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Employee Wellness News

Posted: April 4, 2023

2023 April Wellness Newsletter

April ambition means resting between intervals of hard work. This is stress, alcohol awareness & humor month - what a combination! Check out April events and more wellness trends in the news.

Wellness Wire - Exposing Weakness

“Ah, now you're exposing my weakness," quipped my 83-year-old client when I asked him to take an extra 15 seconds of rest to fully recover from a set of work. I replied,  "Look, you have to rest between intervals of hard work in order to get the most out of your workout and also make it to the finish." My client, however, likes to feel like he is achieving something (this is good) but sometimes thinks modifying and having to rest more is a step back or a negative indicator.  I think we can all relate to that in one way or another.

When I was young, I used to think I could forge through pretty much anything. I worked 60-70 hour weeks. Daily multiple deadlines. Very high stress. Squeezed in exercise early in the morning or late a night and I didn’t sleep much. When I did sleep, I dreamt of work. (That’s not true rest.)  I thrived (or thought I did) under the pressure. Between me and you, I was probably a little self-absorbed about it all. I thought I was strong enough to burn the candle at both ends because it got me results and I liked feeling good about my job. Until it all caught up with me - as it always will. My ambition exposed my weakness. It did so in the name of chronic stress and illness.

When we push through mental or physical fatigue without giving ourselves proper rest, eventually, we become ineffective, burn out, and break down. We can have the perception we 'thrive' on it but our bodies do not - in any way - thrive under stress for the long haul. 

But I had a hard time resting and stepping away, as I'm sure many of you do, too. The reason that the concept of rest under pressure can be difficult for some of us is because of one simple word: Ambition. 

Ambition is a strong desire to achieve something. Ambition in and of itself is a good thing. We want to have drive, dedication, and a strong work ethic. Ambition drives motivation and feeds our intellectual well-being. When we are in a field of work that drives our purpose and passion, we feel even more motivated. But when ambition comes at the sacrifice of our mental, emotional, and physical well-being, and at the expense of our personal relationships, then ambition becomes our weakness. And it's not worth it.

So, we need to shift our mindset around what we consider weakness to be. 

It is not weak to rest. It is not weak to realize in the midst of pursuing goals that fulfill our purpose that we may need to step back, ask for help, or take another direction.  It is not weak to seek help if you're struggling with substance overuse, stress, anxiety, depression, or any other kind of strain.  

Exposing our weaknesses to unchecked ambition and changing course to maintain well-being can be our greatest strength. 

This concept is key. We can still fulfill our purpose, reach goals and achieve success. We may just need to alter the method as we move through it so we can actually make it to the finish line with our health intact. This is my hope for you. I don't want you to be careening toward the end of the school year crawling to the finish sick, injured, and burned out. 

This week my encouragement to you is to consider your weakness - in whatever setting - and be willing to step back from it for the greater purpose of pursuing your health. This gives us the ability to pursue our purpose with enthusiasm and lasting mental, emotional, and physical well-being. 

APS offers wellness resources to help you cope with stress, burn-out, and other health concerns.

  • APS EAP offers free, confidential counseling for employees and immediate family members. Call (505) 880-3718 to schedule an in-person or virtual WeCounsel appointment.
  • Learn about all your mental and behavioral health resources mental and behavioral health resources (free, with no copays)

We've got just 2 months left of school. Let's make our ambition to finish this school year with the same amount of energy, motivation, and inspiration and with more strength than we started.  

Register for the new Wellness at Work Well-being Platform

Well-being Your Way. Connect with your new wellness platform!

APS partners with The Solutions Group to bring you a variety of well-being programs as well as the Wellness at Work platform and employee wellness incentive program. We are happy to announce our well-being program had a significant upgrade in the transition to a new platform called Virgin Pulse.

The wellness program through the Solutions Group is still called "Wellness at Work" but the platform is hosted on Virgin Pulse.

The new mobile app has enhanced wellness options, easier access, and simplified activity syncing.

Full-time employees received an invitation email on Jan. 4,18, and Feb. 23 from Wellness at Work  wellnessatwork@phs.org (it's not spam) titled, "Sign up for your NEW well-being portal and start earning today." or "Get started on your wellness journey. Register today!"  

Employees on the previous platform can access your new Wellness at Work platform with the same username & password.  New users can easily register in less than 5 minutes. This is open to all full-time APS Employees. (*Additional instructions are in the APS employee wellness event calendar.)

Note: If you are a full-time APS employee covered as a dependent under the Presbyterian Health Plan, or ANY health plan, register as a 'non-covered' APS employee. If you are a full-time employee NOT covered by APS Benefits plan, register under "non-covered" APS employee. 

