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Updated: 2018-03-06T17:51:13.309-05:00


Tips For The Holidays


More things to do, people to see, and places to go. These things might be fun, but they also can be stressful. To make this holiday season a happy and peaceful one, look for healthy ways to manage stress.Reasonable ExpectationsThe media often portray the holiday season as trouble free, twinkly, and festive. But family problems may escalate when the season arrives. The reality of the holidays, much like life, is that real people and families are not perfect. If you can change your expectations just a bit so you don’t expect holidays to be like the movies, you may have a more enjoyable experience.Do your best to stick to your regular family routine. Changing your schedule to fit in holiday activities and traveling can be tough on you and your kids, so try to keep things as normal as possible. Try to keep bedtimes and mealtimes the same even when you’re away from home. Talk with your family about schedules. Take time to explain each day’s activities to your children and let them know what you expect from them.Choose activities that you really want to do.You can't do everything, so you might let your children pick their favorite things for your family to do. Do the things that you all will enjoy the most, and then say “no” to extra activities.Talk with your family about finances.Even young children can learn how to budget for gifts. Urge them to get creative and make presents for family members instead of buying them. Receiving a thoughtful gift from a child can be a memorable holiday moment that lasts a lifetime. Many families concentrate on special things they can make or do for each other. Try it!Take Time to RelaxIt is important to take time to relax this holiday season. Here are a few ways to cope with holiday stress:Plan quiet time or at least downtime from activities.Take a few moments to read a book, take a bubble bath, or sit down and listen to your favorite songs.You also may want to:· Play a board game with your family.· Go for a walk with your family to see holiday displays in your neighborhood.· Join your kids for fun family exercise. If you choose something outdoors, the fresh air and exercise can lift your spirits.· Settle down for story time with your family. Pull out holiday stories that you loved as a child and read them aloud together.· Use time spent standing in lines or sitting in traffic to take a stretch break and loosen those tense muscles. Here are some simple stretch moves:Neck stretches: Tilt your head toward each shoulder. Turn your head from side to side and look over your shoulder. Be sure to keep your head aligned, and do not stick your neck out. Shoulderstretches: Shrug your shoulders and then relax them. Roll your shoulders forward and backward. Gently shake your shoulders.Get Giving—Volunteer at a Local CharityCarving out a few hours to volunteer at a charity might seem impossible, but giving your time and energy may help you find the spirit of the season. Stuck for ideas? You and your family might help wrap gifts for needy children, deliver meals to families in need, or visit residents in a local nursing home.Just Do Your BestAs you enjoy the holiday season, do your best to limit stress. Don’t expect everything to go as planned. Your child may get sick during the holiday, the oven might break as you are cooking a special dinner, or a storm may prevent relatives from visiting. When these things happen, let the family help decide on a new plan. For example, if the electricity goes out, grab your flashlights and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Use cookie cutters to cut them into fun shapes!Don’t let unexpected events ruin the holidays for you. Be adaptable and flexible. You can help yourself and your children relax and enjoy the holidays for what they truly are: a time of joy, celebration, and peace with friends and family.What Your EAP Can DoYou can have all the sugar plums and toy drums lined up and still discover that you are affected by the blues during the holiday season. Your employee assistance program is here to help. Perhaps you only need to talk and “[...]

Healthy Tips For Relieving Holiday Stress


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Holiday Stress


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Employees Encouraged to Participate in Drug-Free Work Week


(image) October 20-26, 2008 is National Drug-Free Work Week, and all members of the LifePlan EAP are encouraged to participate. The purpose of Drug-Free Work Week is to highlight that being drug free is key to workplace safety and health and to encourage workers with alcohol and drug problems to seek help.

Drug-Free Work Week is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor in coordination with members of its Drug-Free Workplace Alliance. This cooperative program, which represents both employer/contractor associations and labor unions, aims to improve safety and health through drug-free workplace programs. It focuses on the construction industry because research indicates that it has higher than average rates of worker alcohol and drug abuse—a serious concern given that it also tops the list of industries with the highest rates of workplace accidents and injuries. But because drug-free workplace programs benefit all workplaces, employers and employees in all industries, not just construction, are encouraged to take part in Drug-Free Work Week.

For specific ideas about how members can support Drug-Free Work Week, visit the Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace Web site at and click on “Drug-Free Work Week.” Suggestions range from simple to comprehensive, but all help promote safer, healthier workplaces and are wise business practices that can be implemented at any time of the year.

Adapting to Stress (Part 3)


Steven D. Hickman, Psy.D. discusses the field of behavioral medicine, specifically assessing and treating patients with chronic pain and illness. Dr. Hickman utilizes Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) a particular way of paying attention: with mindful intention, in the moment, without judgment. Although MBSR embraces the acceptance of things as they are without striving, research has shown that, with regular practice, it has the potential to lower stress, anxiety, and depression. It can promote relaxation, improve concentration, raise self-awareness, and enhance the immune system.

