Stress Awareness Month | Shield Insurance Agency

Stress Awareness Month – April 2021

Stress Awareness Month – April 2021

Stress can be debilitating, and it can cause and/or aggravate health problems. And since stress is a normal part of human existence — nobody is immune to it — it’s important to arm ourselves with knowledge so that we recognize when stress rears its ugly head. (Amazingly, we don’t always notice it’s happening to us.) Stress Awareness Month happens each April. It’s important to learn some strategies for coping with this particular silent scourge. You’ve come to the right place for that. Let’s get started!

STRESS AWARENESS MONTH TIMELINE

STRESS AWARENESS MONTH TIMELINE

HOW TO OBSERVE STRESS AWARENESS MONTH

1. Practice meditation

One of the most effective ways to deal with stress is to learn how to silence the mind. Meditation is one of the most popular methods of achieving this quiet.

2. Exercise

Another way to battle the debilitating effects of stress is to exercise. Whether you’re a jogger, bicyclist our just like to take long walks, be sure to get some fresh air and exercise into your daily routine.

3. Visit your doctor

They’re really in the best position to get your started on the path to a stress-free lifestyle. Make an appointment today.

4 STRESSFUL FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

  1. Stress can help — sometimes
  2. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “stress can motivate people to prepare or perform and might even be life-saving in some situations.”
  3. It’s sickening — literally
  4. People under stress – especially those prone to chronic stress — are more susceptible to a variety of ailments, from headaches and insomnia to high blood pressure and heart disease.
  5. Stressed? Here’s why
  6. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that the five factors most often cited as a source of stress were money, work, family, economic outlook, and relationships.
  7. America’s highest and lowest stress states
  8. A report on WalletHub found that the most stressed-out states in America are Louisiana, New Mexico, and West Virginia. The least? Minnesota, North Dakota, and Utah.

WHY STRESS AWARENESS MONTH IS IMPORTANT

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Access resources to mitigate the ergonomic and environmental risks of remote work

Employee risk in a virtual workplace

Understanding employee risks in a virtual workplace

EMERGING RISK TRENDS  •  2 MIN READ

With many employees working remotely over this last year due to the ongoing pandemic, the shift to a virtual workplace has presented new challenges for some businesses. As companies continue moving away from the traditional work settings, now is the best time to reassess and mitigate work-related risks to remote workers.

From confirming business objectives to adjusting your processes and resource allocation, here are the key ways to prepare for new remote risks. 

Conduct a risk assessment

Have your risks changed with virtual workspaces? As you assess and prioritize work-related risks for each workgroup, consider if these new remote-work locations will be short or long-term.

A few top concerns may include:

  • Ergonomics – repetitive stress injuries from desk set-up, cords, and more
  • Same-level fall – slips, and trips in the employee environment
  • Mental health – stress and isolation compounding from the ongoing pandemic

Revise operational processes

To better understand and address risks, revisit your existing safety programs and strategies. What gaps need to be covered in this new workplace model? If the necessary programs do not currently exist, formalize an approach to assess and reduce risks to workers. While short vs long-term strategies may look different, it is important to treat employees consistently and effectively.

As you begin your strategic planning:

  • Create an assessment or feedback process for your organization
  • Develop a process to make decisions about resources
  • Identify measures of success, e.g. number of touches to online help resources; the number of equipment/peripheral purchases

Adjust resources against risk

What can you do to limit risks for your workers? If you have accumulated real estate savings as a result of virtual work, consider reallocating that budget to employee safety. Provide easy access to resources for employees to get help during this unprecedented time, to eliminate cumbersome barriers to the process:

  • Check and reallocate resources to support your remote-work strategy
  • Develop a purchase/delivery process for equipment, furniture, and supporting tools, keeping ease of order process in mind
  • Define methods to provide training and knowledge sources for workers

Consider the ergonomic and environmental risks associated with your employee’s virtual workplace as well. Environmental risks can include walking surfaces, stairs, and overuse of power strips and outlets in the home. Check our library of resources to help manage your team’s safety as you adjust to the new normal:

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World Health Day 2021

World Health Day 2021

World Health Day 2021

Building a fairer, healthier world

On World Health Day, 7 April 2021, we will be inviting you to join a new campaign to build a fairer, healthier world. We’ll be posting more details here shortly, but here’s why we’re doing this:

Our world is an unequal one.

