Employee Wellness Newsletter

Back to School

Week of August 10, 2020

It's Back to School Month.

The IISD EWS Newletter

This newsletter will provide you with information on emotional, mental, physical and nutritional health. We will focus on how to help you be proactive about your health and well-being. The EWS Newsletter will also provide support & guidance resources that we hope will assist you in dealing with stressors and challenges.
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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Transition Back to Work

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Our brains have an autopilot mode that consist of shortcuts we’ve made to help us undertake routine tasks with minimal mental effort. That’s why we can drive to work without ever remembering how you got there.

However, as we return to work, if our brain reaches for the autopilot version of a familiar routine, it may get short-circuited by our new reality. When that happens, we may feel “lost in the familiar.” Where we park, having our temperature taken, standing six feet apart from people, and wearing PPE are just some practices that will contradict what our brain expects.

It may only take ten seconds to adjust, but that shift requires enormous mental energy, and we may have to adjust several times a day for the first few weeks back.

Here are some approaches to minimize the stress and confusion.

How do we stay focused on hope?

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The transition to the “next normal” has included the worry of the unknown, but it can also include hopeful possibilities and relying on each other more than ever.

The transition will feel different for each of us. Our highs and lows won’t always match those of others. What we can control is our responses to our transition, and how we support others through theirs. When the transition feels discouraging, ask yourself a question that will restore hope.

Try this question: “A year from now, if someone asks how living through Covid-19 changed me for the better, how do I want to answer?”

Regardless of the difficulties we've suffered, we get to decide how this shapes the person we want to become. Think of the positive possibilities every day and allow them to strengthen your hope when you need it.

This pandemic has redefined the word “together” and as we transition back to work it will be redefined yet again. How will you help it mean something hopeful for your team?

Source: How to prepare yourself for a return to the office

How do you feel?

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Evaluate how you are feel once, twice, or three times a week. You may want to check your feelings more often depending on the level of your stress.

Set an alarm on your phone, or a reminder in your calendar, to measure how stressed, anxious, or gloomy you feel. Using a scale from 0 (‘not at all’) to 10 (‘extremely’) may help.

It is normal for these scores to go up and down each day and throughout the week but if you notice the scores are increasing and remaining very high, then it’s time to prioritize your mental health.

Choose a check-in buddy you can be honest with about how you are coping with all that is happening around you. This may be your partner, family member, housemate, friend or co-worker. Remember, we are in physical isolation, not social isolation.

As you check your feelings, recognize when you are thinking in negative, unconstructive ways. Ask yourself, "is there a more helpful way I could think about this situation?"

Source: How to Prepare Yourself to Return to the Office

Stay Active

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Staying physically healthy during times of stress can help improve our emotional and mental health.

“The good news is, you don’t need a lot of space to move — for instance, jumping jacks and marching in place not only benefit the body but improve our mood and sense of accomplishment," says Jolene Noel, operations manager for the Rush Fitness Center and certified fitness professional.

Never underestimate the power of stretching. At-home yoga or even simple stretches can relieve muscle tension and help realign your posture. Get creative: Noel suggests using a belt, tie, towel or other household items to help stretch out.

Find peace in the present moment. Meditation helps clear the mind and promotes full-body relaxation. Meditation can help us sort out the challenges we are experiencing now and in the future.

“One of the most important benefits of exercise right now is how it helps boost your immune system,” says Noel.

Source: Rush University Medical Center

The importance of sleep

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Sleep is always important. When confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, sleep becomes even more essential because of its wide-ranging benefits for physical and mental health.

Wind-Down Time: It can involve things like light reading, stretching, and meditating along with preparations for bed like putting on pajamas and brushing your teeth.

Bedtime: Pick a consistent time to actually turn out the lights and try to fall asleep.

Be mindful of screen time: The blue light produced by electronic devices, such as mobile phones and computers, has been found to interfere with the body’s natural sleep-promoting processes. As much as possible, avoid using these devices for an hour before bed. You can also use device settings or special apps that reduce or filter blue light.

When you can't sleep: If you find that you’re having a hard time sleeping, don’t spend more than 20 minutes tossing and turning. Instead, get out of bed and do something relaxing in very low light, and then head back to bed to try to fall asleep.

Contact Your Doctor if Necessary

If you have severe or worsening sleep or other health problems, it is advisable to be in touch with your doctor.

Source: Sleep Foundation

Eating Healthy

Good nutrition is always important, but during this pandemic, it’s even more important because a well-balanced diet of nutritious foods helps support a strong immune system.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables also contain vitamins and minerals, although the processing of these products sometimes adds ingredients such as sugar, salt or preservatives. Be sure to read the labels so you can choose what’s best for you and your family.

