Wednesday, September 14, 2016

WellU September/October Newsletter

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald 
Welcome Back!  
Another summer in the books... Now it's time to hit the books! While it may be sad to think that our summer fun will soon fade and our steady, but sometimes stressful lifestyles will resume, we can change our attitudes and take this opportunity to "turn a new leaf." What a perfect year to recognize and put into practice our value of Love of Learning! Consider what you want out of the year. It may be time to make a change, set a goal, or take a first step. A new school year means new possibilities to get involved, stay active, challenge yourself, and seek the support that will help you increase your overall well-being. Welcome back!

~The WellU Team
WellU Series
WellU Series: Environmental, Social, and Physical Health
What's New With WellU?

CSS vs. City of Duluth vs. St. Louis County 
This 6 Week Fitness Challenge starts Sept. 26th 
WellU is using a new challenge website to make tracking your progress super easy! You may download smartphone apps for your convenience too.
Use the link below to join the challenge. Create a username and password. Use your CSS email address. Join the CSS team. All personal information is private. Your rank in the challenge is public, so use an alias if you don't want people to see your rank. There will be weekly drawings for prizes. All participants will get a prize at the end. (New Prizes!)
Gift cards ($25) will go to top 4 ranking exercisers!
This challenge is for all employees including extended site campuses!
More information will be sent to you soon...
BWC Studio 12:00 p.m. Tues. & Thurs.
(40 minutes) September 20th - Dec 22nd.
Learn how to lift weights correctly using light weights, bands, compound exercises, and your own body weight as resistance. This class is perfect for beginners, moderate movers, and even advanced exercisers. You will not only increase your strength, but also your balance and mobility while preparing yourself to do strength training at home on your own too. Sign up soon as there is limited space available!

Please don't feel intimidated! This class is taught by your friendly employee wellness coordinator, and you have  most likely seen me trip over my own feet in the CSS NOT intimidating!

Mondays & Wednesdays 
Tower Hall (Mitchell kitchenette)
1:00 Stretching (15-20 minutes) 
1:30 Guided Meditation (10-15 minutes)
October 3rd - December 14th
No need to change out of your work clothes, just show up to stretch and do a little bit of core strengthening. The focus will be stretching your back, neck, shoulders and lower body from the discomfort caused by sitting at a computer all day.  
Yoga mats are provided, but feel free to bring your own mat. 
Sign up soon as there is limited space available!
Total Body Workout  for Employees 
Mondays & Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. (30 - 40 minutes)
Tower Hall 20D conference room
October 3rd - December 14th
Come and enjoy a variety of workout videos that are a combination of strength training and aerobic conditioning. I will do some coaching on proper form and show modifications of movements. You will discover a world of  great workouts available to you via YouTube! 
Sign up soon as there is limited space available!
Life Style Change Program: Follows National Diabetes Prevention Program Curriculum
Classes Start at CSS in Late October! 
Start Date/Time/Location to be Announced...
If you want to lose weight, lower your blood sugar levels, lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol profile, and make exercise a habit, this is the program you have been waiting for! This class will meet one time per week for 16 weeks, and then one time per month for a year. It is a highly effective and successful program! The CDC values this program at $429 per person, but this program is free for employees! We must have 8 people to hold this class, so sign up soon!

Simply email Jennifer Widstrom to sign up for Strength Training 101, Stress Recess, Total Body Workout, and Lifestyle Change programs. If you are at an extended campus site, please email me and I will send you some great strength training  and stretching videos. We want all employees to be included in WellU programming!
WellU prizes awarded to anyone who completes 5 Strength Training 101, Total Body, or Stress Recess sessions (or a combination of any 5 WellU classes).

WellU Changes:
Julie Zaruba Fountaine is the Wellness Coordinator for students  and her office is in T26. Jennifer Widstrom is the Wellness Coordinator for employees in T2108.

