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Lacy talks to state employee and competitive sand sculptor Albert Lucio about “flow,” a mental state that’s highly correlated happiness and well-being. Anyone can experience “flow” by engaging with your passions and even work in ways that challenge you. Having served for 16 years with the Department of Family and Protective Services while pursuing his passion for building giant sand sculptures, Albert shares insights for creating flow in daily activities and new challenges that interest you. Learn his tips for finding activities that interest you (or that might interest you if you approached them differently) and how to overcome a lack of motivation. ERS Wellness Webinar: Finding Flow at Work and in Life with Albert LucioAlbert’s sand sculpting photos : The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly CsikszentmihalyiRise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance by Steven KotlerSearch Meet Up to connect with other people who share your interests
 Lacy visits with Melanie Odums from the non-profit Trellis Company about new information that can have a huge impact your financial health.  If you have been making payments on student loan debt over the years while employed by a state agency (or any governmental entity), a public school or institute of higher educations, or a non-profit, you might be eligible for loan forgiveness from the federal government. There have been temporary changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, making even more people eligible for loan forgiveness. But borrowers must apply to the U.S. Department of Education before October 31, 2022, to take advantage of these temporary, more relaxed rules.Melanie Odums is an Accredited Financial Counselor and has been working in the financial aid industry for 17 years.   She has had a variety of roles in financial aid administration and loan servicing, including working one-on-one with college students and families.  Through this work she has helped many individuals understand and navigate the financial aid process, their student loans, and their personal finances. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Texas State University.Resources mentioned in the podcast:Upcoming webinars can be found at the ERS Wellness Events CalendarTrellis webpage with more resources and links Text Questions to: (512) 359-8838 
Years before Alexis Schminke became a fitness instructor with Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Alexis was an active child from an active family, who became a teen who struggled with body image and her relationship with food. She later became a forensic scientist with DPS and even later, found her passion for health and wellness… and for her own changing body.Alexis talks about her journey to becoming an active adult and what keeps her motivated to feel good in her body.Resources: Movement Mindset Webinar LinkVirtual Fitness Calendar LinkHealthSelect Wellness Benefit ResourcesERS Discount Purchase Program Link
In this short episode Lacy discusses how your mindset impacts your movement. She reflects on her childhood experiences that helped her to build movement mindset and how her mindset changed when she no longer had team sports in her life. Through a new activity she found a renewed sense of purpose and way to move that has been a cornerstone of her movement practice for the past 18 years.  In this podcast you will hear 5 strategies to help you build or maintain your movement mindset! Resources mentioned during this episode: 1 Degree of Difference WebinarState Employee Virtual Fitness CalendarJoin us for a webinar on this topic on July 14th from 10-11 a.m.: Movement Mindset Registration Link
Lacy talks to Dr. Russell Frohardt, neuroscientist and Dean for Academic Success at Northwest Vista College, about keeping chronic stress in check. The human stress system evolved to alert us to immediate danger so that we can act fast and stay safe. But in this modern age, we must manage a stress system that is chronically “on.” Unlike our ancestors, who faced dangers in the natural elements, we face an onslaught of concerning news from the frontlines of war, a global pandemic, extreme weather events, poverty, and more. If just reading these words quickens your heart rate, your stress system is engaged, and when it’s engaged for too long, other systems in our bodies can break down, increasing our risk for disease - both physical and mental. Dr. Frohardt talks about the surprising health risks of unchecked stress. Find out what activities he recommends for you to take control of chronic stress.Resources:If it is before June 23rd sign up for the webinar featuring Dr. Frohardt:  Men's Health & Human Performance Webinar Registration Link If it is after June 23rd, you will find a recording of this webinar in our ERS Webinar Archives Channel. Adult Wellness Guidelines HealthSelect Preventive services FlyerEmployees, retirees and dependents covered by an ERS-administered health plan, learn about your wellness resources on this ERS webpage.
Lacy talks with her ERS colleague, Diana Kongevick, Director of Group Benefits. As the person who directly oversees the HealthSelect health plans and other insurance plans, Diana shares the very human impacts of these programs. She also shares valuable insight and lessons from the unexpected loss of a child… not once, but twice. She talks about the unexpected gift she received from her adult daughter after her unexpected death, and how we can prepare this same gift for our families. As someone who has experienced and still experiences profound grief, Diana shares ways she feels support and comfort from others. Knowing that mental health is health, Diana highlights the professional support available to us and our families through our health plan. Finally, with regard to your ERS-administered benefits, she shares simple steps that can help you save money and one that can perhaps save your life.Resources:HealthSelect mental health benefitsSummer Enrollment 2022HealthSelectShoppERS member journeyHealthSelectShoppERS FAQ
In part 3 of this 3 part podcast Professor Raj explains the BAMBA model of happiness. BAMBA represents the 5 determinants of happiness in the workplace and includes: Basic NeedsAutonomyMasteryBelongingAbundance CultureAre You Controlling of Others Scale 1-  Strongly disagree 2- Disagree 3- Probably disagree 4- Neutral 5-Probably agree 6- Agree 7 – Strongly Agree1. I have high expectations for the people that are important to me.2. I have very high standards for those around me.3. If I ask someone to do something I expect it to be done flawlessly.4. I can't be bothered by people who won't strive to better themselves.5. The people who matter to me should never let me down. What it means: 5-15- Afraid of control16-25 Ideal26-35 Control freak Gratitude exercise to improve culture: 1. Think of a person that has had a positive impact on you in the recent past. (ideally not someone you have thanked before).2. Send them a short note (or text) thanking them for the positive impact they have had on you Check out the WestJet Ad that shows a great example of what abundance culture looks  like! Resources:Happiness at Work Webinar for ERS Raj's book: “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?”Raj's online course links (available at no cost): A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment | CourseraHappier Employees and Return-On-Investment Course | edX 
This short episode is Part 2 of a 3-part series on happiness and why it matters in the workplace with Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D. Following up on our April 29 episode on the research around workplace happiness, Lacy walks you through a few questions to measure your happiness at work and how that connects to productivity. Get ready with your calculators to tabulate your score.Resources:Happiness at Work Webinar for ERS Raj's book: “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?”Raj's online course links (available at no cost): A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment | CourseraHappier Employees and Return-On-Investment Course | edX Happiness at work scale 1-  Strongly disagree 2- Disagree 3- Probably disagree 4- Neutral 5-Probably agree 6- Agree 7 – Strongly Agree In most ways, my work life is close to my ideal I am satisfied with my work life. The conditions of m work life are excellent. So far, I have gotten the important things I want in my work life.  If I could live my work life (career) all over again, I would change almost nothing. Productivity at work scale 1-  Strongly disagree 2- Disagree 3- Probably disagree 4- Neutral 5-Probably agree 6- Agree 7 –Strongly Agree My organization gets good work out of me for the salary they pay me In the past year, I took very little sick leaveMy contributions to my organization are significantIn the past month, I’ve spent very little time not working (e.g., surfing the Internet or engaging in idle chat(  In the past year, I have rarely felt like quitting my job
In this short podcast episode, Lacy shares a recording from a recent webinar she hosted with Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D. on the topic of happiness and why it matters in the workplace. Author of “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?” Dr. Raghunathan shares research on the relationship between happiness and workplace productivity, and why employers should care.Read more about the book: “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?”You may email Lacy for the slide deck to Dr. Raghunathan’s recent webinar at or watch the entire 1-hour presentation on the  ERS Wellness Channel. Raj's online course links (available at no cost): A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment | CourseraHappier Employees and Return-On-Investment Course | edX 
Director of Workforce Development at the Texas Department of Transportation, Chris Young oversees employee development and training. Even though he identifies as a lifelong learner, Chris hadn’t considered yoga to be something he would do, until he unknowingly started a stretching routine after a back injury. Today, Chris still uses – and teaches, of course -- yoga to support physical recovery and manage stress. Learn how TxDOT employees have adopted a “flex and stretch” morning routine and how you can practice yoga for your fitness level, your own clothing and environment. Chris also shares how we can all use our breath to reset our nervous systems after we encounter “email apnea” and other stressful moments. Website for James Nestor, author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art -- Yoga with Chris: 15 Minutes of Chair Yoga Minute Yoga Practice 10 Minute Yoga Refresh
Lacy talks with Kristn Trimble, a unit supervisor at the TDCJ Parole Division who participated in the daily morning check-ins over Zoom during all 10 weeks of the 2022 Get Fit Challenge. Struck by Kristn’s motivation to “show up” and challenge herself physically, Lacy wondered what brought her to this point, how she stays motivated and how she used the Get Fit daily workouts and the Wondr Health program to make lifestyle changes around eating and movement. Her “fits and starts” and initial frustrations are relatable. And Kristn’s enthusiasm for how she feels in her body is infectious.Learn more about Wondr Health and apply to participate yourself through this link.Take part in our Virtual Fitness  classes ! Join fitness instructors Jewell Smith, Mackenzie McIntyre & Chris Young! The Get Fit Texas platform will be our home for the calendar for now. Login and go to the calendar tab on the left side of the page. Participate in future wellness webinars through the ERS Wellness Events page.
Take a walk as you listen to Lacy’s talk with Lindsey Menge, a licensed and registered dietitian, who is a member of the faculty and the employee wellness leadership team at Texas State University. Lindsey simplifies a sometimes complicated topic, which will have you considering whether intermittent fasting is right for you. She shares the three common forms of intermittent fasting, the health benefits and the challenges. Lindsey answers questions like: How long does it take to see physical changes in our body with intermittent fasting?  Is it better than everyday caloric restriction? What foods/drinks don’t break your fast when you’re fasting? Plus, learn how your window for food consumption can take advantage of your internal body clock!Additional resources:Register for the March 23, 2022, free webinar Intermittent Fasting & Immunity with Lindsey Menge MS, RD, LD or watch the recording of that webinar here.The Academy of Nutrition and DieteticsLearn about the Lifestyle Change Programs available for HealthSelect plan participants! Your primary care provider!
Welcome to Part 2 of Lacy’s talk with Dr. Tedd Mitchell, M.D., and Dr. Janet Tornelli-Mitchell, M.D., chancellor and first lady of the Texas Tech University System. In Part 1, the Mitchells shared their mutual passion for fitness and a lifestyle that prevents illness and disease. As leaders, they are transforming the health of the Texas Tech University System’s workforce by promoting one of our health plan’s two, no-cost weight management programs: Wondr Health. Listening to these medical doctors, you are likely to investigate Wondr Health for yourself. You’ll also be inspired to schedule your annual visit with the doctor after you hear the Mitchells talk about what holds us back from seeing the doctor and the life-changing difference of early detection.Resources discussed in this episode:  Learn more about Texas Tech System's Wellness initiatives through their dedicated Health and Wellness Webpage. Read Dr. Janet Tornelli-Mitchell, MD's personal testimony. Learn more and enroll in Wondr Health or Real Appeal! ERS Tobacco Policy & Resources to help you quit 
Feel great about your walk as you listen to Part 1 of Lacy’s talk with Dr. Tedd Mitchell, M.D, and Dr. Janet Tornelli-Mitchell, M.D., chancellor and first lady of the Texas Tech University System. For them, physical activity – especially a daily walk together – has played an outsized role in their 38-year relationship. The Mitchells share the ways they’ve prioritized fitness in their time together and with their kids, and how it keeps them connected. As doctors who practiced at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas for 20 years, they’ve both prescribed exercise as medicine to help their patients stay “functionally fit” as they grow older.  But what does that mean? Learn the difference between exercise for performance and physical activity for health, at any age.Read more about Dr. Tedd Mitchell and Dr. Janet Tornelli-Mitchell through their bio pages. 
