We Encourage Living Life, 10/21
Wellness Program Update
Everyone who filled out their Wellness incentive form for the month of September and turned it in, received the full 2000 points! The points program is designed to help you stay aware and work towards better habits. Everyone received the maximum number of points available because participating is a great first step.
We are still in need of Wellness leaders from each school. Please email Dean MacInnis if you are interested.
If you have not received your lacrosse ball and you signed-up for the Wellness program, please email Dean MacInnis too!
Last month's focus was on physical tension and muscle tightness. This month we are focusing on the mental side of our overall well-being. We cannot talk about mental health without addressing the possibility of Burnout.
Sometimes it feels like we just can't make lemonade...
Handling Job Burnout
Try to take action.
- Evaluate your options. Discuss specific concerns with your supervisor. Maybe you can work together to change expectations or reach compromises or solutions. Try to set goals for what must get done and what can wait.
- Seek support. Whether you reach out to co-workers, friends or loved ones, support and collaboration might help you cope. If you have access to an employee assistance program, take advantage of relevant services.
- Try a relaxing activity. Explore programs that can help with stress such as yoga, meditation or tai chi.
- Get some exercise. Regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress. It can also take your mind off work.
- Get some sleep. Sleep restores well-being and helps protect your health.
- Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of focusing on your breath flow and being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling at every moment, without interpretation or judgment. In a job setting, this practice involves facing situations with openness and patience, and without judgment.
Managing Stress is a Daily Effort, Not a One Time Fix.
It’s all too easy to overlook how your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors contribute to your everyday stress levels.
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. It’s all too easy to overlook how your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors contribute to your everyday stress levels.
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:
- Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
- Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”)?
- Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?
Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.
A Brief Change of Focus
Taking a moment to pause is a beneficial way to reduce stress from compounding throughout the day. According to our September Wellness survey, the majority of us feel like we are not able to take a mental break while at work. Most of the time it's because we can't get something off our minds. Taking a mental break may consist of briefly changing your environment, staring out a window, watching a scenery video on YouTube, looking at your favorite photo or putting on some relaxing music. All these tools help change your focus and allow your mind to escape for a moment, sort of like meditation.
Sleep Deprivation Can Have a Significant Impact on Both our Mind and Body
Try these tips for getting better sleep and creating the foundation for our overall wellness.
- Set a sleep goal. Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep a night so that we have the energy to tackle everyday demands. Waking up refreshed will help us make smart decisions and stick to our diet and exercise plan. Sleep can help boost our motivation and willpower, making it easier to fend off temptations.
- Establish a regular bedtime and honor it. The first step to behavior change is making a commitment toward what we want to accomplish and sticking to our plan. Establish a regular bedtime and stick to it as much as possible. That might mean putting our smartphone in another room so that we aren't tempted to scroll through our social media feed right before bed or setting an alarm to remind us that it's time to start getting ready for bed.
- Eat healthier foods. When our body and mind are fatigued, we may misread hunger cues. The next time we find ourself wandering into the kitchen or mindlessly snacking at the computer, ask if I may be tired rather than hungry. It's common to mistake fatigue or emotions for hunger.
- Ease into sleep. Setting aside a little time before bed for relaxation can help us transition into sleep. Try deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, gentle stretching or guided imagery to help focus our attention away from worries and into the present. If our busy mind keeps us awake, jot down those thoughts in a journal or on a pad of paper by the bed.
While you’ll get the most benefit from regularly exercising for 30 minutes or more, it’s okay to build up your fitness level gradually. Even very small activities can add up over the course of a day. The first step is to get yourself up and moving. Here are some easy ways to incorporate exercise into your daily schedule:
- Put on some music and dance around.
- Take a short walk.
- Do some Yoga.
- Jog in place.
- Use the stairs rather than an elevator.
- Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot and walk the rest of the way.
- Pair up with an exercise partner and encourage each other as you work out.
Stress Relief from Laughter....It's No Joke!
A good sense of humor can't cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive things laughter can do!
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
- Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
- Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn't just a quick pick-me-up, though. It's also good for you over the long term. Laughter may:
- Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
- Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
- Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem.