Wellness Resources

What is Wellness?

"Wellness is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – The World Health Organization."


Wellness is the conscious development of the whole self. Embarking on a wellness journey is a process of searching for the appropriate “tools” to make you a healthier and happier human being, plus discovering your own effective methods to use these “tools” for continued growth and development. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. 

This page was designed for all Student Health Center Staff. These tools are provided to help us thrive in the workplace. We welcome other campus members to this resource page for your own wellness.

 

When using tools to improve our health and wellness we are also fostering resilience in ourselves.  https://hbr.org/2016/06/627-building-resilience-ic-5-ways-to-build-your-personal-resilience-at-work

Resilence is defined as

resilience infographic

From: https://healthmetrics.heart.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/INFOGRAPHIC_RESILIENCY_oct_9.pdf

Temin Resilience Graphic

From: New Research Helps Us Bounce Back Quicker, Better From Life's Trials And Tragedies

 

8 Dimensions of Wellness (UCDAVIS- a great overview!)

 

Tools/Resources for supporting Wellness (2018-2019 inaugural year):

  • Mindfulness and Gratitude Practices, Walking, Sleep Hygiene and Stretching.
  • There are also some links to research on wellness practices for those who like info that is rooted in science and research.
  • More tools can be added as resources are identified by staff.
  • Each person has to figure out what tools facilitate their wellness and the likelihood of continuing behaviors and practices that promote wellness. These resources are here to assist staff and students wanting to add to their own Wellness Toolkit.
   

Mindfulness 

  • Mindful awareness can be defined as paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is.  Mindful Awareness invites us to stop, breathe, observe, and connect with one's inner experience. There are many ways to bring mindfulness into one's life, such as meditation, yoga, art, or time in nature. Mindfulness can be trained systematically, and can be implemented in daily life, by people of any age, profession or background.
  • Significant research has shown mindfulness to address health issues such as lower blood pressure and boost the immune system; increase attention and focus, including aid those suffering from ADHD; help with difficult mental states such as anxiety and depression, fostering well-being and less emotional reactivity; and thicken the brain in areas in charge of decision making, emotional flexibility, and empathy. Many professions and worksites are integrating Mindfulness Practices in the work world and seeing positive results.

 

WellTrack  well track logo

  • We highly suggest staff and students try the free WellTrack App or set up an account at the WellTrack Website 
  • There are many tools in the WellTrack App that allow you to assess your emotional and mental health and wellness and great Free Guided Mindfulness Meditations in a section called “The Zen Room.”

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center  has a great 30 minute foundation video here:   Mindfulness 101 - Overview, science behind health benefits and a demonstration to start your practice. More about the UCLA MARC here

 

Starting a Mindfulness Practice:

Mindfulness can be practiced in so many ways. We can train ourselves to pay attention to the present moment in our daily lives and be with what is happening in that moment.  Meditation is a common way that people practice mindfulness. Not all mindful practices mean you have to sit with your eyes closed and listen to guided meditation. We can be mindful in doing the dishes, taking a walk or drinking a hot cup of tea to name a few approaches. 

 

First tip- Give yourself some time to build a mindfulness practice. Try several types of mindful strategies and consider doing something several times a week so you can see what works for you. Many people will set a goal of 5- 10 minutes a day to work on a Mindful Practice- you decide. One of the most valuable aspects of meditation is that it can build resilience over time, but it can also help one feel less stressed in minutes if used as a tool to simply relax your body and mind.

 

 

 awesome video

Great 2 minute video to get you pumped! 

Mindful Practice Links:

 Walking Meditation Links:

Tips for using Technology/ Finding Free Guided Meditations-

Guided Meditations and meditation tutorials of varying lengths (with different focuses) are available for free on several apps that you can download onto your phone or computer. Some recommended apps for meditation that are highly utilized by people are:  WellTrack, Breathe, Simple Habit and Headspace

Note: YouTube also has thousands of meditations and you do not have to set up a YouTube account to use any of the meditations. Go to - https://www.youtube.com/ and type in the search engine “Mindfulness Meditation” or you can specialize and add words like sleep or gratitude to your mindfulness search. With some kind of technology and some headphones/ earbuds and a place to sit, walk or lie down you can get started even if others are around you! Good Luck!

 


Sleep Hygiene

What is Sleep Hygiene?

  • Sleep Hygiene is defined as behaviors that one can do to help promote good sleep using behavioral interventions and environmental strategies. For many people, improved sleep and sleep duration can occur when sleep strategies (Sleep Hygiene tools) are implemented. It is currently recommended that adults strive for 7- 9 hours of sleep per night

Why is good sleep so important?

Quotes on Sleep…

  • Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. Thomas Dekker 
  • Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night. William Blake

 

Check out UCSD’s Great Tips to Improve Sleep Hygiene!

  sleep hygiene handout

  sleep graphic

Understanding the Science of Sleep  

Sleep Resources - CAPS website:

Technology and Sleep Wellness:


Sleep and Electronics- Blue Light (It's a problem!)

