Culture Scout: A Perfect Week to De-stress with 4 Articles and a Viral Tiktok

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If ever there was a week to just to sit, meditate and take a moment (OK maybe lots of moments) it was this politically and pandemically charged one. So Culture Scout devoted itself to finding calming content that focuses on helping employees take it easier. Settle in, relax, and take a look:

1. Just breathe

Studies and research at Harvard and Yale are providing a very simple answer to the knotty issue of reducing stress – meditative breathing. An article in Ladders shows the science behind how a breath meditation program helped study participants deal with stressors like the pandemic, financial burdens and even trauma from war. 

Quote from Harvard study author Sara Lazar:

“Practitioners have long claimed that meditation … provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day. This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

2. Balm for burnout

Remote work is stressing some employees to the point of burnout, new research from Microsoft is showing. While working away from the office has some pluses, the lack of separation between work and home is hurting some people, and “data shows that people are in significantly more meetings, taking more ad-hoc calls and managing more incoming chats than they did before the pandemic,” an article in CMS Wire says. What can help defeat this burnout and get healthy culture back on track? Empathy and (you guessed it) meditation, among other things. 

Excerpt from the CMS Wire article:

“Managers need to collect data on their employees’ working conditions and use that to visualize their headspace before you talk to them.”

3. Outdoor time, fitness and other de-stress ideas

For return to work employees, de-stressing can be as important as disinfecting. Forbes offers 5 ways leaders can calm tensions, from author and healthcare-firm CEO and Chief People Officer Clarissa Windham-Bradstock.

Excerpt from the Forbes essay:

We use the title “chief people officer” because it’s important to remember that employees are so much more than resources — that they’re people first. In unprecedented times, it’s important for companies to do everything they can to prepare employees to handle stress in positive ways while also improving company productivity.

4. A de-stressing inspiration

Idaho Falls factory worker Nathan Apodaca has rolled out a legendary lesson in agility, resilience and how not to let stress get the better of you. He could have panicked when his car broke down and he had to get to work, but instead, he vibed out on his skateboard to the tune of Fleetwood Mac, posted a Tiktok video of said vibing, and the rest is history to the great benefit of Ocean Spray, Mick Fleetwood and Apodaca himself (who has a new truck from Ocean Spray, a talent agent and plans to buy a home). The Idaho Falls Post Register has a wonderful account of Apodaca’s viral rise to fame, including the fact that he almost didn’t post his now-famous footage.

Excerpt from the Post Register article:

“As he drove, with one mile to go, his car broke down in front of Shaka’s gas station. He had less than 15 minutes before his shift started. He didn’t have time to find someone to give him a jumpstart.

‘I turned around, grabbed my board, because I always have my board, grabbed my juice I had with me and I just started going,’ Apodaca said.”

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