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Emotional Support in Uncertain Times

Magna’s health-and-wellness programs and medical benefits – and some pink hair dye – are helping Sara Tarasenko maintain her emotional equilibrium during the pandemic.

The Magna payroll administrator began a company- sponsored Weight Watchers program shortly before the lockdown last spring. Previously, she participated in a Magna “boot camp” workout held in the parking lot of the corporate offices in Troy, Michigan.

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“Magna got me kick-started on those programs,” said Tarasenko. “I continued them on my own when we began to work remotely. I’ve lost 30 pounds during the lockdown, and during breaks I do squats at my desk.”

“I also lift weights,” Tarasenko said, holding up a 10-pound dumbbell during a Microsoft Teams call to illustrate her commitment to exercise as a way to relieve stress.

Like others who are grappling with the emotional challenges of uncertainty and fear brought on by a pandemic that has curtailed movement and upended routines, Tarasenko realized she needed extra support beyond dieting and weight training.

The mother of Lucas, 4, and Riley, 1, had to adjust to working at her dining-room table instead of the office most days. The kids’ daycare center shut down and her in-laws came over to babysit while she worked, adding to the distraction. Her husband Dan, an accountant, shared her crowded home workspace in the early days of the lockdown.

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SARA TARASENKO, Magna payroll administrator and her family

“It was very stressful,” she said. “But I was blessed to be able to have virtual sessions with my therapist on the phone in my car while I sat in the driveway. My Magna benefits are great. My health insurance covers my therapy and my prescription for medicine for depression and anxiety. I credit Magna programs for mental-health awareness with helping to remove the stigma. The company was already open and dealing with these issues before the pandemic.”

Tarasenko’s boss, Carol Bentley, the controller of Magna Services of America, encouraged her to seek extra help during the pandemic.

The pink hair dye also lightened Tarasenko’s mood.

“Experimenting with different hair color is something I’ve always enjoyed,” said Tarasenko, a former hair stylist. “I do bright, fun colors. It makes me happy.”

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