  • Electronics emit a particular type of blue light that is capable of triggering the brain to stop making melatonin.
  • Melatonin and other sleep hormones are crucial to restful restorative sleep.
  • Try to put away electronics 30- 60 minutes before bedtime to aide you in falling asleep and having a restful slumber.

Why is it so important to have some space between screen time and sleep?

  • The reason blue light (that is emitted from our electronics) negatively impacts us is purely biological. Sleep is a part of the circadian rhythm, the cycle of biological processes that’s determined in part by the amount of light and dark to which our bodies are exposed. In the most natural setting, which is one where we’re only exposed to sunlight, our retinas sense when the sun is going down and the environment is getting darker. That induces our hypothalamus to tell the body to produce melatonin and other sleep hormones and to reduce our body temperature. When we use artificial lighting to extend our day, however, our bodies get confused and the various sleep signals are disrupted. The blue light exposure can delay the onset of REM sleep and lead to restless sleep and morning drowsiness.
Watching TV/ Tablets before bedtime  

Grateful Living and Building a Gratitude Practice

Gratitude Defined:  A state of being grateful, thankful and appreciative.

Robert Emmons, Ph D.  A leading scientific expert on gratitude at UC Davis, explains that gratitude has two key components, “ First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. Second, we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves…We acknowledge that other people…gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

Grateful living is an approach to life which asks us to notice all that is already present and abundant – from the tiniest things of beauty to the grandest of our blessings – and in so doing, to take nothing for granted. We can learn to focus our attention on, and acknowledge, that life is a gift. Even in the most challenging times, living gratefully makes us aware of, and available to, the opportunities that are always available; opportunities to learn and grow, and to extend ourselves with care and compassion to others. ( https://gratefulness.org/)

Research has identified a myriad of benefits from Gratitude Practice

Physical
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

 

Psychological
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness

 

Social
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated

When we Practice Gratitude we are rewiring our brain to look for the positive. Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present and can block toxic, negative emotions. Research from around the world shows that grateful people are more stress resistant and grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth.

gratitude graphic

A Gratitude Practice is supported by daily intentions, tools, habits of mind and behaviors that can be learned, translated and applied to many aspects of our lives.

Awesome Gratitude Video! (2 minute video)

Why Gratitude is Good- breaking it down (4 minute video)


Tools for Starting a Gratitude Practice:

Gratitude Practice is about noticing and acknowledging good things, looking for good, looking for little gifts and then taking a moment to savor and absorb what is good around you and in your life. Here are some ways to practice gratitude:

  • Use a Gratitude Journal Daily
    • Take 1-3 minutes to identify what you are grateful for every day. Take a moment to note it in some way.  You can leave a journal to write in next to your bed for evening or morning practice or you can download a free or low cost gratitude journal. Take the time to notice what is good. Find 1-5 things you are grateful for each day.
  • Practice mindfulness meditation with focused meditations on gratitude

Gratitude Meditation Script

Go at your own pace and include anything else that comes to mind:

  1. Settle yourself in a relaxed posture. Take a  few deep, calming breaths to relaxand center. Let your awareness move to your immediate environment: all the things you can smell, taste, touch, see, hear.  Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”
  2. Next, bring to mind those people in your life to whom you are close: your friends, family, partner….  Say to yourself, “For this, I am grateful.”
  3. Next, turn your attention onto yourself: you are a unique individual, blessed with imagination, the ability to communicate, to learn from the past and plan for the future, to overcome any pain you may be experiencing.  Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”
  4. Finally, rest in the realization that life is a precious gift. That you have been born into a period of immense prosperity, that you have the gift of health, culture, and access to spiritual teachings.  Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”

A Ten Minute Morning Meditation for Gratitude and Positivity to Start your Day (YouTube) 

  • Write and Send Thank You Notes/ Send Appreciation Emails/ Texts/ Videos

Sometimes the best gratitude comes in small doses: a little Thank You note of two or three sentences makes you and the receiving individual feel good. Some people make a practice to appreciate someone daily and others may make a practice of sitting down and writing thank you cards once a month. The act of appreciating others has shown to improve health outcomes!

  • Volunteer in the community with colleagues, friends or family

Giving back as a team is a positive, bonding experience that naturally boosts our gratitude. Choose volunteer activities that are best done together and take teamwork. A park cleanup is a great option — it gets people outdoors, and the results of everyone’s hard work are immediately evident.

Donate your time and skills to others who need them: tutoring, a ride to the airport, cooking a meal etc.

Gratitude and Technology tools:

  • Grateful App- Electronic Journal (Easy to use gratitude journal, you can upload photos and there are great prompt questions to help you search for the good in the present and near future.)
  • HeadSpace and Breath Apps (both have specific guided meditations on gratitude)
  • Gratitude Jar Gratitude posts and tweets from all over the globe are here to inspire and connect you to the world.

