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Employee Toolkit

We’ve pulled together a collection of resources to help you guide and support your team through the stress and anxiety of the current global crisis.

A note from the author:

“Focusing on your Health and Wellness during this time of unsettled Disease, is important. Starting an Exercise and Mental Wellness routine (in addition to a nutritious diet) can give you a much-needed advantage in getting through this and any other pandemic with a bit more control and overall well-being. .”

Dr. Sagar Parikh  is an Interventional Pain Physician with an interest in Musculoskeletal Medicine and Complementary Medicine.

Why practice preventative care?

 

Our lives have been uprooted. The COVID19 outbreak is here and is challenging us in ways we didn’t expect. There’s a lot of fear surrounding it all and we feel out of control. In addition to being a medical advisor at LEON, I’m also a practicing physician watching all this unfold on the frontline. Though this bizarre time has stripped away so much from us, we can regain some control.

Respiratory viruses such as influenza (the flu) and SARS-COV-2 (the current coronavirus) are sub-microscopic and need your body’s cellular metabolism to multiply and wreak havoc. It’s scary, I know. How do YOU (…responsibly sitting at home in self-quarantine) fight what you can’t see? Well the physical distancing is helping control the spread, and my colleagues and I are doing our part fighting the outbreak in the hospital setting, but there is something more that you can do: STAY HEALTHY AND WELL.

Believe it or not, your individual health and wellness are insurmountably important to fighting this disease and we need to fight it on all fronts. LEON has compiled a list of wellness options offering virtual classes ranging from Yoga and Meditation to Interval Training. Many studies support the maintenance of exercise during this time to improve not just the strength of your heart and lungs, but also your overall immunity.

In the field of exercise immunology, various studies have reported that individuals who participated in consistent and regular exercise of moderate intensity saw close to a 30% reduction in the yearly risk of an upper respiratory infection (URI) when compared to physically inactive adults. In fact, a lack of exercise correlated with a longer duration of flu-like symptoms and an increase in the number of respiratory infections per year. There has even been data showing a more favorable cellular immune response with a prolonged benefit in individuals engaged in a regular exercise program. Don’t overdo it though. Putting excess strain on the body can temporarily weaken your immune system as well so it’s best to work out with a virtual trainer or virtual class during this time

Mental health

Information and resources to help you improve your mental health

What is mental health?

Good mental health is about being able to work and study to your full potential, cope with day-to-day life stresses, be involved in your community, and live your life in a free and satisfying way

Why it’s important:

What about the importance of mental health during this outbreak? You guessed it… also important! Our bodies are already going though enough stress dealing with the anxiety of this outbreak. That stress response can be influenced by how our minds are dealing with the discomfort and lack of control. It is well known (both in eastern and western fields of medicine) that you can train your mind and regulate your response to threatening uncertainties such as this. In many ways, your immune and emotional response has similarities in that regard—dynamically changing and “learning” from what the outside environment throws at you. 

Resources:

Zeel: The Zeel team has created a series of team based on-demand options ranging from team meditation to chair yoga. 

Headspace: Here is a quick “mini-mediation” session to help your team. Feel free to share it with them.

Inscape Online: Book directly through the LEON app.

Stretch ReliefBook directly through the LEON app.

Mount Sinai: LEON established a partnership with one of the largest and most respected hospital systems in the world to offer bespoke and custom on-demand services for employers. 

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Health and fitness

Help your team improve their fitness during the COVID19 pandemic.

How can being fit improve your health now?

Fitness from a biological standpoint is a term that describes the survival and reproductive output of an individual. You being “fit” can determine how COVID19 affects you, your family and your company.

Why it’s important:

Much like an athlete prepares for his/her sport through training, making sure to we maximize our physical health day in and day out is the part of the world we live in. Overcoming stress, increasing the strength of our immune system and staying fit is all part of maintaining our physical health.

Resources:

Aaptiv: The worlds first audio brand, Aaptiv is both acessable to any experience level and personality type. 

Obé: The LEON team went ahead and provided you direct access via the LEON app.

NEOU: Another on-demand workout option that offers not only NEOU branded options, but also some of todays top studios.

Bike Sharing: LEON has bike share access in New York City, Philadelphia and Boston.

Nutrition and diet

Improve the response and strength of your immune system

Why it’s important:

Poor nutrition and lack of activity is the leading cause of preventable disease in the United States. With over 42% of the U.S. population falling into the obesity category, this could put our coworkers and loved ones at a very high risk of experiencing more severe and negative medical responses to COVID19. 

Try to incorporate plenty of vitamins A, C, and E in your diet. All three are potent antioxidants, which help combat inflammation. For vitamin A, look to red, yellow, and orange foods. You could also look for a bag of sweet potatoes, which are a terrific source of vitamin A and supports immune-system function and cellular growth.

Foods with vitamin E, which may help prevent cellular damage, can be a bit trickier to find. A main source is sunflower butter, which you can sub in wherever you would use almond or peanut butter.

Vitamin C, which supports other antioxidants and can boost your immune system, can be found in citrus fruits and is also present in leafy greens and broccoli.

Resources:

– We found at home and do it yourself blood testing to be a great resource for understanding where your nutrition is lacking. We have used Inside Tracker extensively with our pro athletes and it might work well for your staff.

My Fitness Pal although has been around forever, it has proven to help people stay on track regarding nutrition. 

Recovery & Stress

Improve sleep and recover better with these resources

How does stress affect the immune system?

When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system.

Why it’s important:

Our team has written extensively on the affects of stress and how it can hurt founder and early employees of fast scaling startups. Not to mention, our COO and Co-founder spent many years helping Olympic athletes manage the stress of high level performance. So we’re sort of experts at it!

In looking at stress, it’s important to understand that it is governed by the autonomic nervous system, and in this environment where stress is high, a branch of the autonomic nervous system called the sympathetic branch (also known as the Fight or Flight system) where it is the most dominant.

This specific branch is most of the time associated symptoms such as:

  1.  Increased resting heart rate and blood pressure
  2. Decreased appetite
  3. Loss of body mass
  4. Irritability
  5. Decreased sleep
  6. Decreased performance
  7. Increased fatigue

So how do we mitigate some of these issues when stress is high?

  • Stimulate appetite through alkaline foods (Milk, Fruit, Fresh Vegetables)
  • Avoid stimulants (coffee), small quantities of alcohol are permitted
  • Increased quantities of vitamins (B group)
  • Physical therapy or light massage. Since we’re all stuck inside, maybe try using a foam roller or have your partner or spouse give you a massage.
  • Cold showers in the morning (see Whim Hoff method)
  • Light and rhythmical exercises. An on-demand workout such as Jane Do or Everybody Fights could be a good option.

Resources:

– Looking for ways to scientifically track stress at home? Take a look at Omegawave and understand how much stress you’re currently under and what you can do to improve it.

Literally any of the on-demand options within LEON can help reduce stress.

Sleep is 100% part of the recovery process. Check out these resources from Headspace to help you doze off.

Remind your team why wellness and self-care are important during challenging times.