It is not news that there is a mental health crisis in our county. We have been hearing about it a lot lately. In August of 2020, the CDC reported that among U.S. adults, symptoms of anxiety had tripled, and symptoms of depression had quadrupled since 2019. Pandemic fatigue, job losses and loss of income, living in a constant state of uncertainty about the future, worries about the health and well-being of our loved ones, a loss of the way of life as we had known it, living in a virtual world, and being constantly connected to our screens, juggling work and parenting…. it’s no wonder that our mental well-being is suffering.Continue reading Managing overwhelm and enhancing our mental well-being
Are you ready to kick off the new year with a bang? Let’s get fully charged and go into the year with our best energy. Faculty and staff of our member colleges are invited to join us on a three week Quest to Recharge. Using our DIEMlife platform, participants of the Quest will engage in activities that will enhance their emotional, physical and community well-being. Each week of the Quest will focus on a different domain of energy and each week drawings will be done and prizes awarded. All participants will be eligible to win. Join us for one week or all three. Get all the details and register here. Sign up now and invite your coworkers. Let’s recharge together and support each other to make 2021 a great year.
In addition to the Quest, our partner DIEMlife has extended an awesome opportunity to all faculty, staff and students of our member colleges…a discounted membership into “The World’s Biggest Race for Wellness” which includes a year of monthly virtual races, exclusive wellness challenges, and events for free with a purchase of an annual race pass ($25). This annual pass gets members access to all DIEMlife virtual wellness races in 2021. Typically the cost is $25 per year plus $15 per race so this is a great deal and a great way for you to have fun, engage in some friendly competition and take action to enhance your health and well-being. This offer will expire on January 31, 2021 so check it now. Click on the Race for Wellness link above, scroll down to “GMHEC early bird partner package” and you’ll be ready to get in on the action.
I have been enjoying a lot of time alone in the woods lately hiking up mountains, breathing in the cold, crisp air and being in awe of the magical wintery scenery unfolding before me. These forays into the wilderness have afforded me the opportunity to reflect on 2020 and consider what I want for 2021. For many of us 2020 was one of the most challenging years of our lives. We saw or experienced egregious acts of violence, unrest, and suffering. It was a year plagued by unbelievable hardship. But 2020 may have also given us a most precious gift, the gift of reminding us of what we most value and how we want to live our lives.Continue reading Living on a foundation of values
I am about five years old and am sitting on my dad’s shoulders in my one-piece red snowsuit and big winter boots. I’m waiting with great anticipation for the parade to start. My dad said Santa will be here! It is Thanksgiving and we are at the parade of all parades, the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. The energy is palpable. The crowd is thick. I’ve never seen so many people in one place. There are people as far as I can see. People are clutching cups of hot chocolate to keep their hands warm. Street vendors are selling balloons and hot pretzels. Steam is rising from the subway grates and the noise of the crowd is almost deafening. I hear the music of the marching band coming our way and I see clowns on roller skates and they’re throwing confetti. The balloons are huge, and the floats are so beautiful. My dad is grinning from ear to ear and I love to see him so happy.Continue reading Giving thanks
For many of us, 2020 has been one of, if not the most challenging years of our lives. Covid-19 is putting tremendous pressure on us all, especially on parents with children at home. More and more parents are reporting high levels of stress, anxiety, and feelings of being on edge since the pandemic started and this distress has a ripple effect on children, families, and relationships. Being proactive and taking action is critical during times like these to sustain our health and well-being.Continue reading Perseverance in the face of challenge
It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever. While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, there are many important benefits, such as:
- Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.
- Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.
The CDC recommends getting vaccinated before flu viruses begin spreading in your community, since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February so getting vaccinated in October and into early November will offer the greatest protection.
