’ desire to connect with people and made them more socially desirable to others.
  • Increases your risk of getting sick. A weaker immune system means you’re more susceptible to viruses and other diseases, and it will take you longer to recover.
  • Impacts your cognitive performance.  Sleep deprivation interferes with your ability to learn new information and increases your risk of making mistakes. Some estimates show that as a whole, the US economy loses as much as $411 billion and 1.2 million working days a year because of lower productivity and sick days due to sleep deprivation.

With overwhelming evidence about how important sleep is, why is it that over a third of Americans are still not getting as much sleep as they need? Unfortunately, it’s just not a priority. While most people know sleep is important, the majority of Americans prioritize other activities such as work and fitness over sleep and confess to not planning time to get enough sleep. In addition to not prioritizing sleep, some people still associate sleeping with being lazy or indulgent, which is a misconception that many scientists, business leaders, and professional athletes are starting to be more vocal about correcting.

Regardless of the demands on your time, you can make some simple adjustments to improve your sleep.

  • Put away all devices one hour before you sleepBlue light from screens can affect your body’s ability to follow its circadian rhythm and can prevent sleep. While it is the norm to check emails and our phones for messages at all hours, doing so before bed can prevent you from getting the sleep you need to be productive the next day. Agreeing on contactable hours within your team or with coworkers is a good way to set boundaries and decrease the likelihood you will receive messages that may tempt you to check your devices before bed.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning“Anchoring” your circadian rhythm to darkness and light at regular times will help improve your sleep quality and create good sleep habits. Also, avoid alcohol and caffeine before you sleep. Alcohol interferes with your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and causes disruptions in your sleep. Caffeine also prevents healthy sleep since it is a stimulant and can stay in your body for long periods of time (even hours after you have had your cup of coffee). If you suffer from anxiety or stress, then meditation and journaling before bed are tools that can help calm the nervous system and prevent sleeplessness.
  • Keep a sleep journal. There are plenty of apps and devices available to help you track your sleep. You can also just keep an old-fashioned paper journal with the time you went to bed, woke up, and the number of hours slept. Do it for a couple of weeks and take note of how you feel, interact with others, and perform your everyday tasks.

While awareness of the importance of sleep is growing, many of us are still holding on to that “hustle mentality”, which prioritizes everything over sleep – much to the detriment of our performance, relationships, and mental and physical health. Sleep is not just about you, it affects the way you give, serve, and connect with others. Your well-rested self is your best self and isn’t that the person you want living your life?


Looking for a new or unique schedule?  Check out our available jobs and apply today!


3 Essentials for an Exceptional First Impression

You’ve heard it before: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Research shows we make judgments about someone’s trustworthiness in seconds. What’s more, our first impressions are unlikely to change – even if we see conflicting evidence that suggests they’re wrong!

first impression

The takeaway? First impressions are very important, and shouldn’t be left to chance. With a little education and practice,  you can increase your chances of making an exceptional first impression. In addition to nailing the basics, like maintaining eye contact and having a firm handshake, there are other simple actions you can practice to make a memorable first impression:

  1. Listen actively. One way to establish an immediate sense of trust and connection is through active listening.  Active listening occurs when you are fully immersed in what the other person is saying, as opposed to thinking of the next thing you’re going to say or selectively listening for what you want to hear. The key is to be authentic. It is obvious to the other person if you are not taking a genuine interest in them or the subject, so only ask a question if you genuinely want to know the answer and avoid giving in to distractions. Use body language as well. Making eye contact and smiling builds trust and indicates you are fully present in the conversation. Active listening may sound simple, but can be very difficult when you are nervous and thinking about what you are going to say or ask next. Practice active listening in advance and take deep breaths to clear your mind before the meeting.
  2. Ask meaningful follow-up questions. If you are actively listening to someone, it is easier for you to think of follow-up questions based on your curiosity about the topic, or to clarify their message. In case the conversation comes to a lull, have questions prepared based on your research of the person. Preparing questions that go deeper than a typical, surface-level conversation makes the interaction memorable. Keep your questions open-ended and let them do the talking. Research has found that when people talk about themselves, it produces pleasurable feelings and stimulation in the brain, which will leave them with a positive impression of you!
  3. Book your next meeting in person. Clarifying the next step and your next meeting time demonstrates you are reliable and committed to developing the relationship. If possible, continue to have in-person meetings, since 93% of communication effectiveness depends on nonverbal cues, which are best assessed in person rather than through video conferencing or over the phone. Also, in-person meetings result in more small talk, which is an innate part of social bonding and establishes trust.

First impressions are developed quickly and are long-lasting, so you need to make them count! When you’ve made a positive first impression, getting your next meeting is much easier.  Whether or not these actions come naturally to you, it’s a good idea to practice them with people you already know and trust. When you’re meeting someone you really want to impress, your nerves can get the better of you and reduce your ability to listen and ask thoughtful questions. The more you practice, the more likely you’ll be able to do it in stressful situations. These simple, but essential tips will improve your first impressions greatly and can have a huge impact on your business and personal relationships.

Be sure to check our blog often for more tips for success at work.  Ready to make a great first impression at a new gig?  Check out our available jobs and apply today!

Use Your Strengths to Improve Your Relationships

What are your strengths?

Hundreds of self-directed tests and assessments have been created to help people figure this out. It’s one of the most commonly asked interview questions, and many companies aspire to build a “strengths-based” culture, which encourages employees to discover and develop their strengths.

Studies continuously show that focusing on your strengths leads to higher levels of engagement and better performance. When you focus on using your strengths, rather than improving or “fixing” your weaknesses,  your confidence and self-awareness increases.

