Does EAP Say it All? A Holistic Approach to Overall Wellness

Does EAP Say it All? A Holistic Approach to Overall Wellness

01/25/17 Laura Gibbons

Does EAP really say it all? Does the industry name really reflect what an EAP does? We tend to think no. Oftentimes when you tell someone you work for an EAP, they typically think you find people jobs. That may seem like a logical assumption, but it makes me wonder why it is not a more recognized term as the majority of companies offer EAPs.

And although the mission of an EAP is to help create a healthy, positive, and productive workforce, many don’t consider the EAP for overall wellness. Wellness consists of more than just physical health. And, an EAP works with individuals on more than just emotional/behavioral health. We are made up of many parts, and each is important to our well-being and overall life satisfaction. If you think that you have to be experiencing a major problem or your life has to be falling apart, rethink how to use the EAP to address the many areas of wellness.

The National Wellness Institute identifies six dimensions of wellness. The EAP shares how it can assist in each of these wellness areas:

Social Wellness – establishing and maintaining positive relationships with family, friends, and co-workers.
Why access the EAP: The EAP can help you improve communication skills; work on creating healthier relationships; find ways to get along better with co-workers or your boss; and identify how to enhance your social wellness by avoiding isolation, setting boundaries, and finding ways to make sure you get the social interaction you need to maximize health.

Emotional Wellness – increasing one’s self-awareness, being able to share feelings in a productive way, and coping better with life’s challenges.
Why access the EAP: Gain a better insight to what you are experiencing and feeling; learn to better communicate your feelings; find strategies to better cope with unexpected events such as loss and grief; better manage stress, anxiety, or depressed feelings; and identify what other areas may be affecting your emotional wellness.

Spiritual Wellness – living a life of purpose based on one’s beliefs and values.
Why access the EAP: Explore your sense of purpose, what it means to your beliefs and values, and how to best fulfill your purpose in life.

Occupational Wellness – engaging and contributing fully to one’s job, meeting career goals, as well as working toward the organization’s overall mission and those they may serve.
Why access the EAP: Learn ways to become a more effective employee or manager by identifying areas of enhancement such as: communication, time management, concentration and focus, being more productive, leadership skills, collaboration and teamwork, decision-making skills, problem-solving, resolving conflict, and how to pursue your ultimate career goals.

Intellectual Wellness – the desire to learn and increase knowledge, improve one’s skills, and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning.
Why access the EAP: The EAP has many online resources that can encourage learning on a variety of subjects in the forms of articles, health assessments, financial calculators, skill builders, links to additional resource sites, and more. The EAP offers onsite and online trainings.

Physical Wellness – living a healthy lifestyle to perform daily activities (whether at work or at home) without undue fatigue or physical stress, adopt healthy habits (routine check-ups, a balanced diet, exercise, etc.), while avoiding unhealthy habits (tobacco, drugs, alcohol, etc.).
Why access the EAP: Statistics have shown that an estimated 75-90% of doctor visits are due to stress. Certain health conditions are known to increase the risk of depression, and substance abusers are among the highest users of healthcare. The EAP can be a preventive measure to decrease risk for stress-related health conditions, identify non-compliance with current treatment recommendations, and help individuals develop plans to reduce barriers and increase success for better physical health.

There are also other areas of wellness one should consider:

Financial Wellness – experience minimal financial stress by avoiding debt, living within means, having a safety net with savings, and a clear plan to meet financial goals.
Why access the EAP: There are financial tools provided within the online Work/Life resource, as well as financial counseling based on your company’s add-on service.

Legal Wellness – identifying areas where one needs to better protect themselves under the law (consumer and credit protection, insurance, identify theft, estate planning).
Why access the EAP: There are legal forms available within the Work/Life online resource, as well as access to legal consultation based on your company’s add-on service.

Hopefully, reviewing these areas of wellness and how the EAP can help will broaden the view of some who may think the EAP has a more narrow view or is not for them. Most are open to wellness and the EAP is a confidential and free resource to help employees and their household members work toward their overall wellness.

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