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Understanding worry: Coping tips for employees that include accessing EAP

Each employee reacts differently to stressful situations. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help them address stress, as well as grief, family problems, psychological disorders and substance abuse.

Amidst the uncertainty and the ever-changing health landscape in our country, your employees are likely in varied response states. They may be thinking ahead, anticipating future negative outcomes or catastrophizing. In other words, worrying.

The good news 

Some worry is normal and can be useful; it can help a person effectively prepare for what lies ahead. However, worries can be fueled and exacerbated by societal influences, such as the barrage of 24/7 news reports. Finding a balance between effectively preparing versus being consumed with excessive worry or panic is key.

The not-so-good news

Worrying can lead to a prolonged, heightened alert status, staying preoccupied and fixated – often resulting in thoughts becoming our reality. 

Stress and coping

Each employee reacts differently to stressful situations. How they personally respond can depend on their background, personal circumstances and the community where they live. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that people who respond more strongly to stress during a crisis may have:

  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating at work
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs

Coping tips

Share with your team these tips for coping with worry:  

  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness means paying attention in the present, without judgement. When we observe our thoughts, choices and behaviors more objectively, we can manage them more effectively.
  • Problem solve and effectively plan. Periodically check your work, travel and personal and family commitments. Prepare accordingly to ease any unnecessary worry.
  • Stay informed while remaining calm. Consider setting specific times to check news updates. Tuning in to other topics of conversation, activities and attention will help mitigate the tendency to worry too much about things we can’t control. When something like a global health crisis hits, you need good, solid data, not false or exaggerated information. As we continue to work our way through the current health crisis, refer to the CDC and World Health Organization for up-to-date, factual information.

An EAP can help

During these stressful times, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an excellent resource for employees. Tapping into the EAP allows employees to confidentially connect with a trusted person about their concerns, especially if they are being consumed by worry and stress. 

Offer your employees an EAP to support their behavioral health and well-being. An EAP provides your employees with the right resources to help resolve issues, including:

  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Balancing work and family
  • Caring for aging parents
  • Child and family concerns
  • Divorce
  • Financial pressures
  • Relationship issues
  • Workplace stresses

To look for a robust EAP for your organization, check out Advocate Aurora’s Employer Solutions. A solution customized to your company’s culture could also include employer clinics, wellness, occupational health, executive health programs and more.

Advocate Aurora Health is one of the 10 largest not-for-profit, integrated health systems in the United States and a leading Midwest employer, with more than 70,000 employees and the region’s largest employed medical staff and home health organization. The system serves nearly 3 million patients annually in Illinois and Wisconsin.


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Pauline Krutilla - EAP Director, Advocate Aurora Employee Assistance Program
Pauline Krutilla is the Director of Advocate Aurora Health Care’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). She holds a Master of Science degree in guidance and counseling with an emphasis in alcohol and other drug treatments from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Pauline is certified by the State of Wisconsin as an Advanced Practice Social Worker and also is a Certified Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP).

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