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News | April 22, 2020

Mindfulness techniques help employees maintain resilience in stay-at-home environment

By John Dwyer III DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

Staying positive is a challenge for many Defense Logistics Agency employees amid today’s stay-at-home, work-from-home environment, but some are sharing tips to help others overcome the struggles.

In a telephonic conference event hosted April 15 by DLA Troop Support’s Resiliency and Education for Achievable Careers and Health Program, 36 employees discovered new ideas for staying resilient.

“In this unusual mass-telework situation, distractions are normal. But being mindful of your situation and emotions and finding ways to stay connected are good tools to maintain balance,” said Sorina Prian-Tanczos from DLA’s Industrial Hardware team.

REACH began as a holistic wellness initiative from DLA Troop Support’s IH Culture Improvement Team and was spearheaded by Megan Ward. It has since expanded across the organization.

Prian-Tanczos’ guidance stemmed from her previous work experience in mental health. Mindfulness, she said, is one way employees can actively assess their habits, effectiveness and emotions to remain “in control when things are out of your control.”

“Self-awareness provides an opportunity to plan and avoid negative experiences or to manage stress in a healthier way instead of getting caught in a never-ending circle of frustration,” Prian-Tanczos said, adding that mindfulness is about getting out of auto-pilot and taking control when possible.

Ward said working from home was great the first week and she used extra time for self-care, household chores and relaxing.

“But by about the second week, I could feel myself getting tense, and my husband, dogs and cat were getting on my nerves, especially when I was trying to work,” she said.

After making a deliberate effort to be mindful of her daily activities, Ward said she was able to find ways to mentally, physically and spiritually adjust and be resilient.

“I was not only happier after making the adjustments, but I was also able to be more focused with my work and more patient with my family,” Ward said.

As the mother of a four-year-old son, Prian-Tanczos empathized with the group about “triple-hatting” as a parent, teacher and DLA Troop Support teleworking employee. She offered the following tips to help employees be deliberately mindful and get the most out of their days at home:

  • Practice gratefulness.
  • Be flexible – try new ways of connecting and interacting with others.
  • Acknowledge distractions and emotions, then re-focus on the task at hand.
  • Practice mindfulness non-judgmentally and with an open mind during daily activities.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Reach out to others.

Ward expects REACH to continue hosting monthly virtual events.

DLA employees can also access the Employee Assistance Program, which offers:

  • Confidential counseling and referral,
  • Legal and financial counseling,
  • Health and wellness presentations, and
  • Pre-recorded webinars on a variety of topics.

“Keep an attitude of gratitude, and find ways to help stay mentally, emotionally and physically resilient,” Ward said. “And remember that we’re all a team. It’s not just what I can do or what Sorina can do. It’s what we can all do for each other that will help us get through this.”