Wellchat Episode 22: Fast Forward 2019

Episode 22: Neal and Cristin catch up on all things MUS Wellness on their first Wellchat of 2019, plus Neal gives some tips about keeping indoor exercise fresh as we transition through winter into spring.

Wellchat Episode 22

The Montana Moves & Meals Wellchat is available on Itunes podcasts! Subscribe and take us with you for a walk, run, or drive!

Spring[?] Workshops on the way.

Spring is around the corner? March is days away but winter is digging in her heels. Nevertheless, your fearless Wellness Exercise Specialist is making travel plans, and will be visiting several MUS campuses during March and April. As we plan and populate workshops, check out the calendar on the Events and Media tab to see what’s being added, and be on the lookout for announcements from your campus.

That being said, I wanted to go ahead and put out some early opportunities to register, especially for all my Missoula friends. I’ll be spending some time next week with you, and we’re offering four workshops, which can be found in the PDF link below:

For Bozeman folks, we have an Intro to Mindfulness Workshop the week of Wellcheck, hosted by one of our friends at MSU Counseling and Psychological Services. For more information, and to register, click here.

Again, more info will be coming soon regarding live workshops this spring across the state! For now, be safe and stay warm!

Neal

Improving Mindfulness & Performance with Whil

We’re only a few days into our 2019 MUS Wellness Incentive program, and we hope you’re off to a good start! As mentioned before, our 2019 program is placing a special emphasis on mental health, and to that end we’ve introduced Whil, a new tool to help you practice mindfulness, reduce stress, and boost your performance!

If you are an MUS active employee and Benefit Plan member, you can access Whil through our Incentive site, and then through your mobile phone if you’d like (the video at the end of this post shows you how).

Our Whil practices for 2019 are broken into three categories: Basic Training, Stress, and Performance. Here are some examples of programs and sessions within each.

Basic Training/Mindfullness 101

  • Focus you Attention
  • Sense the Body
  • Relax the Nervous System

Stress

  • Reduce Daily Stress
  • Focus and Be Calm
  • Overcome Conflict

Performance

  • Thrive in the Workplace
  • Develop Healthy Habits
  • Build Concentration

If you’re new to practicing mindfulness and meditation, that’s great! That’s exactly what this tool is for. I’m new as well, and have been enjoying the sessions. For me, these practices are a welcome antidote for what can be the noise, clutter, and frenetic pace of our day to day lives. One of the early Mindfulness 101 sessions invites you to Set an Intention for your mindfulness practice, and one of my early intentions has been to be able to stay calm even when I feel like there’s a storm raging all around me. With six and three-year-old boys at home, there is always a veritable hurricane of energy to manage. Not to mention lots of laundry and dirty dishes.

Following one of these early sessions, a daily tip popped up that I wanted to share:

“The point of mindfulness is making it part of what you already do, not making it an extra task. You can do short practices throughout your day. Many can even be done when you are focusing on things as basic as brushing your teeth, driving to work, lifting weights, or just listening to a colleague. You can train your attention on anything happening in the present moment. Then benefit, as you get better at the skill of focusing you attention.” 

If you haven’t started already, we hope you will soon. Research has shown that about five minutes of practice a day can do wonders for your concentration, stress resilience, and mental outlook. Enjoy!

Neal

Getting started with Whil for MUS

Fall Wellness Workshops

Hey everybody!

I’m getting ready for a 3-week state tour during the heart of Wellcheck season. Over the next 3 weeks, MUS Wellness will be sponsoring a dozen workshops covering a whole spectrum of health & wellness related topics. I’m excited about teaching, and in many cases, learning, from all these workshops! And I’m also excited to visit our different MUS campuses and see you guys!

There are still spots available, so register today before they fill up! Check out the schedule below, and click here for a PDF version with registration links.

fall 18 education2fall 18 education1

While you’re at it, go ahead and register for your fall Wellcheck as well! I hope to see you soon!

Be Well!

Neal

30-Day Nutrition Upgrade — It’s Back!!

Last April, we offered a pilot program of the 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade to 130 MUS Benefits Plan members. The 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade, developed by nutrition expert Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN, CNS, is a simple, yet highly effective way to reshape your eating habits and boost your nutrition. The program requires only about two minutes a day and can be effortlessly incorporated into any daily routine. It’s not a diet or a detox, and there are no forbidden foods.

At the conclusion of the pilot program, we collected feedback from our MUS participants, and here’s what we found:

  • 97% of participants made a positive change to eating habits as a result of the program!
  • The most commonly cited dietary changes that participants made included:
    • More veggies
    • Better snacking
    • More legumes
    • Better planning
    • Less sugar
  • Many participants reported more energy/improved mood, fewer digestive issues, enjoying their food more, and weight loss (even though weight loss is not a focus of the program). 

In addition, here’s what two participants specifically said about the Upgrade:

  • “…I am always wary of diets and so many extreme approaches to nutrition that are out there. I’ve wanted more structure to help improve my nutrition, but have been afraid of falling into the obsessive diet traps. I loved the balanced and non-restrictive nature of the program.”

  • “I felt that the 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade was an amazing experience. It’s a wonderful addition to the MUS Wellness Program, and I would recommend the Upgrade to anyone!”

