Best of Balanced You: 2021 reflections and highlights

As 2021 comes to a close, we at Balanced You want to take a moment to reflect on the past year and review the highlights we shared. Many of us entered 2021 with optimism and hope. While we soon found out that the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t over, the resiliency and adaptability that we gained in 2020 continued to be necessary skills.

At Balanced You, we saw the need to prioritize well-being was still of high importance. Over the past year we furthered our efforts to meet the emotional, financial, social, and physical wellness needs of our King County colleagues.

Join us in review of this past year’s program highlights, all of which will continue to be available in 2022.

2021 Highlights

Launched the myStrength Self-Care app

In March of 2021, we launched a self-care app for all employees. myStrength is a free and confidential app that can help with everything from substance abuse, sleep, anxiety, and regulating emotions. With a wealth of resources, employees can use the app any time of day and access videos, lesson plans, and exercises to support them where they need it most.

Developed trainings on Burnout, Resiliency and Compassion Fatigue

In the prolonged experience COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the development of burnout and compassion fatigue in the workplace. Because these conditions can lead to long-term mental and physical health complications, Balanced You developed a toolkit to help develop resiliency. In 2021, we presented our Burnout, Resiliency and Compassion Fatigue trainings weekly to teams and departments across the county and they continue to be in high demand as we schedule into January.

In the new year, we will host an all staff training on Tuesday, Jan 18. from 11 a.m. to noon, Register here.

If you would like to schedule a training for your team, please email BalancedYou@kingcounty.gov.

We also created resources for managers to support their team through recovery from burnout.  

Processing groups for employees on the front line or involved in the COVID-19 response

In 2021, our weekly drop-in groups specifically for BIPOC employees were popular, providing a space to and process the stress that comes with being a BIPOC employee on the front-lines or involved in the COVID-19 response.

We also hosted teams-based debriefing groups for workgroups to create community together with a mental health counselor and debrief on the challenges of the past year.

Both of these groups will continue to be available in 2022.

Introduced weekly newsletter, Wellness Wednesday

We introduced Wellness Wednesday, an e-newsletter that is delivered every Wednesday. Now, King County employees receive a weekly roundup of wellness articles and events from Balanced You and can stay in-the-know about the resources available to them.

Virtual Exercise classes

In 2020, we introduced free, live virtual exercise classes and they continued to be one of the most popular offerings in 2021. In partnership with Vivecorp, these classes will continue into 2022 to help county employees and their family members to fit in physical activity wherever they are.

Launched Food and Body Liberation program

With high interest, Balanced You successfully launched the pilot Food and Body Liberation program, which seeks to undo the harmful impacts of diet culture and weight stigma. Within a month of launching, our workshops and events reached their capacity. In 2022, we will host more focused workshops and topical events to provide a community space for employees to learn about self-compassion, mindful movement, attuned nutrition, and the evidenced-based Health at Every Size (HAES) philosophy.

Personalized financial support with My Secure Advantage (MSA)

Our financial wellness program, MSA, had high utilization this year, as employees took advantage of the personalized financial coaching available to them. Health Hero, Megan Jourdan, shared how MSA was able to coach her out of debt and into preparing to buy her first home.

New Employee Assistance Program Counselors

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) expanded to a team of five counselors to support employees through workplace stress, conflict, and mental health needs. 

Mental Health Resource Guide

In our continued effort to connect employees with the mental health support they need, we created a Mental Health Benefits and Resource guide, which includes King County mental health benefits, community mental health resources, self-care tips, and directories for therapists for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and intersectional identities.

We also collected mental health resources specifically for veterans or active duty employees.

Self-care webinars

Balanced You continued to host monthly self-care webinars, where we brought in experts to talk through emotional wellness, self-care, and mental health tips. We started recording our webinars for employees to watch at any time. Popular recordings included:

A Conversation on Coping with Grief and Loss

Self-compassion and compassion for others

Upcoming for 2022

In 2022, we will continue to prioritize the wellness needs of King County employees. Employees can still take advantage of the above resources, and can look forward to much more:

  • Self-care webinar: Starting off the new year with Hope & Joy
  • Coffee Connections: Mindful New Year with Mindfulness Northwest
  • More food and body liberation workshops and events
  • More Mental Health First Aid@Work trainings
  • More Mindfulness classes
  • New Omada Diabetes Management program with free coaching, fitness tracking and nutrition support.

Have a happy and healthy new year from the Balanced You team!

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