How to Access the Stay Well Website

StayWell

I’m all about removing the fear of getting started and the daunting task of signing up for something new. Accessing the Stay Well website will truly take you less than 5 minutes and puts health information right at your fingertips. The Stay Well website is a free service offered to any employee insured through the UW System’s health insurance plan. That’s right FREE!!! I will walk you through the sign up process and you can discover for yourself how easy it is to access.

The first step is to go to the website. Here are some options:

I went right to the log in page from this link. You will be asked to provide your first name, date of birth and last 4 digits of your social security number.  Then you are off to choosing a username, password and security question. (hint: write down your information because you and I both know that we have one million different usernames and passwords). A link to verify your email will follow. Here’s the tricky part it may go in your spam or junk mail. (This realization took me 5 or 6 tries.) The verification code will appear in the email. You plug that code in and just like that, you have full access to the site.  If you do come across any problems with your log in process, the number to call is 1-800-821-6591.

The site contains health coaching, webinars, health plan resources, pharmacy benefit information, EAP resources, archived webinars, a mindfulness collection and so much more. I personally love the health library for up to date information on current health issues. So now that you know how easy and beneficial the Stay Well website is, go ahead and sign up today!

Article written by Linda Schmitt, College Health Nurse in UWGB’s Counseling & Health Center

20 Easy Ways to Get More Exercise

When you think of exercise, you probably picture activities such as jogging, cycling, or lifting weights in a gym. However, exercise can take many different forms. The goal is to spend more time moving. What’s more, your workouts don’t have to last for a full 30 minutes at a time. You can break them up into smaller chunks throughout the day, lasting at least 10 minutes. Here are 20 ways to sneak in more exercise.

  1. Take a walk after dinner every night.WalkingDog
  2. Turn up the music and dance!
  3. Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
  4. Park farther away from buildings so you get in more steps.
  5. Play a sport—join a local team and you’ll get in a workout while making new friends.
  6. Do chores around the house that keep you on your feet.
  7. Walk your dog instead of letting him outside in the yard.
  8. Stand up and walk while taking work calls instead of sitting.
  9. Hit the mall and walk, especially if the weather isn’t ideal for strolling outside.
  10. Work in the yard—rake, weed, plant, or mow.
  11. Skip the car wash and wash your car by hand.
  12. Stay active while watching TV—walk around, jog in place, or do sit-ups.
  13. Find exercise YouTube videos you enjoy doing at home.
  14. Choose family activities that keep you active, such as going to the park, lake, or zoo.
  15. Join your kids and go swimming at the pool.
  16. When it snows, use a shovel instead of a snowblower.
  17. Find an exercise buddy—a friend or family member who can help you stick with your plan, exercise together, and motivate you to live a more active life.
  18. Go hiking at a nearby park.
  19. Walk up and down the sidelines during your kids’ sports games.
  20. Keep hand weights available so you can grab them and do a few reps any time, even while on the phone.

Article from The StayWell Company, LLC

July Wellness Webinar: Debunking Fitness Myths

Biking

You know you should move for 30 minutes each day. Or is that 60? And shouldn’t you be lifting weights and stretching, too? But when? This webinar will separate the myths from the facts so you can move toward better health.

Date: Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Location: Cofrin Library, 7th floor, room 735

No need to RSVP – just mark your calendar to join us, and bring your lunch!

You could also participate in this webinar at your workstation if you prefer – please visit wellwisconsin.staywell.com and go to Webinars to register.

Wellness webinars highlighting various health and well-being topics will take place the 3rd Wednesday of each month. All webinars will be recorded and available to Well Wisconsin Program participants on the wellness portal after the event date.

To access the wellness portal, you must be an employee, retiree, or enrolled spouse/domestic partner enrolled in the State of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program.

The Benefits of Mindful Eating

Rushing through meals, barely acknowledging the food you put in your mouth, deprives you of the pleasure of eating and may impact Appleyour health.

A study in the Journal of Obesity found that the more study participants practiced mindful eating, the greater their ability to reduce anxiety, skip eating comfort food to ease stress, and avoid eating in response to emotions. That helped them lose weight in the abdominal area.

To practice mindful eating, try these exercises:

• Be mindful of food prior to eating it. Before you eat something, silently do the following for 30 seconds: Look closely at the food in front of you, noticing the colors and shapes. Smell the food and enjoy the aroma. Consider all the plants and animals that are part of the food. Acknowledge the effort of everyone who was involved in making the food. Envision yourself eating the food mindfully with attention.

