Shift into High Gear

bonusParticipate in a new wellness program designed for direct care staff.

The program will provide challenges, activities and resources to help you:

  • Sleep Better
  • Eat Well
  • Move More
  • Stress Less

The program runs for four months and begins in June.


  • Register for the program using the Team Roster provided to each unit.
  • The unit with the most participation at the end of the four months will receive a grand prize.
  • All direct care staff can who work shifts (Nursing, RTs, PTs, OTs) can participate. Employees that float between units will have to designate which unit they will participate with.
  • Each month of the program will focus on a different topic. There will be activities, challenges and giveaways each month.
  • Participants will receive program information two ways:
    1. Via emails to their Team Leads
    2. Materials will be dropped off at each unit for each employee participating
  • In order to get credit for participating, employees will have to complete a short reflection survey at the end of each month. These surveys will be dropped off to each unit for each participant or can be completed online.

Questions? Contact us!

Get Excited!

  • June: Sleep Better
  • July: Eat Well
  • August: Move more
  • September: Stress less

Stress Less


There are several benefits to reducing your stress. These include:

  • More energy throughout the day
  • Decreased feelings of anger, irritability, and impatience
  • Improved memory, focus, and other brain functions
  • Better sleep, digestion, and immune function
  • Less illness and physical pain

Request a Stress Less Kit for Your Unit

Interested in bringing de-stressing tools to your unit? Request a Stress Less Kit by emailing Let us know which unit you work on and when you will be available to receive a delivery. Each kit includes gratitude journals for each registered participant on your team, a coloring kit, and a calming room spray.


How do you destress during or after work? Share your personal top five stress less tips to be entered into a drawing for a $50 massage gift card! Email your tips to by September 15. All tips will be shared with program participants at the end of the month.


Use this handout as a guide this month. Check off the destress tools you use each week, as outlined below.

Week 1: Practice Gratitude

Feelings of gratitude can positively affect our mood and health. Remind yourself of the things in your life that you are grateful for. Practice an “attitude of gratitude” using the options below.

Action item: Practice gratitude at least three times this week.

Ways to practice gratitude:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal. Before you go to bed, take a few minutes to write down three things you are grateful for, no matter how big or small. Acknowledge everything that you often take for granted. Instead of being resentful toward those who have more money or better jobs, appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
  2. Send some thanks. Think about a co-worker, family member, or friend who has positively influenced your life. Properly thank them in a letter or email, letting them know exactly what you are thankful for, how it affected you, and how thankful you are for him or her. Be honest and genuine.
  3. Share the love. Gratitude and acts of kindness are intertwined. Kindness towards others promotes a sense of awareness and appreciation for your own life and good fortune.

Week 2: Rethink Your Thoughts

Our self-critical voice is often so common that we don’t even notice when it is present. Take notice of your negative self-talk and use the steps below to transform your thoughts.

Action item: Follow the provided steps to rethink your negative thoughts.

1. Recognize your negative thoughts. Negative thought patterns are unproductive and often result in negative emotions and actions.

  • An example of a negative thought may be something like “I never do anything right. I should just give up.” or “I am so stressed and tired. It’s just an endless cycle.”
  • Once we start to recognize our negative thought patterns, we can choose how to react.

2. Step away from your negative thoughts. After you recognize your negative thought patterns, step back and disassociate from them. Become a silent observer instead of allowing your negative thoughts to drag you down.

3. Rethink your thoughts. When you are aware of, mindful of, and detached from your negative thoughts, you are ready to take control. Next time you are in a negative situation, deliberately choose constructive thoughts rather than destructive thoughts. Positive thoughts will help you face every day obstacles.

  • Replace the phrase “I should” with “I could” or “I choose to.” “Should” carries obligation, dread and resentment, while “choose” puts you in control.
  • Change your response to “How are you?” Often our default response is innately negative: “hanging in there” or “counting down to the weekend.” This automatically puts a cloud over the conversation. Change direction by responding with “It’s a beautiful day!” or “I’m doing fantastic, thanks so much for asking. How are you?”
  • Stuck working on a project you aren’t passionate about? Or in a meeting you don’t enjoy? Dive in. Make the most of the situation. Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.

Week 3: Get Creative

A simple act, such as coloring or doodling, takes your attention away from your stressors and creates a calming effect on your brain. When your thoughts are focused on a simple activity, your brain and body can relax.

