University Personnel presents health and
well-being tips for the campus community.
Mental Health Awareness Month

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has resources to help
you learn more about mental health and many ways to get involved.
Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

Good news from your fellow Spartans!
For my lunch breaks I walk around and beyond my neighborhood. I have discovered some beautiful gardens and hidden gems. I have met some neighbors that I didn't know before. Knowing your neighbors makes working from home better. Walking out the door to a friendly familiar face make all the difference during this time. And we will have a big block party when this is all over with! Get out there and stop to smell the roses! --Teri Graziani, Strategic Communications

Phaly Phon in the Office of Undergraduate Education earned her Master of Public Administration (MPA) in May 2020 while going to school full time. Cheryl Cowan in the College of Graduate Studies earned her BS Organizational Studies in May 2020 while working full time. Both of these SJSU employees benefited from the tuition fee waiver program to earn their degrees. --Thalia Anagnos, Undergraduate Education

MLML's Captain John Douglas assisted NOAA's whale disentanglement team. Read the story here! --Kathleen Donahue, Moss Landing Marine Labs

Leslye Tinson and Pup.jpg
Leslye Tinson and Captain Charlie Mac
Everyone has always thought I was afraid of dogs. But it is really that I spend so much time away from my apartment that I never had time to care for a pet. Now that I'm home, I have the time! After speaking to at least 6 different agencies, I felt like this was as difficult as something like house hunting. Anyway, I am happy to welcome Captain Charlie Mac to my family! Charlie is named after my father, who earned a Bronze Star for his service in the U.S. Army. He's a senior dog, rescued from a traumatic situation, but he's so sweet and a much-needed relief in these very stressful times I have experienced. --Leslye Tinson, Psychology and African American Studies
How to Release Tension in Your Head & Neck

Loosen up with these 5 steps.
Step 1: Bounce Your Brows
Being stressed can cause you to knit your brow without realizing it. Raising and lowering your eyebrows 3 or 4 times eases the muscle tension in your forehead.

Step 2: Roll Your Head
Lower your chin to your chest and very slowly roll your head from one shoulder to the other. This will get the blood flowing to your neck muscles.

Step 3: Shrug Your Shoulders
To loosen up tense shoulders, inhale and lift your shoulders up toward your ears, then exhale and draw your shoulder blades down and back toward each other.

Step 4: Open Your Mouth Wide
Emotions like anger and stress can cause clenching of the jaw and muscles around the mouth. Get relief by opening your mouth wide and sticking out your tongue as far as you can.

Step 5: Stretch Your Chest
Get tension off your chest by holding your arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height with your palms facing forward, then (keeping your arms straight and parallel to the floor) draw your arms back toward the wall behind you.
Need quick ways to relax and de-stress throughout the day?
If you’re feeling more stressed during these uncertain times, you’re not alone. Yet there are still ways to finds moments of relaxation in your everyday life. You can start by practicing mini relaxation techniques. These quick techniques can be done throughout the day — helping you to de-stress.

Express gratitude
Experiencing high levels of chronic stress, depression, anger, and hostility can negatively impact your health — including increasing your risk of having a stroke. Shifting our thoughts to more positive ones can help us redirect negativity before it can affect our mood and cause us harm.

Explore your happy place
Even if we’re stuck at home, we can still “take a trip” using our imagination. So when you’re feeling sick of being indoors, imagine a place that makes you feel safe, comfortable, and completely at peace. It could be a real-life memory or something you make up — like your own private lakeside cabin.

Take a break
When you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, it’s OK to simply take a break — even if it’s for a few minutes. The key is to recognize when you need to step away. It’s easy to get so caught up in our work and routines that we forget to take time for ourselves.

Do a 1-minute meditation
There are many health benefits to meditating. In fact, studies show that meditation can improve anxiety, depression, and pain, and may even help you sleep better.
9 Creative Ways to Stay Connected to Your
Coworkers When You're All Working From Home
In a recent article on The Muse, Allison Goldberg and Jen Jamula offered creative ways to connect with colleagues while working at home. We've highlighted a few and recommend reading the full article.

Re-imagine Commute Time
Sweet, now that everyone is remote you can roll straight from bed into work! Not quite. You don’t have to commute to and from work at the moment, but you can re-imagine this time. Schedule “coffee” with a different team member during your former car-ride or subway-schlep time each morning and take this time to catch up over the phone, video call, or even text chat.

Group Video Chat—Even While You Work Silently!
This one isn’t for everyone, but we encourage you to try it. Basically, work as though you are next to each other in real life—that is, silently, but with video on. Believe it or not, just hearing someone nearby typing away and working diligently can be a huge boost for mood and morale (not to mention productivity) and is part of the reason why co-working spaces are so popular.

Bring Your Kid (or Pet) To Work Day...
… is every day now. While we should strive to maintain decorum, let’s not shame anyone when their cat starts chasing the cursor across their computer screen. In fact, this is an opportunity to introduce a new kind of social bonding and much-needed levity. Try “What’s the cat’s name? Cougar? Great name!” or “Oh, Parker drew a beach? Nice. Love that purple sky and orange sand. You nailed it, Parker.”

Improv Your Meetings
Now that meetings have become calls and video chats, we’re at high risk for everyone being in 47 tabs at once and simultaneously tweeting. Take the time to think about how to make your meetings more engaging, and make sure that different ideas and perspectives are heard. Play a game called “First and Worst” where everyone throws out their…first and worst ideas. Great ideas are often adjacent to bad ones and turning it into a game will keep everyone engaged and present—just not physically.
Last Updated Aug 31, 2022