Take time to refresh and reinvigorate yourself during the fall wellness challenge, Renew. This 4-week program is an opportunity for employees to take a holistic approach to well-being. Check back weekly as we share ways to re-engage with your family, friends, and community while working toward your well-being goals.
Give Meditation a Try
Breathe deep and focus the mind for myriad health benefits
Meditation has ancient roots in cultures all over the world. Despite its rich history and traditions, you don’t need much to experience the advantages – just a quiet room and a few minutes. Here’s how:
- Find a guide. Meditation is a solitary practice, but a good podcast or app can provide useful tips and techniques to help keep you on track.
- Practice, practice, practice. As with learning any skill, improvement in meditation requires repetition. Don’t burn yourself out in the first week; play the long game and start with just 5-10 minutes each day, building up to 20-40 minutes a day.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Your mind will wander; it happens to everyone. You’ll sit down to focus and end up thinking about groceries or bills. That’s natural and expected. Progress comes when you pause and bring your attention back to the breath each time.
The simple act of sitting quietly has persevered through the ages for good reason. Research shows it has numerous health and wellness benefits, ranging from stress and pain reduction to smoking cessation.
WashU offers resources to help you create calm
- Reduce stress with Move into Mindfulness. Sign up for the 7-week courses, attend a drop-in session, join the Healing Ourselves series, or check out the audio library for a quick recorded practice. View all mindfulness offerings.
- Register for the Momentum classes on Nov. 7 and 14 to learn how to cultivate a daily practice that addresses stressors and challenges.
- In partnership with the Office of Sustainability, the WashU Wellness team is pleased to announce the following upcoming events:
- Arbor Walk on Nov. 3. This Arbor Walk is a tree tour led by Professor Stan Braude, the university’s arboretum curator. Join us to celebrate the changing seasons and fall colors.
- Farmers Market Meet & Greet on Nov. 17. Stop by the School of Medicine’s farmers market for a personalized tour and connect with the local food scene.
If you’d like to learn skills to create calm and haven’t already done so, consider participating in WashU’s current wellness challenge, Renew, which runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 20, 2022.
Break bread with others
We know that a nutritious diet provides fuel for our bodies – for organs to work, muscles to move, and the brain to function. But did you know that sharing meals with a friend, family member, or coworker can offer a shared experience that strengthens a sense of connection and camaraderie? Feed your body and your mind by breaking bread together.
Communal meals offer a variety of benefits, including:
- Feeling happier
- Better physical and mental well-being
- Enhanced life satisfaction and community connectedness
- Stronger bonds and a wider social network
Children experience substantial benefits when families eat together, such as:
- Healthier food choices
- Reduced risk for substance abuse and eating disorders
- Better school engagement and academic achievement
WashU offers resources to help you boost happiness
MyWay to Health provides evidence-based opportunities to help you on your wellness journey:
- Wellness Workshops | Go with your gut – nutrition and digestive health. Registered dietitians will discuss nutrition & digestive health and showcase recipes & strategies to boost immunity through nutrition as we move into cold and flu season. Register to attend the Nov. 10 workshop virtually or in person.
- Individualized Consultations | Take advantage of our in-house experts and meet with a MyWay to Health consultant to create your individualized wellness plan. Learn more about the free program and schedule your consultation.
- Expert Advice | Learn how to find nourishment through nutrition.
If you’d like to learn skills to boost happiness and haven’t already done so, consider participating in WashU’s current wellness challenge, Renew, which runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 20, 2022.
Reduce clutter for better sleep, mood, productivity
The physical state of your space – whether at work or at home – can have a major impact on your health. Clutter can increase stress and make it difficult to relax. Getting organized may offer a wide range of health benefits, including:
- Better sleep
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased productivity
- Less depression
- Healthier food and exercise choices
When clutter piles up on surfaces and laundry baskets overflow, it can feel overwhelming. Try these simple tips to get started; once you’ve made a little progress, your organizing efforts will gain momentum:
- Break it up. Turn your large long-term goal into several smaller tasks. Tackling the garage or your closets over a weekend may be too much. Instead, begin by sorting a single category, like tools, gardening items or sports equipment.