In part two of this two-part conversation, Lacy talks with Celeste Harris, a forensic psychologist with the Texas Department of Public Safety, about ways we can improve our relationships by avoiding common communication pitfalls and create new communication habits. Try as we might, we can’t (and shouldn’t) control another person’s behaviors. But we can identify and communicate our own feelings and needs and develop awareness around errors in our own thinking (for example, assumptions aren’t always helpful or true).  Dr. Harris will share valuable mindsets and habits that can build positive communication roads that over time can become superhighways!Resources for Building Healthy Relationships:Building Healthy Relationships Webinar Recording Gottman Institute Website5 Love Languages Website16 Personalities Quiz WebsitePositive Psychology WebsitePsychology Today WebsiteAmerican Psychological Association WebsiteHealthSelect of Texas Mental Health Benefits Webpage 
In part one of this two-part conversation, Lacy talks with Celesta Harris, a forensic psychologist with the Texas Department of Public Safety, about ways couples can improve their relationship, which can lead to stronger health. Studies show that feeling supported, understood, and accepted increases happiness and reduces our risk for health problems. But what if you don’t feel that way in your partnership or marriage? Dr. Harris describes concrete steps couples can take to improve communication about difficult feelings.If you want to learn more about this topic, be sure to tune in to part 2 of the conversation, airing on 2/18/2022. You may also register for her ERS Wellness Webinar “Building Healthy Relationships” on 2/17/2022 at this link. A recording of that webinar will be published in the ERS Webinar Archives at this link.In this podcast, Dr. Harris references a Brené Brown video on Empathy vs. Sympathy. Here is the link to this great 3 minute video! 
Lacy talks with David Yebra, U.S. Army veteran and Director of Training and Leader Development at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. What would it mean to become a better version of yourself? Director Yebra describes the extraordinary power of our own minds to both limit and guide ourselves into a future we envision. Why take the time to envision a future you? Well, “you cannot create what you cannot imagine.” Director Yebra shares ways he uses his mistakes, is vulnerable with his support team, tests his capabilities, and adapts to a situation to help him reach big goals. You can apply these approaches toward any goal… for your health, relationships, job performance or career. If you want to learn more about this topic, watch the recording of his 1/14/22 webinar: Envisioning Your Future and Setting Goals.If you would like to recommend someone for the podcast please email us at  
Lacy talks with Dr. John Hellerstedt, M.D., who leads the agency responsible for Texas’ response to the pandemic: the Texas Department of State Health Services. Fully aware of the role that strong health plays in protecting each of us from serious illness, Dr. Hellerstedt admits that -- like many of us -- he’s struggled to prioritize his health during these stressful two years.  And he shares his inspiration for getting back on track after an eye-opening visit to the doctor. Learn the Get Fit Texas Challenge is ideal for any state employee looking to reclaim their health, and why “no pain, no gain” is flat-out wrong! BONUS: if you are a state employee, you will feel incredibly appreciated by this state agency leader who knows how talented and dedicated you are to your fellow Texans. ERS Wellness Events Channel- Through our channel can view the recorded version of tour past webinars, short tutorial videos, & brain breaks – click “Load More” in the middle of the page to see a library of 32 webinars on various topics related to health and well-being.Get Fit Texas …be sure to check out the “Calendar” tab on the left side where you will find daily virtual fitness & wellness opportunities!Get Fit Texas Swag Bag - Find links to  more great resources and benefits available to you ! 
Most of us already know what we need to do to become the person we want to be – healthier, more organized, or [insert your aspiration here]! But how do we sustain our motivation and habits to get us there? In this 18-minute episode of “ERS Walk & Talk,” Lacy shares the keys to behavior change that she has learned in her 20-year career in the field of health and wellness. Lacy discusses how we can use motivation to build systems and habits that will help us reach our goals in 2022! To learn more and register for upcoming webinars discussed in the podcast  go to the ERS Wellness Events Calendar.Also, make sure you are registered for the  Get Fit Texas Challenge so you can participate in all of the upcoming virtual fitness offerings available with us! 
In this 45-minute episode, Lacy sits down with Erica Grigg, JD and Kristen Huff, JD in a conversation to build our emotional resilience, especially as we get busier this holiday season. As attorneys working in the mental health space, Erica and Kristen share ways to recognize and manage burnout and compassion fatigue, which they describe as “diseases of disengagement.” Learn more about these conditions that are on the rise in the U.S., in the first half of the episode. In the second half, take away effective strategies to avoid or bounce back from burnout.Register for the upcoming Gratitude Challenge to participate in 15 minute morning check-ins to connect and practice gratitude in various ways December 13-17, 2021.  Listen to the full webinar featuring Erica and Kristen, Managing Burnout & Compassion Fatigue.Learn about your mental health resources, including virtual mental health visits  through Check out the many free resources available through the Texas Lawyer Assistance Program website.
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