December 2021 The WELLesley Employee
A Monthly Safety and Wellness Newsletter brought to you by The Town of Wellesley Employee Safety & Wellness Committee
December's Wellness Initiative
Submitted by Robin Tusino & Jen Glover
The Season of Self-Care - A wellness program for YOU during the 2021 holiday season.
Receive weekly information on self-care for the mind & body
Participate in any of the self-care practices listed under the well-being components of exercise, nutrition and/or wellness.
Maintain self-care throughout the program.
All participants who log in and show weekly participation in any exercise, nutrition or wellness activity will be entered into a raffle for L.L.Bean Gift Cards and 30-minute nutrition consultations with a Registered Dietitian!
In addition - the 5 participants with the most points in each community will be entered into a second raffle for REI Gift Cards!
This program ends on January 2, 2022.
Yes! Put the DailyEndorphin app on your phone and log your activity from anywhere! Click below:
Safe Toys and Gifts Month
Submitted by Vivian Zeng
Approximately 198,000 children are treated at hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2020). Safe toys are sturdy, unbreakable, washable, lightweight, and made with non-toxic materials. Whether buying, receiving, or using toys, here are some safety tips to avoid injuries and choking hazards.
Follow these 3 general tips to purchase safe gifts:
- Inspect the toys before you buy them. Avoid toys with sharp edges or parts that can be easily pulled off. For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
- Make sure the age and skill level marked on the toy matches the age and skill level of the child you’re buying for.
- Check toys for the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) label that proves it’s up to standard.
Other safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season:
- Do not give toys with ropes, cords, or that can heat up, and avoid crayons and markers unless they are labeled nontoxic.
- Keep high-powered magnet sets away from children. Building and play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children.
- Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than eight years old as they can cause choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Also discard broken balloons immediately.
Before making any purchases for the people on your list this season and throughout the year, make sure to keep safety in mind. Keep the holidays a magical time of the year without any trips to the E.R. or emergencies.
Free Wellness Webinars & Programs
Submitted by Jen Glover
Tufts Health Plan has a free webinar series available to everyone, not just Tufts Health Plan members! It has been expanded to offer several programs each week, including regular sessions of guided mindfulness, Zumba®, yoga, and rotating health and wellness topics. This expanded program is called Living Well at Home.
Despite "home" in the title, there are weekly half hour programs that would make a great team building exercise, like guided mindfulness sessions and stretching!
Please visit their updated webpage for more details, links to live sessions, and recordings of previous webinars https://tuftshealthplan.com/livingwellathome. The website is updated regularly and currently includes the schedule of programming available through the end of 2021.
Sober & Responsible Driving
Submitted by Cay Meagher
In 2018 in the US, 10,511 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. On Labor Day weekend 2019, 451 traffic accident deaths were associated with drunk driving. Once again, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is partnering with local law enforcement to spread its annual holiday messages: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and If you Feel Different, You Drive Different. The annual campaign runs from December 18 through January 1. We all know it’s dangerous to drink and drive but every holiday increases the rate of impaired driving accidents and deaths. You can easily prevent impaired driving by planning ahead by either choosing a designated driver or arranging rides through public transportation and rideshare options. When thinking and planning, stop to consider the impact your choices have on those around you.
Shoveling Snow Safely
Submitted by Michael Carmody
Most of us shovel the snow several times every winter and have since we were young. In New England, it’s something we take for granted, though we don’t always think about the safety and health hazards of snow shoveling. With shoveling snow, there are risks both for musculoskeletal injuries and for a large segment of the population, risks to cardiovascular health.
To avoid muscle and joint strains and sprains keep these things in mind:
- Take an athletic stance, with feet apart about shoulder-width.
- When bending forward to lift snow, bend at the knee and hip, keeping your spine straight (see photo above). Let your legs do most of the lifting.
- Don’t twist your spine while throwing snow. Turn your feet so your whole body faces the direction you’re going to throw snow. Make throwing snow a smooth, easy movement with no jerking motions.
- If you can, push snow rather than throwing it.
- If snow is heavy and wet, shovel small amounts.
- Wear boots with good tread and grip to avoid a slip and fall.
- Pace yourself! Respect your fitness level and your back health. If your back starts to hurt, stop.
If you have a history of cardiovascular disease or an ordinarily sedentary lifestyle, ask your doctor if it is healthy for you to shovel snow. The American Heart Association lists these practical health tips:
- Take frequent breaks during shoveling. Pay attention to how your body feels during these breaks.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal prior to or just after shoveling. Eating a large meal can put an extra strain on the heart.
- Most snow shovels are 24 inches wide. Use a narrower shovel for heavy, wet snow.
- Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1.
Look on the Bright Side
Submitted by Robin Tusino
Did you know there is actually a “Look on the Bright Side Day?” It is celebrated on the shortest day of the year, Tuesday, December 21, 2021. The Winter Solstice is emerging and the days are cold and cloudy, but if you look hard enough, you will see the silver lining in each and every day. Will it be in a child’s smile, a kind word from a stranger, or the feel of the warm sunshine on your face? Optimism greatly impacts many health conditions. According to a series of studies from the U.S. and Europe, Optimism helps people cope with disease and recover from surgery. Even more impressive is the impact of a positive outlook on overall health and longevity. Research tells us that an optimistic outlook early in life can predict better health and a lower rate of death during follow-up periods of 15 to 40 years.
So you are probably wondering how to change your glass from half empty to half full. I’m glad you asked! It’s just a matter of changing your thinking. You decide to be positive. Being an optimistic person in a negative world begins with the decision to be positive and choosing to live that life every single day. You should also distance yourself from negative people. You might refer to them as “whiners” or even “toxic,” but however you think of them, pessimists suck the positive energy out of the room. These people think the world revolves around them, and they often lack any sense of empathy for others. You also want to cultivate positivity. While it’s not your job to make everyone happy, it doesn’t hurt to perk up someone’s day. Once a day, share positive feedback with someone.
At work, compliment someone about a good question raised in an email or salient points that they brought up in an important meeting. At home, praise your child for how hard they worked on their math homework. Or, tell your partner how much you appreciate them.
The last tip is to practice gratitude. Think about all that you have to be grateful for such as your family and friends, your pets, the warm sunshine, and clean water. These can give you an instant boost of optimism. You might even decide to keep a gratitude journal, in which you write down everything that makes you crack a smile during the day.
Making other people feel positive has lasting effects on your own life. One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
My hope is that you have a wonderful holiday season and drink from your half-full glass.
COVID-19 Testing Info
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
THE TIME AND STRESS MANAGEMENT TOOL KIT December 8th, 2021 1:30pm - 2:30pm https://www.emiia.org/risk-management-resources/view-training-details?course_instance_id=1320
MANAGING DRIVER FATIGUE December 14th, 2021 10:00am - 11:00am https://www.emiia.org/risk-management-resources/view-training-details?course_instance_id=1338
Monthly Action Item!
Submitted by Emma Weiler
Practice gratitude during the holiday season.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion that helps us enjoy what we have.
One quick way to evoke the feeling right now by sending an email, text or letter to someone who has helped you in some way.
Thank them for what they have done for you, however small.
It’s easy and quick and one study has found that practicing gratitude can increase happiness 25%.