Don't worry, we are still friends! WellU for employees has simply moved to the Human Resources Department while WellU for students is still a part of SCHAWB. We look forward to collaborating on many wellness initiatives in the future!

Contact information: for student WellU questions for employee WellU questions
Benedictine Wellness: Body, Mind, and Spirit
Prayer: Strength-training for your soul
Experts tell us that strength training is good for our bodies: it can help us develop strong bones, manage our weight, enhance our quality of life, and sharpen our thinking skills. What a great tool to help us maintain healthy bodies! We also have available to us a great tool for our spiritual life. It's called prayer!
One of my favorite definitions of prayer is raising the heart and mind to God. If you've ever been in love, you know the experience of simply wanting to be with your beloved. Spending time with God - simply being in the presence of God - is like that. After all, you are God's beloved. A regular prayer life can help nurture and strengthen this loving relationship.
Prayer can be individual, between you and God, or communal, such as when we pray the Divine Office together, or when we join our prayers with our sisters and brothers at the celebration of the Eucharist.
As a child, I was taught that there are different forms of prayer, such as blessing and adoration (praising God), thanksgiving (thanking God), petition (asking for what we need), and intercession (asking for what others need). There is also a variety of prayer styles, such as meditation, contemplation, and lectio divina, among others.
Whatever form or style you choose, simply start where you are. Begin by quieting your mind and letting go of any distractions. You might want to choose a specific, personalized place for regular prayer (maybe a corner of a comfortable room with an easy chair, for example) and a time of the day that works for you, such as waking fifteen minutes earlier than usual and using that time to prepare spiritually for your day. Don't worry if you get distracted. Just gently bring yourself back to your center and continue on.
If you're having trouble getting into a regular routine, Sister Kathleen Bryant provides great tips for jump-starting (and perhaps recharging?) a life of prayer. She recommends, for example, that you "build into your life some signposts for prayer or "triggers" for prayer" and suggests ways to connect an activity you do daily, such as making your bed, showering, looking in the mirror, or having a meal, with a prayer or attitude(   
You might choose a word or brief phrase that you find helpful, such as Abba, Jesus, or Beloved - and repeat it quietly to yourself.  But don't feel you have to say any words at all. Benedict tells us to listen with the ear of our heart. If your heart is telling you to say words, go ahead. But it's more important to just be - to rest in God's presence (Psalm 46 reminds us to "be still and know that I am God").
Psalms can be a good place to start. Some possibilities that have been helpful to me are Psalm 139:1-18 and Psalm 8:3-9, as well as Isaiah 49:15-16. You'll find your own scripture passages that resonate with you. In her tips for prayer, Sister Kathleen Bryant suggests that rather than analyzing the text, simply sit with it and "imagine God speaking to you through the passage. Read it as if God is speaking to you personally." Praying with Isaiah 43:1, for example, "Fear not, (your name), for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name: you are mine. When you pass through the water, I will be with you... Because you are precious in my eyes (your name). Fear not, (your name) for I am with you." Because we believe God's word is a living word, it is meant to communicate to you and to me today, in this very moment, within the context of our lives.

Trust in the process. And trust in the God who loves you more than you can imagine and who is happy to be with you! Remember - you're cultivating a relationship - a friendship with the Divine - so just be yourself. Come as you are, God's been waiting for you ☺.

Sr. Kathleen Del Monte, OSB
Assoc VP, Mission Integration 

Happiness and Hygge in Denmark    

Have you ever wondered why the Danes are considered to be the happiest people in the world? Is it the cafes and delicious chocolate Danish pastries that make them happy? Maybe it is because of Tivoli (the Danish amusement park in Copenhagen) and the world's oldest roller coaster built of wood in 1914? Or maybe the Little Mermaid statue sitting at Langelinie in the harbor of Copenhagen honoring Denmark's beloved storyteller, Hans Christian Anderson, is the reason? It must be the Roskilde Cathedral and Hamlet Castle and the quaint towns they exist in.

