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Employee Wellness News

Posted: October 31, 2022

December 2022 Employee Wellness Newsletter

Wellness wire, join the 3rd Annual Snowflake Trek, December monthly webinars, and more wellness trends in the news.

our greatest strength is found in our ability to own our weaknesses, course correct and keep moving forward.

Wellness Wire

“I just have to get tougher on myself.” Said my 83-year-old client after we discussed his activity - or lack thereof- for the week. He is a runner at heart and didn’t get out on the road like normal due to some minor issues with motivation. I wanted him to just get more movement in his day. As I encouraged him to look at it another way, to see it as an opportunity to simply feel better by walking, getting fresh air and sunshine, he interjected, “Geez, listen to you. That’s not what I’m out there for!”  "Okay, what are you out there for, then?" I asked. 

“To get my heart rate up and work hard. You know it’s a mental thing!”

On hard efforts & mental things:  Being tough is a great attribute and there is a time and place for it. But tough isn’t always required for emotional wellness or fitness gains. 

In fact, we need moderate and easy days of activity as well as true rest days. This is where we recover and grow stronger. Mentally and emotionally, sometimes we need to pause the hard. Life is tough enough. Our ability to be soft, malleable, and able to bend so that we don’t break helps us squeeze through the inevitably tight life situations that come our way.

Also, I find true strength is found in recognizing our weaknesses and owning them. Whether it’s an area of fitness, food or alcohol overuse, impatience, or anger, acknowledging the behaviors that may be contributing to illness and holding us back from feeling and functioning better is an important part of our personal growth.

But what he really needed at that moment was validation. Because he's 83 and wants to do what he used to do. Aging is a mentally tough thing.  He felt walking was settling and accepting something he wasn't ready to give up. He wants to run. So, I switched course and added run-specific agility intervals to his workout. 

On agility and intervals “Those seconds don’t come off quick, do they?”

 He was working on direction and speed with a four-inch surface variable (FYI - most slips, trips, and falls happen due to a one-inch variable in terrain). He was struggling with getting his feet up and the harder effort required to do the set. He noted how looooong the interval of work felt. 

Funny how time can go by fast or slowly depending on what we’re doing. With things that feel hard (like intense intervals) time goes slowly. Recovery from those intervals feels great and flies by! 

The same can be said with our life situations. We may dread aspects of our work making the week creep and the weekend recovery passes in the blink of an eye. Right? This is why it's so important that we recognize the significance our social, intellectual, and spiritual lives have on our well-being. And, why cultivating a work environment where we feel like what we do has a purpose, we're doing a good job at it, and we have a sense of belonging with our peers helps the interval of time move in a rhythm that supports our intellectual and social wellness. Versus a job that feels like just one, long hard interval sapping our strength.  

Also, our ability to change course, with maybe some uncertainty yet keep moving forward with our well-being intact is important in any situation. It's part of our emotional fitness. That’s a mental/emotional muscle we need to graciously give ourselves time to train and develop. 

On balance: “You want me to do the impossibles.” 

I had him on a Bosu ball, working around patterns of movement that he had to change and hold on cue. That’s the best use of balance, really. Conditioning our whole body, brain, and heart to flex, hold, pause and maintain stability in a changing environment. Because that's the world we live in and it builds resilience. He felt like it was impossible. I told him he needed to reset his expectation. It was okay to wobble, to lean into the move, and let his body adjust. Sometimes we need to do the same with our lives - lean into the hard just a bit- and allow ourselves the chance to adjust to the instability and respond without falling. In the end, we'll generate balance through the impossible.  

But the idea some people have of "work/life balance" is impossible. At any given time something that affects - or contributes to - our well-being will be out of whack. Off-kilter. Not 'in balance'. So, instead of striving for an unrealistic expectation of a balanced anything (let alone work-life) think integration. With training, we integrate movements for all-around strength and stability.  Our wellness is much the same way. We know our physical, emotional, and mental well-being is interconnected. We really don't train one without enhancing the other.  And when one area is stressed, the other aspects of our 'self' feel the pressure. This is why it's important to build up the whole person:) By taking time in the morning for movement or motivation, setting a daily intention, and using breaks throughout the day to ease stress, planning nutrition that boosts energy and well-being. Integrate it. 

On Awareness“Let’s just do it.” 

During a strength set, I was giving him cues on where I wanted him to feel the muscle activation. I asked him to step back and slow down. He wanted to forge ahead and do it!  I commented that when we slow down a movement so that we can feel what's happening in our bodies it gives us better awareness. Awareness gives us greater strength. We're able to correct course if something isn't working quite right before an injury (whether physical or emotional) occurs.  Course correction in the midst of any potentially bad situation is a key to avoiding conflict - whether that's a conflict of movement, opinions, or personalities! 