As COVID-19 has highlighted, some people can live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others – entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age.

All over the world, some groups struggle to make ends meet with little daily income, have poorer housing conditions and education, fewer employment opportunities, experience greater gender inequality, and have little or no access to safe environments, clean water, and air, food security, and health services. This leads to unnecessary suffering, avoidable illness, and premature death. And it harms our societies and economies.

This is not only unfair: it is preventable.

That’s why we are calling on leaders to ensure that everyone has living and working conditions that are conducive to good health.  At the same time, we urge leaders to monitor health inequities and to ensure that all people can access quality health services when and where they need them. 

COVID-19 has hit all countries hard, but its impact has been harshest on those communities which were already vulnerable, who are more exposed to the disease, less likely to have access to quality health care services, and more likely to experience adverse consequences as a result of measures implemented to contain the pandemic.

World Health Organization is committed to ensuring that everyone, everywhere, can realize the right to good health.

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Telematics and managing commercial auto risks

Telematics and managing commercial auto risks

Telematics and managing commercial auto risks: 3 steps to success

AUTO FLEET MANAGEMENT  •  2 MIN READ

More cars on the roads, rising medical costs, distracted drivers, and higher repair costs are just a few of the factors driving the increase in commercial auto losses. In an effort to help minimize risks and better control costs, more businesses are exploring telematics technology. According to the most recent Fleet Management Technology Report, 44 percent of fleets now use some form of telematics.

However, to get the most return on investment from telematics, businesses need to consider a variety of factors. Here are three steps that can help companies successfully adopt and implement telematics in their operations:

Select a vendor that can help solve your business challenge.

Certain vendors are better at certain things, so it’s important to know in advance the problem your company is trying to solve to help ensure your vendor’s capabilities will meet your needs. For example, a company with a fleet of service vehicles that charges by the hour may want to track exactly when a commercial vehicle arrives at and departs from a specific location to help avoid billing discrepancies. A delivery operation may want to optimize routes to improve productivity and manage fuel costs. A business that is experiencing an uptick in vehicle accidents may prefer to review driver performance by individual, location and vehicle type to identify potential issues.

Translate data into useful information.

The high volume of data, notifications and detailed reports generated from a telematics system can be overwhelming. A business wishing to develop a successful program must know how to transform the data into information that can be applied strategically. For a company that uses telematics to track driver performance, getting an alert for every “aggressive” driving event (speeding, hard braking, etc.) may not provide much value. However, being able to review event rates (number of events per 100 miles driven) for individual drivers could be a better way to compare performance and identify outliers. Establishing suitable reporting parameters to create driver rankings or “scorecards” can help a fleet manager understand “average” performance, set realistic goals that support company objectives, and develop action plans for drivers in need of improvement.

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Michigan Spring Lawn Care Tips and Tricks for a Healthy Lawn

Spring Lawn Care Tips

Michigan Spring Lawn Care Tips and Tricks for a Healthy Lawn

When spring hits in Michigan, there’s a short period before summer comes where you have the time to care for your lawn and make it presentable!

This kind of spring lawn care usually includes ensuring your sprinklers are working properly to keep your lawn hydrated during the warmer months, taking care of your grass and soil with fertilizer, factoring in weed prevention, and of course, getting ready to do something about those pests and mosquitoes.

Everyone wants a bright, inviting lawn and garden, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Take a look through these tips and tricks to be sure you have the best lawn on the block.

Tips and Tricks

Ditch Your Weeds


To keep your lawn looking clean and not overgrown, it’s always a good idea to start by taking care of your weeds. Weeds start to show up right when spring does. Michigan’s most common and most stubborn weeds can include Dame’s Rocket, Maple Seedlings, and Dandelion.

