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Employee Wellness News

Posted: December 1, 2021

December 2021 Employee Wellness Newsletter

You're a mean one, Mr.Grinch! The Challenge is ON - Read more about the NM Educators Weight Loss Challenge, APS Employee Wellness resources, and more nutrition & fitness trends in the news!

Turn this grinch around with love kindness patience and acceptance.

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch!

Last year I recall writing about everyone’s enthusiasm to turn the page on 2020. We were hopeful of the vaccines and getting back to a more normal state of living in 2021. That happened for a couple of months and here we are again. A new year approaching with many still struggling to keep their heads above the pandemic wave as well as the workload and family struggles that come with it.  

My daughter and I were watching How the Grinch Stole ChristmasIf I could personify COVID-19, I’d give the virus full-on Grinch status.

In the movie, the Grinch is a thief slinking through the night robbing families of their holiday goodies and all they represent - hope, happiness, joy, and community.  In a similar way, COVID has stolen these things (and more) from us and added a stocking full of stress and heartache.

In one way or another, we are all suffering through this. Given the circumstances we’ve been under, it would be easy for us to react like the Grinch:

“4:00, wallow in self-pity. 4:30, stare into the abyss. 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one. 5:30, Jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me. I can’t cancel that again. 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing…Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness.” 

What turned the Grinch around? A vaccine, of sorts. The medicine, delivered by Cindy Lou Who, was a heavy dose of kindness, patience, grace, and acceptance. The unexpected booster ignited his heart and actually made it grow! 

In much the same way – whether we are the giver or receiver - this kind of cure has the ability to bolster our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.   

“It came without ribbons, it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags.” — The Grinch 

It also comes without cost! While we can’t make the pandemic and every struggle associated with it disappear, we can help ourselves, friends, and colleagues, by keeping this remedy of kindness, grace, and patience in ample supply. 

If the burden gets too heavy, or you're not sure where to start, turn to one of these APS Employee Wellness resources to help pull you through the holidays and into 2022.

APS Employee Wellness Programs & Events

APS Employee Wellness offers many free programs to help all employees (regardless of benefits coverage or full/part-time status) lower their risk for disease, attain lifestyle and weight loss goals as well as manage stress and mental health issues.  

  • Pre-Diabetes Prevention Program: Are you one of the 1 in 3 who have pre-diabetes and don't know it? Let's just nip that diabetes risk right in the bud! Join this national pilot program from the CDC and through NMSU. Learn more by attending one of the information sessions on January 26 at 4:30 pm or January 27 at 6:00 pm. 
  • Livongo:  Get your life back and manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity with this personalized program- Livongo. The 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, integrated tools to manage blood sugar, blood pressure, and weight loss. *This program is free for eligible employees.
  • Health Coaching: If you are not covered under APS Benefits and would like help with managing a chronic illness, weight loss to improve your health, or to simply feel better, APS offers free Health Coaching to all APS employees.
  • Life on Mindfulness - The Life on Mindfulness program is a free, flexible program for all employees that offers weekly drop-in meditations, new monthly content, and Saturday workshops. Links for weekly 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. 
  • 2021/2022 Employee Wellness Incentive Program  - This is a voluntary wellness reward program for all full-time APS employees. We're winding down 2021 so get those points in and redeem for any number of rewards like New Mexico Sports & Wellness memberships, LesMills OnDemand, Stone Age gym passes, Wecks, Flying Star, or Sports Systems gift cards. We start fresh on Jan. 1, 2022. If you haven't participated, take time over the break to read more about it, log in to your Wellness@Work well-being dashboard, and get started for next year. 

Mental Health Resources

  • Mental Health Corner -  We are all facing continual stress and uncertainty in our home and work lives. Burnout is the result of this ongoing, chronic stress. But we can ease this burden with wellness practices and outside support. Click on the Mental Health Corner for a list of different community and APS resources for mental and behavioral well-being as well as direct resources you have under your APS health insurance plan. 
  • Nourish Your Green Zone: What is your green zone and how can you grow it? Our capacity to manage stress and burnout in a more healthful way can improve when we Nourish our Green Zone! Sign up for this ongoing, self-paced virtual program. 

