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Employee Wellness News

Posted: April 2, 2024

April 2024 Employee Wellness Newsletter

Active April Spring Fling activities, on-going APS employee wellness programs and the latest trends in health and wellness news.

Dry bones come alive

Wellness Wire - Active & Alive 

I’ve been wrestling with this one. Which way to approach this concept of being active and how it connects with intentional and purposeful living.

We can be alive but not living. We can exist with dead hearts and dry bones yet still pull in a paycheck, have families, and aimlessly cruise through monotone days. 

Personally, I believe this is one of the greatest tragedies of our time. Existence without purpose and passion.  Living without being actively engaged in life and all the beautiful, bountiful benefits it beholds.

I know there are those among us buried under depression, anxiety, loss, loneliness, financial strain, and work/family conflict. This is what has extinguished the desire, or perhaps even the ability, to feel active and alive. It can lead us to this desolate area of destructive habits that cause illnesses and create a chasm between family, work, and personal well-being.   

Active is an intentional state of being. The partial definition is “characterized by action rather than by contemplation or speculation; expressing action as distinct from mere existence or state.” 

So, let's step back and review. The March “Wading in the Messy Middle of Motivation” explained our VUCA world and introduced you to the importance of autonomy and mastery/self-efficacy (this is Social Determination Theory). 

Most of us want to have control over our lives and the decisions we make. In an uncertain, volatile, ambiguous world, we feel stress from things that are outside of our control. We want to know we have choices and some amount of control over them. People generally like to feel they have the skills or access to resources, needed to make changes and be successful.  Encouraging an environment where people are given opportunities and up-skilling fosters mastery/self-efficacy.  We can then navigate challenges in a way that enhances social connection, intellectual curiosity, and spiritual joy. This all feeds our intellectual, social, and emotional well-being. The third part of the social determination triangle is purpose and meaningSimply put, purpose is the thing that feeds our souls, ignites our hearts, and waters the roots of our well-being. Purpose is sometimes included in our 'value-based why' statements.  When we feel a sense of purpose, in any area of our lives, for what we do and why we do it the desire to care for our bodies intrinsically shifts. 

Yes, I would like you to be more physically active but I would love for you to take a more holistic approach to your well-being so that you can feel alive through intentionality and purpose. We can start this process by shifting from a passive to an active mindset.

An active mindset can acknowledge our faults, failures, or shortcomings without letting them define us. Taking steps, through coaching or counseling, to change. Active mindset switches might come down to simple attitude adjustments. That’s not diminishing the severity of someone’s situation. But we don’t have to allow our disappointment, conflict, and subsequent anger to override and dictate our quality of living and how we engage with others.

We can be active in how we advocate for others in our collaboration, encouragement, and compassion. There's a significant return on this investment when we collectively act with one another in humility for positive changes; the actions of our peers inspire us and we're motivated by that. These are good, culture-changing shifts. 

What active and alive is not - is sleepwalking through life. It is not burying our emotions with substances, food, and other behaviors that leave our mental and physical well-being withering on the vine. Active and alive is not living through a screen of TV, Internet, and social media influence 24/7.

When we shift from a state of mere existence to actively expressing well-being through purposeful living, encouraging and connecting with the people and activities that bring us joy, dead hearts come alive, and dry bones are revived. This is what it means to be active and alive. 

This is my hope for you;) and it's something we can all achieve with small mindset shifts, perhaps some outside help, and a little intentionality. 

If this is a hard topic for you and you're weighed down with life circumstances, or not sure how to get started, APS offers a variety of mental health resources. Our Active April "Spring Fling" activities are in full swing! Scroll down to learn more about this month's activities and ongoing APS Employee Wellness Programs.  

 

Spring flower graphic with Wellness at Work challenges, in person/on site 'do the loop' walking activites.

Away with the woes of winter, I am in a Spring Fling! On my way to Summer Wonders. With winter far behind, Summer is on my mind!" JoAnne Shadday

As we start April our motivation can still wax and wane like the Spring weather we typically experience in New Mexico. In keeping with our 2024 phrase of the year, our motivation for April is to be intentional  and active with our mindsets by creating moments of joy and things to look forward to every day that enhance our well-being and relieve stress. 

There's something about the rebirth of nature in Spring that sparks a renewed sense of energy and excitement in us. Sure, we get bursts of chill but the smell of warmer days is in the air and our internal clock adjusts to longer evenings. Perfect timing for an "Active April Spring Fling" focus across APS! 

So, as we feel invigorated with each new warming day and blossoming flower, join some of these fun Spring Fling activities! 

1. Wellness at Work/Virgin Pulse Program 
    Movement and mindset challenges on focus and energy starting with a "Weekend Walk-Off" April 13-14. These challenges go through our Wellness at Work/Virgin Pulse well-being platform. All invites will be sent through the APS Employee Wellness "group" on that platform. (Under "social" search "groups".)

2. April 10-24 on-site parking lot, or track, "Walk the Loop" contests - The weather is beautiful (at least sporadically;) so grab a colleague and walk the parking lot perimeter, school track, or the designated area. We will have raffle prize drawings for participants and sites that participate. The more you walk the better chance you have of winning! 

Flyers for the below locations will be distributed.

  • City Center - Sheets will be at the East/West tower door entrances. For every loop you walk, write your name down. 
  • M&O - Flyer coming soon for the Milne track loop walks
  • Transportation (main) - Flyer coming soon for parking lot loop walks
  • Food & Nutrition - Flyer coming soon for parking lot loop walks

If you want to do a parking lot/track "walk the loop" contest at your school/site, contact Becky MacGregor at becky.macgregor@aps.edu or employee.wellness@aps.edu.