While not harmful to humans, besides the occasional allergy symptoms, weeds are essentially a death wish for your lawn. You’ll want to spray some weed killer or dig each one up from the root before it spreads. They can take over the lawn quicker than you think.

Use Fertilizer On Your Lawn

Fertilizing your lawn in the spring gives it the nutrients it needs to grow back after the harsh Michigan winters. After the snow melts and the spring rain comes, the nutrients your lawn needs have long been washed away.

A properly fertilized lawn can thrive, just like the one you’ve always dreamed of. It can recreate the whole look of your home, without really changing anything at all.

For a bright green lawn, a fertilizer containing Nitrogen helps; and you’ll want something to ensure your roots are healthy as well, so one containing Phosphorus is a good idea as well.

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Downtown GR Now Offering Free Spring Walking Tours

Free Spring Walking Tours in Grand Rapids

MARCH 29, 2021

Downtown GR Now Offering Free Spring Walking Tours

Topics include public art, history and notable landmarks

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. partnered with Grand Rapids Running Tours to offer visitors free walking tours around Downtown Grand Rapids throughout this spring season.

These walking tours explore topics ranging from public art, history and iconic Downtown landmarks.

All tours meet at Rosa Parks Circle and no registration is necessary. First come, first serve. Please bring your masks.

See the full schedule below.

Rad Women Walking Tours

March 30, 9:00 – 11:30 AM

This #WomensHistoryMonth, celebrate the #RadAmericanWomen throughout history via public art and FREE walking tours around #DowntownGR! The artwork and tours are based on the New York Times bestselling book “Rad American Women A-Z” by Kate Schatz. With a total of 27 works of public art on electrical boxes featuring portraits of #RadWomen from Angela Davis to Zora Neale Hurston, the tour will give you a background on each public figure and the Rad Local Artist behind each artwork.

Miles of Murals Walking Tours

April 7, 6:00 PM., Miles of Murals Part One Walking Tour
April 14, 10:00 AM, Miles of Murals Part One Walking Tour
April 21, 6:00 PM, Miles of Murals Part Two Walking Tour
April 28, 10:00 AM, Miles of Murals Part Two Walking Tour


Who says art museums must be inside, enclosed with 4 walls, a ceiling, and a floor? Swirling all about us in Grand Rapids are intriguing artworks on sides of buildings, underneath highway overpasses, on retaining walls, street surfaces, and utility boxes. These are murals – street and wall artworks – painted by artists that celebrate beauty, calls to action, or tributes to heroes. The murals transform otherwise unnoticeable – or worse – blighted spaces into a must-see, energizing attraction. Viewing these murals is a study in local history, community activism, and sheer expressions of creativity… art all the time! So many murals, so little time – so the walk is divided into two parts… we pick up where we left off when we meet for Part Two.

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Michigan State Child Care Pilot Program Shield Insurance Agency

Michigan Child Care Pilot Program

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan to help facilitate state child care pilot program

BY MARK SANCHEZ
Thursday, March 18, 2021, 02:33pm

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan is one of three organizations statewide that was selected to pilot an initiative assisting lower-income workers with affording and accessing child care.

Serving Muskegon County, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan joins United Way of Northwest Michigan in Traverse City and Saginaw Intermediate School District as “facilitator hubs” for the MI Tri-Share Child Care Pilot Program, state officials announced Thursday.

Under the program administered by the Michigan Women’s Commission, the state, employers, and their employees will split the cost of child care. The initiative originated from a coalition of interests the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce assembled in 2019 to examine ways to assist lower-wage workers with child care.

The goal is to bring more people into or back to the labor pool to ease a worker shortage that persists across several industries.

“Child care keeps Michigan working,” Grand Rapids Chamber CEO Rick Baker said in a statement issued by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “Our members tell us child care is essential to having the talent West Michigan needs to thrive. That’s why we were vocal supporters of Tri-Share and additional investments in child care.”

As MiBiz reported last month, the state-backed the pilot with $1 million allocated in the current fiscal year. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed allocating another $2.2 million in the 2022 fiscal year for the MI Tri-Share program.

