Balanced You’s Hope and Joy Campaign

As we move through the difficulty and stress of a socially isolating pandemic, Balanced You is launching the Hope and Joy Campaign. Throughout the winter, we will find ways to connect with one another through moments of hope and joy. The Hope and Joy Campaign does not exist to quiet other emotions you may be... Continue Reading →

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How to use telehealth for mental health

As we move into the winter months of this pandemic, many people are experiencing increased isolation and stress, which can contribute to deteriorating mental health. If you or your loved ones are struggling emotionally, Balanced You wants you to know that you are not alone, and that professional help is available from the safety of... Continue Reading →

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Honoring Indigenous People during Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. This November, Balanced You gives thanks to Indigenous communities. We honor the wisdom and culture of Indigenous people, we mourn the colonization of their land, and we celebrate the Indigenous people who continue to reside on their ancestral homeland. While the tradition of Thanksgiving has been rooted in colonization,... Continue Reading →

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Celebrating Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic

Thanksgiving gatherings traditionally center around time spent breaking bread with loved ones. This year, in light of the ongoing pandemic, the steep rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases, and the recent Governor orders to limit social gatherings and non-essential activities, Thanksgiving celebrations are likely to look different for many people. Fortunately, there are still safe, fun,... Continue Reading →

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New tool available to help employees choose medical plan during Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is King County employee’s annual opportunity to evaluate employee benefit options and make changes for the upcoming year. The 2020 Open Enrollment period is currently open until November 15. Employees who are considering choosing a new medical plan may be interested in the Washington Health Alliance’s 2020 Quality Composite Scores for Medical Groups... Continue Reading →

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Tips and resources for coping with election stress

Tuesday, Nov. 3, was Election Day and many Americans are waiting anxiously for the results. According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), more than two-thirds of U.S. adults say the 2020 U.S. presidential election is a significant source of stress in their life. And those feelings are being experienced throughout the... Continue Reading →

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Disability Awareness Month: Ableism and ally-ship in the workplace

For people with disabilities, navigating a society constructed by and for people considered to have “typical” abilities can be a constant battle, and one that further entrenches the discrimination they face. According to the 2010 census, nearly one in five Americans experience disability. Some people’s disabilities are visible to others and include physical disabilities such... Continue Reading →

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Collective care tips and emotional well-being resources for the LatinX/Hispanic community

LatinX/Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year from September 15th to October 15th.  As LatinX/Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, Balanced You would like to remind the LatinX community about resources available to support their emotional well-being, including spaces for celebration, joy, and connection; tips for self- and collective-care; and traditional mental health resources.... Continue Reading →

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Sign up now for Mental Health First Aid@Work trainings

Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being that can often be misunderstood or overlooked. To increase awareness about mental health and highlight supportive resources, Balanced You has partnered with the National Council of Behavioral Health to offer Mental Health First Aid@Work trainings. These trainings are available to all County employees, free-of-charge.... Continue Reading →

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Fall and winter mindfulness class schedule now available

Mindfulness is a practice that can support you in reducing stress at work and at home. Mindfulness techniques are especially useful now, as we move through the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. Balanced You continues to partner with Mindfulness Northwest to offer free mindfulness classes and workshops to King County employees, via both employee-specific and... Continue Reading →

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Supporting others in crisis

“I’ll never forget the day the phone rang. I felt powerless, I felt stuck. I wanted to help but I didn’t know how, who to call, or what to do. I wanted to solve the problem, but I didn’t know the first place to start.” Being on the receiving end of a phone call or... Continue Reading →

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Resources for caregivers during COVID-19

A caregiver is anyone who provides help to another person in need, such as an ill spouse or partner, a disabled child, or an aging relative. Employees who are caregivers for adults and elders are some of the unsung heroes of the pandemic. While caregiving can be joyful and rewarding, it can also be overwhelming or... Continue Reading →

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Guidance for employees working in smoky conditions

The past week has been difficult with wildfires threatening our state and plumes of smoke from wildfires in Oregon and California rendering Washington's air unhealthy. Wildfire smoke in our region will continue today, and will likely begin to dissipate toward the end of the week . Because wildfire smoke can cause a range of health... Continue Reading →

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Reduce your risk for flu, find vaccines near you

Every fall, King County’s Balanced You team encourages employees to get their flu shot and this fall, flu shots are more important than ever. While the flu shot won’t protect you from COVID-19, it has many other important benefits. Getting vaccinated can reduce your risk of getting the flu, help protect vulnerable populations, and conserve... Continue Reading →

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Resources for parents and caregivers during COVID-19

Balanced You understands the toll that this stressful and unprecedented time is taking on working parents and caregivers, and we want to make sure employees know there are resources available from King County to help you through this. A summary of these resources is below. If there’s anything else Balanced You can do to support... Continue Reading →

