Emotional Wellness

Emotional Wellness is the ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring. The ability to acknowledge and share feelings of anger, fear, sadness, or stress; hope, love, joy, and happiness in a productive manner contributes to our Emotional Wellness.

The Importance of Sleep


Insufficient sleep has been linked to the development and management of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Here is how sleep can put you at an increased risk:


Research shows an increased risk for the development of Type 2 diabetes.  Specifically, sleep duration and quality have emerged as predictors of level of Hemoglobin A1c, an important marker of blood sugar control.

Cardiovascular Disease

Persons with sleep apnea have an increased risk of developing hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease and irregular heartbeats.


Research has found that short durations of sleep can result in metabolic changes that may be linked to obesity.  The association between lack of sleep and excess body weight has been reported in all age groups, especially children as sleep is critical for brain development and optimal functionality.


Although the relationship between sleep and depression is still under study, recent research has indicated that depressive symptoms may decrease once sleep apnea has been effectively treated and sufficient sleep has been restored.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Although individual sleep needs can vary, below are the recommended daily sleep guidelines from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Age & Recommended Amount of Sleep:

  • Newborns = 16-18 hours a day
  • Preschool-aged children = 11-12 hours a day
  • School-aged children = At least 10 hours a day
  • Teens = 9-10 hours a day
  • Adults (including the elderly) = 7-8 hours a day

Healthy Sleep Habit Tips

Here are a few healthy sleep habits from the National Sleep Foundation you should incorporate into your daily routine.

  1. Go to bed each night at the same time and rise at the same time each morning.
  2. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot nor too cold.
  3. Use your bedroom for sleeping only. Do not use electronic devices in the bedroom.
  4. Avoid large meals before bedtime.

For more information visit the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.htm

Article by Sam Ahrens, UWGB Dietetic Intern

Stress Management Lunch ‘n Learn



Almost 30 employees attended the Stress Management Lunch ‘n Learn on Thursday, November 3rd and learned about positive and negative stress, three types of stress (physical, chemical and emotional), and the ‘snowball’ effect of changing one behavior for the better.  For example, eating healthier can lead to having more energy, which can lead to exercising more and sleeping better at night, which can lead to a healthier body which can handle stress better and has less dependence on prescription drugs.

The doctor also promoted the benefits of drinking plenty of water.  Did you know that we should drink half our body weight in ounces?  So, if your body weight is 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water per day.  Assuming you have 16 waking hours per day, that is just 5 ounces per hour.  If we only drink when our body tells us it is thirsty, our body would be in a persistent state of near dehydration, which doesn’t lead to a healthy body.

We also learned that drinking one alcoholic drink per day can be beneficial, and our emotional stress depends on how we percieve a situation and respond to it.  Everyone has a go-to destressor, such as relaxing with a glass of wine or a beer, going for a run, reading a book, watching a movie, browsing Pinterest, etc. It is important that we know what our destressor is, and use it when our body is maxed out.

Thank you to Dr. Logan Andera, D.C. of Cornerstone Chiropractic and Kendall Howard of Wellness Champions for the interesting, helpful and funny presentation, as well as buying us lunch!


Annual Benefits & Wellness Fair

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Thank you to everyone who attended the Annual Benefits & Wellness Fair on Friday, October 21st.  Over 30 vendors were on hand to answer questions and provide information.

October is Brain Health Month

One in four people suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. That person may be a close friend, relative, acquaintance, or maybe you are the one suffering from anxiety or depression. The important thing to know is that you, or your friend, are not alone.

The month of October is an awareness month for many things, including breast cancer, SIDS, domestic violence, etc. The first week, however, is dedicated to Mental Illness Awareness. Mental illness affects millions of individuals which in turn can affect their families and friends.

What exactly is mental illness? It encompasses a wide range of conditions that affect mood, thinking, and behaviors. These conditions include anxiety, depression, dementia, Attention Deficient Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, PTSD, OCD, and others. It can lead to difficulty functioning during social, work or family activities.

How can you help? The short answer…be aware that those suffering from a disorder need understanding and care, not judgement. Long term elevated stress is detrimental to most of us, but can be negatively life changing for those suffering from a mental illness. Individuals may feel hopeless and alone; provide them with empathy and consideration or referral to a professional, when appropriate.

What can you do? There are some things you can do for your own mental well-being.

  • Exercise.  Exercise has been shown to raise endorphin levels which contribute to a feeling of happiness. Endorphins are hormones in your body that make it function properly. After moderate to rigorous exercise they are able to activate opiate receptors, giving you that amazing, healthy feeling.
  • Relaxation. Engaging in relaxing activities such as meditation, yoga, reading, etc. contributes to coping skills when dealing with stress. Without those coping skills your stress hormones and blood pressure stays elevated, your muscles stay tense and can contribute to pain, and you experience fatigue.
  • Nutrition. There are some foods that have been known to help.
    • Cold-water fish. Consuming higher amounts omega-3 fatty acids found naturally in cold water fish (like salmon, sardines and herring), seaweed, flaxseed and walnuts has been found to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Studies have shown that certain parts of the world, like Iceland, have very low rates of depression and seasonal affective disorder even though it is gray and gloomy often.  Residents of Iceland tend to eat higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and engage in physical activity.
    • Limiting alcohol intake
    • Nuts and seeds. So many to choose from: pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin, sesame, and more! They are a good source of magnesium, fiber, and omega 3 fats.

