Tag Archive: wellness

Wellness Initiative Wrap-Up 2016

balance

I had the great pleasure of leading a nutrition and wellness talk at my school on May 20, 2016. I wanted to be sure to give an in-person talk for the wellness initiative that I led this school year.

The purpose of this initiative was to inspire teachers to take time for wellness in order to feel better and  improve in all aspects of life: as family members, friends and educators. Each month of the 2015-2016 school year I wrote a wellness message in the form of an email to the entire school population. I also cross posted these messages here on my blog, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram. The monthly messages included information for teachers on activities and areas of wellness that members of our community are involved in to spark wellness in their own lives and initiate conversations among colleagues.

We wrapped up the year with a Nutrition and Wellness Talk open to all teachers at my school. This talk was intended to be the culmination of our year long Wellness Initiative. I displayed several books as references, such as Why Stomach Acid is Good For You and Your Body’s Many Cries for Water and Put Your Heart in Your Mouth, just to name a few. I also brought some real food examples: water, lemons, real salt, kombucha, homemade fat bombs, fruit, plantain chips and guacamole. I did a short presentation and included some time for discussion and questions. There were post-it notes and index cards on the table for people to write down questions as well.

Overall, the presentation went extremely well and people appreciated the information I had to share. The big idea was about balance: wellness is a balancing act of proper nutrition + movement + stress management + sleep. We each need to try our best each day at this balancing act, taking it one day at a time, and remembering the importance of self-love and self-acceptance.

Teachers are very interested in this topic and enjoy talking about it with me and with their colleagues. There was a lot of lively conversation and excellent questions as well. I could see offering a series of talks, one on each macronutrient to have a complete presentation in small chunks. Overall, it was very well received and I am so happy I was able to prepare and present a talk on all of my newly learned information. I hope to continue this initiative next school year and keep the momentum going.

Until next time… Be well my friends! 💚

xoxo

Wellness Check-in ~ Spring Edition

Happy Spring everyone! Hope this message finds everyone doing well and enjoying this spring weather.  Finally the sun is shining, the days are getting longer, and weather is getting warmer. Yay! Smiles all around. 🙂

Here’s a message I sent to teachers at my school as a wrap-up to our year-long wellness initiative:

I have thoroughly enjoyed being your monthly dose of wellness reminders, but have you? Would you like to see this initiative continue? I will be sending out a short survey to get your input. Keep an eye out for that!

Some things we have been up to lately:

  • Running & Walking Outside
  • Ragnar Relay Race
  • Yoga
  • Barre
  • Barre Teacher Training
  • Strength Training
  • Red Sox games
  • Gatherings with friends and family

What else have you been up to take care of yourselves? Stop by or send me a message.

Now is the best time of year to start thinking about YOU again… Longer days, warmer weather, more activities and social gatherings outside. Remember that YOU matter and in order to take care of everyone in your life, you have to take care of YOU.

My favorite time of the year is coming – the availability fresh and local vegetables and fruit from a wide range of farmers markets and local farms. If you follow me on social media, you know how much we love gardening, but we love our local farm just as much! Try to take advantage of the local vegetables and fruit right around us this season. We really are very fortunate to have so many farms and farmers markets in our area. Many of the farms have activities for kids and families and events on the weekends during the spring, summer and early fall months. If you’re interested in having a weekly share of fresh veggies, consider joining a CSA and support one of our local farms. Whatever you choose, take advantage of the seasonal fruits and veggies and try to choose real, local, properly raised, whenever possible. Here is a great site to look up local farms, farmers markets and CSAs. http://www.localharvest.org/boston-ma

csa week 3-3

Just a reminder that you are invited to a Nutrition and Wellness talk this Friday, May 20th at 1:45 as an end of the year wrap-up to our wellness initiative. Please feel free to stop by for some goodies and interesting conversations. I am looking forward to it! 

Now, get outside and get some Vitamin D from that beautiful spring sunshine! ☀️

Be well ~

🙂 Jenny

Wellness Check-In ~ Winter Edition

Hey guys! Hope this message finds everyone doing well and staying warm over these past few months. Today was 60º and sunny, which I will totally take for February. Here is the latest message I sent to our teachers for this year’s Wellness initiative. I wanted to share here too because everyone needs a little checking in, right? 😉

How is everyone doing in the wellness department? Just wanted to remind everyone of the importance of taking care of ourselves, especially during the winter months when the days are shorter, the sun may not be shining as brightly and we are all missing our essential Vitamin D. Unless of course you’re a winter warrior that spends all of your free time on the slopes. If you are one of those peeps, good for you!

