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Posts Tagged: wellness

Making UC ANR the healthiest place to work, learn and live

4-Hers take a walk along the shore during a mindfulness retreat.

The University Of California's goal to make “UC the healthiest place to work, learn and live” acknowledges that in order to fundamentally change our health environment, campus communities must invest in a host of small changes that add up to meaningful shifts, thus producing a lasting culture of health. 

UC ANR is now part of the Healthy Campus Network and is actively promoting activities and resources like meditation, stress reduction and physical activity. As part of the Healthy Campus Network, UC ANR will also start to participate in systemwide initiatives like the Diabetes Prevention Program and Healthy Vending Policy

Mental hygiene, as a component of wellness, is not a new concept; it dates back to 1908. The World Health Organization formally defined mental health and mental hygiene in 1950. However, the ways in which employers and individuals foster wellness have changed. In the past, an employee may have taken a day off for a stomachache or headache, while not really feeling confident they could reveal the need for time off for wellness.

As the concept of wellness becomes more prevalent, new ways of incorporating wellness activities into our daily activities are emerging. UC ANR is committed to wellness beyond just the workplace. When working from home, there can be additional challenges to maintaining a healthy work environment.

Take a moment to make some small changes that add up to meaningful shifts toward your wellness: garden, meditate, walk, paint, practice your instrument and pet the furry kids.

Wellness resources are available to UC ANR employees at

Posted on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 10:06 AM
  • Author: David Ritz

A few thoughts about self-care

While working from home, stay connected with friends, family and work colleagues. Fais dodo, shown, demonstrates self-care. Photo by Heidi von Geldern.
In the midst of a pandemic, it is difficult to define health or healthy in any other terms other than no COVID-19 detected, recovered from COVID-19 or remaining asymptomatic from COVID-19.

However, “health” is not just the absence of disease. The World Health Organization (WHO,) defines health as “… a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

As we work from home carrying out the UC ANR mission of helping others, we need to take care of ourselves as well. Walk, practice your musical instrument, stretch, eat well, pet your cat or dog and stay connected with friends, family and work colleagues.

Here are a few thoughts about self-care.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
- Anne Lamott, American author

“You yourself; as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” - Buddha

“Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”
- Parker Palmer, American author

Some opportunities for self-care

Physical wellness

Emotional/mental wellness

Nutritional wellness


Posted on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 2:19 PM
  • Author: David Ritz

We're in this together - wellness through times of change

Our mission supports all Californians. That includes all of us at UC ANR. The current health crisis calls us to be intentional about self-care even as we also care for others, such children and extended family. All the while, we are balancing a new way of working so we can continue to support California's healthy families and communities, healthy food systems, and healthy environments.

It doesn't matter whether you're an office assistant, advisor, field worker, human resource partner, vice provost, staff research associate or community educator. All of us support the work of our mission.

Connection is important. Hold check-ins with your colleagues or team; set up calls via phone or Zoom. Remember that each of us responds differently to hardship. Those who feel upbeat and have fewer burdens to tackle can connect with colleagues who may have more home responsibilities or are experiencing anxiety.

There are many areas of care – physical, social, emotional, financial and environmental. These times call upon us to come together as a community and lift each other up. Please share in the comment section ideas to keep us resilient through COVID-19.

In the coming weeks, you will be receiving information that will help people manage.

For now, here is a brief list of resources:

Well and Working
Wellness Activity Library (UC Davis)
Guidance for Telecommuters (UC ANR) (see computer ergonomics at home, too)
Ergonomic Tips for Telecommuters (UC Davis)
Basic Ergonomic Exercise (YouTube)
Leading Through Crisis (UC Berkeley Haas)

Home Learning for Kids

Check your local county 4-H website for educational resources for youth.
California 4-H recommended curriculum
California 4-H Project Sheets
UCCE Santa Clara County's Online Learning Participation
4-H Healthy Living Activity Guide 30 fun, skill-building activities to help kids live a healthy life.
How to Homeschool During the Coronavirus Crisis with Free Resources
 Today Show
Google Arts and Culture provides a collection of online exhibits and tours of museums and artwork from around the world
PBS offers free access to activities for kids and parenting information
Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (nonprofit) offers free resources for interactive online learning
Scholastic is offering free day-by-day activities for remote learning for children PreK-12 (focus on PreK-6th grade)
Work on Life Skills for Children Ages 2-18, you know, that stuff you always think you should teach your child before they grow up and move away?
Ways to support kids during the Corona Virus Crisis (

Family and Community Health

Taking Care of Elders

Taking Care of Elderly Family Members or Neighbors Washington Post
Guidance Through Pregnancy and Breastfeeding for COVID-19 (CDC)
Do Not Mix These Cleaning Products (
Label Date Marks: Quality or Food Safety? (Penn State)
Coronavirus Disease Resources for Older Adults, Family Caregivers and Health Care Providers John A Hartford Foundation
How to Protect Older People From the Coronavirus NYT

Coping Through Stress
Finding your productive mindset LinkedIn Learning
Coping with Stress Brought on by COVID-19 (UC Davis Human Resources)
Insight Timer The largest free library of guided meditations
Calming Music (Youtube) 
Coronavirus Anxiety – (Nanak Naam – Youtube)
What you are experiencing is grief (Harvard Business Review)

ANR Zoomercise
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
12:30 – 1 pm
Join UC Riverside/UC Bernadino Counties employees Christina Davidson and Michele Byrnes who are offering Zoomercise sessions! Exercise can be done in a small space and modified. Let Christina or Michele know if you want to lead a session. Plug in @ Meeting ID: 239 765 343 | Password: 940529

Crowd-sourced Wellness Ideas from All-hands Meeting - March 20
During our ANR all-hands meeting on Thursday, March 20, 2020, many of you helped crowd-source things you were implementing to care for yourselves, others, and your larger communities. Here are some ways you are finding solutions to your new circumstances:

How are you practicing personal wellness?

How are you managing children at home?

How are you supporting extended family and local community

Work out in living room every morning

Cooking! Lots of cooking


Daily walks in nature

Go for walks in the desert

Letting the chickens run around in the yard


Reflecting that I can only control my own actions and reactions

Walks with my partner, using iNaturalist to document life

Multiple daily walks with children and dog.

Focusing my thoughts on love and service

Picking up trash around the neighborhood


Stationary bike

Daily walks, yoga and Zumba in the living room

Enjoying time with family

Working in the garden


Being kind to myself and forgiving myself when I am not the perfect parent

Wall ball!

Roof ball (or rather, watching my son play this. He loves it)

Playing board games with kids

They are fending for themselves; I think.

Gardening, learning about food preservation, practicing reading, learning how to be a homeschool teacher

Practicing youth curriculum with my kids. as well as educational

Baseball in the back yard; lots of this Harry Potter board game

Communicating the importance of my work time

Keeping them busy outside.

Trying to give them attention and projects they can do by themselves while sneaking in some work.

Working later in evening when kids are in bed

Keeping a schedule

Laughing and dancing

Having a visual poster schedule for school assignments




Lots of texts and phone calls

Family WhatsApp call everyday

Staying in VERY close contact and making sure they are separating fact from fiction

Texting and checking in with loved ones

Call them daily

Encouraging older relatives to stay home


Grocery shopping for them; encouraging them to take this all seriously

Found places my older parents could safely shop

Calling and texting to make sure they have what they need

Family group chat, sharing jokes and memes









Posted on Monday, March 23, 2020 at 5:44 PM

Call for 5-minute 'Wellness Spot' leaders

"Wellness Spot" Leaders

Are you interested in leading a 5-minute "Wellness Spot" for your colleagues in the coming months?  What is a wellness spot? It is a presentation/activity that you provide that shares how you incorporate wellness into your life. How do you keep healthy? Emotionally balanced? Resilient? Do you have a particular mindset that helps? An activity? A process?

Wellness in the human experience can be in any of these areas: Finances, physical fitness, environment, emotional, spiritual, social, intellectual. (Dimensions of Wellness; (

Wellness spots will take place during our Third Thursday ANR Davis All Staff Meetings. You can provide one either in person or via Zoom.

Please fill out this survey to show your interest in leading an activity, short learning session, or your experiences of a wellness activity/process either in-person or via Zoom.


Posted on Friday, March 6, 2020 at 4:21 PM
Focus Area Tags: Health

Placer-Nevada wins Healthy over the Holidays group challenge

Congratulations to Placer-Nevada UC Cooperative Extension. The office's Staff Assembly Ambassador, Annette Cosgrove, submitted the winning entry to the Healthy over the Holiday's photo contest.

UCCE Placer-Nevada Healthy Over the Holidays Challenge 2019 by Annette Cosgrove.

Cosgrove led the staff and academics at Placer and Nevada UCCE in taking five group walks, two Zumba sessions, a holiday party using reusable utensils and a hallway chair race on a rainy day. The prize is an assortment of California-grown healthy goodies from Circle K Country Store in Fowler.

First runner-up in the contest was a photo collage of members of the Houston Wilson lab at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Staff research associate Jessia Maccaro (pictured in the lower left corner of the photo collage) leads staff in a daily yoga practice in the winter to get everyone in the right frame of mind for working together inside the lab.

Members of the Houston Wilson lab at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center practice yoga.

"Healthy over the Holidays was designed to remind us that wellness should encompass all pieces of our lives from mindfulness practices to dedicating time for meaningful relationships,” said Kaela Plank, chair of the UC ANR Staff Assembly wellness committee. “The feedback we have received from this year's program has been overwhelmingly positive. Our committee is excited to continue to improve this program in order to meet the needs of the ANR community.”

Individual participants took home prizes, while all 168 UC ANR staff who signed up to be Healthy over the Holidays were winners. They received weekly emails with encouragement to eat healthy, get physical activity and take care of their mental health during a time when many people set their health goals aside until the New Year.

Almost half of the participants submitted the completion survey. Of those, 87% reported making one positive change – such as practicing mindfulness, making time for their hobbies, choosing to eat more fruits and vegetables, and getting more sleep. Seventy-four percent of respondents said they enjoyed the holistic approach and 72% enjoyed the newsletter. One office has committed to continuing their weekly walks in 2020. 

The individual winners of Healthy over the Holidays were picked randomly from the participants who filled out the completion survey. Javier Miramontes and Keilani Cordero won Fitbits and Elizabeth Gong won a bamboo cutting board.

Posted on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 9:37 AM
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