January 2023 The WELLesley Employee
A monthly Safety and Wellness Newsletter brought to you by The Town of Wellesley Employee Safety & Wellness Committee
January/February Wellness Activity
Save the date! Registration info will be emailed to everyone at the beginning of January.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
Submitted by Jeff Azano-Brown, DPW Assistant Director
Each year, many New Year’s Resolutions center around topics of wellness. Often the resolutions are to lose weight or exercise more. CNN Health shared an article on the effectiveness of making New Year’s Resolutions. The article reports that University of Pennsylvania research shows that one week into the new year, just 77% of resolutions are still on track, and after 6 months, only about 40% are still on course.
One of the ways to be in that top 40% after 6 months, is to ensure that your resolutions and goals that are specific & attainable. Another way to make a new resolution, or a new habit, is to disrupt the environment where the bad habit was occurring. Learn more about this by clicking on the link below and watching the short video attached to the article.
Here are 4 of the 21 achievable New Year’s Resolutions that are suggested in the article.
1. Reboot Your Diet: Evaluating, and making many necessary changes, to the status of your nutrition is a great New Year’s Resolution. However, to make it achievable, remember that taking one step at a time will be more attainable than trying to change everything at once. To stay on track, try choosing one means of improving your diet at a time.
2. Do A Kitchen Cleanse: Go through your kitchen cabinets, refrigerator, car and office, and get rid of all unhealthy food products. Replace them with healthy options.
3. Take It A Week At A Time: For goals such as running or exercising 3 times per week, try breaking it down weekly. You will be more apt to stick to your plan if you schedule exercising 3 times this week. Then, at the end of the week, you can schedule exercising 3 times per week again.
4. Take A Time-Out Daily: Carving out just 10 minutes per day can make a difference. Try using this small amount of time to rest and rejuvenate by focusing on your breath, listening to soothing music, or simply disconnecting from the distractions around you.
To learn more about these goals, and see the additional resolutions listed in the article, click here:
Have a Happy, Healthy New Year!
Living Well at Home - Free virtual wellness classes & webinars
Submitted by Jen Glover, Workers Comp/Leave Coordinator
These well-being programs are here for you when you need them the most. Whether you are looking to shake it up, stretch it out, or get centered, we’ve got you covered with Zumba®, yoga, guided mindfulness, and wellness sessions, which are available to everyone. All classes are free and easy to access via Zoom. CLICK HERE
WSHG January Wellness: Happiness
As we move out of the holiday season and into the new year, it is a great time to hit the refresh button on happiness and joy. Studies have shown that up to 40% of happiness is controlled through focus and choices. By being mindful of things such as our thoughts, the present moment, our connections and gratefulness, we can enhance our happiness. Here are some science-based concepts to consider for increasing happiness from the article “Is Happiness a Choice?” in the December Issue of “levelhead”, by Saundra Schrock:
“Savor life’s joys.” When a moment of happiness or joy occurs, take a mental picture of that moment and refer back to it enjoy the moment again.
“Drop grudges.” If there are any negative feelings, grudges or situations that you are holding on to, see if you can let go of that negative energy.
“Connect.” Seek out ways to connect with family, friends, co-workers, community members, people you share interests with, etc. Connecting with others has been linked to higher life satisfaction and overall well-being.
“Count your blessings.” Research has shown that being grateful for your blessings can lead to better health and overall satisfaction.
“Give thanks.” Take a moment to acknowledge those around you who assist and support you.
“Minimize overthinking and negative thoughts.” Identify triggers that may be leading you towards negative thoughts. Try refocusing away from those triggers by doing something you enjoy.
“Smile.” Neurotransmitters that promote positive moods are released when the muscles that form a smile are engaged :)
To learn more about these concepts on happiness, click here: Is Happiness a Choice?
January is National Blood Donor Month
Submitted by Michael Carmody, DPW Safety Coordinator
January 2023 marks the 52nd year of the American Red Cross National Blood Donor Month. The Red Cross chose January because the winter months are difficult times to maintain the nation’s blood supply.
It seems that there are critical shortages at all times of year, based on frequent news releases from the Red Cross. Indeed, there are. Historically the supply often falls short of the immediate demand resulting in delays of life-saving whole blood or blood product transfusions like platelets and plasma.
Donating blood isn’t for everybody, though it can be. Some folks are squeamish at the sight or even the mention of blood or have a phobia of needles. These fears may be difficult to overcome, but they are nothing compared to the fear of a hospital patient waiting for a life-saving transfusion.
For those who’ve never donated or haven’t in a long time, the process is remarkably quick and closer to painless than you may think. The slimmer needles are much easier to bear, especially when inserted by a skillful phlebotomist. In the donor center, you sit in a comfortable lounge chair for about twenty minutes, and then you’re done and grab snacks and juice to get your blood glucose level back up to normal.
I donate blood platelets, which is a bit more involved. Doctors have found that a platelet transfusion from a single donor is less likely to be rejected by the immune system. When I donate, they take just platelets. My blood is drawn out, centrifuged to remove some platelets, then pumped back in. It takes an hour and a half, or about three episodes of The Crown on Netflix, which I can catch up on while relaxing in a lounge chair.