• Take mindful bites. Be aware of your movements as you bring food to your mouth. When the food is in your mouth, put your hands, silverware, or chopsticks down. As you chew, pay attention to the taste and texture of the food and to the act of chewing. Chew until the food is smooth, then swallow. After swallowing, pause for a few seconds before picking up more food or your utensils.

• Mind your chews. Pay attention to how many chews it takes for you to eat a particular food. Begin by taking a bite of food and then counting the number of chews it takes you to completely chew it up. Then take a smaller bite of the same food and count the number of chews you need, followed by taking a larger-than-normal bite and noting the number of chews. This practice can help you focus specifically on the act of eating when your attention is wandering.

Easy ways to practice mindful eating include:

  • Making eating your only activity without reading, talking on your cellphone, watching TV, texting, computing, or working
  • Eating with chopsticks or with your non-dominant hand
  • Chewing each bite 30 to 50 times
  • Sitting at a table when you eat

Slowing down and practicing mindful eating has the potential to transform your relationship with food. Reducing distractions is key to the experience.

Article from The StayWell Company, LLC

24 Employees Participate in Bellin Run

DonnaAngelaKimberlySamGCropDonnaFriend SamGTeam VliesPacker

Here are some comments from employees who participated in the Bellin Run on Saturday, June 10th:

  • The Bellin Run was a blast, as always!
  • Nice weather – warm, but not too warm in morning with a nice breeze.
  • The corral start went much quicker this year. This was really nice since it was going to be warm as the day went on.

Michael Holstead finished the run with the quickest time of our team.  Team Captain, Sam Goeller, is shown in the red tank top with My Team Triumph providing race support to a participant with a disability.  Donna Mleziva is shown in the starting corral area, and Kimberly Vlies and her sister got some fun pics with Green Bay Packer players (shown with Davon House).  Great job team!

 

Student hours limit at 20 hours per week June 25 to July 8

As a reminder, the student employee hours limit reduces to 20 hours per week from June 25, 2017 through July 8, 2017.  The hours limit goes back to 40 hours per week from July 9th until August 19th.  The hours limit is in place to make sure we are in compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Please review the 2017 Student Bi-Weekly Payroll Schedule at: http://www.uwgb.edu/UWGBCMS/media/hr/files/StudentBiWeeklyPayrollSchedule2017.pdf

If you have any questions about this, please contact Human Resources at payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu or ext. 2390.

How much do you know about Mindfulness?

 

Take this Mindfulness Quiz from StayWell to find out!

A. Mindfulness is:ManStanding

  1. A cultural belief that is only practiced by certain groups of people
  2. A practice that cannot be learned or taught
  3. Analyzing thoughts in order to change them
  4. A medically approved practice that enables individuals to systematically reduce and manage stress

B. Which of these statements is false?

  1. Job stress alone is estimated to cost US industry more than $300 billion a year in absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity, medical, legal, and insurance costs.
  2. 80% of people who have taken mindfulness programs are unsuccessful.
  3. Stress is the causative factor of illness underlying more than 70% of all visits to the family doctor.
  4. Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and depression-related symptoms by 60-70%.

C. Some benefits of mindfulness are:

  1. Strengthens immune system
  2. Improves cardiovascular health
  3. Builds resiliency
  4. All of the above

D. People who participate in mindfulness programs:

  1. Must eat a specific diet
  2. Wear special clothes
  3. Are business professionals, hospital employees, military personnel, schoolchildren, and athletes
  4. Have to be perfectly serene and peaceful

E. What are some experiences a person may have when practicing formal mindfulness?

  1. Fall asleep
  2. Have lots of thoughts
  3. Experience restfulness
  4. All of the above

F. The ability to pay attention correlates to a person’s performance and effectiveness.  Mindfulness teaches us to pay attention to:

  1. Only the things that matter to us
  2. Our aches and pains
  3. The moment-to-moment daily activities with nonjudgment
  4. Thoughts about the past and future

G. The benefits of mindfulness are shown physically, mentally, and emotionally. Which one is NOT a benefit of mindfulness?