  • My Stress Tools: For interactive, online, and app-based resources to help manage stress and anxiety and build resilience try MyStress Tools.
  • APS EAP Program: Employees and immediate family members have access to free, confidential short-term counseling through the EAP program. Please call the EAP office at (505) 884-9738 to schedule an appointment. WeCounsel virtual sessions are available.

The New Mexico Educators Weight Loss Challenge

details on the healthy wage weight loss challenge.

 APS is joining other New Mexico education entities for a 12-week wellness and weight loss challenge. Teams compete in sizes of 4-9 but APS is one BIG team against UNM, CNM, and other NM school districts. 

The program is open for all APS employees and departments and begins on January 28th. The registration fee is $70 however teams who lose a collective 6% of weight win back the fee plus more cash prizes based on the number of people entered. The more APS employees who get involved and lose, the more everyone has a chance to win big!

*This is not a 'biggest loser' challenge. Behavior change strategies and holistic health practices are applied through the challenge. Wellness coaches are available to answer questions and give tips from start to finish. *All participant weight information is private and not published or displayed.

This is a virtual challenge with a mobile app and an APS team dashboard (so you can see everyone's standings and cheer teams on) as well as a New Mexico group dashboard to see where our competitors are on the scale! Once you register you are given instructions for the Healthy Wage app and more details on the challenge.

Besides winning back what you put in plus some, the New Mexico Education entity that wins overall gets a cash donation from Healthy Wage to give to the charity of choice. APS will donate to the APS Education Foundation. 

If you have questions contact Becky MacGregor at 

Start Your New Year With A New Morning Routine!

 A six week routine building program. Woman opening window. Starts January 11.

Do you want to feel better, more productive, and have a plan for your wellness that will stick this coming new year? Mornin' is a 6-week routine building program. It will help you start your days feeling calm, focused, and energized to meet the challenges that may lie ahead.

The virtual-live sessions start Tuesday, January 11 at 4:30 pm. This is a very interactive, fun program delivered by our dynamic wellness coaches from The Solutions Group.  Register for Mornin' and you will receive a welcome email, zoom meeting details as well as weekly routine building emails through the 6-week program. Information is also posted in the APS Employee Wellness event calendar

Your monthly dose of fitness, nutrition, and wellness trends!

News: Should We Be Fueling Our Intervals?

Sports nutrition research has shown that fast-digesting carbohydrates can boost performance in several endurance sports, but what about HIIT?

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Nutrition: Better COVID-19 Outcomes With Zinc

Research presented last year suggests a link between low levels of zinc in the blood and worse responses in people hospitalized with COVID-19.

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Mind-Body: Outdoor Green Space Good for Pain

Green settings offer more than just additional places to be active—being outdoors may also help people who are experiencing pain. For more mind-body wellness, try the APS Life on Mindfulness Program. Open to all APS employees. Mindfulness helps lower stress, boost well-being, and has been shown to help those who deal with chronic pain. 

read more »

Recipe: Mediterranean Chicken Tacos

The Mediterranean diet centers mainly around plant-based foods, which makes this Mediterranean-inspired dish a heart-healthy option for taco night. For guidance on nutrition, APS offers free health coaching for all employees and Livongo for diabetes and high blood pressure. (Livongo is a free program for benefit covered employees)

read more »
Video: 90/90

This mobility move requires you to rotate your chest and top arm while keeping your knees firmly planted. Feel the stretch in your torso and mid/upper back.  

APS Employee Wellness provides weekly stretch breaks via our YouTube channel. Join in live on Tuesday/Thursdays at 11:45 am or tap in for a break anytime you need it. There are many recorded stretch breaks of varying lengths to choose from. 

read more »