My colleague, Dr. Karen Petersen, and I wanted to know why the Danes were so famously happy. So we ventured to Denmark with twenty students from the College of St. Scholastica last May to investigate. The trip was the Capstone of our class, The Science of Happiness. We met several times spring semester to discuss positive psychology and traits of happy people. We knew before we left that Denmark is considered the happiest country in the world based on findings in a report published by the United Nations. The UN established the Sustainable Development Solutions Network in 2012 to promote sustainable development and investigate the wellness of people around the world. Their report, The World Happiness Report 2016, ranks Denmark first knocking last year's leader, Switzerland, into second place. Denmark has been at the top of the list every other year since the first report in 2012. The committee bases their findings on statistics and reports from experts across fields in economics, psychology, education, healthcare, public programs and more. You can check out for more information on the world happiness rankings.   

Despite what the numbers say, the UN folks know happiness is subjective. They know in countries where people are said to be the happiest, people within them might not be. The opposite is true of happy people living in countries that rank low in happiness. This leads us to an important question. Why study happiness? We should care about happiness for lots of reasons but perhaps the most important one is because research suggests happy people live longer.

Dr. Martin Seligman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, introduced the idea of studying happiness in 1998. He and many others have been promoting positive psychology ever since. Dr. Seligman's research reveals seven habits of happy people including having close relationships, experiencing life flow, being spiritually engaged, caring for others, getting regular exercise, knowing your strengths and virtues, and having a positive mindset. He and other positive psychologists are quick to note that they can't tell us how to be happy, but they can tell us what happy people say about what makes them happy. They would add that it has a lot to do with mindset.

My good friend, Holly, has lived in Denmark for over 20 years. Lucky for us, she works for the World Health Organization on the campus of the UN City in Copenhagen. Holly arranged a presentation for our group and gave us a tour of the complex. We listened closely as she and her colleagues expanded our views of life in Denmark.

Walking the streets of the city and interacting with the people deepened our understanding. We learned happiness in Denmark has a lot to do with something the Danes call, Hygge (pronounced "hue-gah"). An online definition of hygge comes from and is described as "The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive." The people we met described it as a type of coziness and contentment experienced with their surroundings.

Before we left the country, we concluded that Denmark is a happy place with its nationalized healthcare, free education, social programs, and economy. It's also true that Danes cherish their cafes, Danishes, roller coasters, castles, and Little Mermaid. What underlies their happiness is not so much about beautiful places and delicious pastries but rather how and with whom they are experienced. If this is true and we think it is - we can have that too. We can have it in Denmark and we can have it right here in Duluth.  

Laurie Anderson

We are going again in May 2017! Contact us for details.

Ellen Hanson, a bio-chemistry major and student on our trip, had the following to say about Danes and Hygge in our trip blog:

"As we walked through the area, I caught myself thinking that maybe 'this' is why the Danes are so happy......the architecture, the art, and the abundance of organic beauty. Thinking further, though, I noted that I've felt these feelings before. I've felt Roskilde's comfort and warmth back home, when hiking along Chester Creek, when at work and watching children play, and even when feeding/observing my fish.
Yesterday, our good friend Holly suggested that Danes are so happy because they experience hygge (basically, coziness derived from the people and/or the environment around us) in small yet frequent doses. I think that there is some truth to this. In Roskilde, for example, hygge was incredibly easy to obtain, given the natural feeling of the place. Even so, the same sense of contentment and comfort can be seen in the most average of places. More than anything, I think it is a matter of personal perspective.

Danes are raised on the idea of hygge, and because of this, I think they are more active about seeking it out in their everyday lives. I know it isn't fair to generalize, but in general it seems like they see the world through rose-colored glasses. They find pleasure in passing moments and simple beauty, a skill our culture as a whole could work on improving.
In the end, I don't think it is the environment that makes these people so happy (though it certainly doesn't hurt). It is the mindset. In order to enjoy something, we must be able to get past the stressors in our lives and the pain in our ankles and give that 'something' our full attention. A city as beautiful as Roskilde means nothing to
someone who lacks the capacity to see past herself."

