Experts will share ideas for managing stress at employee forum

Working remotely. Dodging (or battling) COVID-19. A child's educational progress. Political tension and transition. Computer hacks. Social isolation. Vaccine uncertainty. Month 11 of a global pandemic. Short winter days. If it all has you feeling a bit frayed around the edges, ISU WorkLife invites you to sit in on a moderated forum Tuesday, Jan. 19 (3:30-5 p.m., via Webex).

Registration is required for Managing Your Emotions Through Pandemic Fatigue, which will feature five experts who approach stress management and mental health from different perspectives. They are:

  • Brian Luke Seaward, Boulder, Colorado, author of the text, "Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being," currently in its 10th edition
  • Doug Gentile, ISU professor of psychology, who researches social behaviors, including those that can reduce stress and increase well-being
  • Jacob Meyer, ISU assistant professor of kinesiology, currently studying depression and exercise
  • Joleen Frideres, licensed mental health counselor working in Algona and Clear Lake
  • Dina Eisenberg, attorney, mediator and ISU ombuds officer

Stephanie Downs, WorkLife and WellBeing senior coordinator in university human resources, will provide questions for their discussion.

"Stress, sleep, work-life balance were issues before we ever had a pandemic," Downs noted, "but we'll talk about how the pandemic has changed that, made it more relevant for so many more people."

She said she'll also ask panelists to talk about anger and irritability, and what's normal, given all that employees may be experiencing. She'll invite the panelists to offer suggestions -- from their research, expertise or professional experience -- for coping strategies that can help prevent emotions from hurting relationships and work quality.

"Some of the skills we were using before just aren't working right now," she said.

Downs said the forum is intended for any faculty or staff who feel "anxious, overwhelmed, challenged by all the change. Maybe they just notice they're a little more on edge or could benefit from some perspective on the emotions they're experiencing."