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Fighting Seasonal Depression - Resources - Atlas All Access #91

Seasonal Depression can affect all of us in different ways. And if you're living in overcast, cold, wintery gloom, it can be magnified by the weather. Remember that you have a support team here for you. Your network extends to much more than just those people physically near you. If you need someone to talk to, we're here. Your recruiter will listen. As an Atlas employee and #traveler, you also have access to a service that provides free calls for talking about whatever you need. Depression. Financial Stress. The calls are anonymous and you do not need to be on our insurance plan to take advantage of the service.

Rich Smith: On this episode we tackle a touchy subject but one that doesn't necessarily always come up, that people don't always want to talk about, seasonal depression and loneliness on the road. Atlas All Access starts now.

Rich Smith: Chris Madrigal, Kendra Kripal. So Kendra, you're in our HR department.

Kendra Kripal: Yes.

Rich Smith: And we're going to talk a little bit about some of the services that Atlas provides on the benefits side for mental health and that type of thing. But first I wanted him to talk to Chris. Just in general, your wife is a mental health-

Chris Madrigal: She's a therapist.

Rich Smith: There we go. Okay.

Chris Madrigal: Yep, yep.

Rich Smith: Just about that loneliness on the road, mental health, seasonal depression, seasonal ... What is it called?

Chris Madrigal: Seasonal affective disorder or depression.

Rich Smith: So SAD.

Kendra Kripal: SAD.

Chris Madrigal: Yeah, SAD. They even make it sound bad, right? "I'm sad."

Rich Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. But I think people tend to not want to talk about that sometimes.

Chris Madrigal: Correct, correct.

Rich Smith: And I just wanted to open it up in a forum, not that this is where you should go to get all the answers or anything like that, but it's just ... start the conversation somewhere.

Chris Madrigal: Absolutely. I think it's just a great topic. When you were kicking it around I was like, "I definitely would want to participate in this." I think at the ... Just piggybacking on what you were saying, by no means are we a supplement or saying that we have all the answers. At the end of the day there are medical conditions that go along. But when we're talking about seasonal depression a lot of it ... especially in Midwest, change of weather. It could be really gray and gloomy, and you haven't seen the sunlight. And we know that sunlight and vitamin D ... that sometimes that's lacking. Also you tend to be indoors more so. And as far as in the travel world, that loneliness and isolation could be in the middle of summer. So that's also going to be amplified if you're in some of these States where it snows a lot or it's just ... it's just cold in some of those Northern States.

Chris Madrigal: There's plenty of of resources online, a lot of ... but when it comes down to some home remedies, if you will, a lot of it is talking about it is number one. Sometimes just holding on to that tension and thinking that, "Wow, everybody is so happy and I'm ..." I think there's seasons for a reason and they're all ... not to get all California and all of that on you, but it's beautiful to be in areas where there are different seasons and it's not expected that we're always going to be happy and joyous. I mean I think the changing of the seasons in fall and the reset of just that life cycle that we're a part of that ... So sometimes it's okay to just be contemplative. Sometimes it's okay to be just sad, sometimes not everything is going according to your plan, especially in the travel world.

Chris Madrigal: If you're away from family or there's situations where maybe loved ones are ill and you're far away, or it's just gray and gloomy. And so some of the things that you can do is talking about it, being more social, getting out of your house. I know growing up we would see people walking the mall for different reasons, right? Get out there, go find a gym, find a store. You know your diet has a lot to do with it.

Chris Madrigal: My wife is always ... from the clinical side she can be very technical and use different strategies, but a lot of times it comes down to are you hydrating, are eating enough vitamins? Some doctors will supplement magnesium or vitamin D, some of these things ... And if you drink a lot of coffee it can strip away certain things. And so just making sure that you're active, making sure that you meet up with friends. I know there's some light therapy also if you're in a room, changing your light bulbs can have impact on that. And so those are just some of the things that we were talking about earlier.

Rich Smith: I wrote down just a few just because ... And this goes back to, and we've said this before, in general nurses are nurses. We're talking about all traveling healthcare professionals but nurses in general are the last ones that take care of themselves.

