Monday Update: Wellness for you
COVID Surge Testing: As the UW-System announced last week and Chancellor Ford and Vice Provost McGuckin noted in messages to faculty, staff and students, the UW-System campuses will start “surge” testing efforts that will increase testing support for communities throughout Wisconsin now facing significant increases of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations related to the ongoing outbreak. If you are a faculty or staff member, or a commuter student, please register for the free test at www.doineedacovid19test.com. Participants must also use the site to obtain results. The locations for testing will become available when they are up and running.
Please keep wearing masks, watching your distance, washing your hands, and getting tested!
Wellness for you
As we continue to navigate this unprecedented time of experiencing a global pandemic, a national reawakening to systemic racism, political and social polarization, economic concerns, and epic natural disasters, it is important to prioritize our individual and collective health and well-being. Just one of those major issues could have an impact on our current state of well-being, not to mention the potential of long-term consequences. To begin, let’s think about how you are doing right now. Answer honestly:
How are you doing? How are you really doing?
A. I’m barely hanging in there
C. I’m doing well
If you are like me, you might be thinking: well, right now I am doing okay. But yesterday, I was barely hanging on. And then in other moments, my life seems pretty darn good and I feel very fortunate. While I realize some of you may not change that frequently, others may be feeling like they are just hanging on most days. I recently asked my students this same question. Twenty-eight percent said they were barely hanging on, 68% said they were okay, and 4% said they were doing well. If that is any indication of how the rest of us are doing, there are a lot of people on our campus who could use a little assistance with their well-being right now.
There are lots of definitions of well-being, there is even debate on whether it should be “well-being,” “wellbeing,” or “wellness,” but that is a topic for another time. I like to think of well-being as being the best you can be at the moment, in the here and now, under these circumstances. The ultimate goal is to have the energy, knowledge, and skill to play and work optimally and experience life as meaningful, loving, and fulfilling. However one may define well-being, the whole person (emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual, physical, occupational, etc.,) should be taken into consideration.
Well-being is very individual, dynamic and complex to say the least. Well-being doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be the best you can be all of the time. To be well doesn’t mean you have a certain blood pressure, workout every day, sleep so many hours a night, eat “perfectly”, or be productive 100% of the time. Striving for that is unsustainable and can actually place more stress on yourself and your overall well-being. Don’t get me wrong, practicing healthy behaviors and setting positive health goals are good things. However, too much focus on “achieving” those things can actually create the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. Consider having these as the ideal, not necessarily something we have to achieve and maintain indefinitely or something that we judge ourselves or others on. Especially in light of everything that is going on, now is a good time to be gentle to yourself and others, especially in the expectations you have on health practices and accomplishments.
Try reframing your thoughts to “restoring” your health and well-being instead of “accomplishing” or “achieving” wellness. Just like our nation needs restoration and healing right now, so too do we as individuals and a campus community. It is okay to take time out for you, to just sit with yourself and your thoughts (be mindful), and to be kind to yourself. Taking time for you will help you better serve those you love and care for too. And if you aren’t sure what you need or you don’t feel like you have answers to important questions, it is okay to ask for some assistance. Consider assistance from family, friends, clergy, co-workers, and our Employee Assistance Program. Remember you are a valuable part of our UW-Parkside community and the well-being of our campus is dependent on the well-being of each of us. There are numerous resources through our EAP program as well as other reliable sites.
Here are just few:
Penny Lyter, Ph.D.
Faculty Director of Community-Based Learning
Academic Director of Master of Science in Health and Wellness Management
email@example.com | 262-595-2494
The Importance of Grace, Space, and Self-Care in the time of COVID
The last nine months have been an extremely difficult time for all of us. As we continue isolating during these unprecedented times, there continues to be increasing pressures all around. Working from home or under modified work arrangements continuously adds to the anxiety. Many of us are worried that the longer we stay home or work under these conditions, we may not appear to be as productive as we were in the office. This leads to increased anxiety, self-doubt, criticism of self and others, and may fear losing our job. Those of us required to work on campus may feel they are left alone to deal with the aftermath as things continually change. Moreover, our social gatherings being discontinued and our ability to physically connect with friends or family feels like a loss.
