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December 29, 2011

Listo-licious, 2011 style - year-end recap

December 21, 2011

Holiday cuteness: singing hedgehogs

Holidays can be hard on hedgehogs - who knew? This is a cute interactive feature that we couldn't resist sharing!

December 18, 2011

Holiday survival kit

There are all kinds of reasons that people can have trouble coping with the holidays. In a short video clip from Good Morning America, psychologist Dr. Ryan Fuller talks about several, ranging from family dynamics and financial stress to changes in schedule and poor diet/drinking factors. See tips for beating the holiday blues, which offers a few good rules of thumb:

  • Don't Take On Too Much
  • Keep Some Semblance of a Routine
  • Give Yourself Some Space
  • Don't Drink Too Much
  • Honor Loved Ones

For some, the holidays can serve as a trigger exacerbating some other issue. To help you and your employees survive the next few weeks, we've compiled a list of tips for handling various stressors and problems.

Helping Children Cope with Holiday Stress

Holiday stress: It's not just for grownups anymore!

Dealing with grief or loss over the holidays

Coping with SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder

Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping from the Mayo clinic

10 Tips to Help Seniors Enjoy the Holidays

Ease Holiday Stress, boost work life balance

Military Holiday Center , including 5 Tips Managing Deployment Stress During the Holidays

Five Christmas Survival Tips For The Divorced & Single Parent

Practical Ways to Enjoy a Divorced Family Christmas

How to Cope with Family Holiday Events... Without Alcohol!

The Holidays: Challenges and Survival Guide for Sober Alcoholics

Al-Anon helping families through alcoholism during holidays

Avoiding competitive shopping for fun & profit - minimizing financial stress

Financial stress is a big issue at this time of year. The following resources are not specific to the holidays, but helpful in addressing the financial stress that can accompany the holidays.

Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for Parents (PDF)

Dollars and sense: Talking to your children about the economy

December 11, 2011

What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

Doctor-Professor Mike Evans answers the old question "What is the single best thing we can do for our health" in a completely new way. He presents some compelling data about risk factors and what people can do to make a dramatic difference in health and longevity. Good fodder for your wellness program in a season with party tables overflowing and New Year's resolutions looming.

Dr. Evans is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael's Hospital.

December 5, 2011

Bullied LGBT teens and how to help

This heart-wrenching video from Jonah has gone viral this week, with more than 2 million views. It's a poignant plea from an eighth grader who has been relentlessly bullied for being gay.

At least for this one case and for now, there is a happy sequel. Thousands of people on blogs, Facebook and Twitter, including celebrities like Perez Hilton and Rosie O'Donnell, have reached out and embraced Jonah. Hundreds of people have posted thoughtful video responses, in which they offer encouragement and share their own stories of surviving adolescent bullying. Jonah is responding and engaging with his supporters on Facebook and Twitter, and reports that things are getting better.

Not all such stories end well. Even with the support of loving parents and friends, it can be a continual struggle for kids. It can be a helpless feeling, as the parents of Jamey Rodemeyer attest.

If you or someone you know needs help, see our Bullying resources for parents and teachers and What Parents Need to Know About Teen Suicide

We'd like to add the following links to our bullying resources :

The Trevor Project - leading national
organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. The site has resources for parents and teachers.

It Gets Better Project - created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.

Bullying, Harassment, School-based Violence - offers resources from the Safe Schools Coalition, an international public-private partnership in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.

LGBT Resources - from the CDC, offers resources for youth, educators, and parents.

Employers and Human Resource managers can help by establishing a strong anti-bullying climate in the workplace and by distributing anti-bullying literature. and resources to employees for their families. And get help from your EAP - make sure your employees know that it is available and that it can address a broad range of family issues, including teen bullying.

December 4, 2011

Limit your employer liability for holiday parties

If you plan to hold a holiday office party, you need to take steps to limit your liability. Some of the potential exposures include alcohol related injuries, post event D.U.I. related car accidents, and harassment -related claims stemming from inappropriate behavior. See this scary roundup of litigations of Christmas past.

To limit your exposure, ensure that party attendance is truly optional. It's not really a party if someone feels obliged to attend. In fact, mandatory fun is getting pretty close to being "work." If employees feel obliged to attend, you heighten your exposure to workers compensation claims should any injuries occur.

Establish a relaxed but appropriate atmosphere. Consider having the event off-hours at an outside venue to limit your liability. Inviting spouses/significant others may cut down on inappropriate behaviors.

Offer (insist on?) free cab rides home for people who have been drinking. Sounds expensive? Not nearly as expensive as the costs and the lifetime of guilt that would ensue if an employee is injured or killed on the way home, or harms others.

For more tips from the pros, Employer Handbook offers 72 ways to prevent an office party from creating an HR hangover, a great roundup of posts from employment law and human resource bloggers.

Other options for holiday-related celebrations:

Consider an alcohol-free family event. Invite employees to bring spouses and kids to the worksite. Serve light refreshments and have small gifts and favors for the kids. It's a good way for managers and supervisors to meet employees' family members.

Consider a neighborhood block party. Open your doors to neighboring businesses or residents for cake, cookies, alcohol-free eggnog, and a tour of your premises.

Consider a charitable event. Invite your employees to be hosts for a community based charity event or fundraiser. Stage a caroling event for local nursing homes or shelters. Have a toy or food fund drive, or sponsor mailings to military folks in active deployment.

Susan M. Heathfield of About.com Human Resources offers a great list of alternatives to the holiday party - from ugly holiday sweater days to office decorating parties - terrific ideas that are cost effective and less risky than a booze-soaked evening event. She also suggests that a simple and good seasonal alternative is a focus on employee recognition.

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