Under the pilot program, the three organizations will each receive $300,000. The hubs will serve as an intermediary between employers, families, and child care providers, and provide program management.

Hubs will recruit employers to participate in the program that will provide child care assistance to their employees who are otherwise ineligible for a state child care subsidy. Each hub must recruit three employers and help identify and recruit eligible employees who must earn more than 150 percent of the federal poverty level but no more than 250 percent.

Eligible employees at participating companies would have their child care costs split between state funding, their employer, and their own one-third share.

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Shield Insurance Agency | Hemingway Scrapbook image

Hemingway & Michigan Summers

Ken Burns’ Hemingway Documentary Includes Michigan Summers

By MYNORTH NEWS SERVICE on March 12, 2021

Award-winning filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick direct the upcoming three-part, six-hour documentary on Ernest Hemingway, including historical photographs of the writer’s summers spent in Northern Michigan.

The series about Hemingway, the iconic literary figure considered one of the greatest American writers, will premiere on central and Northern Michigan PBS affiliate, WCMU Public Media, April 5 at 8 p.m., and include voice actors Jeff Daniels as Hemingway; plus Meryl Streep, Keri Russell, Mary-Louise Parker, and Patricia Clarkson as Hemingway’s four wives. The documentary series will also include historical photographs of Hemingway’s time spent in Northern Michigan, provided by Michigan’s Clarke Historical Library.

“The extraordinary pictures in the photo albums at the Clarke Library are absolutely irreplaceable to our film,” shares filmmaker Lynn Novick about the important photographs the Clarke Historical Library provided for the documentary series. “They make it possible for us to represent Hemingway’s family and life in Michigan in the most vivid, tangible, and authentic way, and we are so grateful to be able to include them.”

In anticipation of this series, and to explore Hemingway’s deep ties to Northern Michigan along with how they influenced his attitudes, passions, and writings, WCMU Public Media is partnering with the Clarke Historical Library and noted Hemingway historian Michael Federspiel for “Hemingway in Michigan: A Live Streaming Event” Wednesday, March 31 at 6 p.m.

During this virtual event, attendees will enjoy “Let’s Go Back” video stories featuring the Clarke Historical Library’s Hemingway Collection containing one-of-a-kind items from the legendary author’s life, watch an exclusive advanced preview of the Hemingway documentary series before its April 5 nationwide premiere on PBS, and participate in a question-and-answer session with Hemingway experts, including filmmaker Lynn Novick and producer Sarah Botstein.

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2021 Girl Scout Cookie | Shield Insurance Agency

Create Moments of Joy This Cookie Season

There are smiles, purpose, and YUM in every bite!

When you make a Girl Scout Cookie purchase, you’re helping the next generation of entrepreneurs get an important taste of what it takes to be successful: teamwork, planning, and a positive outlook. Because proceeds from your purchase stay local, you also help create positive change in your community by powering life-changing experiences for Girl Scouts all year long.

Whether it’s an outdoor adventure she’ll never forget, a STEM activity that opens her mind to new possibilities, a service project that changes her community, or the chance to build a lifetime of memories with her Girl Scout sisters near or far, Girl Scout Cookies make it all happen!

The best part is this: as you help equip girls with the confidence and know-how they need to dream big and do bigger, you’re also giving yourself and your family the simple, powerful joy of biting into a delicious Girl Scout Cookie with lots of love, inspiration, and purpose in every bite. It’s a sweet reminder that just like Girl Scouts, you too can be brave, resilient, and dedicated to making the world a better place, no matter what.

Give cookies to a friend, enjoy them yourself, or donate them to a local cause—every bite counts!

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Feed your cookie craving!

Ready for cookies? There are several ways to satisfy your Girl Scout Cookie craving.

And remember, by buying and donating cookies, you support and celebrate girl ingenuity and innovation across the country, as Girl Scouts use creative sales methods like contactless delivery, virtual cookie booths on social media, and digital cookie platforms to keep you safe, meet their goals, and keep on shining.

Click here to find Girl Scout cookies in your area

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