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Make the most of your FSAs during the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted many aspects of daily life, and may have affected the amounts you are spending on day care and health care. The following reminders can help you make the most out of your Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), which allow you to set aside pre-tax money for day care and medical expenses.... Continue Reading →

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Making Life Easier for King County employees

King County provides mental health programs to help employees and their family cope with the personal outcomes of tragedies, stress, change, or trauma. The Making Life Easier Program (MLE) is one free resource that is available for employees to use when experiencing difficult situations. MLE offers support with various services, such as free mental health... Continue Reading →

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July and August mindfulness class schedule now available

As we continue to maneuver through this very difficult time in our society, it is important that we manage our mental health and stress levels. Balanced You heard from employees that mindfulness classes have helped alleviate some of the anxiety many are experiencing, so we are continuing to provide these classes through August. What is... Continue Reading →

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Live healthier with these free wellness programs

When you feel healthy, you can get the most out of life and do your best work. That’s why we created Balanced You, a program to help all King County employees meet their financial, emotional, and physical needs. Reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes with Omada Some people at risk of developing type... Continue Reading →

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Financial resources for King County employees

COVID-19 has resulted in urgent financial needs for many households. Fortunately, there are ways King County employees can receive financial help. Read on for more information. New access to Deferred Compensation Plan accounts If you are a member of the King County Deferred Compensation Plan through T. Rowe Price, you may be eligible to access... Continue Reading →

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On-demand webinar: Supporting Kids through the Pandemic

During the recent Balanced You webinar “A Conversation on Self-care and Connection,” we heard from employees that one of your top concerns is how the pandemic is impacting your kids. Because you asked for help supporting your kids through this, we reached out to one of the area’s top parent coaches, Sarina Behar Natkin, to... Continue Reading →

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How to be an ally: Anti-racism resources for white people

Many white people witnessing the violence against Black bodies and minds are committed to action that will set our country on a more just path. As such, many are resolving to demonstrate allyship by taking actions to counter, disrupt, and dismantle systemic racism through anti-racism. If you’ve heard these words, wondered what they mean, and... Continue Reading →

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Emotional well-being resources for Black communities

The combined impact of police violence, a pandemic disproportionately affecting People of Color, and centuries of systemic racism places undue stress on Black communities. This stress continues to impact each individual Black person’s emotional well-being uniquely, based on their identity, support systems, and other contexts. Balanced You stands with Black Lives Matter and recognizes the... Continue Reading →

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Mental Health Month week four: Supporting others

For the last week of Mental Health Month, Balanced You is focusing on the topic “supporting others.” Widening our view from self-care to collective care by supporting others’ mental health is important, especially during the ongoing pandemic, which has increased stress for so many. While you may not be able to fix someone’s mental well-being,... Continue Reading →

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Mental Health Month week three: Connecting with others

For the third week of Mental Health month, Balanced You is focusing on the topic “connecting with others.” Social connection helps ward off social isolation and is an important part of mental health. The connections we make with other people enrich our lives and support us through the most difficult times. But, sometimes, it is... Continue Reading →

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On-demand webinar: A Conversation on Self-Care

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone’s mental health in unique ways. Now, more than ever, self-care and connection are needed. In support of employees' health and well-being during this difficult time, Shawna Johnson, Balanced You Employee Health Specialist, and Heather Steffensen, Interim Employee Assistance Program Manager, led "A Conversation on Self-Care." This live, interactive webinar covered... Continue Reading →

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Mental Health Month week two: Creating healthy routines

For the second week of Mental Health Month, Balanced You is focusing on the topic “creating healthy routines.” Many of our routines including nutrition, physical activity, social connection, and rest have been upended by the pandemic. Maintaining our old routines may be impossible, due to new work schedules, social distancing rules, or stress levels. As... Continue Reading →

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Advice from EAP: Filling our self-compassion tanks

The coronavirus pandemic is challenging professionally and personally for all of us. Perhaps you’re frustrated with yourself because you’re struggling with computer technology or having difficulty learning new job skills. Or, if you’re a parent, perhaps you’re questioning your ability as you struggle to balance your child’s online and recreation schedule. Self-compassion is a practice... Continue Reading →

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Mental Health Month week one: Owning your feelings

Mental health affects how we think, feel, and act. It also influences how we cope with stress, make healthy choices, and relate to others. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and, due to the stress brought on by COVID-19, this is a particularly important year to focus on this aspect of well-being. Balanced You is... Continue Reading →

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Mindfulness videos now available for King County employees