You can get your vaccine at your primary care practice and at many local pharmacies. For a list of Cigna in-network pharmacies click here. BCBS VT members…to find an in-network pharmacy where you may be able to get a flu vaccine, click here. MVP members….click here. Staying in network for your vaccine will ensure that your vaccine is covered, and you don’t incur any unexpected costs. Most pharmacies offer flu vaccine on a walk-in basis, but it’s always a good idea to call ahead to make sure they have vaccine available and a staff person to administer the vaccine when you arrive.
This year it’s more important than ever for all of us to take action to keep ourselves and those around us safe and healthy and getting vaccinated is one of the best ways we can do that.
Congratulations to Champlain College and Norwich University for being recognized with a 2020 Cigna Well-being Award. Champlain College is being awarded with the “Outstanding Culture of Well-Being” and Norwich University will be receiving “Honorable Culture of Well-Being”. These awards recognize organizations for demonstrating a strong commitment to improving the health and well-being of their employees and for creating and enhancing a culture of well-being. Applicants are evaluated on five key components of their well-being: Leadership, foundations, program implementation, tools, and health promotion participation data. All applications are reviewed and judged by an internal, multi-departmental review committee from Cigna. This is a wonderful achievement and one that the leadership, faculty and staff of Champlain and Norwich can be proud of. Congratulations to everyone who made this possible.
Fall has arrived and with that means cooler temperatures, shorter days, and for many of us, more responsibilities and demands on our time. While many of us may have been in our self-care grooves this summer, we often have a hard time maintaining these routines as we transition into fall and winter. As a health coach, I so often hear people say, “I fell off the wagon” or “I don’t know what happened. I was doing so good.” Well, I might be able to shed some light on what happened. The environment changed and instead of adapting we dug our heels in and tried to maintain the same routines under completely different circumstances. If you’ve been on the “on the wagon/off the wagon” in the past, I’ve got some strategies and new ways of thinking that just might help you drive the wagon exactly where you want it to go this fall and winter.Continue reading Seasons change and so can we
Ninety percent of Americans recognize the impact of money and their finances on their well-being. Many of us are feeling our stress level rise with the uncertainty that Covid has brought with it. We may be experiencing a loss of family income, increased expenses due to unexpected childcare needs or we may have seen our retirement savings decrease. Whatever the cause, money woes can be overwhelming but there are things we can do to take control of the situation. Check out this resource guide for coping with financial uncertainty developed by Northwestern. In the resource guide, you will learn about how your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help, tips for coping with stress, dealing with creditors and how to address mortgage issues. To find out how to access your EAP, refer to your school’s Well-being Resource Guide.
Consumerism, the word makes me cringe. As a minimalist, the idea of too much stuff makes me anxious. As a lover of our environment, the idea sounds irresponsible and as someone who values stability and personal responsibility, the idea of consumerism sounds like it would fiscally irresponsible for me. For many of us the idea of consumerism probably sparks some discomfort or negativity but in the case of healthcare, consumerism is a good thing.
Healthcare consumerism means people “proactively using trustworthy, relevant information and appropriate technology to make better-informed decisions about their health care options in the broadest sense, both within and outside the clinical setting” (Carman, Lawrence & Siegel, 2019). Being proactive and informed….now that sounds empowering. That is something I can get behind. But how can we become better consumers of our healthcare?
There are three, primary actions we can take:
- Make the most of your medical appointments by being prepared. Check out these tips from the Dartmouth Center for Shared Decision Making.
- Take personal responsibility for your self-care behaviors: Our health is largely determined by the seemingly small behaviors we engage in every day. In Vermont, three behaviors (poor diet, lack of physical activity and tobacco use) lead to four diseases (type II diabetes, cancer, heart disease & stroke and lung disease) that are responsible for 50% of all deaths.
- Take advantage of tools to support your decision making. For our Cigna members, check out this video developed by our Cigna Engagement Specialist, Mari Walsh. It will walk you through all the cost comparison/cost containment tools available to help you make the most informed and fiscally sound decisions.
Being better consumers of healthcare, like anything, comes down to commitment and practice. Choose to be prepared, to take responsibility and to use the tools available to you to help you be successful. You have got nothing to lose and everything to gain.