Action item: Channel your creativity by completing one of the following stress-reducing activities every day this week.

  1. Color. Print out these coloring pages and take a few minutes to color, relax, and free your mind!
  2. Doodle. Doodling is associated with increased concentration, memory, and creativity. While seemingly counter-productive, doodling is an effective tool for keeping your mind focused. Grab a blank piece of paper and start drawing or follow these steps on how to master the art of doodling.
  3. Write it out. Having too many things on your mind can cloud your creativity and productivity. Collecting the thoughts in your head on paper can help you feel more in control and organized. Take a few minutes to write down what is bothering you most today— a nagging thought or feeling, a project, a goal or conflict. Write down everything in your head related to that thing. Once it’s on paper, decide what to do with it. Throw it out, rearrange and categorize, add items to a to-do list, or expand upon any thoughts or problems that you are still struggling with.

Week 4: Take a Breather

Sometimes our stress can become overwhelming. When we don’t have the tools to manage or reduce our stress, it can build up until we finally break down. Don’t let your stress control you.

Action item: Use one of the following practical stress-less tools each day you feel stressed at work or at home.

  1. Take a mental vacation. Sometimes, we can’t physically remove ourselves from a stressful or trying situation. However, a short mental vacation can transport us to a happier place and allow us to push the reset button on our thoughts and feelings.
  2. Just breathe. Take five minutes to practice box breathing, a proven method to reduce stress and relax your mind and body.
  3. Get moving. Walking or exercising, especially after sitting for most of the day, gets blood flowing to your muscles and brain and releases “feel good” endorphins that leave you feeling refreshed. When you start to feel stressed, take a five to ten minute walk to clear your mind.

Move More


Physical activity is important both during and after work. This month you will incorporate exercises to help strengthen muscles and relieve tension at work by combining a series of resistance exercises with gentle stretches.

Use the template provided in this packet to create a “spelling workout,” where each letter of a word stands for a different exercise movement. You are assigned a new word to spell each week. Everyone on your unit should complete the workout each week, using the exercise guide and equipment provided. Note that some of the movements are resistance exercises and some are stretches.


  • When possible, take the stairs more often
  • Park further away from your destination, or walk from the parking lot a few times a week
  • If you have a desk job, make it a point to stand up and/or stretch every 60-90 minutes
  • Identify your barriers to physical activity and make a plan to work around them
  • Take it slow if you need to! Remember, small victories are indeed victories
  • Make it fun! Doing something you like or love will result in more habitual activity
  • Incorporate your co-workers, family and friends in your daily physical activities
  • Notice your surroundings, what motivates you to “move more”? You can get moving anywhere, anytime
  • Make a routine for your days off of work, like a morning walk or relaxing evening yoga

Eat Well


A balanced diet with quality nutrition is key to:

  •  a healthy lifestyle
  •  prevention of chronic disease
  •  overall increased mood
  •  more energy

Access the Eat Well packet here. The activities for each week are outlined in this packet, along with helpful tips. You’ll also find your handout for this month. Use this two-page handout to complete the activities each week.

Grocery Store Tours

Join one of our grocery store tours to transform the way you shop for food. Become a food label pro, navigate through the marketing gimmicks and find your “best fit” foods, those that taste good, are good for you and that fit within your food budget. Tours will last 45-60 minutes.

Tours will be held on Wednesday, July 12th 4pm at Westgate Publix, 125 SW 34th St. Gainesville, FL 32607. Sign up here!

Week 1: Salad a Day

Have trouble fitting in fruits & veggies? Eating one salad a day is an easy and yummy way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake.

Action Item: Aim to have a salad at lunch or dinner. Use the handout to track your progress.

Use the tips and recipes below to spruce up your salads!

How to Build a Strong Salad

  1. Start with a base of dark, leafy greens like spinach, spring mix, kale or romaine.
  2. Pile on colorful veggies like mushrooms, broccoli, snap peas, peppers, or tomatoes.
  3. Pack on the protein. Choose lean proteins like grilled chicken, fish or tofu.
  4. Freshen with fruit like apple or pear slices, berries, or pomegranate seeds.
  5. Finish with a touch of extras like a tablespoon of cheese and no more than two tablespoons of homemade dressing (see recipes below).

