Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Birthday Planet Earth!

Every year on April 22, we celebrate Earth Day — the anniversary of the moment the environmental movement went mass.
According to, Earth Day was founded in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, who called for a “national teach-in on the environment” after witnessing the terrible effects of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. The first Earth Day brought major actions to the streets of many major U.S. Cities. For fun, check out this vintage newscast from after that first Earth Day.

Earth Day went global in 1990 and, today, is celebrated in an estimated 192 countries. Which makes today the perfect day to take time to appreciate the land, air, oceans and wildlife that sustain us — and to think about how our lives, both individually and as a group, affect the environment. To that end, here are a few resources to help you reflect on your impact on the Earth. All of the resources below can be found on the WellU Faculty and Staff Resource page.

Supporting a Healthy Planet Podcast

Mentioned in the Sustainable Lifestyle Webinar

Monday, April 20, 2015

To Stand or Not to Stand?

Are you standing up while reading this? That’s good—but it could be even better if you also move every 20 minutes or so. 

By now you’ve probably heard about the many perils of sitting several hours a day, including foggy brain, weight gain, back and joint pain, unstable blood sugar, and even a shorter life. Check out this graphic from the Washington Post at 
to see how sitting can affect you. More bad news—it turns out that even regular exercise isn’t enough to protect you from sitting too much. This is why standing desks are increasingly popular. 
Standing Desk

“I’d never go back to sitting all day,” is often heard from those who use standing desks. Reasons range from having more energy (with no afternoon slump), feeling more creative, and enjoying better posture with less back or neck ache. Anne, pictured here at Hennepin County Public Health, agrees. 

“I think it’s correct to say we’re in the middle of a stand up movement,” says Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic and author of Get Up!: Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It . Any production worker or cashier can tell you that standing in one place for several hours a day brings its own health problems. But Dr. Levine says, “I don’t want people to think that they should stand up like still soldiers. That is not a good idea.” 

So what’s best? 

Try these tips that can work for both “sitters” and “standers:”

Avoid any static work posture, standing or sitting, for longer than 20 minutes.  
Use a fully adjustable sit/stand desk, along with an adjustable chair or stool, if at all possible. 
Move! Even small movements (swaying, rocking, stretching, fidgeting, or shifting your weight from side to side) can help. 
Think about your posture. Sit or stand relaxed, arms bent at elbows, hands level with your work surface or keyboard, looking only slightly down at your computer screen or work surface. 
Stand with one foot slightly in front of the other; occasionally rest one foot on a six-inch stool or platform (a cardboard box or books can work). 
Take a two-minute moving break at least twice an hour.
Wear comfortable shoes.
Use an anti-fatigue, gel-filled standing mat if possible, or try inner soles for your shoes. 

Try the stretches shown at this Mayo Clinic Web site:
Courtesy of Mayo Clinic.

Want more information? Go to for more information about becoming active at work.

Watch Natalie Morales’ (NBC News) interview with Dr. Levine at

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Living an inspired life

Tap into these inspirational quotes to help you cope with the stressors in day-to-day life.

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” -Author unknown

“Don’t sweat the small stuff....and it’s all small stuff.” -Richard Carlson

“Stress is not something that happens to us. It is our response to what happens. And RESPONSE is something we can choose.” -Maureen Killoran

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If you are looking for more information about various wellness topics go to

Sunday, April 12, 2015

National Healthcare Decisions Day

Can you fathom being in a hospital, and unable to speak? What decisions regarding your well-being would be made?

April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day, which is an initiative to bring awareness to this issue. National Healthcare Decision Day encourages patients to express their wishes related to healthcare, and for providers/facilities to respect those wishes.

Dilemma~ Studies reveal that most Americans have not exercised their right to make decisions about health care, through advance directives, if they become unable to speak for themselves.

Solution~ National Healthcare Decisions Day will help raise awareness of the importance in making future health care decisions.

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What is the Federal Patient Self-Determination Act, and why is it important to National Healthcare Decisions Day?

This act requires all Medicare-participating healthcare facilities to do three main efforts to ensure their patients are aware of health care decisions.

