Newsletter from Employee Health Promotions

September 2019

What Is Employee Health Promotions?

Employee Health Promotions is made possible through a partnership with South Central Service Coop and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. It is the promotion of health and wellness activities for employees of Mankato Area Public Schools. This work influences the physical, mental, economic and social well-being of employees and in turn the health of their families and our community.

  • Watch for EHP FYI in your email each month, where we will highlight need to know and good to know information for your health and wellness.
  • Get to know your Building EHP Representive(s), learn what activities they have planned for your building and join in!
Second-Year Teachers Share Some Advice for Rookies

I'm Not Good at This Whole Self-Care Thing.

Honestly, I'm probably the last person who should be talking about it. But this morning something happened, so instead of doing what I planned to do today, I'm writing this. Today I made time to do a 30 minute yoga practice before heading to work. This in itself is a big deal -I took time for myself. During that practice, the instructor suggested using a pillow or blanket “if you’d like to make this even more restorative,” and I took her suggestion, wrapping my arms around a blanket, sinking into a deep child’s pose.

Then I burst into tears.

It was immediate, primal, unabashed. And it was accompanied by the thought: What the #@**?! Why was the invitation to restore myself -an invitation from a stranger on a video- causing such a visceral response? I continued the practice, and at each new invitation to let go or love myself, new tears fell to my mat. Clearly, some processing was in order. The best -and only- explanation I came up with was this: for some reason, I needed permission to let go. I needed permission to take the time to restore, to take care of myself. Why do we struggle to give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves? By extending that simple invitation, this yoga instructor gave me the opportunity and the permission to do something I didn’t realize I so desperately needed.

So I’m extending the same invitation to you. As you start the school year, know two things:

  1. When you need time, you have permission to keep it. This is NOT permission to ‘take’ time; the time is yours to begin with. You GIVE it away all day, every day. You have permission to KEEP your own time.
  2. If you'd like to make that time more restorative, feel free to _______ .

I don’t know what goes in your blank. Today I thought I needed to do yoga, but apparently what I really needed was to just grab a blanket, curl up and cry. Perhaps you need to exercise. Or have a chat with another who gets it; one who won’t crap on your ideas or tell you how to fix things, but one who listens and supports. Maybe you need to meditate, eat a fancy piece of chocolate, go to Target (by yourself!), or take time for a date night (alone or with someone special). To me, what goes in the blank is less important than giving yourself permission to fill the blank.

Teaching is exhausting. It’s exciting and wonderful and challenging and frustrating and beautiful. And exhausting. As teachers, we naturally give our heart, our energy, and our spirit to others. You can’t expect to GIVE all day without needing to recharge, to restore. You need to keep some time so you are able to give your time to others. I’m not saying for a second that that's easy. As I said, I’m the last person who should be writing about taking care of yourself. (Notice how many times above I said I 'took' time for myself today?)

For the past decade as a teacher, my work-life balance has basically been non-existent: My partner lamented that my students were more important to me than they were, my family commented that despite me living in the same town as them they never saw me, and the idea of being social was a non-starter. But today, I was reminded of just how important taking -NO- KEEPING time for myself is. It’s important that sometimes “all you need to do right now is release and relax and enjoy these few moments in peace and calm.” Cause when we do, we're able to be more present for those around us.

To you and to your restoration throughout the school year: keep your time and fill in your blank.

Journal Entry by DARCY BAKKEGARD, Teacher Ambassador PBS Teachers Lounge.

Darcy Bakkegard is the Teacher Ambassador for Prairie Public Broadcasting in Fargo, ND where she leads professional development workshops, webinars, and 1:1 training for teachers across the state. Twitter: @DBakkegard

Vital Worklife Employee Assistance Program

Vital Worklife Employee Assistance Program. This service is available to ALL EMPLOYEES and geared toward recognizing an employee's life situations and helping to find appropriate help. It is confidential and is available to both the employee and members of their household - at no cost to the employee.

Examples of services available:

  • Phone Coaching

  • Online Seminars

  • Chemical Dependency Assessment

  • Face to Face counseling

  • Legal and Financial discounts

  • Click HERE for a complete list of services offered by this provider.

Phone number is: 1-800-383-1908.

Website is: username-mankatoschools, password -member

Calendar for free classes held September - November for employees of Mankato Area Public Schools
Calendar for free classes held September - November for employees of Mankato Area Public Schools
list of winners from Fall 2019 Staff Opening Session

Keep Your Eyes Open, The Next Chance to Win Prizes is Coming Soon!

rainbow colored eyeball

Other Resources For Your Wellness

  • MAPS Community Education and Recreation classes and events are advertised in the seasonal brochure each Fall, Winter and Summer. Employees are eligible for a $10 fee reduction for a class in each brochure. Each individual must register and provide their employee email address and work site. Contact the CER office at 507-387-5501 for more information.

Fall Brochure

  • READY! for Kindergarten. At the time of a requested paternity/maternity leave, an employee is entitled to two (2) years of READY! for Kindergarten Classes advertised in the seasonal Early Childhood Brochure. Registration is conducted through the Early Learning Office by calling 507-625-4620 or stopping by the Family Learning Center, 820 Hubbell in Mankato and completing the paperwork process.
Fall Brochure

  • 2020 MAPS Employee and Dependent Flu Shot Clinic - August 2020

Benefits for employees insured through MAPS

We Couldn't Resist!

It's Such a Good Feeling