Consume a diet rich in whole grains, nuts and healthy fats such as in olive, sesame, peanut or other oils rich in unsaturated fatty acids. These foods help to support your immune system.

It’s tempting to reach for comfort food when we’re stressed, and that’s okay once in a while. But don’t make it a habit because many of these foods, such as mac and cheese, pizza, and burgers and fries, are high in fat, sugar and salt.

Drink water regularly. Staying well hydrated also helps your immune system. Stick with plain water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages to cut down on empty calories.

Source: The Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Diet During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Nutritional Counseling

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Healthy Bytes provides nutritional counseling to improve overall employee health and welfare, and offers school district employees access to virtual counseling with a Registered Dietitian.

Nutritional counseling has many health benefits, including:

· weight loss and management

· lowering cholesterol

· managing chronic conditions

· increasing energy levels

Our experts can address these concerns and many more via a private virtual appointment, available from your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Healthy Bytes is covered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, and is in-network with most other major insurance companies as well.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit www.healthybytesinc.com.

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Yumlish is a personalized nutrition program that can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol, and feel fantastic.

If you have general questions about nutrition or are at risk for type 2 diabetes, you may be eligible for Yumlish MNT and/or Yumlish Prevent T2.

All participants of Yumlish MNT program will get:

· Virtual nutrition sessions with a certified registered dietitian

· Comprehensive nutrition assessment

· Customized plan using evidence-based nutritional guidelines

All participants in Yumlish Prevent T2 program will get:

  • Weekly virtual nutrition sessions with a certified registered dietitian
  • Peer support to keep you accountable and encouraged
  • One-on-one support from your dietitian to keep you on track
  • An optional smart scale to monitor your progress
  • Prizes for meeting health goals and completing challenges


If you or your spouse/domestic partner are enrolled in an Irving ISD medical plan, your cost may be covered at 100%. Your qualifying Yumlish program is personalized and your results are completely private. Your employer will never see individual results.

To schedule an appointment, visit www.yumlish.com/iisd

Mental Health Support

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Texas Health and Human Services Mental Health Support Line

If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed

by the COVID-19 pandemic, help is available.

Please call the toll-free HHSC COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at 833-986-1919 to speak with a mental health professional for help dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression.

Irving ISD Employee Assistance Program

Cigna Life Assistance Program Offers 3 free Counseling Sessions

Cignalap.com | 800-538-3543

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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

The Employee Wellness and Support Classes are Back

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Facing Fears And Concerns About Returning To Work: Resources That Will Help

This Employee Wellness class offers information and resources we can use to help ease the transition for returning to work. It will helps us recognize and reduce potential difficulties and enhances positive consequences.

The class will be offered twice in an online workshop format using Zoom.

August 12, 2020 at 4:30-5:00 p.m.

Register here using your district credentials.

Zoom: https://Region10.zoom.us/j/2803774870

August 13, 2020 at 4:30-5:00 p.m.

Register here using your district credentials.

Zoom: https://Region10.zoom.us/j/2803774870

Supporting your supervisor

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Be compassionate toward your boss especially if you aren’t their biggest fan right now. Keep in mind that they are experiencing the added pressure of managing their own transition alongside helping you manage yours. Until we learn and adjust to what does and doesn’t work to keep people safe and productive, everyone will need extra measures of empathy and understanding. Trust that things will get smoother as everyone learns together.

Game Changers

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Ultimate Leadership

(My principal) knows my name and treats me fair. No matter how many times I make bad choices, she forgives me and doesn’t throw it up in my face later. There are consequences, but she also takes time to talk about how to make different choices the next time. – Student

(My assistant principal) was very caring and when it came down to him having to handle a problem he knew how to handle it very well and was very patient. He is serious when he needs to be but is also a very funny person. He is personally one of the best assistant principals I’ve had so far. – Student

I appreciate that (my principal) is concerned for our well being. She is always reminding us to take care of ourselves, to take time to reboot and decompress, and to do things outside of school that we love. She cares about us not just as teachers but as individuals which makes us feel appreciated, and valued. (My principal's) leadership makes us feel safe and secure. She makes everybody feel like somebody. – Teacher

Our amazing administrators are caring, uplifting and encouraging towards the students, They are making (our campus) a place kids want to be every day. – Parent

Pues yo confió mucho en los administradores porque ya llevo muchos años en (la escuela) y siempre ha sido una experiencia hermosa contar con ustedes para todo. Estoy agradecida por su servicio a nosotros como padres. Dios me los bendiga y les guarde a todos por su labor.

– Parent

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Questions, Suggestions, Comments


Jose Villasenor


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

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