Other dietary habits that may help prevent depression and similar disorders are avoiding excessive alcohol intake, staying hydrated, eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (oats, barley, rice, etc). Black coffee and dark chocolate, in moderation, have also been shown to decrease risk for depression. Try to avoid foods that are fried, highly refined and full of added sugar. These cause extra stress and oxidation in the body.

In closing, it is important to know that just like some physical ailments require a visit to a professional, so do mental ailments.  If you or someone you know struggles with a mental health issue, be kind and supportive. You can do your part by fighting the stigma that is attached to mental illness and provide hope.

For more information please visit: http://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Mental-Illness-Awareness-Week

Article by Cathleen Malone, UWGB Dietetic Intern

Employee Spotlight: Gail Sims-Aubert


UW-Green Bay students can rest easy in the housing on campus with Gail Sims-Aubert as the Director of Residence Life. Gail has been overseeing daily operations and all facets of student housing at UW-Green Bay since October 2013.

Gail was born and raised in a small town, Bruning, Nebraska (population 300). She is one of five children and a first generation college graduate with a BA in Broadcast Sales/Management and Master’s Degree in Speech Communication. Gail religiously reads her hometown newspaper every week (Hebron Journal Register) because it keeps her “in the know” with small town life. Gail is married and has two wiener dogs, Thelma and Louise. She is an organized, thoughtful and detail-oriented person who loves fitness, cycling, watching college basketball (Go Phoenix!) and reading.

Gail loves working with her staff of professionals and students, because no two days are ever the same. One of the most important things Gail has learned in life is to say what’s on your mind, because life may not give you a second chance.

Position at UWGB: Director of Residence Life

Summary of what you do:   Oversee the daily operations of all facets of student housing at UWGB

How long have you been employed:          Since October 2013

Brief history of employment with UWGB: Have been here just over 18 months

Three words that describe you:     Organized, Thoughtful and Detail-Oriented

Personal interests: Fitness, Cycling, Reading

Random facts/interests: Born and raised in a small town in Nebraska (pop. 300). My husband and I have 2 wiener dogs (Thelma and Louise)

– Are you messy or organized? Organized

– Best vacation you’ve been to? Recently explored the Mayan pyramids in Mexico

– Describe what you were like at age 10. Shy. Very, very shy

– Do you have a favorite newspaper, blog? I religiously read my hometown newspaper every week (Hebron Journal Register) because it keeps me “in the know” with small town life.

– Do you have a favorite quote? “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” Will Rogers

– If you could change one thing about working here, what would it be? The winter weather!

– If you could interview one person (dead or alive) who would it be? My Dad. He passed away when I was quite young, and I’d love to pick his brain about a lot of things.

– If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pizza!

– If your house was burning down, what’s the one non-living thing you would save? My parents wedding photo

– Least favorite Food? Brussel sprouts

– Motto or personal mantra? Be proud of yourself every day!

– Tell us a little about yourself. I am one of five children, and a first generation college student. I have a BA in Broadcast Sales/Management and a Master’s Degree in Speech Communication. My husband (Alan) and I have been married for 15 years.

– What advice would you give to recent new hires? Never feel bad about asking questions!

– What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most? Working with my staff – both the professionals and the students

– What book did you read last? Follow You Home

– What books are at your bedside? Anything, I read a wide variety of things

– What did you want to be when growing up? Hair Stylist

– What do you like most about your job? No two days are ever the same!

– What do you like to do in your spare time? Pretty much anything outside.

– What do you like to do on your days off? Pedicures!

– What does a typical day look like for you? Lots of meetings.

– What else do you do for fun? Clean my house – I know it’s odd.

– What is an ability you wish you had? Be two places at once.

– What is the first concert you attended? Belinda Carlisle

– What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery? Pay off my husband’s student loans.

– What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years? Say what’s on your mind – life may not give you a second chance.

– What is your favorite movie and book? “So, I Married and Axe Murderer” (funniest movie every!) “This Much I Know is True”

– What is your favorite sport? I love to watch college basketball.

– What one food do you wish had zero calories? Chocolate

– What phobias do you have? Heights

– What tv show/movie are you ashamed to admit you love? Say Yes to the Dress and Walking Dead (opposite ends of the spectrum!)

– What was your favorite book, toy, or outfit as a child? My Kathy Quick Curl doll

– What’s on your bucket list? Going on safari in Africa

– What’s the one thing, you can’t live without? Love

– Where is your favorite place to eat? El Potrero (a small Mexican restaurant back home)

– Where is your home town? Bruning, NE

– Where would you like to go on a dream vacation? Italy

Team Building Thursday fun!

Team Building Thursday activities provided some light hearted fun and a chance for employees to spend some time out of the office! Check out the photos below from last weeks’ UW-Green Bay version of #TBT!

Lunch n’ Learn: Zen

When: December 4, 2014
Where: 1965 Room at the University Union
Time: 12:15 – 1:00PM
Facilitator: Raymond Reed Hardy, Ph.D.

Raymond Reed Hardy, Ph.D. is a retired Psychology Professor from St. Norbert College and is an author of four books including: Zen, Zen Master: Practical Zen by an American for Americas (2000) and Zen Student: Remember Live Right Now! (2006).