Did you knvitaminDow how important Vitamin D was to your happiness? I have secretly coined Vitamin D “the happy vitamin.” Most people know it as the “sunshine vitamin.” We naturally produce Vitamin D with exposure to the sun and from various food sources as well. Here in New England, the winter days are shorter and put a damper on our sun exposure. We typically make less Vitamin D in our bodies during these months. Now if you’re a Californian, that’s a totally different story. 😉 There are countless reasons why Vitamin D is essential to your wellbeing, but did you know that if nutrients in your body are out of balance, you may not be able to absorb the vitamin D that you are getting. This can cause a whole host of imbalances in your body. One that I notice the most is usually mood (so happy in summer ~ definitely different in the winter).

I’ve heard from a bunch of people about what kinds of movement they’ve been up to during these chilly months. Hats off to everyone training for something. Zero degree training runs? You are amazing!

Some things we have been up to these winter months:

  • skiing, snowboarding
  • marathon training
  • indoor cycling
  • yoga
  • rowing
  • HIIT training
  • walking on treadmill, walking outdoors and nature walks
  • family & friend gatherings
  • dancing
  • Go Noodle with your class

What have you been up to this winter? Are you finding balance between taking care of yourself and moving your body? I hope so! Comment below and let me know how you are doing on the wellness train.

Be well,

💚 Jenny

Wellness Check-in ~ November Edition

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

In keeping up with our wellness initiative at school, we sent out our monthly check-in message for November yesterday and I wanted to share it with you too.

How is everyone doing in the wellness department? Has our wellness enthusiasm gone down the tubes as we entered this extremely busy season of conferences, the holidays, and life in general? I sure hope not! The busier we are, the more important a role wellness plays in order to maintain our happiness and sanity. 😉 Life happens, I totally get it. Look how long it’s taken me to get out this email! I’ve been thinking about you guys and your wellness reminder since November 1st and I am just finally sending it to you. Better late than never… 🙂

Some things we have been up to this month – great job everyone!

  • social gatherings at friends homes
  • family gatherings
  • girls night out
  • paint night out
  • Spartan race finisher
  • half marathons, 5K’s, indoor cycling, rowing, yoga, HIIT training

spartanCTvX-jWUsAALF0o

For November and December, we would like to propose the following areas of wellness to focus on: Emotional/Spiritual, Social, and Physical.

Emotional and Spiritual: These components tend go hand-in-hand, especially during the holiday season.

A few ideas on this topic:

  • Maybe take some time to reflect on your year: give yourself a pat on the back for all of your accomplishments and set goals for next year.
  • Think about what makes you happy – are you doing any of these things?
  • What you are grateful for? Consider keeping a 21 Day Gratitude Journal – perfect timing with Thanksgiving and the holiday season upon us. I think I’m going to start one on Thanksgiving Day!
  • How you are taking time for yourself during what tends to be an extremely busy time?

Social: The holidays are a perfect time for the social wellness component. There are often many gatherings of both friends and family and time to catch up with friends and family that you may only see a few times a year. This is all good stuff. Try to enjoy each moment, even though sometimes times with family can be stressful as well. 😉

Physical: It’s always a good reminder for everyone about the physical wellness component. As the weather gets colder, we tend to move less. Remember, even if it’s 10 minutes a day, it’s still movement.

A few ideas on this topic:

  • Walk around the playground during recess duty
  • Walk around your floor a few times before or after school
  • Whatever you choose, remember it’s for you, it should be something you enjoy.

I hope the teachers at my school read this message and smile. I also hope it encourages them to remember how important wellness is for everyone and to take care of themselves in any way that makes sense in their lives, especially now that the holiday season is upon us!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! We have a lot to be thankful for this year and always. <3

xoxo

Jenny

 

 

#BillionMileRace Challenge

Our Wellness Initiative at Runkle is going well so far. I am so glad to hear about many people moving their bodies and making time for themselves in so many different ways. I’ve wanted to get us involved in something where we can track our miles. While at the annual MassCUE Conference last week, I ran into the #BillionMileRace team. I also saw them this summer at the BLC Conference and knowing I wanted to go forward with our Wellness Initiative at Runkle, I am glad they were at MassCUE to remind me to sign us up!