Chris Madrigal: Correct.

Rich Smith: They're too busy taking care of everybody else's, it's just in their nature. That's just how they are. So getting out and just trying some volunteering at a different ... like a women's shelter or a homeless shelter, or a dog rescue. Easy, simple things like that. No matter where you go, you're probably going to find one of those.

Chris Madrigal: Correct.

Rich Smith: Find a gym, try yoga. These are things that I probably should do that I said a long time ago I was going to do and I never have, but find a gym, try yoga, try ... There's intermural basketball teams, there's intramural hockey teams if you want. I mean little things like that. Those resources are available to you no matter where you are.

Chris Madrigal: Correct. Even doing the wine and art, right?

Rich Smith: Absolutely.

Chris Madrigal: Even serving meals. Or, here's a novel idea, take care of yourself. Sometimes just the meal that you prepped for yourself, maybe just go and treat yourself as if you're dating yourself. Like in the sense there's a lot of self-love and self-care, and awareness that goes into it. And sometimes we don't take care of ourselves and a lot of the ideas that you said were really great but I mean there's things from ... Getting your nails done for no reason other than for yourself. Maybe planning a trip in between ... maybe you have four or five days off and you've been in the cold and the gray for five weeks straight, for 99 bucks go anywhere. Go to Arizona, even if it's for a day.

Kendra Kripal: Right. Go get the sun.

Chris Madrigal: Go get the sun on you, go jump in the pool or have a plan that you're working that, "I want to go here." So there's a lot of things mentally that you can still stay engaged without making the weather and the temperatures that ... Don't give your personal power away to things that are outside of yourself when you ... when there's so many things that we can do for ourselves to just keep in the game, if you will.

Kendra Kripal: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep.

Rich Smith: Absolutely. So from our point of view, from the Atlas point of view, we have a number of benefits out there that you administer, right?

Kendra Kripal: Right.

Rich Smith: I mean you and Laura take care of all of that, that can help if you need that extra little bit. If just go into the gym or joining a ... or going to yoga or whatever just isn't enough. And you need to talk to somebody. We have those available.

Kendra Kripal: Right, Atlas has available the EAP which is the Employee Assistance Program. And they help with anything, it's not just the depression issues, it's not just feeling bad or anything that you need to talk to someone. They have help with financial issues, they have help with childcare issues, adult care issues. Anything that could trigger these depressions or these episodes where you're feeling a little down, they'll talk to you about anything and they have resources both online, and over the phone so you can talk to someone. You can get up to three visits free of charge and then if it seems like you need a little more than three visits, they can actually help you find a professional in your area that will assist you with further need that you may have.

Rich Smith: Do you need our ... Do you need to have our insurance lender?

Kendra Kripal: No, you don't need to have an insurance.

Rich Smith: So this is just a service that we provide?

Kendra Kripal: That is correct.

Chris Madrigal: That's awesome.

Rich Smith: So even if you don't take our insurance, so you have insurance through somebody else or whatever, these services are still available?

Kendra Kripal: Correct. Right, that is correct. Yes. And so you can go online, it's and you don't even have to register the ... an account in order to find the resources available. They have videos, they have tools, they have all sorts of resources available just by going to that site. If you need further assistance then you can register an account and you can delve in a little bit deeper but it's all out there right now. The link is also available on ADP. So if you are logged into ADP, you just go to the forms library and there's a link to the EAP site.

Rich Smith: So as you're scrolling through, what's my paycheck and then okay, there's the link right there.

Kendra Kripal: Correct. Yes.

Rich Smith: So you can stay as anonymous as your wifi IP address, right?

Kendra Kripal: That is correct. Right. And we don't get any reports whatsoever as to who's utilizing it or what they're utilizing it for.

Rich Smith: Gotcha.

Kendra Kripal: Yep, it's confidential.

Rich Smith: Which is super nice, I mean, especially if you're in that like, "I don't ..." There are people here in the office ... or we all know that one person that's just like, "I'll be just fine. I don't need help," when inside they really need help.

Kendra Kripal: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right.

Chris Madrigal: Correct. Yeah. And that's something that I think you've done really good and Steve Ryan has done really good internally. Which for all those travelers out there, sometimes it could just be a conversation. And who knows you more or your situation than your recruiter at times? And that's almost a safe ... A lot of times that's what makes therapy and counseling work is sometimes you just want to talk to somebody that doesn't know you, that's not coming in with a lot of baggage or whatnot so sometimes it's ... In a lot of these services you can just reach out to a recruiter for a link or help and a lot of times it's just getting plugged in in community. Wherever you're at, get plugged in on ... even if it's something that's regional and goofy, like a meat raffle in Minnesota. That's for you Morgan Hornsby.

Chris Madrigal: But I mean here's a girl that was in Tampa working in these Northern States, has never really been in the snow and I think what's helped her ... not that she's has seasonal depression at all. I'm not saying that but she's just a good example of ... wherever she's gone get plugged in with that community and also plug into the Atlas community. Call, we love to talk to travelers, we love to hear about them. And sometimes not all conversations we have with our travelers are all, "Hey this is super cool." Sometimes it's just listening and saying, "I understand how you feel and because I feel the same way at times."

Rich Smith: That's my last point here is not only do we offer the services here through HR, but there's also service that ... Your recruiter is your first and last line of defense. And so it doesn't have to be a, "I have a question type of thing." It's, "I just need you to listen for a second." And I know every one of our recruiters can shut up and just listen.

Chris Madrigal: Absolutely.

Kendra Kripal: And I do like ... There's the commercials that they have now about start the conversation and it's filling that awkward gap, "How are you doing?" "I'm fine." And then just taking that next step, "Are you really fine? Are you really okay?" And you got to the point where you were talking about everybody is experiencing that, they seem happy. And an example came up with my daughter and she was just feeling overwhelmed with school, and work, and everybody seems like they have it together. And I talked to five different parents whose kids are the same age as ours and their kids express the exact same thing. So it's there. Everybody is having issues. You just need to take that extra step and really go get the help that ... if you need it.

Rich Smith: We're so used to, as a society, talking about if, "My arm hurts or my leg hurts" or whatever. Let's break it down, what if your brain hurts? And that's-

Kendra Kripal: My heart hurts. My soul hurts.

Rich Smith: Absolutely. I talked to my son about that who struggles with a mental illness and it's just "It's okay to talk about, you just have to take that first step." And that first step might be your recruiter. And if it's not the recruiter, the first step might be just calling the anonymous person on the other end of the phone here through the service that we provide to start that conversation.

Kendra Kripal: Absolutely.

Chris Madrigal: And let's be honest, the holiday season which we're coming up on is not ... that is loaded and it's not always easy. I know when my mom passed ... holidays mean something different for me now and it's great to celebrate those that are in my life now, but it's also painful for those that aren't in our lives. And so those are things that are ... I just think, like you said, just start the conversation and know that you're not alone out there. Nurses, you carry the weight and burden of a lot of the worst things about life when our loved ones are sick or they're transitioning, so just know that we love you, we care about you. And I speak for all of the recruiters in the sense that they bond and they do ... we all worry about you.

Chris Madrigal: We all are concerned about you and it goes beyond the superficial of why we even are together. And like I said, if you need help or you just need someone to talk to, just make that phone call or send that text of, "Hey, I just need to bullshit with you for a little bit." I can't say that, can I?

Kendra Kripal: Sure you can.

Chris Madrigal: All right.

Rich Smith: It's totally fine.

Kendra Kripal: This is Atlas, you can do anything you want.

Rich Smith: Totally fine.

Kendra Kripal: You're in charge.

Chris Madrigal: Come on, you can't do anything you want.

Rich Smith: That's a great way to wrap it up. I think that just ask, just start the conversation. Kendra, Chris, thank you so much.

Kendra Kripal: You're welcome.

Chris Madrigal: Thank you, been great talking.

Rich Smith: I appreciate you both being on with us.

Kendra Kripal: Thank you.

Rich Smith: We'll see you next week.