The cool thing I find about donating blood is it doesn’t cost anything. While whole blood and blood products are sold to hospitals, the fees are primarily to recover the costs related to blood collection, according to the Red Cross.
Contact https://www.redcross.org/give-blood.html to schedule a donation at a donor center or blood drive near you.
Holiday Stress Relief
Submitted by Monica Visco, HR Director Wellesley Public Schools
Are you one of the people who want to replace the “ho, ho, ho” this time of year with “ho-hum”? Well, you are not alone. The holiday season can be difficult for many of us. Feeling stressed and depressed can exacerbate around now. With all the stressors of the season on top of our regular lives, it can sometimes be almost too much to take. We are shopping, working, baking, cleaning, preparing for guests during a time when we really aren’t truly feeling safe, productive or happy. It’s a lot to manage!
According to the Mayo Clinic (December 11, 2020), here are ways for you to manage your stress and regroup during the holidays:
Acknowledge your feelings. It’s ok to have normal feelings about loss, grief or sadness
Reach out. If you want company, seek out online events or groups or talk to a family member.
Be Realistic. Life happens. We’re not all living a Hallmark movie. It’s ok.
Set Aside Differences. Forgive those around you for not being perfect.
Stick to a budget. Please don’t add to your stressors by overspending!
Plan Ahead. Planning out activities and preparations can help to relieve the burden.
Learn to say no. You can’t say “yes” to everything! Set realistic priorities.
Don’t abandon healthy habits. “Overindulgence only adds to your guilt and stress”.
Take a breather. Take a break from the chaos and do something just for you.
Seek professional help. If feelings of sadness, irritability, sleeplessness persist, please see a medical professional for help.
Hopefully, you’ll find some joy during this time by keeping these tips in mind. Happy Holidays!
Radon Action Month
Submitted by Vivian Zeng, Senior Environmental Health Specialist, Health Department
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among people who do not smoke. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer for people who do. EPA estimates that radon causes more than 20,000 deaths from lung cancer each year in the U.S. If you smoke and your home has a high radon level, your risk of lung cancer can increase even more.
Breathing radon in your home can cause lung cancer Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas released in rock, soil and water that can build up to dangerous levels inside any home; this means new and old homes, well sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without a basement. Radon gas is odorless and invisible and the only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test for it. Breathing radon can increase your risk of lung cancer.
Single Family Homes Mitigating radon in single family homes is relatively inexpensive, with the cost generally ranging from $800.00 to $3000.00. Mitigation strategies vary depending on the home’s foundation type. The most prevalent mitigation consists in the access to the source of the radon gas from the foundation dwelling, getting the radon gases through a special seal in contact with the soil under the dwelling and route the gases using pvc piping with a vacuum pump away from the dwelling foundation and frame. All mitigation strategies have a simple goal, which is to reduce the overall concentration of radon inside the home. You can learn more about these mitigation approaches at : https://www.epa.gov/radon/epa-map-radon-zones-and-supplemental-information#MA
Winter Weather Information for Wellesley
Submitted by Jeff Azano-Brown, DPW Assistant Director
Ice Safety Tips
Submitted by Cay Meagher, Select Board Office
A few cold days and everyone is tired of being inside so they think pond skating or ice fishing is just the winter outing they need; but wait a second, is the ice safe? Ice doesn’t freeze uniformly check the conditions. Four inches of clear new ice may support one person but partially thawed ice will not. Avoid ice-bound rivers and streams; ice formed over flowing water and currents is more dangerous. You need at least 4” of good new CLEAR ice to support a person and at least 8”-12” for a small car/pickup truck. Test the ice before you put your skates on and always make sure someone knows your plans and exactly where you are going.
We Want You!
If you are interested in joining the Town of Wellesley Safety & Wellness Committee, we'd like to hear from you! We meet virtually on the second Tuesday of each month for one hour. There is usually another 30 minutes or so of work to do outside of the meeting, depending on the upcoming activities. If you are enthusiastic and committed, you'd be perfect! Please reach out to Jen Glover, email@example.com, 781-489-4282.
Monthly Action Item
Submitted by Jen Glover, Workers Comp/Leave Coordinator
If you have Netflix, I highly recommend watching the documentary "Stutz".
Phil Stutz is one of the world's leading psychiatrists. He's helped countless patients over 40 years, including world-class creatives and business leaders, and among them many therapy-skeptics. Directed by friend and patient Jonah Hill, the film explores Stutz's life and walks the viewer through his signature visualization exercises, The Tools. As Hill sits down with Stutz for an unorthodox session that flips their typical doctor-patient dynamic, they bring The Tools to life in a humorous, vulnerable and ultimately therapeutic experience. Featuring candid discussion of both Stutz's and Hill's personal mental health journeys, alongside the lighthearted banter of two friends from different generations, the film beautifully frames The Tools and the journey toward mental health in a manner that's accessible to anyone whether or not they are actively seeking help.