Walking

Walking is the easiest health improvement strategy we can implement for ourselves. The medical evidence for walking is significant showing improved health outcomes cognitively, physically, mentally and emotionally in thousands of studies.  Walking is easy to do for many people and has a low risk for injury compared to other fitness activities. Walking is free and is one of the easier fitness activities to fit into our lives. Research has shown that even 10 minutes of brisk walking per day can have measurable health benefits. Here at UCSC- we have endless walking choices and beautiful surroundings to enjoy along the way. (Link to our Campus Walking Map)

Walking has HUGE mental and physical health benefits

Walking at Work- Building walking into your day. Getting Started!

  1. Set a goal- Example: Walking 3 times a week at lunch for 15 mins.
  2. Set a time to walk and lock it in to your schedule - block it out in your google calendar, set a phone alarm to remind you.
  3. Get your walking supplies together and have them accessible- walking shoes under your desk, earbuds for listening to podcasts, cue your walking playlist of your favorite tunes, have a light hoodie, sun hat stored in your car or office.
  4. Make a list of places you want to walk to- level walking routes, uphill walking routes etc.
  5. Have a few sips of water before you walk (hydration!)
  6. Begin your walk, breathe in fresh air and notice your surroundings- campus is beautiful!
  7. Try to build in 5 mins afterwards to cool down, hydrate and changes shoes etc.

Note: Tracking/Logging your activity helps to build new behaviors

There are free apps or printable resources you can use to set walking goals, track your steps and even share with friends.

 

Practicing moderate exercise for 15 minutes a day can increase life expectancy up to three years. – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

 

Articles on benefits of walking (quick reads!)

 

PDF On Walking meditation

Walking Buddies- The power of support

When we engage in a new health behavior, support from others can be crucial to us continuing with a new behavior. Accountability to others can help us be more successful when it comes to our health. Establishing a walking buddy or a walking group at work is a great way to support your walking goals. Walking buddies can also make a workout more fun and help you build friendships at work. Some walking buddies will set goals and also use a group app to share successes and challenges.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KtvLOj2ccQ

 

Walking Meetings

People from all industries are booking walking meetings and having great success. The use of smartphones has allowed people to record on their phones- to do lists or project goals that might come up in a staff meeting so that walking and working together can be a success without missing key elements of your meeting. Book a work meeting with a colleague and give it a try!

 “Walking helps generate new ideas and improves on average of 60% creativity.”– Stanford University

 

Walking and Technology:

When building a walking routine it can be helpful to use a tool to track your distance, number of days walked and levels of difficulty. Many people use tools to help them commit to health activity.

Note: Smart phones now have built in pedometers and other tools so you can see how much you are walking each day, level of difficulty and elevation you reached. Look at the already installed apps on your phones or google info on your phone and the apps that come with it to find the tracking tool. https://www.lifewire.com/android-and-iphone-step-counters-4151586

If you want additional walking apps that allow you to set goals, link with friends etc. there are free and low cost apps available.

Walking/ Walking Meditation: 

Structural benefits and benefits of walking with others, there are so many you will be happy you walk!


Campus Walking Map/ Places To Walk

Sitting and health risks

 

Harmful Effects of Sitting in the workplace/ tips to help

“Sitting has become the new smoking…” Dr James Levine

Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative Levine has been studying the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles for years and has summed up his findings in two sentences. “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”

https://www.theactivetimes.com/ways-sitting-shortening-your-life/slide-7

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005

An analysis of 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking. Less sitting and more moving overall contribute to better health. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance or finding ways to walk while you work.

Ideas to reduce harms from sitting at work:

  1. Try to take a break from sitting every 30 minutes (set an alarm on your computer to remind you to stand up for 1-3 minutes.)
  2. Stand while talking on the phone.
  3. Stretch and stand while listening to in office webinars.
  4. If you work at a desk, try a standing desk if you can get access to one.
  5. Walk with your colleagues for meetings rather than sitting in a conference room.
  6. Take the stairs whenever you can at work.

 

Office Stretching

Stretching is a tool that all of us can use throughout our work day. People who take small breaks throughout the work day to stretch experience less pain from extended sitting and computer use. There are many health benefits that can occur when stretching at work such as promoting blood circulation, providing energy boosts when fatigued and loosening tight muscles when you are under stress

Top 10 Health Benefits of Stretching

 

stretching graphic

http://blog.newunivera.com/8-great-reasons-stretch-desk/

Stretching regularly can do the following:

  1. Keeps Muscles Flexible, Strong, and Healthy
  2. Reduces Fatigue
  3. Reduces Stress
  4. Improves Balance and Posture
  5. Decreases Risk of Repetitive Use Disorders
  6. Decreases Risk of Musculoskeletal Injury
  7. Improves Muscle Coordination
  8. Improves Productivity

 

Getting Started! Stretching at your desk.

Stretch and Technology

Resources for stretching and timers/ reminders:

  • For stretching software, ergonomics assessments and more see the Ergo Cruz program which has subsidized software and hardware for your use.

 

 Apps: