In January of this year, the Wellness Newsletter, Healthy & Maine, celebrated the first anniversary of its publication; the perfect occasion to develop the first annual readership survey..
Seeking feedback on how we might improve upon outreach and communication in support of the University of Maine’s Wellness Program generated more than 300 responses for which we are extremely grateful. Here is what we learned:
The Readership Survey is a wonderful snapshot of our progress in providing benefit and wellness information, but only a snapshot and we invite your ongoing feedback by reaching out to your UMS HR Wellness Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Below, you may find the breakdown of responses by question. Please note that not all percentages of response add up to 100% reflecting a rounding feature of our Constant Contact Survey Platform.
Among suggested topics for future editions were stress reduction, wellness and aging, nutrition, work/life balance and proof of performance information for the University of Maine System Wellness Program.
Among the topics or areas for discontinuing in future editions were such items as general information available elsewhere on the Internet and preachy common sense language or subject matter.
Possible topics for future special editions might include work/life balance, how Wellness saves money, and subjects that are new and of interest to employees.
Inviting general comments produced a wide spectrum of responses including "One more email," "Do not understand Wellness Program," "Do not remember seeing it," "Worth the time and money?," "Do something new and different," and "Access to hourly employees?"
The summer months in Maine are some of the most enjoyable all year, so try getting outside and experiencing nature to pass the time. Below are some frequently asked questions about engaging in outdoor recreation.
What are some hurdles to getting outside for a beginner?
People experience many barriers to participation in outdoor activities:
While every concern is valid, it can be very gratifying to push
your comfort zone and enjoy the many benefits of recreating in
the gorgeous Maine landscape.
One way to overcome these hurdles is by planning ahead
-Research the location you want to visit, i.e. books, internet,
Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, talking with friends...
-Schedule it in a calendar
-Check the weather
-Wear appropriate clothing
-Potentially use an outfitter for more technically based sports, (rock climbing, sea kayaking, etc.)
Once you’ve planned your outing, start small if you’re new to the sport. Pick shorter hikes in designated spaces such as National Parks, State Parks, and Bureau of Parks and Land. Choose protected paddles on smaller lakes or streams. As your comfort level with these activities increases, so will your skill. I always like to remind folks, that most people don’t start rock climbing, hiking, or whitewater kayaking having experiences like they see on TV. What is important is that you are getting outside and trying new activities. As with any new activity, as your frequency increases, usually your skill level and comfortability follow suit.
At the Maine Bound Adventure Center, we take out guided trips
focused on experiences suited for beginners. Many of the
students, employees, and community members that we serve are
new to outdoor sports. One of our guiding principles is teaching
new participants about the outdoors and how to enjoy themselves
in a safe and informative manner.
Many of Maine Bound’s current trip leaders started in the field through our freshman orientation trips.
Through personal adventures and university trainings, they are now leading trips for students, faculty and
staff, and community members. There are many different ways to engage in the outdoors this summer.
Take a leap and see what our great state has to offer.
Lisa Carter is Assistant Director for Maine Bound and experienced in introducing faculty, staff, and students to new and fun activities that promote wellness and enjoyment of the Maine outdoors.
It’s where well-deserved time off meets the demands of preparing for the open of the academic semester.
It’s the intersection of finishing ambitious summer projects and merging back into the faster pace of fall.
Navigating August to September as an employee of the University of Maine System means putting the best foot forward to ensure students experience successful outcomes.
It can be stressful.
How you choose to manage stress is a choice as individual as each and every one of us, but there are some resources available to all benefits-eligible members of our higher education community.
Ever heard of the Cigna Stress Management Tool Kit? It’s a section of myCigna devoted to the recognition that everyone experiences some form of stress and whether it is evaluating its cause or exploring mindful techniques for its control, there is support available.
Beyond the available resources in the Tool Kit, you may want to take advantage of monthly EAP On-Demand webinars that you can listen to live or replays that are available for a year after the live presentation. The range of topics includes everything from mindfulness, there’s that word again, to coping techniques and workplace dynamics. Registration is easy and you can access the information at a time that is most convenient to your busy schedule.
And, don’t overlook the power of your Employee Assistance Program benefit, free
as University of Maine System employee. The address has changed,
[Visit myCigna, log in, click on “review my coverage, click on EAP and you’re there], but you’ll be surprised at
the range of service provided not to mention opportunities to connect with trained counseling professionals.
You can contact the EAP by using the “click-to-chat” feature on myCigna.com or by calling 877-622-4327.
Sometimes finding information can be stressful all by itself, but the University of Maine’s benefit partner, Cigna, can be a great place to start in managing the demands that go with setting up for a successful September.
Black Bear Fit A Great Example
On almost a weekly basis, your University of Maine System Wellness Team processes and approves a new multi-session or community event proposal that can help you meet your Level 2 incentive and qualify for a modest cash award
So keeping in touch with your campus Wellness Champions, (See Wellness Guide), and your campus recreation center colleagues can pay some big dividends for you in pursuing a healthier and happier lifestyle
Looking for an example? Did you know that University of Maine Campus Recreation and RiseUp partner on a program called Black Bear Fit? Designed to see each individual improve in ways that are meaningful to them, the series of sixty-minute workouts includes a warm-up, a variety of strength and cardio exercises, and a cool/down/stretching period.
UM Campus Recreation offers Black Bear Fit every semester with the earned Level 2 incentive almost covering the cost for both members and non-members.
Benefits of Black Bear Fit include:
Teams of four to six people create a supportive social environment
Each week, participants join with their teammates for two training sessions with their personal trainer
Fitness Assessments at the start and finish of the program track progress
Teams are scored based on session attendance and recreational exercise
Prizes are awarded to the team with the highest score
UMaine employees earn their Level 2 Wellness incentive
The next start date for Black Bear Fit is September 17, 2018
Want to know more? You can register online or at the Front Desk at the New Balance Student Recreation Center and for more information contact Adrianna Del Amo at email@example.com
Not a UMaine employee? Not to worry…Look for information on Multiple Session and Community Events on your campus coming up in the future.