  1. Improved brain functionPortal
  2. Ability to rehash the past and rehearse for the future
  3. Greater concentration and focus
  4. Gives more meaning and purpose to our lives

H. To begin a home mindfulness practice, it is suggested to:

  1. Sit quietly for 5-20 minutes while focusing on the breath
  2. Sit in a perfect cross-legged yoga position
  3. Light candles all over the room
  4. Play devotional chanting music

Answers: A – 4; B – 2; C – 4; D – 3; E – 4; F – 3; G – 2; H – 1

How did you do?  Are you interested in learning more about mindfulness?  There are some great resources on the StayWell portal!  To access the StayWell portal, you must be an employee, retiree, or enrolled spouse/domestic partner enrolled in the State of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program. To check out the mindfulness resources on the StayWell portal, please click on “Programs” after logging in, then scroll down to “Mindfulness Collection” and click on “Learn More” (image at right).  You will see the 21-day Meditation Experience with helpful videos to watch each day to improve your mindfulness!

Quiz from The StayWell Company, LLC

What is Mindfulness and What Does it Mean?

Stones

Mindfulness is defined as being present in the moment in a nonjudgmental way. Becoming mindful in our lives expresses itself in multiple ways:

  • Being aware and accepting of present experience
  • Bringing focus, awareness and attention to the present moment
  • “Single-tasking” rather than multi-tasking
  • Being wholeheartedly present here and now
  • Appreciating the present moment rather than wishing it away
  • Being attentive to what you are doing rather than operating automatically
  • Nurturing attitudes of acceptance and non-judgment, which adds warmth, friendliness and compassion

You can practice mindfulness in almost everything you do.

Informal Practice – involves reminding ourselves throughout the day to focus our attention on whatever is happening in the moment, which increases our ability to respond effectively. A simple example is becoming more mindful of our movement, which may lead to taking the stairs instead of the elevator or bicycling instead of driving.  Practicing mindfulness in this way involves experiences like:

  • noticing the sensations of walking when we walk
  • noticing the taste of our food when we eat
  • noticing the clouds and the trees as we pass them
  • noticing the feel of soapy water on our hands when washing dishes
  • focusing our attention on our friends and family when we’re with them

Opportunities for informal mindfulness practice are infinite.  At every moment, when it’s not necessary to be planning or thinking, we can simply bring our attention to what is happening in our sensory awareness.

Formal Practice – involves setting aside time to go to the mental “gym.”  Unlike informal practice, in which we’re accomplishing another task while practicing mindfulness, formal practice means dedicating a period of time entirely to cultivating mindfulness per se.  Mindfulness meditation is a formal practice that has been studied scientifically.  This practice involves choosing an object of attention such as the breath or another sensation and returning our attention to that object each time the mind wanders. Through this formal practice we develop a degree of concentration that allows us to focus closer attention to any physical or emotional sensation, such as an itch, ache, sound or feeling. Regardless of the object of attention, we practice being aware of the present experience with acceptance.

Why Practice Mindfulness?

Do you ever find yourself worrying about the future, feeling angry or sad, feeling guilty or ashamed, getting upset about physical pain, or just feeling bored or stressed?  Sometimes the feeling is more subtle and you may just feel “out of sorts.”  There may be times when you get taken over by anxiety, depression, addictions, pain or other stress-related symptoms that make it difficult to function.  Emotional suffering comes in all forms.  Mindfulness is a way of relating to life that holds the promise of both alleviating our suffering and making our lives richer and more meaningful.

The point of being mindful is to develop a close relationship with your own mind. You become more familiar with what you are thinking and feeling, and less reactive to the thoughts, emotions and cravings you have.  Mindfulness is a practical way to develop our ability to see the world around us more clearly and understand ourselves and others better, so that we might live a more joyful and fulfilling life.

Mindfulness practices have been around for thousands of years.  Research in the past twenty-five years has proven that mindfulness can help people with a vast range of emotional and physical disorders, which has led many people from all walks of life to be more open to the practice including hospitals, businesses, governments, athletes, schools and the military.