But, don’t we all sometimes just want to unleash and “do it”?  When we become aware of our weakness - in whatever situation - we can slow down, correct the pattern and respond better in the moment. This brings us preferable outcomes for strength and power mentally, emotionally, and physically.  

These are wellness lessons squeezed into an hour of strength, balance, and agility training that on this particular day, he found harder than usual but he persevered through it. We don't need to be in our 80's to have days like this.

Despite age or other obstacles, we all have the capacity to feel and function better in all areas of our lives.  My encouragement to you this week is to recognize that, while toughness is a great attribute, hard all the time isn't necessary for mental or physical gains.  Our strength, agility, flexibility, and balance come with awareness on all fronts.  We can’t change what we don't acknowledge.  So with awareness of our missteps and weaknesses, we can take steady, consistent actions to improve our mental, emotional and physical well-being. 

 APS Employee Wellness offers a few solutions to help you train in these aspects of emotional and physical fitness. Keep scrolling below for more information on health coaching, Life on Mindfulness, our 3rd annual Snowflake Trek, and more!  

November Wellness Wire: Connect Through Community

It's Time for the 3rd Annual Snowflake Trek!

Image with skier and information on Snowflake trek winter sports around the world challenge. This is an activity challenge everyone can do that runs from December first through December fifteen

Join the 3rd Annual APS Snowflake “Winter Sports Around the World” Movement Challenge! 

  •  It’s time to embark on another wintertime adventure. This challenge will take us around the world visiting various snow-laden wonderlands. Along the way, we’ll get to virtually try a variety of snow activities.  Grab the hot cocoa and bring on the frosty fun!
  • You are invited to stay active and healthy in our Winter Sports Around the World activity challenge. The goal is to complete 8,500 steps and/or activities converted to steps every day between December 1 – 15.
  • Register at aps.walkertracker.com, download the app, sync your activity tracker, and join the challenge today!
  • NOTE: You must register as a 'new user' with every Walker Tracker challenge. Please register via the left side/green box on the login screen.
  • Prizes will be awarded in individual and team categories! 

Contact Becky MacGregor at employee.wellness@aps.edu if you have questions. 

New Monthly Webinars

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

  • Saturday, December 3, 10:00 am - Life on Mindfulness - Sharing Mindfulness With Others.
  • Wednesday, December 14, 8:00 am or 12:00 pm - 15 minutes:  Less is More:  How to avoid overdoing and de-cluttering strategies to reduce stress over the holidays.
  • Thursday, December 15, 12:00-1:00 Cooking Class: Good Mood Foods Do the shorter days have you feeling down? These recipes are packed with nutrients that play a festive role in lifting your mood.
  • Mindset Monday, December 19, 12:00 pm - 15 minutes- Laughter is The Best Medicine! Join us as we discuss the science of laughter, lift your mood with funny videos, memes, and jokes, and engage in a light-hearted laughter meditation.
  • Wednesday, December 22, 12:00 -1:00 pm: Wellness Wednesday Sustainable Selfcare 

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 CalendarEnroll 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 simply feel better, APS offers free Health Coachinto all APS employees. *Open to all APS employees.
  • 30 Ways to Well-being is an email-based program. Register and you will 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.
  • 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, and integrated tools to manage blood sugar, blood pressure, and weight loss. *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) 6:00-6:30 a.m. - Sunrise Yoga link to join is in the APS Employee Wellness event calendar.
  • Monday (in-person) 4:45 - 5:30 p.m. – Gentle Vinyasa Yoga. Location: City Center/Rio Grande OR Arroyo Chico Rm
  • Tuesday (in-person) 4:30 - 5:15 p.m. - Gentle Vinyasa Yoga - Location: Helen Fox Complex, 1730 University Blvd. 2nd-floor wellness room. 
  • Thursday (in-person) 4:45 - 5:30 p.m. – BodyBalance - This is a fusion of bodyweight strength, yoga sequencing, flexibility, and core. We blend traditional bodyweight training moves and yoga sequencing with music, tempo, and timing. Location: City Center/Arroyo Chico Room *No class Dec. 1.

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 at employee.wellness@aps.edu. 

More Wellness Trends In The News

 

News: Exercise Therapy and Chronic Conditions

Exercise is often recommended for people with a single chronic health condition. But what about using “exercise therapy” for those with multiple health challenges?

 
Nutrition: Eating Breakfast and Why It Matters

A study of 5,761 people published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine may leave you questioning the virtues of skipping the morning meal.

 
Mind-Body: Mental Imagery and Running

A new mental imagery technique, “functional imagery training,” is showing promise in helping self-described “nonrunners” complete their first ultra-marathon.

 
Recipe for Health: Cream of Chard Soup

The vitamin K you get from spooning up this comforting cream of chard soup may help prevent the buildup of calcium plaques in your arteries.

Video: Curl to Overhead Press

Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Curl the weights up, rotating your palms to face your shoulders, then press the weights overhead. Add a squat through the movement for extra intensity!