Resources for Wellness Wherever You Are

Posted on by Matthew Leib. This entry was posted in Staying Healthy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Spring is a season for change. But over these final few weeks of winter, things have been changing drastically for everyone in our community as the University of Washington responds to the COVID-19 outbreak.

While critical staff continue to work tirelessly, courageously, and creatively on behalf of everyone’s health, many faculty and staff are now teleworking—doing their part to practice social distancing in order to flatten the curve and lessen the strain on healthcare systems as medical personnel cope with potentially high numbers of patients.

We know from interactions on our Facebook page that teleworking employees have been working harder than ever this week—balancing efforts to support the UW’s coordinated response to COVID-19 with responsibilities to students, colleagues, and family members universally impacted at this time.

As we all continue working during COVID-19, stress is likely unavoidable.

But great obstacles present even greater opportunities—to rise to meet challenges, to plumb the depths of our own potential, and, most of all, to care for one another and ourselves. As you adjust, adapt, and persevere, The Whole U’s wide array of virtual programming can help you stay healthy, motivated, and balanced during this period of transition and uncertainty.

Whether you want to re-establish routines that work for you or use this time to turn a new leaf, we’re here to help! Explore resources for stressing less, eating well, and staying active below!

If you have questions or are in search of guidance or support, UWHR has published Working through COVID-19, an online resource dedicated to housing UWHR communications and resources related to the coronavirus outbreak. There, you can find new support resources and guidance for setting up temporary remote work arrangements with clarity and confidence.

Stressing Less


If you’re setting up a new work area at home, avoid wearying “office syndrome” and check your posture. Unhealthy habits and misuse of muscles throughout your work day can leave you feeling less than your best. Correcting your habits and muscle movements can help you feel stronger and more attentive! With these tips, your neck, shoulders, and back will be sure to thank you. Once you register for the Working with Better Posture program, you will immediately be able to open the PDF by clicking the blue hyperlink.

Cultivate a stress-free work environment. Work can get hectic, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel it. Download this handout for small ways to take a step back and give yourself a break. A simple reminder is the first step to incorporating stress-reduction techniques! Once you register for the Stress-Free Zone program, you will be able to open the PDF by clicking the blue hyperlink. You can also find all virtual trainings you signed up for on the My Virtual Events tab in the Whole U registration system.

Find a comfortable seat, take a deep breath, and listen in on eight recorded meditation practices from UW mindfulness experts. Choose from the following audio sessions: Breath Awareness (Tabitha Kirkland), Gratitude Practice (Danny Arguetty), Compassion Practice (Jane Compson), 5-Minute Stress Check (UW Center for Child & Family Wellbeing), Body Awareness (Tabitha Kirkland), Compassion Practice (Danny Arguetty), Gratitude Practice (Jane Compson, and Cultivating a Loving Heart (Bonnie Duran).

Unwind, relax, and stress less with The Whole U’s Stress Less Playlist curated by Jubilee Cho, The Whole U program’s graphic designer. Designed to help you feel at peace, the playlist features soft and mellow tunes as well as upbeat songs that you can’t help but smile to! Listen while working, in the car, on a walk, or wherever you are! We invite you to share this playlist with your friends and family to listen along. Download the PDF to see each song on the list and listen to the playlist on Spotify.

Explore a comprehensive app for stress, anxiety, and depression with over 3 million users. Sanvello is a product that teaches coping skills and engages users in practices and exercises to better manage stress as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression. Through the COVID-19 crisis, Sanvello is offering its premium tools free of charge. At this time, there is no contract and individuals can sign up for an account free of charge.  Learn more here.

Eating Well

If you are working remotely, you will likely be cooking from home a lot more. We have plenty of recipes and tips to help you scale up your culinary skills in no time. You’ll soon find cooking at home saves money, saves time, allows you to use healthier ingredients, gives you the control to avoid food allergies and other sensitivities, allows you to practice better portion control, and that it ultimately brings your family together. We offer two takes on cooking at home. One from Chiara Iacoviello and another from RD Tina Hayashi. Be sure to click each for great recipe suggestions!

Take your next meal to the next level with our downloads for Eating Well! Check out Kitchen Cheat Sheets to learn clever culinary workarounds and need-to-know info about sourcing and preparing foods. These downloads are some of our most popular! Start Cooking Whole Grains. Make your own Herb & Spice Blends and from-scratch Salad Dressings. Cool off with Infused Water recipes. Make your meal desk portable with Meals in a Jar recipes. Keep breakfast fresh and fun with this two-page guide to creative, nutritious Breakfast Toast combinations.