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What Can You Do to Cope? (Part 2)


Relaxation Reminders:

* Choose a specific day and time to practice a personal “relaxation break.” Try one of the following exercises below for 1, 3 or 5 minutes.

Deep Breathing:

* Breathe in (expand your stomach)…breathe out (deflate your stomach). Repeat slowly at least five times.

Pleasant Word:

* Inhale deeply through your nose, and as you exhale say a chosen word to yourself (word choices: peace, serene, rainbow, calm, relax). Repeat 3 – 5 times.

Tackle Tension:

* With each breath, focus on tightening and relaxing our feet, legs, abdominal, chest, back shoulders, arms, hands, neck jaw and forehead. Repeat from head to toe.

Mind Over Matter:

* Remember a favorite event and experience the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch of the location.

What’s Your Coping Quotient? (Part 1)


For many of us, regular daily stressors can produce a deleterious effect on our health. Take this test to get a look at your "coping quotient" in order to determine if a stress reduction program may be right for you:

___ Give yourself 10 points if your roommate or family environment is a supportive place for you to live.

___ Give yourself 5 points for each 30-Minute workout you complete in an average week.

___ Give yourself 15 points if you are within 5 pounds of your ideal weight, considering your height and frame.

___ Give yourself 15 points if you engage in some form of deep relaxation at least 3 times a week.

___ Give yourself 5 points for each nutritionally balanced meal you eat each day.

___ Subtract 5 points for each extra day if you have a drink more than 3 days a week.

___ Subtract 5 points if you watch more than 10 hours of TV a week.

___ Give yourself 5 points if you do something you really enjoy that is “just for you” during the course of an average week.

___ Give yourself 10 points if you have a place in your home where you can go in order to relax and/or be by yourself.

___ Give yourself 10 points if you practice time management techniques in your daily life.

___ Subtract 10 points if you smoke a pack or less a day. Subtract 10 more points for each additional pack you smoke per day.

___ Subtract 5 points for each day last week that you drank 2 cups of more of regular coffee, more than 1 cup of cappuccino—type drink or one can of pop with caffeine.

___ Subtract 5 points for each evening of an average week that you bring home work that was meant to be done at your place of employment.

___ Subtract 10 points for each evening of an average week that you take any form of medication or chemical substance to help you sleep or to calm yourself down.

____ Total

Add up your scores.

0 – 49 Get help. You need to develop healthier ways of coping with your stress.
50 – 60 You have adequate coping skills for the most common sources of stress.
61 – 115 You have great coping skills. Keep it up.

EAP's Save Money For Companies


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Five Secrets of Debt Management


These days, many people are encountering difficulties in the area of finances--particularly as the price of gas and food continues to climb. For many who are struggling in debt, it seems to be an overwhelming task to know where to begin to put the situation right. Organizing your finance is one key. Here are 5 steps to debt management which might assist in the journey. Stop digging deeper into debt. Take control now.

1. Stop using your credit cards. Cut them into pieces and cancel the accounts. If you don't, the hole will only get deeper.

2. Sit down with a pencil and paper and figure out how much you have coming in versus how much you have going out. If income is more that out-go, you have a chance to get things right yourself. If income is less than out-go, you need to seek help from a qualified financial planner or debt consultant...NOW.

3. Cut your monthly expenses for the necessities. Eat in rather than out. Turn off lights when you leave a room. Raise or lower the thermostat so that less energy is used for heating and cooling.

4. Start saving money. All this requires is a trip by the payroll department where you work. Even if you start by having only a few dollars taken out of each paycheck and saved for you, it will be a beginning that you can build on. Think of saving as paying yourself first.

5. Avoid all impulse buying. When you go to the grocery store, take a list, and stick to what is on the list. Don't look left or right at the checkout stand. Use cash to pay for groceries rather than a check.

For more information on counseling and EAP services which can aid a family in these tough times, contact LifePlan.

Saving Money With An EAP


In this new year of increasing health care costs, more companies are seeking out EAPs as a resource for cost containment. The preventative and proactive approach of EAPs as they assist employees with personal problems, can become a significant benefit for employees and employers alike. The following video provides helpful information about the LifePlan EAP and how cost containment is achieved:

LifePlan EAP Video Overview

Holiday Health Tips


We are now beginning holiday celebrations that will continue through the New Year. Holiday dinners and parties often feature foods and beverages high in fat, cholesterol, and calories. But enjoying the season doesn’t have to mean a break from healthy habits. This year, start the holidays with a promise to yourself to enjoy a healthy and wise holiday season.

