Category Archives: Well-being

Join us for the annual Step Up For Stepping Strong Challenge

All faculty, staff and students of the GMHEC colleges are invited to join the Green Mountain Higher Ed. Consortium team for the annual Step Up for Stepping Strong steps challenge supporting The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  The challenge runs from May 1st through the 31st.  Be part of an effort to raise a $100,000 gift to advance trauma research provided by Cigna, honor and support those who have been affected by trauma and be entered into weekly drawings to win gift cards. There is no cost to participate.   Download the MoveSpring app and join us today. 

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Fuel Your Life Nutrition Challenge

March is National Nutrition Monday and there is no better way to celebrate and have some fun than with a nutrition challenge.  The Fuel Your Life Challenge is a self-administered 4-week nutrition challenge designed to support participants to improve their eating habits.  It will run from Monday, March 7th through Friday, April 1st.  Each week of the challenge is focused on a different goal:

  • Week 1 – Making a small change to improve an eating habit
  • Week 2 – Upgrading lunch to be healthier
  • Week 3 – Cutting down consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Week 4 – Planning and preparing meals
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When it comes to heart health, keep it simple

Rarely do we think about our heart and the incredible job that it does to keep us alive.  Since February is American Heart Month there is no better time to think about our heart and consider what we might do to keep it strong and healthy.  The heart is the hardest working muscle in our body and is responsible for delivering oxygen to every cell in our body (except the cornea).  Our heart works tirelessly every second of every day of our lives and it never gets a break.   Consuming a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and reducing stress are essential to keeping our heart in top shape and essential to helping our heart keep up with its tremendous demands.

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Six Ways to Stay Safe and Enjoy Yourself This Holiday Season

Turn on the radio or television or log in to your social media accounts and you’ll likely see messages about the holidays being “the most wonderful time of the year”.  While that may be the case for many of us, we may also find this time of year to be one of the most stressful.  We’re feeling the pinch of having to wrap up year-end projects at work.  We’re overwhelmed with our finances and the supply chain crisis and how this will impact our holiday shopping.  We’ve been indulging in holiday goodies and our waistbands are feeling a too tight for comfort.  On top of all of that we’ve got Covid and the worry about new variants and how this will impact us and our loved ones.  Despite these challenges, it is possible to enjoy the holidays and do it safely.  Here are five strategies to help you stay safe and well this holiday season.

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Take small steps

November is National Diabetes Month so it’s the perfect time to talk about prediabetes.  Prediabetes is a serious health condition affecting more than 88 million Americans, most of whom don’t even know they have it.  Prediabetes puts you at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  In fact, people who have prediabetes have a 50% chance of developing diabetes over the next 5 to 10 years.  The good news though is that by making small lifestyle changes, it is possible to manage or reverse prediabetes and prevent it from turning into type 2 diabetes.    

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The Power of Gratitude

A couple of years ago I read a fascinating and very practical book called “Positivity” by Barbara Fredrickson, PhD.  In the book, Dr. Fredrickson discusses her Broaden and Build Theory of positivity and the power of positivity to transform our lives.  Her theory states that positive emotions such as love, joy, and gratitude, promote new and creative actions, ideas, and social bonds which open us up to new possibilities and that these positive emotions can be drawn upon in times of stress to enhance our resilience and well-being. 

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Cancer….the word no one wants to hear

September is Cancer Awareness Month so there is no better time to talk about the importance of prevention and regular screenings.  Breast and colon cancers rank among the top five types of cancer but with healthy lifestyle behaviors, screening, and early detection these types of cancers are largely preventable and treatable.  And, guideline-based screenings are part of your Cigna health plan preventive care benefit which means they most likely won’t cost you a thing.

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Breastfeeding…not only good for moms and babies but also good for communities

When it comes to infant feeding, many of us may have heard that “breast is best”.  The health benefits of breastfeeding to moms and babies include reducing the risk of maternal postpartum depression, supporting a faster return to pre-pregnancy weight, reducing infant mortality and reducing the risk of the infant developing chronic health conditions as adults.  While these benefits are certainly noteworthy, the benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond mom and baby.  

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Managing Your Post-Covid Re-entry

Over the last eighteen months, many of us have settled into life as remote workers.  While we had concerns at first as to what remote work might look like, we found that remote work brought significant benefits for our work–life balance, allowed for improved work efficiency, a greater sense of control over our work and more time with our families.  Now, just as we’ve gotten accustomed to working from home, it’s time for us to return to campus. 

Heading back to campus means we will have to adapt to and cultivate new routines yet again.   Our schedules might look different as we will have to commute again.  The time we’ve been able to spend with our families will be impacted.  We may experience challenges around child and/or eldercare as well as stress and anxiety associated with the uncertainty that this change might bring.  What will it be like to be face-to-face with our coworkers and students again?  Will norms in how we interact be the same or different?  How will we maintain the self-care routines we’ve worked so hard to establish?  These unknows can be overwhelming but we are resilient, and we will find our groove again.

Here are some strategies to help facilitate the transition and put you at ease:

  1. Get vaccinated: Getting vaccinated against Covid is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your coworkers.  The vaccine is safe and effective and will enable you to get back to doing the things you enjoy without having to wear a mask or practice social distancing (except where required by federal, state, and local law).  Click here to learn more about Covid vaccine and where you can get a vaccine.  
  2. Share your concerns and needs with your supervisor:  Your supervisor wants you to thrive at work and wants to do everything he/she/they can do to help you be successful.  Your school has policies in place which may include telecommuting and flexible schedules to support your work-life balance so explore these options with your supervisor. 
  3. Take advantage of resources to support your mental and emotional well-being:  Your EAP program and Cigna offer a suite of benefits to support all domains of your well-being.  EAP services are available to everyone in your household as well so if someone in your home is struggling encourage them to reach out.  
  4. Make your well-being a priority:  Allocate time each day to your self-care if even only for a few minutes.  Whether it be a walk, yoga or a fitness class, time knitting or reading, journaling, practicing mindfulness or engaging in a creative project, we all need to recharge.  Subscribe to the GMHEC well-being newsletter to stay in the know about the events happening virtually and on your campus. 
  5. Start adjusting your schedule before you return to work:  Think about how you will need to adjust your schedule and start making those changes now. Set your alarm earlier to account for your commute time. Practice meal prepping and packing a lunch.  If you have been enjoying a lunchtime workout, consider where your workout will fit into your day once you go back to the office. Think through the little changes that may disrupt your flow and how you can adapt to them now.  By easing into the return to campus you will likely find that once you do return it will be a much smoother transition.

Transitions can be difficult but with a little planning and a little support they don’t have to be.  Act now and make your re-entry a seamless and positive experience.