Be Kind! How's your heart?

  • February is heart health month and Random Acts of Kindness month.  


    Below are 9 tips for a healthy heart.

    1.      Stop smoking: Quitting smoking is the best thing that can be done for the heart and for overall health. Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States, and smokers have a higher risk of developing many chronic disorders, including atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries. When combined with other heart disease risk factors, smoking increases the risks associated with those factors. Quitting is never easy, but there are lots of helpful resources for those looking to start.

    2.      Know your numbers: Maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure and total cholesterol play a significant role in maintaining a healthy heart. While there are standard guidelines for blood pressure and cholesterol, ideal weight goals are individual to each person. A physician can help determine an appropriate goal weight based on additional factors such as age and height.

    3.      Screen for diabetes: Untreated diabetes can lead to heart disease, among many other complications. Diabetes can be easily detected through a simple blood test and managed a variety of ways under the care of a physician.

    4.      Get active Heart pumping physical activity not only helps to prevent cardiovascular disease but can also improve overall mental and physical health. The American Heart Association recommends five 30 minute moderate exercise sessions each week. While this may seem daunting, it is important to note that these sessions can be broken up into two or three 10 or 15-minute segments throughout the day. Walking, jogging, biking and swimming are all great forms of exercise. It is important to remember that something is always better than nothing. Opting to take the stairs and parking farther back in the parking lot are great ways to squeeze in activity when the time is short.

    5.      Eat smart A healthy diet full of heart-smart foods is essential to a healthy heart and lifestyle. Salmon, nuts, berries, and oats are just a few of the heart “superfoods” that may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Dark chocolate is also on the list and is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth (in moderation).

    6.      Limit Junk: To reap the full benefits of a heart-healthy diet, it’s important to limit intake of nutrient-poor junk foods. Added sugars, saturated fat and excessive sodium can all negatively impact heart health, as well as overall physical health. These foods, when eaten in excess, can cause weight gain, raise blood pressure and clog arteries, which are all risk factors for heart disease.

    7.      Stress Less: Stress increases cortisol, which leads to weight gain, a key risk factor for heart disease. In addition, stress can lead to other unhealthy habits, making it harder to stick to a heart-healthy program. Stress can also decrease overall happiness and increase the risk for anxiety and depression. Many of the items on this list can also help with reducing stress, in addition to practicing positive self-talk and incorporating mindfulness meditation breaks throughout the day.

    8.      Sleep more: Sleeping restores the body, helps decrease stress and increases overall happiness. To reap the full benefits, clocking seven hours each night is key. A calming bedtime routine and going to bed and waking at the same time each day are all great ways to establish healthy sleep patterns.  Getting ample sunshine and physical activity throughout the day also aid in improving sleep quality.

    9.      Smile: A happy heart is a healthy heart. Making time for enjoyable activities and hobbies helps relieve stress and improves the overall mood, providing a great foundation for a heart-healthy lifestyle.


     This week is Random Acts of Kindness week.  

    Take time out of your day to do something kind.  If you need an idea, check out this website;
    The quote by Robert Louis Stevenson is so true for those of you serving in your roles.   "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."  Each day you have the opportunity to plant a seed in someone else's life.  It doesn't matter your role in the Westonka district, you have an amazing opportunity to be a difference-maker!  
    Go plant those seeds!
    The Frosty Challenge has been going on for two weeks now and there is definitely a buzz in the buildings.  The weekly challenges are helping our staff get motivated, stay focused, and continually taking strides forward in their health and wellness.   Way to go!


    As a Wellness team, we are committed to pursuing and bringing new, fun, and exciting wellness options to our Westonka staff.  We are always open to suggestions and feedback from you as to what you’d like to see in terms of wellness for our staff.  


Steamrolling into 2020!

  • December is among us and with it comes the cold weather.  In the colder months after a long day at school and you're bundled up to go home it is challenging to go home and find the energy for yourself.  We want to encourage you to continue to make your health and wellness a priority.
    As we steamroll into 2020, what are the top 3 things you want to do for you?  We encourage you to write them down and tell someone.  Set a goal to work on you in 2020.  Is your goal to read more?  Maybe your goal is to unplug more and make time for friends and family?  Join a group fitness class, get a personal trainer, or get a gym membership?  Instead of trying a fad diet, maybe you're getting back to the basics of eating healthy and getting proper nutrition in your body.  Whatever it is, set your healthy SMART goals now so when 2020 hits, you have an action plan to achieve those goals.
    We have kicked off our school year strong and many individuals have taken control of their health and wellness.  Join your fellow Westonka colleagues and make 2020 a year a great vision for your future in terms of health and wellness.
    Take advantage of the wellness initiatives we offer through the Westonka Wellness Program
    One benefit that is free to you is the Personal Wellness Profile (PWP)  If you haven't taken advantage of it, you don't want to miss out on this opportunity that is FREE until December 18th. 

Personal Wellness Profile

If you are having trouble viewing the document, you may download the document.

Giving Thanks! Having an attitude of gratitude.

  • Thank you for being such a great staff and pouring so much of yourselves into your work. You all make Westonka a great place to work!

    We want to give a huge shout-out to Janice Bradburn, Paraprofessional at MWHS, as the WINNER of the October Wellness Trivia. Janice is the winner of a FREE 30-day membership at the Westonka Activities Center. Thank you, Janice and everyone who participated in the Trivia. For those of you who missed out, no stress - you can participate in the November Trivia. If you were curious about the marathon trivia question, the answer was 82 total marathons were run by the selected Westonka staff.

    As we enter the Holiday season, the days can get busier, the weather gets colder, and the sunlight sometimes seems as though it doesn’t want to come out.  We want to encourage you to continue to take care of yourself.  Make time, even if it is just a little bit each day, to invest in yourself.  

    As a staff, we want to be our best for those we serve but sometimes our cup is not full.  Fill your cup up with gratitude and things that energize you. Surround yourself with others that fill up your cup.  

    As you browse through the Westonka Wellness website you will find tips to help you keep your wellness a priority.

From the Wellness Team

  • We hope your year is off to a great start! 

    Our Westonka Wellness mantra is "SOARING TO A HEALTHIER YOU!"
    We want to meet you where you are at with your health and wellness journey and lock arms with you to make Westonka Public Schools the best we can be in terms of our health and wellness.
    As Wellness Ambassadors for Westonka Public Schools, our goal is to serve you better. We hold monthly Wellness Committee meetings with the Wellness Ambassadors from all our buildings in the district. Our aim is to increase staff health and wellness throughout our district. We discuss wellness policies and we brainstorm ideas to bring new initiatives, tools, resources, and education to our staff to improve overall health and wellness.
    We truly value your input and feedback. Please reach out to any of the Wellness Ambassadors in our district with ideas or suggestions and we'll discuss them at our next meeting.