Returning again this fall: Refresh from Stress!

Returning again this fall: Refresh from Stress!

Refresh from Stress (RFS), which offers employees 30 days of activities designed to help staff and faculty manage stress and improve their emotional wellbeing, returns to Emory November 1 – 30.  Activities range from self-care, mindfulness, gratitude and resilience, to enhancing social connections.

In 2016, more than 3,100 members of the Emory community participated in Refresh from Stress: 30-Day Inspiration (RFS). RFS participants were guided through weekly themes: Fundamentals of Self Care, Mindful Anything, Social Connections, Gratitude and Resilience. In an effort to reduce stress, participants could self-guide their activities– choosing to do certain activities on different days – to meet their individual needs. In addition, most activities were simple. A follow-up survey indicated that sharing a smile and complimenting others were among the most frequently completed activities. And, those activities seemed to have struck a chord with participants.

“Thank you for the recent Refresh from Stress program. I learned from the exercise and will continue on my own to use the suggestions and activities. For example, I learned that I do not remember to take 10-minute breaks to center myself and “come down” from especially stressful intervals at work. This is a lesson I am taking to heart,” says Julie Hale, a program coordinator with the Emory University Facilities Management team. “The whole program gave me the comfort of knowing that there is care and concern for the staff at Emory.”

Hale’s sentiments were echoed in the follow-up survey of participants. Eighty-seven percent of those participating reported that the program helped them better manage stress;  84 percent experienced an increase in emotional well-being; 64 percent reported improved work productivity, 95 percent felt that RFS was a valuable program; and, 81 percent reported they are likely to implement some or all of their RFS action plans.

Participants identified sleeping at least seven hours, increasing physical activity, eating a healthy meal, silently reflecting and taking a laughter break, as the “most helpful” activities. Many people expressed gratitude that Emory cared about their workforce to offer a program designed specifically to assist individuals with better managing the stress in their lives.  Several participants acknowledged that it made them more aware of the importance of taking time for self-care and being more aware of how they respond to stress throughout the day.

The Refresh from Stress planning team has taken the feedback from 2016 participants and has built upon the program’s success for the 2017 program.  Participants will enjoy access to a text reminder opt-in feature and mobile-friendly activity calendar; an increased number of group activity and team engagement opportunities; a greater number of prize drawings; and, increased flexibility of the prize eligibility (can complete activity any day of the month). Look for registration information coming in October and get ready to Refresh from Stress!