Staying Active

Stretches for productivity and stress relief. Stretch your productivity—take a break and stretch at your desk! Stretching can relieve the tension in your neck, shoulders, and back as well as get the blood flowing to help make you feel relaxed and more productive. Download this handout with simple stretches for improved blood flow and reduced tension. Try taking a stretch break throughout your day with these exercises.

Walk a 5K — What if there was something you could do for 30 minutes a day that was guaranteed to leave you feeling more energized, awake, and engaged—not to mention healthier? There is: walking! Walking’s benefits include improved balance and coordination and stronger bones and muscles. Our 5K Walking Plan will guide you on the path toward taking your first steps to walking a 5K. No matter the season, there’s no better time to step away from what you’re doing and take a walk!

Run a 5K…and then some — Whether you’re new to running, getting back into it, or looking for a fun weekend outing to keep your overall training track, training to run a 5K is a great way to begin. A little more than 3.1 miles, 5K is the perfect short distance to run time and again as part of a regular running program. It’s also a great way-marker on the path to new distance running goals. Register for plans to progress safely and confidently for a 5K (beginner)5K (intermediate)Half Marathon, or Full Marathon.

Stair Challenges — Climbing steps is a great way to build cardio and leg strength wherever you are. If your home or building has even a short flight of stairs, it can serve as a helpful asset when working out around the house. Especially now when it’s difficult to leave town to hike or visit the currently-closed Space Needle, our Step On Up! stair challenge allows you to nab virtual medallions as you scale the equivalent heights of the Space NeedleMt. Baker, or Mt. Rainier!

Strength Training — Nothing feels quite so empowering as a good strength training workout. But where to begin? Download this strength handout for exercises you can do at your desk at work during any 10-minute break. You don’t even need access to weights. Get your hands on a kettle bell and then register for our kettle bell handbook to learn proper form and techniques. You can also follow along with these do-at-home strength training exercises from fitness discount partner IanFitness.

If you have access to weights, Chris Dresher, a strength and conditioning coach with UW Olympic Strength & Conditioning, will walk you through essential exercises for building strength: Deadlift | Front and Back Lunge | Bench Press | Overhead Shoulder Press | Upright Row | Bench Dip | Inverted Row | Back Squat.

Yoga — One of the best things about yoga is you can practice it almost anywhere. And there are so many DIY yoga and flexibility resources at your disposal through The Whole U! For starters, register for our 21-day yoga challenge handout, which includes 21 poses you can try on your own. Do a new yoga pose every day and learn the benefits of each one. This handout will help you start appreciating the benefits of a daily yoga practice.

You can also view our series of Desk Yoga Videos—Desk Yoga for Shoulders | Desk Yoga for Torso | Desk Yoga for Arms & Sides | Desk Yoga for Wrists & Fingers | Desk Yoga for Your Neck—as well as learn more moves from instructors at UW Recreation: Hatha Flow with Michael Glass | Sun Salutation with Mandy Morneault | Restorative Yoga with Sarah Hay

Exercise Ball — When The Whole U led the UW in breaking the World Record for largest exercise ball workout in the spring of 2016, it was a celebration of a training form that helps improves balance and coordination, strengthens core muscles, and increases strength and endurance. Register for this exercise ball handout detailing the steps you need to perfect your technique and add intensity to your strength routine. It all amounts to a fun, strengthening workout you can do from the comfort of your home!

Tennis Ball Exercises — A tennis ball is much more than meets the eye. In addition to being just the thing for a pickup game of summer stickball, it’s also an incredibly useful tool for improving your flexibility.

Fitness instructor Chris Kirchoff partnered with The Whole U to demonstrate four flexibility exercises using your newest fuzzy, yellow friend: Tennis Ball Exercises – Shoulder + Back | Tennis Ball Exercises – Hip + Shoulder | Tennis Ball Exercises – Hamstring + Hip | Tennis Ball Exercises – Foot + Calf

There’s no better time to Quit Smoking than right now! Quitting smoking is no easy task, but it will help you breathe easier, feel better, and have more energy to do what you enjoy. All of UW’s health insurance plans offer online resources to help you quit. Some plans also offer counseling and nicotine replacement therapies. So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to make your lungs love you back. Learn more here.

For more information on COVID-19, visit Public Health – Seattle & King County and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2 Thoughts on “Resources for Wellness Wherever You Are”

On March 30, 2020 at 12:09 PM, Laura said:

Can you recommend an app for reminding me to stand up every once in awhile from my desk?

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