Wellness Wednesday Issue #28

The Assist Newsletter
July 12, 2023
Wellness Wednesday

“Surround yourself with people that inspire you and you will not only grow — you will soar.”  — Mimi Ikonn


Taming the Four Horsemen: Navigating Relationship Communication


In any relationship, effective communication is crucial for fostering a healthy and lasting bond.

However, certain negative patterns can undermine this vital aspect, leading to conflict and dissatisfaction. Renowned relationship experts Dr. John and Dr. Julie Gottman have identified four destructive communication behaviors, referred to as the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse“:

  1. Criticism: Making personal attacks or attacking the character of your partner instead of addressing specific issues. It goes beyond expressing a complaint and tends to focus on negative traits or behaviors.
  2. Contempt: An intense feeling of disrespect and superiority towards one’s partner. It manifests through insults, mockery, sarcasm, and hostile body language.
  3. Defensiveness: A natural response to perceived criticism or attacks. However, it often involves deflecting blame, making excuses, or counter-attacking instead of taking responsibility for one’s actions. This defensive stance hinders effective communication and escalates conflicts.
  4. Stonewalling: This occurs when one partner withdraws or shuts down during a conflict, refusing to engage or communicate. It can be driven by feelings of overwhelm, frustration, or a desire to avoid further escalation. While it may seem like a way to de-escalate tension, stonewalling can leave the other partner feeling ignored and emotionally disconnected.

Recognizing and addressing these destructive patterns is essential for healthier communication and relationship growth.

Here are some strategies to mitigate the impact of the Four Horsemen:

Practice gentle startup: Begin conversations with a softer, non-blaming approach, focusing on specific issues rather than attacking your partner’s character.


You come home after a long day, and the house is a bit of a mess. Instead of addressing the specific issue, criticism might sound something like this:

“You never clean up after yourself! Can’t you see how messy this place is? You’re so lazy!”

Instead, let’s take a gentler approach:

“Hey, I noticed the house is a bit messy. Could we work together to tidy up? It would really make a difference and create a more relaxing space for both of us.”

See the difference? By focusing on the specific issue without attacking your partner’s character, we can avoid the landmine of criticism and work towards a solution together.

Build a culture of appreciation: Counter contempt by fostering a positive and respectful environment. Express gratitude, admiration, and affection towards your partner regularly.


Let’s say you and your partner are discussing a disagreement about finances. Contempt might make an appearance like this:

“You’re so irresponsible with money. I can’t believe I have to deal with your constant overspending. You’re like a child.”Contempt has a way of belittling and demeaning our partners.

Instead, approach it with empathy and understanding:

“I understand that we have different approaches to finances, and it’s causing some tension. Let’s find a way to work together and come up with a budget that suits both of our needs.”

By acknowledging the differences and seeking a collaborative solution, we create an environment that fosters respect and teamwork.

Take responsibility: Instead of becoming defensive, try to listen openly to your partner’s concerns and take responsibility for your part in conflicts. Avoid shifting blame and be accountable for your actions.


Imagine you and your partner are discussing a disagreement about spending too much time on social media. Defensiveness might sound like this:

Partner: “I’ve noticed that you’ve been spending a lot of time on your phone lately, and it’s making me feel neglected.

“Defensive response: “Well, maybe I wouldn’t be on my phone so much if you didn’t nag me all the time. You’re the same way — you’re always on your phone!”

Instead, let’s aim for a more constructive approach:

Partner: “I’ve noticed that you’ve been spending a lot of time on your phone lately, and it’s making me feel neglected.”Non-defensive response: “I hear your concerns, and I apologize if it feels like I’ve been prioritizing my phone over our time together. Let’s find a way to balance our screen time and ensure we have quality moments.”

Take breaks, not walls: When conflicts become overwhelming, it’s essential to take short breaks to calm down and gather your thoughts. Communicate this need to your partner so they don’t feel ignored or abandoned.


Imagine you and your partner are engaged in a heated discussion about a breach of trust. Stonewalling might manifest like this:

Partner: “I can’t believe you lied to me again! How can I trust anything you say? You always let me down!”

Stonewalling response: *Suddenly becomes completely silent, clenches fists, and withdraws emotionally from the conversation, refusing to engage further.*The emotional barricade is up, and it’s amplifying the frustration and resentment within the argument.

Instead, try instating a break:

Partner: “I can’t believe you lied to me again! How can I trust anything you say? You always let me down!”

Non-stonewalling response: “I understand that my actions have caused you pain and mistrust. Right now, I’m feeling overwhelmed and need a moment to collect my thoughts and calm down. I want us to have an open and honest conversation, so let’s take a short break to gather ourselves and reconvene when we’re both ready to communicate effectively.”

