Newsletter from Employee Health Promotions

November 2018

What is Friendsgiving?

For some Thanksgiving celebrations, friends are family.

It's called Friendsgiving, a gathering of friends over a Thanksgiving feast. Breaking out the slow cooker doesn't have to mean Mom is in town. Usually the host makes a turkey and guests bring sides, potluck-style. It often promises many of the usual traditional dishes, sweet potato casserole and pie included, but it can be a time to break culinary traditions.

Friendsgiving might have started among college students or coworkers who didn't have a place to go or ability to travel home for the holiday. But, Friendsgiving now can also mean a time to share a meal with friends in addition to Thanksgiving with family. Friendsgivings also might not happen on Thanksgiving day, but simply near the holiday.

People have been using the term since 2007, but it became popular in 2011 when Bailey's Irish Cream used the word in a advertising campaign, according to Merriam-Webster. While a lot of people point to Thanksgiving episodes of the TV series Friends as responsible for Friendsgivings (either way, Monica's turkey head is epic), it didn't originate there, the dictionary points out. In fact, The Real Housewives of New Jersey might actually have had more to do with it. In an episode named Gobblefellas, the housewives host competing Friendsgivings.

Ashley May, USA TODAY Published 9:23 a.m. ET Nov. 9, 2017 | Updated 9:27 a.m. ET Nov. 9, 2017

Tablescape containing cooked turkey, cranberries, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, silverware

How to Show Gratitude and Give Thanks

by Shawn Friday, MEd, LPC, CEAP

published by Vital Worklife

Gratitude is defined as the state of being grateful: thankfulness. It is the feeling or showing of appreciation and kindness. Sincere expressions of gratitude take little time, cost nothing and can go a long way in creating a positive environment in the workplace or at home.

An article in the Harvard Business Review states in the general population only 15% of employees say thank you at work, and 35% say their managers never say thank you. However, if a person’s contributions are acknowledged as useful and appreciated, they are more likely to help again later. Here are some tips about how to say thanks and why you should show gratitude toward your family and colleagues.

Why Say Thanks

· 90% of individuals see a personal thank you for work well done as very important.

· 81% of individuals would work harder for a boss who was more grateful.

· More than 50% would stay with their organization longer if they felt appreciated by their manager, according to

HR Online, states psychological research shows a consistent and strong association between gratitude and level of happiness; meaning more positive emotions, better relationships, better health and more resilience from stressful events. Genuinely grateful people have healthier hearts, stronger immunity and lower blood pressure, according to Harvard Health.

How to Say Thanks

· Focus on the positive. Use positive words instead of negative. For example, say, “I’ll always remember” rather than “I’ll never forget.” The shift may seem insignificant, but the difference is big on the receiving end. Avoid adding “but” at the end of your thanks and tacking on implied criticism.

· Say it like you mean it. Authenticity is crucial. When expressing thanks, do so with intention and focus. If saying thanks in-person, look the person in the eye. If you are saying thank you on the phone, avoid multi-tasking.

· Make it personal. Write a handwritten thank you note or leave a voicemail. A quick email is more likely to be deleted. Gratitude and Thankfulness VITAL WorkLife, Inc. 800.383.1908 Pathways to Well Being · Go above and beyond. Thank individuals across the organization, including those you do not normally interact with. This may include front office staff, business staff or maintenance teams. Get to know your co-workers!

· Be specific. Give a specific reason for praise; it’s more effective than a general “great job.” · Be timely. Do not save a thank you for an annual performance evaluation or wait until they stack up. Timely appreciation is more powerful.

· Take gratitude seriously. If you say, “I really appreciate you pulling together the data on the new development. Who’d ever have guessed you’d get it done so fast?” the individual will remember the dig, not the gratitude. If you are not someone who says thank you on a regular basis, consider making it a priority.

A little bit of gratitude can go a long way in contributing to healthier, more positive relationships — at home and at work. And if you have read this article, be one of the first to click on this link for your chance to receive a prize as our way of thanking you for your commitment to wellness within our MAPS community!

5 Minutes Daily For Back Health

Instructions for how to complete arm extensions, head and neck tilts,
Instructions on how to complete 12 different desk stretches
Poster advertising opportunity to participate in a free fitness class at Lincoln Community Center.  Offer is open to all employees of Mankato Area Public Schools.  If interested contact Tia Dupont at
Omada Health Program logo and picture of a woman posing as a subscriber.

Other Resources for Your Wellness

  • The Omada program is now available to all our health plan participants and adult dependents. Omada® is a digital lifestyle change program that inspires healthy habits that last. It combines the latest technology with useful information and ongoing support from a health coach - an approach shown to promote weight loss and reduce risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Watch a two-minute overview at Individuals can find out if they're eligible for the program by taking a one-minute risk screener at

  • 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.
Current 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.
Current Fall Brochure

  • Vitals SmartShopper is another new program. It’s a health care shopping and savings program that works with your medical benefits. With SmartShopper, you and your covered family members shop for different medical procedures and tests via phone, web, or mobile device. When you choose to have your procedure at a facility on the SmartShopper list, you earn cash. You also save money on what you pay out-of­-pocket for the procedure. Register by calling the SmartShopper Personal Assistance Team at 1-866-285-7452 or go online to

  • 2019 MAPS Employee and Dependent Flu Shot Clinic - August 29th 11:30-5:30 PM

Vital Worklife Employee Assistance Program

Vital Worklife Employee Assistance Program. This service is 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