Stress has been cited as a cause of more than 70% of all family doctor visits for illness and 66% of Americans report having trouble focusing at work because of stress.  Job stress costs U.S. industries more than $300 billion per year.  These costs include missed work, employee turnover, decreased productivity, and medical, legal and insurance costs. Mindfulness programs have been shown to help reduce many stress-related symptoms and improve overall health, including outcomes such as the following:

  • 80% fewer hospitalizations for heart disease
  • 83% improvement in decision making skills
  • 60-70% fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression

Benefits of Mindfulness

Meditation practice can yield all of the following benefits:

  • Strengthened immune system
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Balanced hormones
  • Improved digestion
  • Help maintain weight
  • Increased ability to relax
  • Reduced fatigue and anxiety
  • Increased energy
  • New coping skills
  • Better brain function
  • Sense of calm
  • Decreased depression
  • Help with relationships
  • Enhanced listening skills
  • Focus on goals and meaning
  • Resiliency

Just how can the simple practice of mindfulness provide all of these positive benefits?  Paying attention to the present moment can improve the functioning of the body and brain in two specific ways. Mindfulness:

  1. Helps You Be Less Reactive – When you slow the mind, you think more clearly.  You respond thoughtfully instead of simply reacting.  Many people use the same coping mechanism over and over, repeatedly reacting the same way without thinking.  Although this coping mechanism may be a healthy one, such as choosing walking or jogging rather than food or alcohol when frustrated, being mindful allows you to be intentional about healthy choices.  Being mindful also helps you be more aware of how you unconsciously and consciously react to stress so you can find new ways to deal with the situation.
  2. Helps Relax Your Body – Short-term effects of mindfulness on the body are similar to the benefits of relaxation. When you are in a mindful state, you experience a decrease in perspiration, a slower heart rate, and changes in alpha waves in your brain.  These physiological changes are evidence that your body is going into relaxation mode. Your body can’t be relaxed and stressed at the same time so, when you are relaxed, you think more clearly and tend to make wiser decisions.

Article from The StayWell Company, LLC

Good Luck on the Bellin Run!

FunTeamPic 

BellinRun2017TshirtLogoThe Bellin Run is this Saturday, June 10th, and 29 UW-Green Bay employees will be walking or running on Saturday morning. Good luck to Christina Baudhuin, Jacob Depas, Bridget Derge, Kate Burns, Sam Goeller, Josh Goldman, Jenell Holstead, Michael Holstead, Mel Jones, Nathan Kraftcheck, James Marker, Ryan Martin, Molly Vandervest, Donna Mleziva, Dan Moore, Sarah Pratt, Darrel Renier, Nate Rusch, Sue Steeno, Bea Yang Thao, Barb Tomashek-Ditter, Lea Truttmann, Erin Van Daalwyk, Kimberly Vlies, Bobbie Webster, Crystal Williams and John Zimonick!

JennaBaresFace

Thank you to UW-Green Bay student, Jenna Bares (picture at right), for designing the team T-shirts this year!  The logo she created, shown at left, was printed on the UW-Green Bay Bellin Run Team T-shirts, which team members received this week.  The T-shirts were available through funding offered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds to support employee wellness and the Well Wisconsin Program. Thank you ETF!

Thank you to Sam Goeller for being the UW-Green Bay Bellin Run Team Captain!  Go team!

5 Steps to Mindfulness

  1. Find a quiet place free from distractions and sit upright in a comfortable position.bench
  2. Decide how many minutes you have.  You may want to set a timer to keep track of the time.  Begin with 5 minutes and ease into 20-30.
  3. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.  Continue to focus on your natural breathing pattern at a relaxed pace, inhaling and exhaling through the nose.
  4. When your mind wanders from the breath, simply return your attention back to your breath.  Anytime the attention drifts away to a thought or distraction, gently guide focus back to your breathing.
  5. When the time is complete, remain sitting comfortably with your eyes closed.  Take a deep breath as you slowly open your eyes.  Have a restful moment before resuming activity.

Could Mindfulness Help You Control Anxiety?

Inhale, then exhale, focusing on your breath. Place a mint on your tongue, and pay close attention to the taste.

These types of exercises promote mindfulness. This state—in which you observe and accept the present moment—may reduce symptoms of anxiety disorder, among other conditions. Other effective treatments for anxiety disorders include counseling and medication. Mindfulness training may be combined with these approaches to ease stress and worries.

In a recent study, seven weeks of mindfulness training reduced anxiety in women with fibromyalgia, who are prone to developing anxiety disorders. And in a review of 19 studies containing almost 500 participants, researchers noticed similar soothing results.

Mindfulness means learning to focus and stay in the present moment. Especially if you have an anxiety disorder, your thoughts may still scatter or race. But instead of being distracted, you’ll learn to let them exist and take their natural course.

With practice, you’ll start accepting and tolerating your fears and worries, rather than trying to actively push them away. Noticing and stepping back from your thoughts may help you let them go.

Article from The StayWell Company, LLC