Consider the main course of traditional dinners—turkey. There are only 163 calories in a three ounce serving of white meat without the skin, and the turkey is low in saturated fats. Don’t spoil this holiday entrée with too many fixings. Approach the dressing with discretion, and enjoy plenty of salad and vegetables. If you are baking a pumpkin pie, substitute skim milk for the regular evaporated milk and use three egg whites instead of two whole eggs.

Parties can be downfalls to weight control programs during the holidays. Whether it’s an office get-together, a neighborhood open house, or a family reunion, the refreshments tend to consist of high calorie snacks and alcoholic beverages.

As for the alcoholic beverages, don’t use the holiday season as an excuse to overdo. Not only is alcohol high in calories, it can present an even more serious and immediate risk when you mix your drinking with your driving. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink and don’t drive if you have been drinking.

Don’t let the holidays become an excuse to let your exercise program fall by the wayside. Include exercise with your socializing. Schedule a date with friends for a walk or run. Go ice skating with the family. Enjoy sledding or skiing.

Get your regular amount of sleep, and don’t try to rely on sleeping pills. They can diminish the quality of your sleep, leaving you feeling tired in the morning. A better idea is to have a glass of warm milk which contains the sleep-inducer tryptophan, right before bed.

If you develop a new health problem, don’t put off seeing a doctor until after the New Year. At the least, you’ll almost certainly worry about what’s wrong, and anxiety is a bit of a drain on energy. Depending on what the cause is, you could also be taking a significant health risk.

Your friends at LifePlan wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season. The EAP staff at LifePlan is available throughout the holidays for confidential, professional help. Just call your employee assistance consultant at LifePlan – (260) 432-3327 or 1-800-677-4477.

LifePlan Brochure Online


The LifePlan brochure can be found at this link in pdf format.

Exciting New Changes for LifePlan


LifePlan EAP is pleased to announce that we are undergoing changes that will enhance our provision of services and allow us to pass our cost benefit savings to our contracted organizations. LifePlan EAP, a division of the Park Center system, is becoming an independent provider of EAP services. Our staff, our traditional contracted services, and our EAP coverage will remain the same as we transition into this new business structure. In the new structure, LifePlan will be aligned with Community Counseling Center to continue to provide high quality EAP services to Northeast Indiana and beyond. Our new telephone number is 1-260-432-3327.

We envision that these changes will provide a number of new benefits including:

* Increase in professional counseling staff
* Increase in specialized mental health services
* 3 LifePlan Satellite offices
* Greater time flexibility for provision of onsite consultations
* Greater time flexibility for provision of client appointments
* Highly competitive cost structure with the ability to keep pricing low.

We would remind you that the LifePlan EAP benefit continues to offer short-term counseling, information and referral services, supervisory consultations, training opportunities, short-term legal services and other employee benefits. We look forward to a continuing partnership with our many contracted companies as we provide quality EAP services to employees and family members alike.

Diet Paired With Exercise--An Excellent Combination


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Increase Your Happiness by Limiting Your Choices!


This headline certainly sounds paradoxical. However, it was not so long ago, that there was only one telephone company option, and the phone you rented from that company never broke.

All the choices available nowadays -- VoIP, cellular phones, cable phones and traditional land-line services -- offer more freedom than ever before, but may exact quite a cost on our collective psyches, says psychologist Barry Schwartz in the compelling video linked below.

Schwartz, the author of The Paradox of Choice, believes that the "freedom of choice" afforded to us by all these options escalates our expectations, and therefore introduces indecision and unhappiness into the equation.

What Parents Should Know About Teen Alcohol Abuse


This is the season of graduations, proms, and parties. And with this season comes the added responsibility of parents to ensure that their children understand the risks of alcohol abuse. The following video discusses the risks of substance abuse and how to discover whether your teen has a drinking problem. To learn how to keep your child healthy, please view this informative video.

Do You Eat When Under Stress?


(image) Did you ever have to attend a big meeting that you didn't want to go to, but you had to do it anyway? You may have had no choice but to attend the meeting, so you wanted to calm your nerves. Almost without thinking, you grabbed a piece of chocolate from your desk, popped it in your mouth and headed off to the meeting. Many people are in the same situation as you, using foods to lessen the feeling of stress felt every day.

Men, women and children alike are constantly eating as an unconscious method of relieving stress. If you are under a lot of pressure and you find that you are reaching for the goodies, the chips, or snack foods, you are almost certainly gaining weight. Unfortunately, that is when medical problems associated with weight-gain begin.

Who is at risk for overeating due to stress related incidents? Almost everybody. One type of industry that is prone to this type of stress reaction is truck driving. The truck driver is constantly on the go, on the road, fighting traffic and deadlines, among other things. The truck driver who is under stress will eat to stay awake and will eat to calm his or her nerves. Many truck drivers find they are quickly overweight and need to lessen the stress in their lives so they will eat less.

Depending on food for comfort is nothing new. New mothers, and those who care for children often times find themselves under a lot of stress. If you find you grab a piece of candy every time someone is fighting or when you know that your child is coming in to ask a question, you are not solving your stress problem. Your over-eating is a form of compensation and is covering up how you really feel about a situation.

Solve your problems and face your stress
Stress can be easier to overcome if you identify what is stressful in your life. Are you doing too much at your job? Are you finding it hard to find work? Do you want to get your house cleaned up but your children won’t help? The stress in your life can always be changed. The stress in your life doesn’t mean you are stuck in this rut. You can change your feelings of stress by leaving those problems behind and changing what you do and how you do it. Keep yourself busy, fight off those urges to help everyone do every thing, and lessen the stress in your life. Learn to streamline and set priorities. And if you need help in establishing a more peaceful routine to combat stress and the tendency to overeat, then seek out help from your employee assistance program today.

Dealing With Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace


(image) Substance abuse is a huge, worldwide problem. In the United States alone there are over 50 million binge drinkers, 17 million illegal drug users and almost 15 million people who abuse prescription medications. Most substance abusers have jobs. In fact, it is estimated that one out of every ten workers has a substance abuse problem. An employee with an alcohol or drug problem can decrease productivity, create a hostile work environment and damage a company's good name. Worst of all, the actions of a worker who is "under the influence" can completely undermine a company's efforts to keep people safe. To learn more about the ravages of substance abuse in the workplace, please watch this short video clip.

Contact LifePlan EAP to learn more about how employee assistance programs can contribute to maintaining a drug-free workplace.

Stress Management and Sleep


(image) Sleep is critical for proper stress management. Watch this short clip by Diana Schwarzbein, M.D. to learn more about how to improve sleep

Domestic Violence in the Workplace


Q. I have an employee who periodically comes to work with bruises on her arms, and sometimes her neck. I suspect domestic abuse of some sort, but I don’t want to invade her privacy. How can I approach this situation, and better yet, convince her to go to the EAP?

A. Your observations about the condition of your employee are a key reason for the increased attention being given nationally to domestic abuse and its effect on workplace productivity. Employers are in a unique position to help, especially when an EAP is available. You can see the bruises so it is appropriate to let her know what you have observed. Saying that you “notice the bruises,” and “are concerned that someone may be hurting you”, is prudent and appropriate. Do not push her to disclose more personal information about the origin of the bruises, but realize that your statements may elicit such information. Encouraging her to use the EAP is the next step. If there are performance issues that result from the abuse, such as reduced productivity or excessive absences, focus on the performance problems in an empathetic and caring manner, and make a supervisor referral to the EAP.

For more supervisory helps and training handouts, please go to the Frontline Supervisor page at LifePlan EAP.

Are You Aware Of Your Stress?


Stress is a natural mental and emotional reaction to demands placed upon us. These demands may be challenges we have chosen ourselves, such as getting married or having a baby. They may also be challenges imposed upon us, such as changes in work schedules or duties, a baby sitter who gets sick and can’t watch your children, or a car breaking down. Whether we’ve chosen the changes or they’ve chosen us, a reaction is normal. How we react, however, has a major impact on our long-term health and happiness.

Stress can be positive, negative, or both. It can motivate us to excel on a project or cause us severe anxiety and medical problems. Identifying stressors, managing them effectively, and being proactive to change are the keys to balancing stress.

Here are some common symptoms of stress:
  • headaches
  • low energy
  • insomnia,
  • irritability
  • memory loss
  • frequent illness
  • low productivity
  • appetite change
  • poor time management
Identifying your specific responses to stressful situations is the first step in becoming aware of your stress level. Does your heart pound when a stressful situation occurs? Do you eat more/less? At night, does your mind race with thoughts of the day and prevent you from sleeping? Once you’ve identified your symptoms, you can build a plan to combat your stress.

The ideal way to keep your stress in check is to ward off the symptoms on a daily basis. Some general “stress busters” to accomplish this are:
  • eat balanced meals
  • exercise
  • drink plenty of water,
  • play with children, relax
  • avoid alcohol or drugs
  • solve problems
  • express feelings
  • do something just for you.
As you become more skilled at identifying your specific reactions to stress, you can add stress buster activities to meet your needs. For example, let’s say one of your symptoms is insomnia at night because your thoughts are racing. You can combat this symptom by telling someone your thoughts or writing them down. By “dumping” your thoughts, you can clear your mind to go to sleep.

For more helpful stress management tips, check out our website page at the Counselor's Corner at LifePlan EAP.

Seven Ways to Increase Your Brain Power


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Welcome to LifePlan News


We will keep you informed of useful information for your mental and physical health and well being. For more information about LifePlan employee assistance services, go here.