🎧 Recommended listening: Brené Brown with Drs. John and Julie Gottman on What Makes Love Last.


Nominations Open for The ASAP Awards at APC!



We all know individuals who go above and beyond in the workplace, making a significant impact and inspiring others with their outstanding achievements. Now is the time to recognize and celebrate these exceptional professionals.

We are thrilled to announce that nominations for The ASAP Awards at APC are open!

The ASAP Awards are recognition programs that aim to honor administrative professionals who have made significant contributions to their organizations.

The two awards are: The ASAP Impact Award and The ASAP DEIB Award.

The winner of each award will be honored at our highly anticipated Administrative Professionals Conference (APC) in Las Vegas, NV from October 22-25.

This includes a free pass to APC 2023, 3 nights of hotel accommodations and coach round-trip airfare!

At this event, the recipients will be called up onstage to accept their award and receive well-deserved recognition amongst their peers.

❗ Nomination Deadline: August 15th, 2023.

👉 Submit your nomination(s) today!

Terms and conditions apply.


Chill Out…Literally


Are you ready to take the plunge into a chilly adventure that’s all the rage? We’re talking about cold-plunging.

While research on this topic is ongoing, some scientific findings suggest the following benefits of cold plunging:

  • Improved circulation: Cold water immersion is known to constrict blood vessels, which can enhance circulation. When exposed to cold water, blood vessels constrict, diverting blood flow to vital organs. After emerging from the cold water, blood vessels dilate, resulting in increased blood flow and improved circulation.
  • Reduced inflammation and muscle recovery: Cold plunging has been found to reduce inflammation and promote muscle recovery after intense exercise. Cold water immersion can help decrease post-workout muscle soreness, swelling, and inflammation by constricting blood vessels and reducing tissue damage.
  • Enhanced immune function: Some studies suggest that cold water immersion may increase the production of certain immune cells, such as white blood cells, which play a crucial role in fighting off infections and diseases.
  • Increased mental well-being: Cold plunging has been associated with improved mood and mental well-being. Cold water exposure is thought to trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood-boosting chemicals, leading to feelings of euphoria and a reduction in symptoms of stress and depression.
  • Boosted metabolism and fat burning: Cold exposure can potentially stimulate the activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT), which is responsible for burning calories and generating heat. Activating BAT through cold water immersion may increase metabolism and aid in weight management.
Ready to dip your toe in the icy waters? Start with a quick cold shower or ease into a cold bath 🛀.


How To Use Employee Analytics to Enhance Engagement Surveys



Are employee engagement surveys the be-all and end-all to understanding employee sentiment? 🤔

Though surveys can be a good first step to assess the state of the organization, they need to be supplemented with rich, real-time people analytics in order to be meaningful, trustworthy, and actionable.

Let’s take a look at the challenges with traditional engagement surveys and how rich people analytics can help fill in the gaps. 📈

Continue Reading


National Intern Day is Coming…


National Intern Day is just around the corner on July 27th!

Here’s a quick list on how you can make your interns feel like rockstars:

  1. Take the time to publicly recognize their accomplishments during team meetings, company-wide emails, or newsletters.
  2. Engage in regular feedback sessions to provide guidance and support their professional development. Offer constructive feedback, mentorship, and resources to help interns grow in their roles.
  3. Provide them with opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge. This could include attending conferences, workshops, or training sessions related to their field of interest.
  4. Include them in team-building exercises, social events, or team outings.
  5. Introduce interns to professionals in their field of interest or connect them with mentors who can offer guidance and support. Encourage them to attend networking events or facilitate connections within the organization to expand their professional network.
  6. Offer interns a written testimonial (even a reco on LinkedIn) or a reference that they can include in their portfolio or share with future employers. This demonstrates your confidence in their abilities and can be valuable for their future career prospects.
  7. Never underestimate the power of a simple thank you. Express gratitude for their hard work, dedication, and contributions. A heartfelt thank-you note or a personalized message goes a long way in showing your appreciation.
  8. Bring them treats, of course!


Remember Etch A Sketch?



At The Top Of Our List


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🤖 This powerful calendar companion that enables efficient scheduling and prioritization of tasks.

💻 An online space where your team can unleash their creativity and bring their visions to life.


Latest Listings


😊 If you’re looking to launch an Employee Wellness Program at work, check out these ideas.

💡 Understand what your employees love about your company and what can be improved with stay interviews.

🔖 Catch up on all Wellness Wednesday newsletters here.

🏪 The Assist Store: Check out our Etsy Store or get our most popular templates for free here.

🚨 Job Openings

❗If you have a job opening at your company that you’d like us to share in our newsletter, please submit it here.

💌 P.S. We’re launching a brand new free newsletter for HR Professionals called Human Crapital on Wed July 19th. Get on the early bird list here.

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