Employee Wellness Newsletter


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Thank you to our teachers!

Dear IISD Teachers,

KMAC students and their teacher Lori Sims from MacArthur HS in cooperation with EWS produced a “Thank You Irving ISD Teachers!” video in appreciation for all you have done during this pandemic. Our Superintendent Magda Hernandez also thanks you and is happy to promote this video for you.

We love our teachers!

Teachers Final kmac
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The EWS Newsletter

This newsletter will provide information on emotional, mental, physical and nutritional health. We will focus on a proactive approach to health and well-being. The EWS Newsletter will also offer support & guidance resources and suggestions that we hope will reduce anxiety and stress.
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Emotional Wellness

According to the National Institutes of Health, Emotional Wellness is the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change during difficult times. Emotional Wellness encompasses all of who we are. It's a lifelong process, which becomes an attitude and lifestyle. An Emotional Wellness Toolkit can help us strengthen this development.

Wellness Tools

Optimism - Mindfulness - Gratitude - Emotional Intelligence

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What is Optimism?

Optimism is a mental attitude characterized by hope and confidence in success and a positive future. Optimists are those who expect good things to happen, whereas pessimists instead predict unfavorable outcomes. Optimistic attitudes are linked to a number of benefits, including better coping skills, lower stress levels, better physical health, and higher persistence when pursuing goals.

Optimists tend to view hardships as learning experiences or temporary setbacks. Even the most miserable day holds the promise for them that "tomorrow will probably be better."

If you always see the brighter side of things, you may feel that you experience more positive events in your life than others, find yourself less stressed, and even enjoy greater health benefits.

Source: Very Well Mind


What We Gain from Being Positive

1. Reduced Stress and Boosted Well-Being

Have you ever felt relieved, despite a recent stressor, by a good laugh with friends? That’s because joy floods your body with mood-enhancing and stress-reducing hormones (Ong, Bergeman, Bisconti, & Wallace, 2006).

2) Stronger Resilience

One study found that increased resilience also had a significant impact on emotional regulation, which allows individuals to bounce back from stressful events and find meaning in negative experiences (Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004).

3) Increased Performance and Engagement

Schutte (2014) found that positivity at work led to enhanced self-efficacy, which in turn increased job and relationship satisfaction and mental health. Another researcher found that positive emotions improve organizational citizenship and work engagement in employees, while also decreasing negative attitudes like cynicism and deviance (Avey, Wernsing, & Luthans, 2008).

4) Increased Healthy Choices

When humans are content, or happy, the wiring in our brain changes in ways that scientists are still trying to understand. Suffice to say, positive emotions are worth our time in the world of research and everyday reality (Herzenstein, 2009).

Source: Positive Psychology.com


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Understanding Mindfulness

To live mindfully is to live in the moment and reawaken oneself to the present, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. To be mindful is to observe and label thoughts, feelings, sensations in the body in an objective manner. Mindfulness can therefore be a tool to avoid self-criticism and judgment while identifying and managing difficult emotions.

Source: Psychology Today


How to Practice Mindfulness

1. Take a seat.

Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.

2. Set a time limit.

If you're just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as 5 or 10 minutes.

3. Notice your body.

You can sit or kneel however is comfortable for you. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.

4. Feel your breath.

Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes out and as it goes in.

5. Notice when your mind has wandered.

When you get around to noticing this - in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes - simply return your attention to the breath.

6. Be kind to your wandering mind.

Don't judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.

That’s it! That’s the practice. You go away, you come back, and you try to do it as kindly as possible.

Source: Mindful - healthy mind, healthy life


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How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can't feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.

Source: Harvard Health Publishing - Harvard Medical School


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What Does it Mean to Practice Gratitude?

Gratitude is simply defined as the state of being grateful. It involves expressing thanks or appreciation for something, from a gift to life itself.

Gratitude involves recognition of the positive things in your life and how they affect you. This can range from acknowledging a beautiful flower you pass on the sidewalk to the feeling of thanks that comes from recovering from a serious illness.

You can practice gratitude in lots of different ways, like:

  • gratitude exercises, such as journaling
  • paying attention to the little things in life, like the birds in the trees
  • doing something kind for someone in your life to express your gratitude
  • meditating on the positive aspects of your life
  • giving thanks through prayer
  • telling someone you’re grateful for them or for something they did, even if it was a long time ago

Source: Healthline


What is Emotional Intelligence or EQ?

Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.

Emotional intelligence is commonly defined by four attributes:

Self-management – You’re able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.

Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. You know your strengths and weaknesses, and have self-confidence.

Social awareness – You have empathy. You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.

Relationship management – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.

Source: HelpGuide


How to Improve Your EQ

The good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned and developed. As well as working on your skills in the five areas above, use these strategies:

  • Observe how you react to people. Do not rush to judgment before you know all the facts.
  • Look at your work environment. Do you seek attention for your accomplishments? Humility can be a wonderful quality. Give others a chance to shine.
  • Do a self-evaluation. Try out our emotional intelligence quiz . What are your weaknesses? Are you willing to accept that you're not perfect and that you could work on some areas to make yourself a better person?
  • Examine how you react to stressful situations. The ability to stay calm and in control in difficult situations is highly valued. Keep your emotions under control when things go wrong.
  • Take responsibility for your actions. If you hurt someone's feelings, apologize directly – don't ignore what you did or avoid the person. People are usually more willing to forgive and forget if you make an honest attempt to make things right.
  • Examine how your actions will affect others – before you take those actions. If your decision will impact others, put yourself in their place. Would you want that experience? If you must take the action, how can you help others deal with the effects?

Source: MindTools



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Camp Gladiator and Irving ISD

"Let's get it started (ha)!'

  • 10% Discount on All Our Membership Options (Outdoor and Virtual)
  • All Irving ISD Employees Get One Week Free


Uliser Salmeron – NASM CPT

CG Franchise Owner

Call or Text: 214-587-4172

Email: ulisersalmeron@campgladiator.com

Eating Healthy

French-ish Onion Soup

Onions, garlic, oil, wine, and salt are all it takes to make a rich vegan broth that still evokes the classic version. And we just couldn’t resist toasting some sharp cheese on bread to drop into the bowls.


  • 2 lb. onions (7–8 small ones), very thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 thick slices sourdough bread
  • 2 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Sliced chives and finely ground black pepper (for serving)


Step 1

Toss onion and 3 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot to coat; season with salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring and scraping bottom of pot frequently, until onion softens, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add garlic. Cook, stirring and scraping pot’s surface occasionally, until onions are the color of browned butter (don’t worry if they stick in places; a few drops of water and a wooden spoon will release any sticky bits), 20–30 minutes longer. Add wine and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until wine is evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 6 cups water and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and continue to simmer until flavors meld and soup tastes rich, 10–15 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°. Place bread on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Toast until lightly charred around the edges, about 10 minutes. Top with cheese and continue to toast until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Step 3

Divide soup among bowls. Place cheesy toast on top. Sprinkle with chives and season with pepper.

Source: bon appétit

French - ish Onion Soup Recipe

Nutritional Counseling

Covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield as well as other insurance groups.

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Employee Assistance Program

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TRS Active Care

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Assurasource Behavioral Health Services is offering IISD employees 3 months of free virtual counseling this school year. Click on the link above for more information about Assurasource including their webpage and phone number. If interested call and let them know that you are employed by Irving ISD.

Support the Spread of Wellness

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About Us

Our Employee Wellness and Support Services provides opportunities and resources for employees to develop and maintain healthy emotional, mental, and physical well-being through support and guidance, as well as promoting personal and professional productivity through educational engagement.

For more information about Employee Wellness and Support Services visit our website:

Employee Wellness and Support Services or contact Jose Villasenor, EWS Coordinator:

jovillasenor@irvingisd.net | 972-600-5217 Office | 469-781-1843 Mobile

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Questions, Suggestions, Comments


Jose Villasenor


972-600-5217 O | 469-781-1843 M

Employee Wellness Webpage

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