December’s Well-Being Programs!

Just in time for the holidays! Learn how to deal with stress, eat well, financial choices, yoga, and more in December. Sign up today!

Open to all VCU employees at no cost.  All programs begin at 12 noon. Details and registration at or

December 4

Health & Well-Being in the Workplace (presented by VCU HR and Anthem EAP)

Discover how to enhance your health, well-being and productivity by relieving stress, exploring ergonomics, establishing priorities, and learning the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise.

Location – Monroe Park, Cabell Library 901 Park Avenue, Room 250

Register at Talent@VCU

December 5

Build a Better Meal (presented by VCU HR and CommonHealth)

This program will provide guiding principles to help you plan, shop and prepare meals that fuel your body with the nutrients necessary to be your best.

Location – MCV Campus, Smith Building, 410 N 12th Street, Room 225

Register at Talent@VCU

December 11

Yoga to do at your desk (presented by VCU HR and VCU Recreational Sports)

Join us for the perfect relaxing exercise to improve posture, increase flexibility, reduce stress and improve balance

Location – Monroe Park Campus, Cary Street Gym – Group Exercise Room

Register at Talent@VCU

December 12

Aligning Money and Values (presented by VCU HR and VACU)

This seminar helps participants define and aligning personal values to their financial choices.

Location – MCV Campus, Smith Building, 410 N 12th Street, Room 225

Register at Talent@VCU

December 17

Holiday Survival Guide (presented by VCU HR and Anthem EAP)

Learn how to look for sources of holiday stress and learn strategies for dealing with your emotions, time, relations and money

Location – Monroe Park, Cabell Library 901 Park Avenue, Room 250

Register at Talent@VCU

Join us for Yoga today!

Yoga to do at work (presented by VCU HR and VCU Recreational Sports)

Join us on the MCV Campus as we ground our mind and body with this perfect chair flow yoga

12 noon to 12:45 pm

Location – MCV Campus – Larrick Center, Jackson Ward A

Register at: Talent@VCU or just show up! We are happy to have you!

How to Make the Most of Your Morning and Evening Commutes

Make your trip to work a trip down memory lane.

By Marina Khidekel, Editorial Director at Thrive Global

Commuting can be annoying and tedious — yet many of us do it twice a day. Research has found that commuting can lower mood, heighten stress levels, and have a “spillover” effect. In other words, our commutes can impact how we perform and feel at work, at home, and in other facets of our lives. It’s no wonder employees are seeking out more flexible work schedules or, at the very least, ways to make their morning and evening journeys less irritating and more productive. 

We asked members of the Thrive community to share their tips for optimizing their commute time. Their strategies may even make you want to take the long way home. 

Take a trip down memory lane 

“I don’t have long commutes every day, but on the days I do, I like to scroll through pictures of my kids and loved ones. I take my favorites and write a little note about why they are memorable moments for me. Once a month, I batch all the pics, print them, and mail people the pictures with my memory note. Many times, I don’t even need to mail them. I just leave the picture and notes on the kitchen table for my kids and husband to see in the morning.” 

—Anjali Bindra Patel, lawyer, McLean, VA

Set a positive attitude 

“My commute is approximately 40 minutes each way by car. The usual suspects — traffic, rude drivers, people driving at parade-float speed — don’t rattle me because I begin my day by setting a positive mental attitude. What we put into our minds manifests into the world. I fill my commute with podcasts, too. Dr. Tony Evans’ Impact Theory podcast and The Vic Feazell Show are some of my go-to sources for mental stimulation. By spending my drive time productively, I’m ready to face my challenging work day with calm energy.” 

—John Harrell, author and inspirational speaker, Austin, TX 

Journal about the day ahead 

“Each morning on the subway, I journal. I get out any anxious feelings I have about the day ahead, reflect on all the things I am grateful for, and put down a mantra to repeat when things get stressful. My commute is an hour, and it’s all me time.”

—Lindsey Benoit O’Connell, editor, New York, NY 

Dive into a good book

“My previous job was demanding. Besides long working hours, my commute was a long, arduous one. I spent a total of two hours a day on the bus. At first, I would aimlessly skim through my Facebook newsfeed — a mindless activity just to pass the time. After a while, I realized I had to spend my time doing something more productive. I started downloading novels to my mobile phone, and I am proud to say that throughout that year, I read 25 books. I would say 90 percent of them were read on the bus. Reading made me look forward to my commute, because I wanted to know what happened next.”  

—Basma Fawzy, freelance writer, Alexandria, Egypt 

Find your inspiration 

“My biggest advice is to focus your thoughts and attention on what gives you inspiration and pushes you to thrive. For more than two years, I would take a train on Monday mornings at 6:30 for over three hours. Reading inspirational books about entrepreneurship and listening to business podcasts helped lift my mood after such a long train ride.”

—Diogène Ntirandekura, information technology consulting, Montréal, QC, Canada

Throw on your favorite podcast

“Depending on my mood, music or a podcast can save my commute. I have learned so much from the podcasts I subscribe to — they make me look forward to hopping in my car. The first podcast I listened to was The Thrive Global Podcast. I was having a hard time in my job, and Arianna and her guests made it better by offering tools to deal with extreme burnout. I eventually left my job and did not look back. One guest on the Thrive podcast, Maria Menounos, really made an impact on me, so I started to listen to her podcast, Better Together With Maria Menounos, and I now look forward to Mondays!” 

—Cristina Daniels, program manager, Woodland, CA

Set a soundtrack

“I have an hour-long commute to work, so I’m in the car for at least two hours every day. My best strategies for making this time pass is putting on a great soundtrack and carpooling when I can. Find a radio station with promising music that you can jam out to, or create your own on a site like Spotify or Pandora. My husband and I carpool and take turns driving, so neither of us becomes burned out, and we actually get to spend some quality time together this way.”

—Emily Woodruff, assistant project manager, Deford, MI

Connect with yourself

“For me, commuting is a time to connect with myself. It’s a time and place where there’s minimal distraction that allows me to think about areas of life that need my attention, or just de-stress. By the time I reach my destination, I have solved at least one or two of my mental dilemmas.” 

—Aakriti Agarwal, coach and facilitator, Hyderabad, India

Prep on the way there, unwind on the way back 

“I am blessed to be able to work from home most days, though one day a week, usually on Mondays, I go to a client site that is 90 minutes away. I use the time to do calls and mentally plan my week. On the way home, I turn up the music and spend the time completely letting go of the day. It is pure bliss!”

—Cindy J., executive search and HR consultant, Boston, MA

Rediscover storytelling through audiobooks 

“I have fallen in love with audiobooks! Unless I’m on vacation, I’ll usually read non-fiction personal growth books. I used to love reading fiction books, but struggled to find the time over the last few years — then I found Audible. Now, I fill my commute with the works of my favorite fiction mystery and thriller writers. I can’t wait to get in the car and hit play!”

—Tammie Kip, author, Toronto, Canada

Monday Motivation

Today’s laugh


Grab your hiking boots, the dog, a couple of energy bars, and some water. It’s time to hit one of America’s 60,000 miles of trails in the National Trail System. On November 17, it’s National Take a Hike Day, an annual event designed to get you outdoors for some fresh air, scenery, and exercise. Hiking is a cross-country-long walk to get that heart pumping while you breathe deeply in air that’s not clogged with auto fumes and pollution. You never know what you’ll see out on the trail.

22 Ways to Survive Cold and Flu Season

Each year, the typical adult can expect to contract two or three colds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Skip the annual flu vaccine and you set yourself up for a bout of that as well. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Aside from good hand washing (with soap, for at least 20 seconds), “there’s a lot you can do to drastically cut your risk of getting sick,” says Holly Phillips, M.D., a general internist in New York City. “And even if you do catch a bug, you may be able to cut short the duration of your illness.” Arm yourself with these tips from the experts, and make this cold and flu season your healthiest yet.

Eat yogurt for breakfast

The same live cultures that help ease digestive distress can help stave off a cold, says Dr. Phillips, who wrote The Exhaustion Breakthrough A 2011 study backs this up: Scientists found that people who consumed probiotics via supplements or fermented foods (think yogurt, kefir and kimchi) had 12 percent fewer upper respiratory infections.

Crack open a window

Spending the day in a stuffy room with anyone who’s under the weather raises your risk of catching a bug. Letting a little fresh air circulate keeps airborne viral particles on the move, making them harder to pick up, says Dr. Phillips.

Have some mushrooms

New research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition offered evidence of their immune-boosting powers. People who ate a cooked shiitake mushroom daily for a month showed higher numbers of T cells and less inflammation.

Turn away from sneezers

Sure, you hate to be rude, but moving out of firing range is crucial, says Dr. Phillips: “Germs carried in sneeze particles can travel 20 feet!” If a stranger next to you begins achooing or coughing, excuse yourself and scoot to another seat. All you need to say: “I’m sorry—I always catch colds really easily.”

Quit touching your lips

You might as well lick a restroom door (ick). “Not touching your face greatly cuts your odds of getting sick,” says Margarita Rohr, M.D., an internist at NYU Langone Medical Center. But that’s easier said than done: The average person puts a hand on her mouth or nose more than three times an hour. To break the habit, try sitting on your hands when they’re idle.

Score regular sleep

Take advantage of longer nights and log enough shut-eye. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that subjects who slept for fewer than seven hours were nearly three times as susceptible to colds as people who slept for at least eight hours.

Flush out your nose

Throughout cold season, add this to your nighttime routine: Rinse your nose using a neti pot with boiled (and cooled) salted water, or an over-the-counter nasal irrigator or saline solution. “It will help clear out viral particles you’ve breathed in during the day before they take root in your system,” says Richard Lebowitz, M.D., an otolaryngologist at NYU Langone Medical Center.

VCU HR – Helping you live your best life – in your career and your personal life! Check out our webpage for all we do and offer!

Help make happiness go viral

One Positive Post Can Start a Wave of Good Vibes

As the weather gets a little colder, the days get a little darker, the stress of assembling a flawless Thanksgiving meal creeps a little closer, it becomes even MORE important to send positive vibes out into the atmosphere (and beyond).

Research shows that it only takes one good deed to change a person’s afternoon, day, week, month, or lifetime. A kind action reverberates beyond your immediate social circle and can impact the lives of people you may never even meet.

The same is true when a kind or positive post is shared on social media.

Social media networks like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter have the power to amplify a message and spread it to every corner of the globe. And it turns out — despite what it sometimes may seem — people are more likely to share and engage with posts that promote positivity.

A recent study showed that reading other people’s positive Facebook posts trigger happiness in 64% of people. Similar studies of online behavior concluded that people were more likely share words like “happy,” “love,” “nice,” and “sweet” than negative terminology.

So spread the good vibes in person and on social media – keep the good vibes rolling!

Your wellness starts from within!

Friday’s Funny

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