Check out our trip blog:
Aging is a Privilege! 

Have you ever wondered how to age gracefully? Are you pondering the changes in your body as you age? Do you get frustrated that you can't quite do the things you used to? Perhaps you get sore doing anything outside of your normal activities such as gardening, painting, or playing a sport? Maybe your fat has deposited in strange new locations? Where did the muscle tone go? What does aging gracefully mean? To me, it means being able to keep doing the things I want to do, for as long as I possibly am able to, while feeling as good as I feasibly can. I also try to remember that aging is really a privilege that many people do not get to experience!
I believe the only way to age gracefully is to work at it. Eating healthy most of the time, exercising regularly, and keeping your mind active are all important steps toward maintaining good health.To fight osteoporosis (bone loss) and sarcopenia (muscle loss), it is especially important to do strength training as we age. Beginning at around age thirty (depending on genetics and activity levels), we can lose 1/2  to 1 pound of muscle, or more, per year if we are not doing something to build it. The good news is we can build muscle at any age! It is never too late to start strength training.

I have worked at many different fitness centers over the years, but one center had a very active group of seniors that worked out in the weight room regularly. One day the wellness manager gathered staff to sing happy birthday to one of the seniors who was working out. As we gathered around this gentleman, who happened to be using the latissimus dorsi pull-down machine (70 lbs.), I leaned over and asked my manager how old he was. She smiled at me and replied in a whisper, "94!"  I remember thinking, wow, that is what I want to be able to do at 94!

Some people say that our bodies start to fail us as we age, and while that may be true, I wonder if it is actually us who fail our bodies by not doing the activities needed to stay as healthy as possible?  If you want to age gracefully, now is the time to start exercising and eating better to prevent some of the diseases attributed to being inactive!

Try the new Strength Training 101 for employees class on Tuesdays & Thursdays at noon in the BWC studio!

Jennifer Widstrom
MS Exercise Physiology
Employee Wellness Coordinator 
What You Need to Know About:
Osteoporosis and Sarcopenia...   
Osteoporosis (bone loss) and sarcopenia (muscle loss) can happen at any stage of life, but they are more commonly associated with aging. Strength training, aerobic exercise, flexibility training, balance training, and healthy nutrition can help combat and improve symptoms of both of these debilitating diseases.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis is defined as a "bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both" (2016). As they become less dense, bones are more likely to break or fracture. Osteoporosis can lead to limited mobility, permanent pain, and even loss of height. Living with it is painful, surgery can be costly, and too often signs of it are ignored. What can be done? Follow a few simple tips below on how to keep your bones healthy, and if you have a history of this disease in your family make sure you talk to your doctor or healthcare professional immediately.
According to the National Institute on Aging, sarcopenia is "a loss of muscle mass often associated with weakness" (2014). This loss of muscle mass and strength can affect one's balance, walk, and overall ability to perform simple daily tasks. Extreme weakness and low muscle mass are the initial signs of this disease. Like osteoporosis, sarcopenia can lead to permanent pain and costly medical treatment. However, with the right exercise and nutrition initiative, action can be taken to slow the aging process in relation to muscle mass.
Exercise Tips:
Exercise is very important to help avoid injuries, uncomfortable symptoms, limited mobility, and medical expenses related to osteoporosis and sarcopenia.
Here are a few key reasons why exercise is important:
To Build Muscles: Stay active now so you will be active longer. Embark on strength training sessions with an exercise professional.

To Prevent Falls: Simple balance and flexibility exercises can improve your balance, prevent falls, and save you pain and medical intervention.

To Protect the Spine: Exercise that targets the muscles that extend your back can help improve your posture reducing the risk of spine fractures.Please note: If you have osteoporosis, see your doctor before you embark on an exercise program.

