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Employee Wellness News

Posted: February 29, 2024

March 2024 Employee Wellness Newsletter

Wading the messy middle of motivation, get back on track with Hinge Health and more wellness trends in the news.

picture of glass half full or half empty, skies party sunny or cloudy and text that says " our motivation evolves as our outlook on the world evolves and changes.

Wading in the Messy Middle of Motivation

Last year I wrote a couple of Wellness Wires on motivation. I'm continuing to upgrade our operating system along this tricky subject.

When was the last time someone told you what you "needed to" or "should" do?  I don't know about you but when someone tells me what to do, I get a little snarky inside. My first instinct is to not want to do it. We see this with children all the time. My kids have said to me that when I tell them they should go for a walk it "makes them want to do it even less."  Because they want to make that decision (or at least have some say in it) all on their own. It's called autonomy and it plays a huge role in our motivation and how we view well-being. 

We live in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world. It's becoming increasingly so at a more rapid rate. Our brains naturally don't adjust quickly (or that well) to changes. What instinctively happens is we try to apply technical types of fixes to adaptive challenges. It's like the analogy I've given over the years that telling someone to eat more kale and get more exercise isn't going to fix the 'unmentionables' we all face in life. Things like life dissatisfaction, personal/professional conflict, and financial or caregiver strain. 

The VUCA world taps our brain creating stress. Adaptive challenges are where most of us get stuck when it comes to motivation and well-being. We feel trapped in the choices we think we 'should', or 'need to', make and unsure of our ability to master and be successful with those decisions. It's an unknown. This might cause us to retreat and perpetuate self-defeating - known - behaviors to cope. Things like avoidance through food, alcohol, and other substances, the Internet, TV binge-watching, or gambling.  All of which contribute to diminishing mental and emotional well-being and chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. That slope depletes every aspect of our energy leaving us with little motivation to do much of anything. 

With all the mixed messages our society gives around what wellness is and isn't, it's no wonder people get stuck in the messy middle ground of motivation. If we think wellness has to be one way or another, then our brains view it as not a choice but a 'have to" that feels too hard and too rigid. We may throw a tantrum just like our kids:)

Through these assumptions, we put limiting factors around wellness and health. Yes, motivation takes energy and intention, and it's a choice. But it isn't a choice between kale and exercise versus doing fun things and eating ice cream. The choice is in how we view what we have control over and what we don't.  What we feel capable of doing successfully and what we don't. Where we find purpose and meaning in our lives and foster the emotional flexibility to use that as motivation in other areas.  

Things that enhance our well-being are not limiting unless we see them that way. That's the choice we have with motivation. The opportunity we see versus the obstacle. 

 Where this intersects with our work is in how we can collectively create environments by shifting perspectives and nurturing psychological well-being.  For us to feel motivated we have to see change as something we want to do, feel empowered and capable of doing, and it's meaningful to our purpose or a shared goal. 

My encouragement to you this week is that we can all contribute to this culture shift where people feel supported, encouraged, and validated.

Our well-being is more than weight, whether we eat salads every day, how fast we can run, or how much we can lift.  It's about changing how we see things to meet the demands of our VUCA world. Feeling like we have a say in the matter. Then, giving people the resources to help them navigate their challenges in a way that enhances social connection, spiritual joy, and intellectual curiosity - all of those things intrinsically build lasting motivation.   
What APS Employee Wellness offers are choices. All employees have a spectrum of options depending on where you are in your partly cloudy or half-full journey. Scroll below to see some options, connect with us on TwitterInstagram, YouTube, and Facebook for updates on benefits and wellness news. 

Wellness Wire: If we don't use it, we lose it.

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 TwitterInstagram, YouTube, 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 page. Follow 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 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 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: Strength Training and Inflammation

Research adds insight into why strength training may have an anti-inflammatory effect that’s particularly beneficial for older adults. 

Nutrition: Activity Snacks and Protein Consumption

A study suggests quick bursts of exercise to break up periods of sitting can help our bodies better use amino acids from food to support muscle mass. 

Mind-Body: Emotional Benefits of Virtual Fitness

When it comes to virtual fitness, factors such as emotional engagement, belonging and community enhance mental health and strengthen the experience. 

Recipe: Nutty Quinoa Kale Tabbouleh

Researchers believe the lofty antioxidant activity of pistachios may be due to vitamin E, carotenoids, phenolics and flavonoids, making this riff on tabbouleh an antioxidant win. 

Fitness Handout: Modern Batch Cooking

Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CPT, national nutrition expert and owner of a nutrition communications business, explains how to cook meal supersets.