Other considerations: Add on leftovers like roasted asparagus, sweet potato or leftover grains like couscous, barley, quinoa or rice.


  •  Have a week long salad potluck with your coworkers. Have everyone bring in a different salad topping so you and your department can DIY delicious salads for lunch all week!
  •  Prep salads for the week in advance. Use your weekly meal planner in this packet.
  •  Keep in mind, any salad dressing you make yourself will be much healthier than a store bough or restaurant version. Learn how to master some basics and then get creative with variations. See the list of dressing recipes below for easy ideas.

Delicious Salad Recipes:

Salad Dressing Recipes:

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  •  2 parts olive oil
  •  1 part balsamic vinegar
  •  A tablespoon or two of Dijon mustard
  •  Salt and pepper to taste

Creamy Honey Mustard

  •  ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  •  1 tbsp. mustard
  •  2 tsp. honey
  •  ½ tbsp. lemon juice
  •      Water, to thin if necessary

Healthy Ranch

  •  ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  •  ½ tsp. dried dill
  •  very small clove garlic
  •  1 tbsp. parmesan
  •  3 tbsp. olive oil
  •  Salt and pepper to taste

Week 2: Plan Your Meals

When it comes to eating well, meal planning is one of the easiest ways to set yourself up for success. There are so many ways to approach meal planning that, after practicing just once or twice, you’ll begin to find what works for you and your family.

Action Item: Plan your breakfast, lunches and/or dinners for the week. Use the planner to walk you through the process.

Tips for Planning

How many meals will you need to plan for?

  • Take a few moments to think about what you have going on next week. Taking a quick inventory of everyone’s plans will give you a rough idea of how many meals you’ll need to get through the week. Also think about how much mileage you can get from each recipe. Build in recipes that give you leftovers for lunch and dinner. If you’re overwhelmed by trying to plan for your whole family; take it slowly by planning just your own lunches for the week or planning in chunks (3 days at a time).

How much time do you have?

  •  Your answer is probably “not much!” Good news, meal planning will save you time in the long run!
  •  If you have a crazy busy week coming up, make a mental note to be on the lookout for quick, slow cooker or make-ahead meals that can served up in a hurry. We’re big fans of the cook once, eat twice (or three times) approach.
  •  Use your weekly meal planner to identify when you plan on eating out, when you will be out late, what days you have more or less time to cook, and when you will eat leftovers.
  •  Remember that although you’re mapping out meals for the week, things can change. Building in a dinner out and leftovers ensures that you have some wiggle room when life gives you the unexpected.

Build in a salad for lunch or dinner

  •  Review week one’s resources for how to build a tasty and nutrient-packed salad. Track your salad success on your handout.

Planning on a budget

  •  If you stick to your meal plan and eat more home-cooked foods, you’ll save money by not purchasing snacks and lunch on-the-go. Attend one of this month’s grocery store tours to learn how to budget for healthy foods.
  •  Plan meals around food you already have. Half a box of brown rice in the pantry? Make a vegetable stir-fry or use it in a side dish.

Build your “go-to” list

  •  On your handout, write down your “go-to” recipes—recipes that are easy to cook that you and your family enjoy. Use this list for cooking inspiration when you’re too bogged down to think about what to prepare for dinner.
  •  Pick a few staples for breakfast; this should be the easiest meal to plan for.

Weeks 3 & 4: Make Healthier Choices at Home & Dining Out

Change the way you cook or dine out with small and easy tweaks.

Action Item: Complete at least four of the activities listed on the handout per day for the next two weeks.

Making Healthier Choices at Home


  •  If you don’t have healthy foods, you can’t cook healthy foods. Attend one of the grocery store tours to learn more about navigating the grocery store and shopping for healthy foods. Continue to map out your meals using the resources from Week 2.
  •  Try to make as much as possible from scratch. Mostly anything you make yourself will be healthier than the store bought version.
  •  Continue to build onto your “go-to” list to strengthen your collection of quick and easy meals.
  •  Using smaller plates and bowls has been shown to decrease overall calorie consumption.
  •  Studies indicate that there are numerous health benefits to a plant-based diet. Aim to eat a meatless meal for dinner a few times each week.
  •  Bring the family back to the table! Make dinner an event. Enjoy your food, conversation and company.
  •  Replace a bowl of candy with a bowl of fruit, and store less healthy items in the cabinets. Studies show that you are more likely to snack on items that are in plain sight.