Schedule a Benefits Bootcamp & Win!

picture with people in a huddle and information about scheduling a 15 minute benefits bootcamp.

There's more than one way to get in shape. This boot camp will flex our benefits knowledge muscles and strengthen our minds, body, and spirit without having to squat, plank, and jump up and down. (Unless you really want to;)

Plus, we all want to spread positive motivation this time of year and nothing says "I care" like the healing touch of massage and acupuncture! 

So, Employee Wellness is offering the best of both worlds: Schedule a 15-minute "Benefits Boot Camp"  presentation between now and April 26 and be entered to win chair massages or acupuncture/ear seeding for your staff in May!  

Yes, I am using this as a shameless plug to weasel my way in front of your staff. I am steadfast in my persistent effort to educate or remind our amazing employees of the benefits and wellness resources we offer. The upside is it won't be boring and prizes will still be involved so even if your school doesn't win the raffle drawing...we're all still winning! 

Schedule a presentation now by contacting Becky Macgregor at becky.macgregor@aps.edu. Also, consider Pet Therapy as another staff stress reliever. Stay connected with all things wellness on Twitter, Instagram YouTube for stretch breaks and APS employee interviews, and Facebook. Keep scrolling below for more on-going wellness programs.

Register Anytime For The New Wellness at Work Well-being Platform & Earn Rewards!

Wellness at work

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.

To Register:

  1. Full-time employees have received six email invitations in 2023 sent between January and October and another invitation in January 2024 from wellnessatwork@phs.org (it's not spam) Search for the email invitation with your link to join. 
  2. You can also register by going to the main login pageFollow the instructions according to which APS Benefits health plan you have or join under "non-covered, full-time employee" if you don't take APS medical benefits. *This program is open to all full-time APS Employees. 
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. 

Is Chronic Pain, Mobility & Lack of Strength Affecting Your Well-being?

Get the relief you need to feel and function better with this NEW virtual physical therapy program by Hinge Health. 

Hinge Health gives you the tools to conquer joint and muscle pain including back, neck, knee, and shoulder pain, recover from injuries, prepare for surgery, and stay healthy and pain-free.

Learn more and register for the program. Begin your journey today with a physical therapist and health coach team!

Hinge Health is available at no cost to employees and eligible dependents covered under the APS Benefits plans.   

Conquer High Blood Pressure, Diabetes & Weight With This One Solution - Livongo!

Manage diabetes, pre-diabetes, blood pressure, weight loss, and healthy lifestyle goals, and receive mental health support with this integrated wrap-around solution.

Livongo is a holistic program that empowers people with chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and other health challenges to feel better and do more. 

Livongo is an integrated solution with free 1-1 health coaching, mental health support, and connected device monitoring.  Depending on your health condition you'll receive a blood pressure cuff, glucose meter/test strips, and/or connected scale. It's all seamlessly integrated through a mobile app with results you can share with your doctor. 

*This is a free program for all employees and eligible dependents under the APS Benefits plans. 

Getting started is easy!  

  • Text “GO APS” to 85240 to learn more and join
  • Join by visiting www.livongo.com/aps
  • Call 800-945-4355 and use the registration code: APS

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. 

Financial Wellness with Nusenda 

Nusenda Credit Union has been the Albuquerque Public Schools Federal Credit Union since 1936 and offers comprehensive financial services to APS employees and their family members. 

The APS Employee Wellness Banzai Site offers financial literacy courses and interactive simulations that engage users as they learn about finances and how to build credit, reduce debt, and/or save for life expenses like buying a home or car, starting a family, and planning retirement. Take a look at the Nusenda benefits flyer and reach out to Nusenda for more information. 

Virtual and Email-Based Wellness Opportunities 

  • Life on Mindfulness: Check out the new Life on Mindfulness website with the password LIFEONMINDFULNESS. 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 CoachingIf you want to get started on the road to better health and wellness but you're not sure how to start, 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.
  • MyStress Tools This is an online suite of stress management and resilience-building resources. My Stress Tools helps you understand

    the root causes of your stress and gives you the help you need to dramatically reduce your stress and build your resilience. Click here for flyer details. *Open to all APS employees.

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:

  • Wellness Benefits Boot Camp - APS wellness benefits and resources with fun gaming interaction.
  • The Communication Connection: The role communication plays in the workplace and collective well-being. 
  • Stress, Burnout, and Resilience
  • Social well-being
  • The Importance of Sleep to Overall Well-being, Weight & Chronic Illness
  • Nutrition in The News
  • Financial Well-being
  • Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Health

Wellness Trends In The News

News: Walking After Prolonged Sitting

Most know prolonged sitting is bad for health, but what are the options when you need to sit for your job? This study has some answers. 

Nutrition: Bye or Buy? Avocado Oil

A favorite among the keto crowd and haters of seed oils, avocado oil is gaining steam as a favorite liquid fat in kitchens. 

Mind-Body: Loneliness and Physical Inactivity

Research finds a connection between loneliness, unhealthy weight and physical inactivity in college students.

Recipe: Hummus Chicken Wraps

In a study, adults who had an ideal level of dietary niacin intake had a lower risk of new-onset hypertension, making these hummus chicken wraps a low-pressure lunch option. 

Fitness Handout: The Low-Down on Fasting and Meal Timing

Understand the science of meal timing to make decisions easier, especially as your healthy resolutions for this year may be in the rearview mirror!