- Limit yourself to avoid burnout. Plan to work toward your goal for an hour or so at a time. That way you’ll feel accomplished and ready to tackle more later.
- Categorize to ease decision making. Separate items into recycle, trash, donate, sell, or keep. This can help you maintain focus.
- Schedule time to organize your calendar. Block your calendar for 15 minutes to organize yourself and your loved ones. Take this time to make any necessary preventative wellness exams, such as your annual doctor’s appointment, dental or eye exam.
Consistency is the key. Maintaining your tidy space will come easily when you do a little, more often, rather than allowing clutter to build up.
Getting organized doesn’t just have to be for clutter around the house. You can also take control of your health by organizing and mapping out your regular well-being appointments. Meet with our new UnitedHealthcare Nurse Advocate to talk about which screenings may be appropriate for you and participate in the annual health screenings which are free to benefit-eligible faculty, staff, postdoctoral appointees and clinical fellows.
WashU offers resources to help you sharpen focus
- Meet Bridgette Sims, BSN, RN, our new United Healthcare Nurse Advocate dedicated to WashU employees. Bridgette provides confidential assistance to WashU employees and their dependents. Learn how Bridgette can help you get organized and sharpen focus on your well-being.
- Work-Life Solutions, our employee assistance program, can help with everyday tasks. Ask a Guidance Consultant for help with finding local resources, like gyms, veterinarians, house cleaners, lawyers, etc. Learn more about Work-Life Solutions and log in to chat with a consultant.
If you’d like to learn skills to sharpen focus and haven’t already done so, consider participating in WashU’s current wellness challenge, Renew, which runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 20, 2022.
Exercise Early for Maximum Rewards
Start your day with physical activity for a range of benefits
Exercise at any time of day makes you feel great, but when your schedule allows, moving your body in the morning can provide bonus perks:
- Get it done. Good intentions can easily be waylaid by work, social obligations, and flagging motivation. If you leave it to the end of the day, exercise is easy to put off until tomorrow. If you make it your first priority, you’re apt to fit in physical activity more often.
- Set the tone. Starting your day with exercise is a positive step that creates momentum for healthy choices throughout the day.
- Sleep better. Morning workouts provide big benefits to quality sleep.
Energize your fitness routine by incorporating short bursts of activity to improve your workout efficiency.
Many people cite lack of time as their #1 excuse for missing workouts, but you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to experience the rewards of exercise. Interval training – alternating short bursts of intense activity with longer intervals of lower intensity exercise – gives you a quick effective option. You’ll maximize the time you do have by building fitness and muscle strength efficiently. Try gradually increasing periods of higher intensity and whittling down lower intensity until you reach a balance that’s doable but still challenging.
People who are physically active tend to live longer and have a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers. While it can be hard to find the time for activity, a good goal is to fit in at least 30 minutes of moderate activity each day, like brisk walking or cycling. More is even better, but any amount is better than none.
WashU offers resources to help you increase energy
- In partnership with the Office of Sustainability, the WashU Wellness team is pleased to invite you to the Farmers Market Meet and Greet on Nov. 17. Stop by the School of Medicine’s farmers market for a personalized tour and connect with the local food scene.
- Sumers Recreation Center offers membership to faculty and staff. Rates are available by month, semester, or on an annual basis. Check out all of the facility amenities and programs.
- Physical activity is #1 on the WashU 8IGHT Ways to employee wellness. Learn how to take action for yourself and for your department.
- Local gyms or fitness facilities may choose to offer a membership discount to WashU employees. Check the current list here.
- Read expert advice on how to increase your energy levels with morning movement.
If you’d like to learn skills to increase energy and haven’t already done so, consider participating in WashU’s current wellness challenge, Renew, which runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 20, 2022.
Renew is a four-week opportunity to refresh and reinvigorate yourself through a holistic approach to well-being, including physical & mental health and community engagement. This is a different kind of challenge; it’s a chance to wind down and renew our energy and ourselves. Benefits-eligible employees can join the challenge at any time before it concludes on Nov. 20, 2022. Learn more about and register for the Renew challenge.