Making Healthier Choices Dining Out


  • Ordering water is a great way to start your dining experience. It will save you empty calories and money too!
  • Add lemon or lime to flavor water
  • Drink at least half of your glass before your meal comes


  • Some places will serve you complementary bread, chips and salsa, or salad before you order. You can ask them to hold these items, or just have a small amount if others at your table want them. If it’s salad, limit the heavy dressing and croutons.
  • If your table wants to order an appetizer, ask your server to bring you a side salad or soup so you won’t be tempted to snack on the appetizer. If you know you’re going out to dinner, don’t wait to eat if you’re hungry. Have a small snack like a yogurt or piece of fresh fruit an hour beforehand.


  • Menus these days often offer a ‘healthier’ option. While they may have lower calories, there may be other ingredients that increase the fat and salt content. Use an app, such as MyFitnessPal, to figure out the nutritional information on restaurant items.
  • Split an entrée with someone or box half your meal
  • Order food steamed, baked, or grilled
  • Ask for vegetables as a side


  • Just because you are trying to eat better doesn’t mean you can’t have sweets. If you want to splurge, share a small dessert.

Sleep Better


There are several benefits of good sleeping habits. These include:

  • More energy throughout the day
  • Brighter disposition
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved metabolism
  • Improved memory and focus
  • Balanced mood and emotions

Access the Sleep Better handout here. Cut out the colored sections on the first page (front and back) and put them on your refrigerator, nightstand, or somewhere in your home as a reminder of what to focus on each week. Then use the second page (front and back) to track your sleep and reflect on which strategies were most effective for you!

Week 1: Create a Bedtime Routine

Engage in relaxing activities to tell your body that it is time for bed. Think for a moment about the rituals we have around children’s bedtimes: take a warm bath, drink warm milk, have story time, etc. All of these activities set the tone that it’s time for bed; they allow brains and bodies to wind down. The goal this week is to create your own bedtime routine by stringing together a series of soothing activities an hour before your designated bedtime. This bedtime should be set by you and should allow for 7-8 hours of sleep.

Tips on how to achieve this:

  • Establish a bedtime. Determine this by subtracting your desired hours of sleep from your required wake up time. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep; some people can work with 6 hours. Use this week to help determine your ideal sleep time.
  • Prep for tomorrow. This could include making meals or snacks, lying out clothes or setting alarms. Preparing these before bed can help eliminate the stress of having to complete several tasks when waking up.
  • Put electronic devices away or in a drawer and turn off television or computer an hour before bed.
    • The blue light from televisions, computers, and mobile devices has been associated with stimulation of brain activity. We need our brains to relax before going to bed.
    • If you have trouble with this, most devices have a setting to filter out blue light during specified periods of time (this is called “Night Shift” on iPhones and can be accessed through Settings then Display Brightness).
  • Relax. Incorporate several relaxing activities as part of your bedtime routine. What makes you feel relaxed?
    • Reading? Choose something that won’t get your heart pumping like a thriller. Avoid reading in bed.
    • Knitting or crafting? Be sure to do so in low light.
    • Listening to music? Make sure it’s soothing.
    • Taking a warm shower or bath? This helps your body temperature drop, which signals the body to start feeling sleepy.
    • Loosen up. Perform gentle exercises to help your body unwind. Access the Bedtime Yoga handout here.
    • Other great ideas include meditating, coloring, journaling, or drinking sleepy time tea.
  • Dim the lights around your home as part of your bedtime routine. Use night lights or lamps. Avoid bright lights 30 minutes before bed.
    • If you work nights and sleep during the day, consider installing black out curtains in your bedroom. Be sure to wear blue-blocking sunglasses when you get off shift to limit your exposure to light on your way home.
  • Lower the AC. The ideal sleeping temperature is 65° – 73° F.
  • Reflect on your day.
    • Jot down important moments and practice gratitude.
    • Set an intention for tomorrow. What would you like to accomplish or how would you like to approach the day?
  • Only go to bed when you feel tired enough to sleep.
  • Keep your sleep schedule consistent, even on days off.
    • Avoid sleeping in on your days off, which impacts your body’s ability to maintain a sleep routine. Instead, get up at your normal time. Use that extra time to do something you enjoy, like making yourself a nice breakfast, catching up on the news, or whatever brings you joy.
    • Oversleeping, like lack of sleeping, can negatively affect your health.

