From Kevin’s Desk: Finding Peace in Times of Stress (10/23/2020)

Dear Colleagues:

Happy Friday!

Earlier this week, Washtenaw County Health Department issued a 14-day stay-in-place order for U-M undergraduate students, due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases among our students. This situation is understandably causing stress and adding to ongoing worries about the pandemic’s impact. And it is happening at a time when many of us are also feeling stress about the upcoming election and other mounting political and social tensions across our country. Everyone is struggling — if you need support, please take advantage of the mental health and wellbeing resources we have in place for staff.

One of the things helping me get through this trying time is to focus on the things I can control, rather than on all the things I can’t.  I recently read a useful article about this topic that recommended each of us proactively create a plan for managing stress. Exercising, healthy eating and getting plenty of sleep are key, but making time to virtually connect with friends and having fun are also very important. For me, spending time on hobbies, such as restoring cars and organizing my large collection of vinyl records (too large, if you ask Betty!) has been both satisfying and therapeutic. I encourage you to create a stress-management plan for yourself, too – a few things you’ll commit to doing each day to support your physical and mental wellbeing.

Another thing that can bring peace of mind right now is to review your benefits and make sure you have the right selections in place.  Open Enrollment is underway and continues until 5 p.m. on Friday, October 30, 2020. This is your annual opportunity to make changes to your benefits, including evaluating whether the new health plan, Michigan Care, might be right for you. You can learn more on our website. A big thank you to our Benefits Administration Office in UHR for working to provide all U-M employees with healthcare insurance.

With much appreciation and gratitude,