Conversely, when you are focused on your weaknesses, you are more likely to have lower levels of confidence and be more stressed, which can negatively impact self-esteem and your ability to have healthy relationships.

Discovering Your Strengths

You may have an idea of your strengths based on past performance reviews, feedback from others, and by looking at your past successes. These can be helpful, but they are contextual and subjective. Here are a few tools for helping you discover your strengths:

  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has been used consistently in organizations over the past 40 years to help people become more aware of how they judge and perceive situations and others. For example, are you more externally focused (extroverted) or internally-focused (introverted)? Do you look to logic for decision-making (thinking), or do you consider how you or others feel first when making a decision (feeling)? Through a questionnaire, you are assessed across four main dichotomies and given your personality type. For a fee, you can take the test and receive personalized courses and guides about how to make the most of your strengths. Because this test has been used for so long, it has been refined and validated by many professionals. There are endless resources available based on the test that help you leverage your personality type and strengths in both a personal and professional context.
  • For an assessment about your character strengths, the VIA institute offers a free character test for you to identify whether things like teamwork, gratitude, and curiosity come more naturally to you than other character traits. These not only give you insights into your own strengths, it also helps you recognize strengths in others, which can improve your relationships and the gratitude you feel towards others in your professional and personal life.
  • The DISC Assessment Test is a free psychologically-based assessment test that is commonly used for teams and motivational purposes. Based on your answers, you are placed into one of four different personality types: dominant, influence, steadiness, and compliant. Although you’ll likely exhibit one type more than the others, you may demonstrate the other personality types in varying degrees.  Because this test is widely used, there are many free resources that help explain the implications of your result and help you understand the traits of the other personality types as well.

An important thing to remember is that there are advantages of all of the personality types, character traits, and categories that these tests diagnose, and one type or category is not “bad” or better than another. Also, while these tests are a great start to helping you determine your strengths, they have their limitations. It is impossible to capture the full essence of someone through online tests and questionnaires. To make sure you’re not missing anything important that such assessments did not detect, ask your friends and colleagues about your strengths and competencies as well.

Choosing a Career Based On Your Strengths

Knowing your strengths also allows you to choose opportunities for which you are well-suited. For instance, if creativity is a strength, choosing an R&D position rather than a sales or administrative position might be a better fit for you. Similarly, if you shine in client-facing tasks, choosing a client representative role over a position that is more focused on research and analysis will help you hone your strengths and increase your likelihood of success in that role.

In addition, being aware of your strengths can help you determine the value you can add to a team or a group, as well as identify the types of people with whom you work best. For example, if you are very detail-oriented, then you might add a lot of value to the team by taking note of the action items from each meeting and holding people accountable. If you have this trait, you would work well with someone who is more big-picture focused, since they will complement your detail-oriented approach by keeping the overall project or purpose of the task in mind.

Using Your Strengths To Build Positive Relationships

Authentic relationships are the key to unlocking your true potential. Understanding your strengths and recognizing others’ strengths will help you find and build positive professional relationships that will be mutually beneficial. The Enneagram Test is a tool commonly used in the workplace to help improve team dynamics and business relationships. It measures your personality across 9 personality types, giving you a better understanding of your tendencies, stressors, fears, and strengths. It helps you understand how you interact with others and how others will interact with you based on their personalities. The better you understand your strengths and how to use them, the more you’ll be able to bring to a relationship.

For example, if one of your personality strengths is making people feel connected and comfortable, help your contacts connect with others and start conversations. If you’re task-oriented, use that strength to stay in touch with your contacts on a regular basis or help them accomplish a task they’ve mentioned to you.

Using your strengths in relationships will likely feel natural to you in situations or relationships in which you feel comfortable. It may take a little more effort and practice when you’re feeling vulnerable, but that’s when focusing on using your strengths, rather than worrying about your weaknesses, will help you build and develop relationships that create opportunities.

Using Your Strengths To Serve Others

Understanding your strengths and confidently using them will allow you to serve others in meaningful ways. Serving others increases your sense of purpose, which leads to greater happiness. Conversely, knowing your strengths also enables you to set boundaries and say “no” to projects, requests, or relationships that aren’t a fit. Focusing on how you can use your strengths to best serve others, rather than how you can please others, will enable you to thrive in your relationships and career.

Going through the process of discovering your strengths and the best ways to use them will also improve your ability to help others discover and use their strengths successfully. Bringing out strengths in others is a highly desirable leadership skill, one that will serve you well in business, relationships and your career.

Key Takeaways

  • Focusing on your developing strengths rather than “fixing” your weaknesses will help you build a successful career and positive relationships.
  • Use the available personality tests and assessments to get an idea of your strengths, weaknesses, and relational style. However, recognize that automated test results don’t fully define you. Ask trusted friends or colleagues to share their feedback and do some self-reflecting to fully understand your strengths.
  • Knowing your strengths and using them to serve others is the best way to build authentic relationships, feel a sense of purpose, and thrive in your career.

How are you using your strengths to serve others in your career and relationships? Write down a few ways you are or want to and let them guide you!


Looking for a new opportunity to tap into your strengths?  Check out all of our available positions and apply today!


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!



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. 


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.


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.


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.


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). 


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.


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. 


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. 


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.


Strickland, A. (2018, March 8). “Why Daylight Saving Time Can Be Bad for Your Health.”

Spector, D. (2012, March 12). “Daylight Saving Time May Be Making Us Dumber.”


Source:  Verilux


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.


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


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!


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”!


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!


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.


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!


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!


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!).


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.


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