Balanced You understands this pandemic is stressful. In response, we are creating new tools and resources to support your well-being during this difficult time. Mindfulness classes have remained popular among employees, so we have decided to expand access to mindfulness resources. As such, Balanced You is pleased to announce a series of free mindfulness videos,... Continue Reading →

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Self-care for telecommuters living with partners and roommates

As efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic continue, many people feel confused and overwhelmed. Staying indoors to social distance contributes to this feeling, and may be exacerbated by our living arrangements. Balanced You has provided self-care tips for telecommuting employees living with children at home. It is important to also note that telecommuters who... Continue Reading →

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Advice from EAP to front-line staff during COVID-19

Reporting to your workplace during a pandemic is challenging. The pace can be frantic, and the work can feel relentless. Many people – colleagues and customers – are stressed out, ourselves included. Whether your job is categorized as essential, front line, first responder, or mission-critical, coming into work at this time can cause anxiety, perhaps... Continue Reading →

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Free personalized Money Coaching for King County employees

During the uncertain economic times brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, you may find yourself becoming worried about your family’s financial stability. Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn to an impartial expert for advice? With King County’s My Secure Advantage (MSA) program, you can receive personalized advice from a professional Money Coach for... Continue Reading →

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April and May mindfulness class schedule now available

Mindfulness is a practice that can support you in reducing stress at work and at home. Mindfulness techniques are especially useful now, as we move through the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. Balanced You continues to partner with Mindfulness Northwest to offer free mindfulness classes and workshops to King County employees, via both employee-specific and... Continue Reading →

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Self-care for Emergency Responders during the COVID-19 pandemic

Emergency responders – healthcare workers, public health professionals, law enforcement, emergency operations staff, and others – are heroes in the battle against coronavirus. King County is grateful for your dedication to our community’s health. Thank you. Balanced You knows you are working long hours, making difficult decisions, enduring trauma, and facing human tragedy. Many of... Continue Reading →

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Tips for K-12 spring break while social distancing

For many students in King County, this time of year heralds spring break, a much-anticipated week away from school. The coronavirus outbreak has caused many families to cancel plans for break, leaving them in search of creative ways to keep their kids entertained while practicing social distancing. Below are some ideas for activities you can... Continue Reading →

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Healthy eating during the coronavirus response

Now that you have stocked up on groceries, you may be wondering how to best use all the rice and beans you bought and what recipes will boost your immune system. Balanced You has got you covered. There’s no better support for your immune system than sleeping well, exercising, managing your stress, washing your hands,... Continue Reading →

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Telecommuting with children at home

To slow the spread of coronavirus, King County employees who can telecommute have been mandated to do so until further notice. Because K-12 schools have closed, King County is temporarily allowing parents and caretakers to telecommute while caring for children at home. Telecommuting with children at home is a new experience for most employees and... Continue Reading →

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Caring for children during the coronavirus response

The coronavirus pandemic has been difficult for everyone to process. Each of us is experiencing some degree of anxiety or stress in the face of this pandemic. Children process stress differently than adults and are uniquely affected by the way we talk about the virus, images in the media, and changes to their routine following... Continue Reading →

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Taking care of ourselves during a pandemic

It is a challenging time for employees, families, and our community as we continue our efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus, and it is normal to have feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. While many things are beyond our control with this outbreak, there are many things that we can control. When we are anxious... Continue Reading →

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Self-care for telecommuters during the COVID-19 pandemic

As King County responds to the coronavirus (COVID-19), employees who can telecommute have been mandated to do so to reduce the community risk of coronavirus transmission. Furthermore, the CDC has issued guidance that everyone practice social distancing.  While this strategy has many benefits, the sudden switch can throw off your routine. Balanced You wants to... Continue Reading →

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[Update: 2020 Worksite Fund temporarily paused due to coronavirus] Apply now! 2020 Worksite Fund

Update: The 2020 Worksite Fund application period has been temporarily paused while King County focuses its efforts on stopping the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). An updated application deadline will be announced at a later date. Employees are invited to continue brainstorming Worksite Fund projects during this time. Please reach out to balancedyou@kingcounty.gov with questions... Continue Reading →

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Telehealth options now available for Regence and Kaiser members

Balanced You knows getting to the doctor’s office isn’t always easy. That’s why King County employees and family members enrolled in Regence and Kaiser medical plans now have access to a convenient option for health care: telehealth visits that allow you to access board-certified, trained medical providers using your smartphone, tablet, or personal computer, without... Continue Reading →

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Resolved to stress less in 2020? Check out a mindfulness class

Would you like to stress less this year? Give one of our popular mindfulness classes a try! Balanced You has partnered with Mindfulness Northwest to offer classes at county worksites, online, or in the community. Classes are available to King County employees free-of-charge, subject to availability. See the January to March 2020 calendar below. Mindfulness... Continue Reading →

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