Here’s a message I sent out to my teachers:

Find out more about #BillionMileRace here: http://www.billionmilerace.org/about

What does joining the #BillionMileRace Challenge mean for Runkle?

We now have a place to log any and all movement miles for teachers and students.

How to get involved:

  • Estimate any steps/miles you and your students take over the course of the week (at recess, walking around the building, taking movement breaks, etc.). Use a step counter or your iPhone.
  • Complete this form so I can start adding your miles to our school’s profile on billionmilerace.org: http://goo.gl/forms/IAQFY9EJVW

Did you know the iPhone has a built-in step counter? Even if you don’t use it for your own steps, you can use it when your class is moving. Search for the Pedometer app on your phone and start tracking your steps! 🙂

Get Social:

If you are on social media, you can Tweet or Instagram (tag me), or post to my Facebook group – anything you are doing related to wellness. Remember to use the hashtag #runklewellness. If you and your class are walking or running, you can use the hashtag #billionmilerace as well.

As we start to get our miles tracked, I will tweet and Instagram pictures of our progress. Do you think we can walk and run 1 billion miles? Now that would be awesome!

Until next time,

Jenny

xoxo

Wellness Check-In ~ October Edition

Hi guys! In keeping up with the Wellness Initiative at my school, I sent a message to teachers asking and reminding them about how they are incorporating the components of wellness into their lives. So far, it’s been going well. Teachers will stop into my classroom or see me around the building and share with me what they’ve been up to and how they have been incorporating wellness into their days and weeks. All positive so far!

My message:

How is everyone doing with our wellness components this month? We suggested a few areas of wellness for September & October: physical, social and career

Here is what some of us have been up to:

  • running in races: 5K’s, 10K’s, Half marathons
  • practicing yoga + barre
  • riding indoor cycling bike
  • walking outside
  • swimming
  • rowing
  • dinner with friends + family
  • professional development
  • team planning meetings
  • cross-grade collaboration

I wanted to remind everyone that even if you only move for 10 minutes a day, it is still something. And, that some weeks maybe you’re just not feeling it. All of it is okay. Give yourself a break, take a deep breath, and it will all be okay. 🙂

In terms of exercise, some weeks we just can’t seem to get moving or fit in exercise, which is why even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, it counts!  I remember I used to get so down on myself if I didn’t stick to my exercise routine, and that is the worst thing I could have done. If a week goes by and you’re not as active as you would like, there’s always a new week around the corner. The point is not to dwell on the past or put unnecessary stress on yourself. Keep going and keep trying, that’s what matters.

One workout I’ve been doing if I only have a short amount of time is a quick HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout by Chalene Johnson (one of my faves) on YouTube. Short, quick, strength building, and sweaty – the perfect combination. Another one I like is from Fitness Blender. They have a ton of workout videos on YouTube which are so convenient when you want to move a little and can’t get to the gym or go for a walk or run. Finally, Natalie Jill is pretty awesome in general, but I first found her videos when searching for effective core workouts. This is just one example – so many of them are fantastic.

What have you been up to in terms of wellness? Do you have any favorite YouTube channels for quick and intense workouts? Share them with me!

Until next time,

Jenny

xoxo

Wellness For You

I was so inspired by a class I took this summer that I decided  to propose a Wellness Initiative for the teachers at my school. Well, I did it! I sent this out in mid-September and hope to send out bi-weekly updates and check-ins as inspiration and guidance on their wellness journeys. Together, with my colleague, our Physical Education and Health teacher, we are excited to see how this takes shape over the course of the school year.

Dear Teachers & Friends,

Our Wellness Initiative is here! Each month we will make suggestions of activities to incorporate into your month from a few of the wellness categories. If you have ideas you would like to share, please pass them along. The more ideas the better!

For September & October we would like to propose the following areas of wellness to focus on:
Physical
  • we encourage you to move your body, even if it’s only for 10 minutes a day
  • start your morning with some simple moves: squats, planks, step-ups, etc.
  • do a circle around your floor during the day
  • take a longer route to the office, or the printer
  • walk around the block before you go into your house and begin your evening
Social 
  • back to school time can be very busy – try to make time to connect with family and friends
  • we do such a great job of this over the summer, remember the fun times, and keep them going through the fall months (and take advantage of being outside!)
Career
  • many of us are involved in professional development opportunities in the fall (meetings, conferences, courses)
  • we are also starting off our yearly evaluation process
  • be sure to put yourself first in this endeavor, you are a lifelong learner, enjoy the experience and create goals that help you and mean something to you

In closing, we hope you are inspired throughout the year and have fun in this wellness endeavor.
  • If you would like more detailed information about our initiative ideas and the 7 components of wellness, please visit: http://bit.ly/wellnessforteachers
  • If you are interested in working with us on this initiative, please let us know
  • If you tweet something related to wellness use the hashtags #runklewellness #wellnessforteachers

What do you think of this idea?

Until next time,

Jenny

Back to School with Persistent Kindness

Happy Labor Day, end of summer and back to school everyone! Today in New England it is HOT and definitely does not feel like back to school weather, but alas, here we are. We started back to school last week. While we were sad to say goodbye to summer, everyone had a great week. Brendan started first grade (and he absolutely loved it!) and Braden started back to his school too. We all survived and got back into our routines pretty quickly.

We had the opportunity to share positive summer experiences at our opening meeting with teachers on Tuesday. We had some great experiences shared from traveling to Greece to deepen curriculum learning to traveling to South Africa to continue work with teachers and students. I shared a few ideas from my summer professional development experiences and wanted to share them with you as well.

  1. Let’s re-think our classroom spaces. Kids (and humans actually) were meant to move, not sit still. With tools like GoNoodle, lots of teachers are making time for movement breaks, but I think we need to think about our spaces in a completely different way than we have before. Some schools are re-thinking their spaces and designing classrooms to increase student engagement. At the BLC conference this July, Erin Klein of Kleinspiration.com and a second grade teacher and mom shared excellent resources to get teachers thinking about their classroom spaces and how we can think outside the box a little to design classroom spaces that support and engage students. I highly recommend checking out her website and following her on Twitter and Pinterest.
  2. Being Well: I took a course entitled Being Well. We learned about the seven components of wellness, similar to what is taught to students in a Health Curriculum. We discussed the importance to wellness in our lives and the challenge of balancing all aspects of wellness each day. I proposed to the teachers at my school to be their “Wellness Warrior” this school year, along with the help of some of my like-minded colleagues, and guide them through monthly activities that remind us of an aspect of wellness that we can focus on for that month. I’m still brainstorming what this will look like when it is rolled out, but I hope it serves as a good reminder that we have to take care of ourselves in order to be our best… as parents, spouses, friends, and certainly teachers in the classroom.
  3. Persistent Kindness: I had the pleasure of attending Darren Kuropatwa’s presentations each day of the BLC conference. One was on Digital Ethics which tied in perfectly to the Digital Citizenship curriculum that I teach to my students. He gave the presentation as if we were his high school students and the stories and videos he shared were unforgettable. One quote that he shared, that he shares and challenges all students to embrace is this, and is going to be my motto this year:

persistent kindness

I was so inspired by this quote, when Darren asked us to use an awesome app called Phonto and share an inspirational quote, any quote, I created mine with this quote from Darren.

BLC15 Digital Ethics

My job as an Instructional Technology Teacher is multifaceted, to say the least. My primary role is to help teachers integrate and weave technology throughout the curriculum in grades K-8. I wear so many more hats though. Oftentimes, especially at the start of the new school year, I am troubleshooting Smartboards, installing toner cartridges, managing student usernames, helping teachers fix things, figuring out schedules, oh and teach students too, just to name a few. Throughout all of the little tasks I do each and every day, my goal is always to empower teachers to embrace technology, not fear it. I hope that my experiences at BLC, coupled with the notion of balanced wellness, help me remain positive throughout the stressful moments this school year and allow me to be present when my teachers and students need it.

A few ideas for this year:

  • Just breathe… in the face of adversity, act with persistent kindness
  • Inspire my teachers through a wellness initiative each month – we must take care of ourselves <3

Here’s to a fabulous year everyone!

xoxo

Jenny

Goodbye February, Hello March

Hey everyone! I am really happy that March is here. This morning when I walked into yoga, I thought it’s going to be a good month. It has to be better than February. Around here in New England, it was a long month of cold weather and snow, not enough sunshine and some personal ups and downs.

What have I been up to? Full disclosure of my blogging struggles: I have so much to say, so much to post on the blog… I find myself often too hesitant to put it all out there, write my stories, shoot from the hip, as they say… The best blog posts are from the heart, but I’m slightly detailed oriented, and often get caught up in the small details, and the post sits in draft mode forever… I tend to over think things and then will go weeks without a post. With that said, I have been researching how to market, brand, and grow the blog. This is a goal of mine – to determine my goal so I can move forward with a clear purpose. Let me tell you, this is hard work!

HippocratesQuoteFebruary was a challenging month for me with my Hashimoto’s. I started editing a document I created last year that tells the story of my autoimmune journey and so many things came to the forefront. As I January came to an end and I finished my first Whole 30, I did a lot of reflecting, researching and questioning my symptoms. The month ended with an appointment to the endocrinologist, who is supportive of my journey trying to heal thought nutrition and lifestyle, but cannot support me in a coaching way the way I need. My blood test results are not ideal and my thyroid seems to be so far gone that I have to take medication forever possibly. It’s not ideal, and to be honest, last week at this time, I was not in a good place, but I have come to terms with the fact that medical doctors cannot support me in the way I need them to. I will continue on my healing journey and have plans for this month that will hopefully help me take some positive steps forward toward healing and feeling good again.

If you’re reading between the lines and don’t know my full story, I will eventually share it here. I promise! I have shared a pieces of my story on my About and Nutrition pages. In short, I feel like I am constantly working to figure out the why behind this wicked annoying disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. My thyroid is severely under active and because the thyroid is so important for so many systems in our bodies to work properly, when things are not working properly, one thing leads to another, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. Sometimes it feels like I take one step forward, and two or three steps backward. It’s like a constant guessing game. Because of that, I am constantly reading and researching. Some days it’s positive and I have a lot of a-ha moments. Some days it’s just exhausting and frustrating. Like I said, a lot of ups and downs. So this month of March can only go up from here. Better weather, better moods, better driving, and our youngest son’s second birthday!

What have you been up to? Are you glad March is here too?

xoxo

green_heart Jenny

On being present…

be-presentI have been thinking about this A LOT lately. How can we stay fully present in a world full of distractions…

It’s the middle of January, I’m halfway through my first Whole30 + my second 21 DSD + modified AIP. Wow, that’s a lot. It’s all comes from a good place of self-love and healing, and I truly feel that I am on my way to more healing for sure, despite only feeling supported by a few people in my life… More on that later. (I am working on a reflection of this month’s experience – I promise!)

On Friday, this feeling of being overwhelmed really hit me while at school. There’s so much going on, all the time, for everyone. It seems like we do not ever get enough down time or “me time.” This has become my home life, work life, life in general. In my experience, and my circle, it feels like we are all running around like crazy people and like we can never get anything accomplished. I have had several conversations this month alone in which colleagues of mine, full-time teachers, full-time parents, feel this way. As the overwhelming feeling came over me, I tried my best to keep my emotions in check, and then I went to yoga on Sunday morning. Thank goodness for that.

The theme of class was how do we stay present in this world of distractions? While technology is great, and has contributed to so many advancements in the world, and is the reason for my career, I am a technology teacher after all… sometimes it is too much. How many of us have seen or participated in the following?

  • mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, maybe even while watching TV and not talking to their spouse/partner
  • checking the phone when out to dinner with friends or loved ones
  • using a device or keeping the TV on right up until bedtime

These things have become so commonplace in our world, that I am afraid we are losing touch with what’s important, what’s real: real people and real relationships. This scares me a lot. I am conscientious of this at all times. I have had the experience of taking a relationship for granted, that one day was there, and the next day was gone. So when I say, you never know when your last day is going to be, I actually know how that feels.

So… Trying to stay in the present moment, which ironically is always a mantra at yoga. It’s so easy to get lost in your thoughts, think about what’s next, what meal to prepare, which groceries to buy, what appointment or meeting is this week, etc., but our yoga practice forces us to be present on our mat and be there for ourselves, for our bodies for that given amount of time. It is so important. I am trying to take this feeling with me when I’m not on the mat. It is hard for sure, but will it be worth it? Oh yes, I can almost guarantee it. If I’m home with my kids, be home, be present, not randomly checking FB. If I have time at the end of the day to talk to my husband, then we should talk, be there, be present. And the list goes on and on…

Be well. Be present. As much as possible.

green_heart Jenny