The Environment and Our Mental Health

As humans, our overall health is significantly affected by our natural and built environment: where we are born, live, learn, work, play, and congregate all influence our health. While we often think of these environmental factors as relating largely to our physical health, it is important to consider the effect of our environment on our mental health and well-being.

What we know for sure is that there are many factors that contribute to mental well-being, and we all benefit from stable environments, strong communities, and ready access to needed services. During this year’s Mental Health Month, which has been celebrated annually in May since 1949, Mental Health America invites you to Look Around, Look Within as we consider every part of our environment and its effect on our mental health and well-being. While some aspects of our environment may be outside of our immediate control, in other areas we have the potential to make change. Consider your home, your community, and the time you spend in nature and what you might modify to make these environments more supportive of your well-being.

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Celebrate Heart Month by Investing in Yourself

We’ve all heard the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” (Benjamin Franklin).  When it comes to our health, and specifically heart health, this quote could not be more applicable.  While genetics certainly play a role in the health of our hearts, our lifestyle and preventive care behaviors also play a significant role. Since February is American Heart Month let’s talk about some things we may be able to do to keep our hearts healthy.

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Have Fun and Get Active

Activity challenges are a great way to support you to be happier, healthier, and more energized by recognizing the benefits of every day activity. The Move More challenge is open from January 25th through March 7th. Earn points by engaging in the activities that you enjoy most. Set a goal to increase your activity or compete against your colleagues. This event is open to all employees and family members. All participates will be entered into a raffle for prizes including $100 gift cards. Join with the organization GMHEC, register as a GMHEC employee, create or join a team or participate as an individual. Click here to learn more and here to register.

Prioritize Your Well-being!

GMHEC is proud to announce the launch of a new wellness program – Movejoy!

Movejoy has created a wellness check-in program for employees of our member colleges and registration is open now. Movejoy matches employees from our member institutions based around compatible schedules and wellness goals. Together the matched pairs help one another stay accountable to a wellness goal/action for the duration of the program. This program is open to all employees and is a great way to connect with someone new and support one another.

The program will run from Monday, February 6th to Friday March 31st and we are asking everyone to sign up by Sunday, January 29th. Click here to visit the GMHEC sign up page


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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Celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month!

Summer in Vermont…. bluebird skies, vibrant greens of the trees and meadows, flowers blooming in their bright, stunning hues, the beautiful sound of birds singing, the shimmering crystal blue waters of our lakes and streams…Vermont has it all. Not only is the environment stunningly beautiful and awe inspiring but it’s also good for us.

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An ounce of prevention….

We’ve all heard the old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  The phrase was coined back in 1736 by Benjamin Franklin to remind the people of Philadelphia to be vigilant about fire awareness and prevention. Regardless of the issue we are referring to, prevention is always easier that managing challenges after they have occurred. When it comes to our health and well-being, this adage most definitely rings true.

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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 and there is no individual fundraising requirement.  Download the MoveSpring app, connect your device and get moving. It’s simple and fun and you can feel good knowing that you’re activity is making a positive difference. 

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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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