  1. Provide information about health care decision-making rights
  2. Ask all patients if they have an advance directive
  3. Educate their staff and community about Advance Directives

National Healthcare Decisions Day wants everyone to know about this act, so that patients will exercise their right!

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Do you know what an Advance Directive is?

An Advance Directive allows adults to make decisions regarding their health before they are unable to speak for themselves. Advance Directives come in two main forms: a “healthcare power of attorney” and a “living will”. A healthcare power of attorney allows people to document the person they select to be their voice, for healthcare decisions, in the event they are unable to speak for themselves. A living will documents what kinds of medical treatments a person would or would not want at the end of their life.

Facts about Advance Directives
~Less than 50% of the severely or terminally ill patients studied had an Advance Directive in their medical record
~Only 12% of patients with an Advance Directive had received input from their physician in its development
~Between 65-76% of physicians whose patients had an Advance Directive were not aware that it existed
For more information about how you can get an Advance Directive visit this link-

Can you fathom being in a hospital, and unable to speak? What decisions regarding your well-being will YOU make? Exercise your right to make decisions regarding your health with the help from National Healthcare Decisions Day!

For more information about National Healthcare Decisions Day visit this link-

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Is Your Brain Happy?

Studies show that happy brains lead to better physical health, reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, and stronger relationships. Watch this "short course in happiness" to find out about three traits that drag you down — and what to do about them.

This video is part of the Resilient Living series by Amit Sood, M.D. — Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Chair of Mayo Mind Body Initiative.

Watch the video >>

Courtesy of Mayo Clinic

Friday, April 3, 2015

Take Ten For You

Taking mini stress breaks periodically throughout the day is good for your health!

Next time you are in the market for a stress break try standing up and stretching your arms

overhead to the sky. Do a few arm circles followed by bending and straightening your wrists.

Regular stretching relaxes tight and tense muscles.

Take ten minutes and enjoy a quick walk down the hall or head to the nearest stairway and go up and down a flight or two.

Exercise boosts your feel-good endorphins and can serve as a stress reliever.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

National Walking Day!

April 1st is National Walking Day
Why walk?
Have you heard of the "sitting disease" it is a popular term used to describe the lack of activity in the average American life.  Too much sitting has been associated with 34 chronic diseases or conditions including heart disease, diabetes, back pain and depression. It can also shorten their lifespans.
One solution to cure sitting disease is. walking.  While popular work outs such as boot camps and HITT offer fabulous workouts, they are not practical when it comes to adding activity throughout your daily life. 
Try to get up and walk around several times a day, even if it’s for only five to 10 minutes at a time. Studies show you will be healthier, happier and get even better results in your other workouts. 
Now is the perfect time to start walking. April 1st is National Walking Day.  The American Heart Association is aiming to get all Americans on their feet for 30 minutes of walking (even in small 10-minute bouts). And hopefully, you will continue.
How can I increase my activity?
Consider participating in one of the Well U programs described below or join the Well U Walking Club. Every Thursday the walking club meets in the Mitchell Auditorium Lobby at 12 pm.  

Shape Up Personal Fitness

Shape Up's mission is to Shape Healthy Attitudes towards Personal Exercise! This is your campus resource for personal fitness! WellU at The College of St. Scholastica has developed this program with your personalized fitness needs in mind.
Whether you are looking for educational resources regarding fitness and exercise, need help in creating or revamping your current exercise routine, or would like to meet with an exercise specialist who can point you in the right direction, Shape Up is perfect for you! Your free exercise mentor will help you achieve your fitness goals by assisting and training you no matter your fitness level or ability.

Health Coaching

Health coaching is a resource to develop an action plan to achieve wellness with the help from WellU staff. The first session is an opportunity to discuss goals, review lifestyle habits, and configure an action plan. WellU can help with achieving fitness goals, nutrition goals, smoking cessation, stress relief, weight loss, and more! With the health coaching program, there are also two follow up sessions where progress is discussed and adjustments are made to plan if necessary.

Registering for a Shape Up or Health Coaching Session

WellU uses IMLeagues for all program registration. To sign up for Shape Up or Health Coaching visit If you are unsure how to use IMLeagues click HERE, please email with any questions.