Eating Tips:
Eating a well-balanced diet rich in different vitamins and nutrients is essential to keep your bones and muscles healthy to reduce your risk for osteoporosis and sarcopenia. Getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D will help maintain and build strong bones and muscles even as you age.

For more information on osteoporosis or sarcopenia, check out these sites:
Mary Lehet, Miles Everson, and Kate Rod
Check out our Fitness Focus video for a quick strength training segment! 
Nutrition Bites

Simple Ciabatta Bites

My younger sister was being adventurous in the kitchen one day when she created this recipe, therefore, I must give credit where credit is due (thanks Meg!). I simply love this recipe. It's quick, easy, and doesn't involve much prepping! It's the perfect, fresh, filling, on-the-go snack; a great go-to on those busy work days, or for a simple lazy day light meal. Since I first tried this version of Ciabatta bites, I have come up with a few other variations that I have found equally as delicious. Though my preference is goat cheese (yum!), I've used spreadable cheeses and feta as well. You can add meat slices, pile on more veggies, mix up your choice of veggies, it's perfect because it is what you make of it. You simply cannot go wrong with this snack.

Cook time: Approximately 8 minutes

  • 1 Ciabatta bun
  • 1 Tomato
  • Goat cheese (or cheese of preference, can be spreadable, slices, etc.)
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs of pesto (optional)
  • Fresh spinach (optional)

Preheat instructions:
  • Put oven on high broil
  • Cut one Ciabatta bun in half. Use 2 Tbs of olive oil on each half of the bun. Put in the oven for approximately 4 minutes (do not wait until the bread is golden brown, the oil should be slightly bubbling). Remove from oven.
  • Spread goat cheese (or cheese of preference) to liking on both pieces of bread (I recommend a cheese that melts well. Can you tell I'm from Wisconsin?).
  • Cut two slices of tomato and place on each half of the bread.
  • Use ½ a Tbs of pesto on each slice of bread (or preference).
  • Return to oven. I recommend leaving the oven door open, it will bake quickly. Watch and bake for approximately 4 minutes or until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted.
  • Remove from oven and top with salt, pepper, and spinach.
  • Enjoy!
I LOVE food. If you're like me, you're always looking for fresh, new, healthy recipes to try. Have any requests? Have a recipe that you would like featured in a newsletter? I'd love to hear from you! Send me an email, you can reach me at

Kate Rod
WellU Marketing Coordinator
CSS Student
Fitness Focus
Plank School with Jonathan Ross
Plank School with Jonathan Ross
Plank School With Jonathan Ross
WellU Cardiovascular (CV) Clinic
What is it?
This clinic assesses cardiovascular health and risks.
What it is not:
The clinic will not provide primary care, urgent care or convenient care.
Who is eligible?
All benefit eligible employees only.
No cost associated with clinic.
Where is it located?
Visits will be conducted in Student Health Services (Somers 47)
When is the clinic open?
Blood draws Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays8:30-9:30 a.m. (15 minute appointments)
Clinic Follow up Visits: Wednesdays October 12,November 9 & December 7
from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.  (30 minute appointments)
How do you sign up?
Call Student Health Services at 723-6282 to make your first appointment

What you need to know:
You will need to fast for 12 hours prior to your blood draw appointment.
Water or black coffee only
Lab results & recommendations will be discussed with provider at office visit.
Take Advantage of Your Health Benefits!

Enrolled in HealthPartners' insurance?
Take advantage of Virtuwell: 3 free online health visits per year. 

Employee Assistance Program (EAP): For All Employees!
Free Counseling Services:, or call 866-326-7194.

Simply log in through cor and click on the  
employee tab. Next, click on the 
red links button on the left for Employee Assistance Program and HealthPartners' links. Set up your healthpartners' account on the healthpartners' website.
Questions? Email
WellU Welcomes Your Feedback!
"You can't pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first."