Due to the success of the pilot program, we are thrilled to announce that the 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade for MUS is back! We will offer the program again this fall, beginning Friday, October 12th at a cost of $10/person (savings of $30 off the regular price). Included in the program:

  • Live one-hour online kickoff, plus access to a video recording of the session afterwards
  • Nutrition GPA app for iOS or Android
  • Downloadable handouts and other program materials
  • Two live check-ins midway through the program
  • Frequent communication and support from program leaders, Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN, and Cristin Stokes, RDN, LN
  • Private Facebook group for Montana University System participants for ongoing connection and support

To learn more about the program, and read about Cristin’s personal experience, click here.

The program is open to all MUS Benefits Plan members, including spouses and dependents over 18 years old, and registration opens Tuesday, October 2nd. Mark your calendars and watch for an email from your campus Human Resources or Wellness contact on that morning! If you have questions about the program, check out the information here or email me at cristin.stokes@montana.edu

Wellchat Episode XVIII: The Happy Place

Episode 18: Neal and Cristin share their favorite “Happy Place” submissions in the current MUS Wellness “Share Your Happy Place” challenge, plus the latest MUS Wellness news as we head into the fall semester.

The Montana Moves & Meals Wellchat is available on Itunes podcasts! Subscribe and take us with you for a walk, run, or drive!

 

MUS Wellness Champions Needed!

Can you relate to any of the following statements?

“I care about the health & happiness of my coworkers.”

“I have an idea for a wellness activity that we should offer on our campus.”

“I loved participating in the Take Control program, and I wish more of my colleagues knew about it!”

If one or more of the above statements sounds like something you would say, we need you! We are currently recruiting Wellness Champions on all of our MUS campuses for the 2018/2019 year.

New Wellness Champion application

Returning Wellness Champion application

Wellness Champions are enthusiastic supporters of health & well-being in the workplace, regardless of where they are personally on the path towards optimal well-being. In other words, to be a Wellness Champion for MUS, you don’t need to be the perfect picture of health; you just need to be someone who cares about your colleagues and wants them to lead the highest quality of life possible!

Formal “duties” of a Wellness Champion include:

  • Keeping up to date with current Wellness program offerings.
  • Reminding your coworkers of the opportunities offered through Wellness, and promoting participation. As much as your MUS Wellness Team tries to get the message out about the programs we have available, inevitably, emails are overlooked, blog posts go unread, posters go unseen. Word of mouth remains one of our most powerful tools of communication! We cannot tell you how many times someone asks about the Take Control lifestyle management program because a coworker mentioned something about it.
  • Assisting in the implementation and coordination of wellness initiatives as able. Examples may include reserving a space for a Wellness-related activity, volunteering at an information table, or suggesting topics of interest. Wellness initiatives vary from campus to campus, and again, your level of involvement will depend on what your schedule allows. Some campuses have a group of Wellness Champions who meet on a regular basis and plan activities.
  • Representing coworkers by collecting ideas and feedback about the program. Although we consider all feedback that we receive from MUS plan members, we specifically solicit opinions from our Wellness Champions on occasion.
  • Being respectful of others’ privacy and compliant with confidentiality standards.

Before you dismiss the idea of becoming a Wellness Champion because you feel swamped already with job responsibilities, keep in mind that serving effectively as a WellChamp can mean as little as reminding your coworkers that a WellCheck is coming up, and encouraging a new employee in your office to participate in the MUS Wellness Incentive Program. Or, it can mean leading a campus walking group, or organizing a monthly social event, or writing a brief grant proposal to gain funding for a campus-specific program. The beauty of serving as a Wellness Champion is that you can define what being a Wellness Champion looks like to you, and we are here to support your efforts!

As a Wellness Champion, you will receive:

  • Bi-monthly email newsletters from MUS Wellness
  • Special swag item for MUS WellChamps only!
  • Recognition as a Wellness Champion
  • Opportunity to offer feedback about the Wellness Program

A person’s work environment can have a tremendous impact on overall health & well-being. Becoming a MUS Wellness Champion gives you the opportunity to make a real difference in your workplace, and have a positive impact on your coworkers. Sign up to be a 2018/2019 MUS WellChamp today!

New Wellness Champion application

Returning Wellness Champion application

MUS Wellness News

Our 2018 MUS Wellness Incentive Program has launched, and we’re looking forward to another year of goal setting, participating in challenges, and blazing a trail to your best life!

If you are an employee on the MUS benefits plan, go to https://muswell.limeade.com to get started. Returning participants use the same login as in years past. New participants click the blue “Get Started” button, and you’ll be on your way. Here are some exciting features of this year’s program:

  • New “Limeade Daily” on the mobile app. Check in everyday with your work, sleep, and overall wellness to detect patterns and receive tips that can improve overall well-being.
  • “Trek the USA” yearlong team step challenge. Grab 3-4 of your buddies and see if you can collectively walk from Seattle to NYC!
  • New “Limeade Community” coming this February! Limeade Community is a new way for employees to connect and share through our Limeade platform. It includes a Community Feed, Profile, Friend following capabilities, and new notifications. From congratulating a team on completing a big milestone to joining others for a walk at lunch, Limeade Community empowers employees to connect, communicate and collaborate.
  • A comprehensive Well Being Assessment, to help you learn about your strengths and areas of improvement.
    • “Know Thyself” —Socrates
  • As always, Montana Moves and Montana Meals challenges and videos from Neal and Cristin, to keep you constantly learning and challenging yourself every day!

    limeade daily screenshot
    Get in touch with your well-being by tracking with Limeade Daily on the mobile app.

    For even more information on all things MUS Wellness, we’ll be having our 2018 Wellness Program Overview webinar on Wednesday, January 24th at noon.  Click here to register!

Here’s to a happy & healthy 2018! Be Well!!!