There is real grief that comes from loss, change, anxiety, and uncertainty. It is completely normal to have these feelings, as well as fear about the unknown. However, we can get through this by practicing a level of self-care, providing space, and extending grace.
Self-care are deliberate activities that help to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. These activities are different for each of us, however, the Employee Assistance Program offers a few tips to help us practice self-care:
- Develop a regular sleep routine.
- Aim for a healthy diet.
- Take lunch breaks.
- Go for a walk at lunchtime.
- Take a walk after work.
- Set a regular work schedule and “unplug.”
- Avoid comparing yourself to others.
Providing space and grace is the practice of extending favor to one another. Our emotional and mental state is challenged on a daily basis. We may exhibit behaviors that we may not exhibit under normal circumstances. We may find ourselves lashing out in ways that we never have before, or having unrealistic expectations of our friends, family, and co-workers. Providing space and grace allows us to forgive ourselves, as well as value and respect others. Each of our circumstances are different, and we have to lean into situations with the best of intentions, believing that each of us are committed to doing the best that we can under these conditions. The following are ways that we can extended space and grace.
- Words. Be kind and gentle, less accusatory and negative.
- Let it go. Letting go is the easiest way to extend grace to others.
- Be there, be present.
- Non-judgmental attitude.
- Watch the way you speak.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
As mentioned, these are unprecedented times. With a little self-care, space, and grace we can all get through it together. If you need help or support during these times, the Employee Assistance Program and Silver Cloud can help.
Acknowledging Frontline Support Workers
While many of us are being told to stay at home, our frontline workers have the responsibility during the current pandemic to continue operations. These workers work behind the scenes without us realizing how essential they are to keeping the campus functioning. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you for your courage, patience, and dedication to your job. Thank you for showing up each and every day to ensure that our campus can continue to provide the level of service and support to ensure that our students are successful. I truly appreciate all that you do! We will be acknowledging and celebrating our frontline workers by providing a special lunch. Please join us in celebrating our colleagues!
Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Five Things You Should Know:
The Teaching of the 7 Fires: Join community activist Al RestingHawk and UW-Parkside OMSA Wednesday, November 11, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm in the Teaching of the 7 Fires. Learn how history has shaped Native America today and talk about how we can be an advocate for the Native American community. Click here to register for the event. To learn more about this event and the presenter, visit the Native American Heritage Month website.
Surge Testing FAQS: Surge testing efforts will immediately increase testing support for communities throughout Wisconsin now facing dramatic increases of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations related to the ongoing outbreak. Register for the free test at www.doineedacovid19test.com. Participants must also use the site to obtain results. The locations for testing will become available as they are up and running.
UW System Announces Wisconsin Regents Opportunity Scholarship: The new Wisconsin Regents Opportunity Scholarship will provide up to $10,000 to underrepresented and underserved undergraduate students who have overcome adversity, exhibited financial need, and demonstrated merit, Regent President Andrew S. Petersen announced today. Learn more here.
Inaugural Collaborative Virtual Career Fair a Success: UW-Parkside, Carthage College, Gateway Technical College and Herzing University hosted their inaugural collaborative Virtual Career Fair on October 8, 2020, via the career platform Handshake. This year was not only the first time the four institutions have collaborated on the event, but was also UW-Parkside’s first-ever virtual Internship and career fair. Learn more here.
Parkside Presente: Check out the latest episode of Presente! In Season 2, Episode 8, Gia talks to Esmeralda Aguilar, a MOSAIC program educator and student at UW-Parkside. The MOSAIC program focuses in Motivating Our Students to Advocate for an Inclusive Campus. Esmeralda shares with us the complexities of implicit bias and how we can begin to understand via dialogue the barriers that implicit bias creates to create an inclusive campus.
And as always, make sure to keep an eye on the News page (uwp.edu/news) and on our social media channels for updates!