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Employee Wellness News

Posted: February 8, 2024

February 2024 Employee Wellness Newsletter

February is American Heart Month, wellness resources to care for your heart, and more well-being trends in the news!

A graphic picture of a heart laid out tired in a boxing ring with the head/brain yelling "It's not over - Get up!" Heart says, "I will just give me like five minutes."

Wellness Wire - Overtime, Overcoming & The Comeback

Do you think this is how the Chiefs and 49ers felt going into overtime in the biggest game of this season and quite possibly their careers? Or, how about how some of us feel on flight #4 of 6.5 in the stairwell challenge? Mile three of a 5k or six of a 10k, the last stretch to any summit, the long haul of a mental illness, grieving the loss of a loved one, or any challenging season in our lives can leave us like the heart in the graphic above. Feeling like we just need a timeout. 

If you watched the big game you know it was a very, very close match. Teams were tired, they'd been throwing (and kicking;) the lead back and forth and it looked like the 49ers had it. Twice the Chiefs overcame the deficit and garnered the ultimate comeback by winning in overtime with just seconds left. 

Sure, those players are paid a lot of money to overcome the odds. We expect them to do what it takes to rally and win.  But I would say that is what makes our comebacks even more significant. No one really expects us to have to fight like that but we do - in many areas of our lives. When we're in those 'overtime' moments in our lives, it means we haven't given up. It may be close and we may be tired but we're still persevering - grass stains and all.  

The game-changer here is our hearts. It's an amazing muscle that beats an average of 100,000 times a day, can skip a beat (or more) and recover, and pumps over 2,000 gallons of oxygen-rich blood a day thanks to an internal electrical system. When a person suffers a heart attack, the heart muscle begins to heal within days by forming scar tissue. Those are just the physical attributes, I'd say the emotional ones are even more remarkable because it's in those that we generate the courage and motivation to prevail. 

My encouragement to you this week is this: Whether we suffer a physical heart attack or an emotional one, our hearts will scar. But with the right intention to overcome and persist through overtime, we can heal and come back.

  • You may have fallen off the wellness wagon but it's not over. 
  • You may have suffered loss, be depressed and anxious but it's not over. 
  • You may be in a struggling relationship but it's not over.
  • Take five minutes, rest, recover, scar-up if needed but get up because it's not over. 

Since our physical, emotional, and mental health flows from the heart, we must care for it in all ways. Take a look at the resources listed below and keep scrolling for more information. 

  • Livongo - Manage high blood pressure, diabetes, pre-diabetes, weight loss & mental health with one solution.
  • Health Coaching - Actionable, sustainable lifestyle changes.
  • Life on Mindfulness - Enhanced well-being, reduces stress & lowers blood pressure.
  • APS Employee Assistance Program (EAP) - Free, confidential short-term counseling. Call 505-880-3718 to schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with a certified counselor. 
  • Employee Wellness Incentive Program - Choose well-being your way and earn up to $150 in rewards!
  • Pet Therapy - Puppy Love! Enough said:)

Stay connected with all your benefits resources through APS Employee Wellness on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. If you have questions, please contact Becky MacGregor at becky.macgregor@aps.edu. Thank you & keep overcoming. The comeback is worth it.❣️

Change of heart

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

pictures with description of new wellness incentive program.

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 have received five email invitations in 2023 sent between January and October from Wellness at Work  wellnessatwork@phs.org (it's not spam) and another email invitation in January 2024. Search for the email invitation with your link to join. You can also register by going to the main login page.  *This 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

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 Coaching - If 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 ToolsExternal link 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 fun interaction
  • Understanding your APS Healthcare Benefits
  • Stress, Burnout, and Resilience
  • Social well-being
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Financial Well-being
  • Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Health

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. 

Wellness Trends In The News

News: Morning Exercise and Reduced Risks

Researchers found that participants who were most active in the early or late morning had 11% and 16% lower risks, respectively, of coronary artery disease. 

Nutrition: Carbs for Weightlifting

Research findings suggest that carbohydrate ingestion before and during resistance training can allow for a greater volume of training to be completed. 

Mind-Body: Brain-Breath Connection

Researchers analyzed human and animal imaging that showed the brain-breath connection and how breathing influences the brain.

Recipe: Italian Mussel Soup

The environmental and nutritional benefits of seafood makes this satisfying briny Italian mussel soup a win-win. 

Fitness Handout: Quit Quitting!

Top challenges you may face when getting started (or re-started) with exercise—and some research-based strategies for staying on track.