The 2023 APS Employee Wellness Incentive Program runs from Jan. 1, 2023 - Dec. 31, 2023. This is a voluntary wellness reward system for all full-time employees. 

April Webinars

Every month APS employees have access to a variety of well-being webinars. All webinars are recorded.  All the information and links/QR codes to join are in the Employee Wellness event calendar.  Register and receive the recording for on-demand viewing at a time that is convenient for you.

  • Saturday, April 15, 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. - Life on Mindfulness: How to get the most out of meditation
  • Wednesday, April 19, Noon - Wellness Webinar: Sleep Hygiene and Circadian Science
  • Mindset Monday, April 24, 11:15 a.m. Strategies to Achieve Goals (15 minutes)
  • Wednesday, April 26, 8 a.m. or Noon: How to Create a Balanced Life. This is a 15-minute workshop session.
  • Thursday, April 27 Cooking Show Noon - 1 p.m. - Meatless Monday!

Virtual and Email-Based Wellness Opportunities 

  • Life on Mindfulness: Check out the new Life on Mindfulness website with the password APSLOM. This is a free, flexible program for all employees that offers daily drop-in meditations, new weekly and monthly content, featured meditations, and Saturday workshops. Everything is recorded for on-demand access. Links for daily drop-ins and the Saturday sessions are in the APS Employee Wellness Calendar. Enroll in the Life on Mindfulness Program for all content and email reminders. This site is mobile phone optimized so you can access a wide variety of recorded meditations anytime, anywhere. *The Life on Mindfulness program is open to all APS employees. 
  • Health Coaching: If you would like help with managing a chronic illness and weight loss to improve your health, or to simply feel better, APS offers free health coaching to all APS employees. *Open to all APS employees.
  • 30 Ways to Well-being is an email-based program. Register and receive daily wellness emails with simple yet innovative practices to do every day. This will bring new awareness for you around stress, sleep, movement, nutrition, connection, and more! This is an ongoing program. Enroll and engage at your own pace. *Open to all APS employees.

Join Livongo for Blood Pressure & Diabetes & Weight Loss 

Get your life back and manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity with this personalized program- LivongoThe name is short for Live On The Go! Because having a chronic illness can hinder our positive life experiences. We want you to get that back and feel better! Participants receive one on one expert coaching, and integrated tools to manage blood sugar, blood pressure, and weight loss. 

Note: This program is free for eligible employees and dependents under APS Benefits.

On-Site Wellness 

Short wellness presentations for school staff and APS departments. We can tailor to your needs and fit time ranges from 15-60 minutes. Some topics include:

  • Just the basics - APS wellness benefits and resources
  • Stress, Burnout, and Resilience
  • Social well-being
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Financial Well-being
  • Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Health
  • Understanding Healthcare & Medical Consumerism

Schedule Pet Therapy

This is for APS employees. If you would like to offer your staff or department a couple of hours of furry-cuddle-stress-relieving therapy time, fill out this request form. Please note that accommodations must be made for any colleagues who have allergies to dogs. 

Group Exercise Classes 

Class Schedule

  • Monday (virtual) 6 to 6:30 a.m.: Sunrise Yoga link to join is in the APS Employee Wellness event calendar.
  • Monday (in-person) 4:45 to 5:30 p.m.: Gentle Vinyasa Yoga. Location: City Center/Rio Grande OR Arroyo Chico

About the classes

  • In-person group exercise classes are at City Center/Alice & Bruce King Complex or Helen Fox.
  • In-person classes are 45 minutes in length and all levels are welcome.
  • Classes are free for APS employees. 

Questions

If you have any questions contact Becky MacGregor by email at employee.wellness@aps.edu. 

More Fitness, Nutrition & Wellness Trends in the News

 News: Exercise for Diabetes

To help those who manage the condition, the American College of Sports Medicine issued updated guidelines on exercise for diabetes based on new substantive evidence. All employees covered under APS benefits plans are offered a free diabetes management solution called Livongo

Nutrition: Meat Alternatives Benefit Gut Microbiota

A British study suggests less meat and more vegan meat impersonators might be good for the gut microbiota. For more nutrition guidance, APS offers all employees free health coaching. 

 Mind-Body: Resilience From Exercise Competency

Research shows that feelings of competence may facilitate an individual’s ability to optimize the resilience gained from physical activity. 

Recipe: Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette

The monounsaturated fat and polyphenols in olive oil might be why it has a health advantage over other fats. That makes this fruity dressing a top gun for any salad. 

Video: Sidelying Straight Leg Hip Adduction

Lie on your side, bottom leg straight, top leg bent, foot flat on the ground in front. Lift and lower bottom leg, working the inner thigh and hip area.