Week 2: Remodel Your Environment

Make your room more comfortable and appealing for sleep by removing distracting items or adding helpful items.

Tips on how to achieve this:

  • Create a dark atmosphere.
    • Add blackout curtains or blinds to reduce streetlight or sunlight.
    • Use a sleep mask.
    • Use nightlights in areas that may need to be accessed at night, like hallways and bathrooms.
  • Eliminate noise when you are sleeping. If you sleep during the day or have noisy neighbors, try earplugs. Communicate with your family or roommate about your sleep schedule.
  • Change up your lighting.
    • Be sure to dim lights as part of your bedtime routine.
    • Use a book light when reading. Remember, reading should not be done in bed.
    • Use lamps or soft lighting in the common rooms of your home and in your bedroom before bed.
      • Check watt sizes; they should be 60 watts or less to give you enough light to do activities like reading without brightening the entire room.
  • Remove clocks from your bedroom.
    • When having trouble falling asleep, looking at the clock can often increase stress, which makes it harder to fall asleep.
    • The light from some digital alarm clocks can be distracting when initially going to bed or trying to fall back asleep.
  • Lower air conditioning temperatures when sleeping.
    • The ideal sleeping temperature is 65° – 73° F. This factor alone has been cited as the most impactful change people have made to their sleep routines! Give it a try!
    • A drop in body temperature can occur after a warm bath or shower, which is why this is a good addition to your bedtime routine.
  • Assess your bed. Is it comfortable? Do you have appropriate sheets and blankets? Do you wake up in the night sweating or freezing? Change your bedding accordingly. You spend a significant amount of time here so don’t scrimp!
  • Use your bed for sleep (and that other activity…) only!
    • Consider removing TVs and computers from your bedroom.
    • Read or watch television in a different room or on a couch or chair in your bedroom.
  • Use aromatherapy like candles, essential oils or pillow mists. Try the following:
    • Lavender
    • Chamomile
    • Eucalyptus

Week 3: Tweak Your “Wake Time” Habits

Think about your daily routines and habits. Evaluate how those may be affecting your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Tips on how to achieve this:

  • Increase your light exposure during your waking hours. Light makes your body more awake and your mind more alert. Keep this in mind if you work nights and sleep during the day.
    • If you sleep during the day, wear dark wrap-around sunglasses to limit light exposure on your way home.
  • Limit caffeine consumption six hours before bed and limit alcohol consumption three to four hours before bed. Intakes of items like coffee, red wine, and chocolate show links to disrupted and shallow sleep.
  • Maintain regular mealtimes. Try not to eat a high carb, high protein, high fat, or high salt meal towards the end of your shift or right before bed.
    • Give your body time to digest before going to sleep.
    • Incorporate balanced snacks (combine carbohydrate, protein and fat) throughout your day to keep your energy steady. This also helps curb overeating at meal times.
    • Keep in mind that sleep can impact eating habits. Running on too little sleep makes it more tempting to boost your energy with stimulants like sugary food and drinks and caffeine.
  • Limit drinking large quantities of water before bed. Having to get up in the middle of your sleep cycle to use the bathroom can disrupt your sleep cycle or make it harder to fall back asleep after waking up.
  • Nap when you can. Many shift workers find napping helpful to stay energized throughout the day.
  • If you are having trouble falling asleep, don’t stress!
    • Worrying about falling asleep can elicit the stress response, which can keep you awake.
    • If you do not fall asleep within 15-30 minutes, get out of bed and engage in a calming activity until you are tired again. Remember to keep lights dim.
  • If you are waking up in the middle of your sleep cycle and having trouble falling back asleep, don’t stress!
    • Dump your thoughts, worries, or ideas that may be keeping you up on a sheet of paper and revisit in the morning.
    • Resist turning to electronic devices or television as the blue light from these objects may keep you awake.
    • Do not check the time. Not only does the light impair your sleep, but checking the time can also elicit the stress response.
  • Choose sleep friendly materials. Choose breathable fabrics like cotton for sheets and pajamas to prevent overheating while sleeping. You may wish to limit clothing if you find that it impairs your sleep.

Week 4: Incorporate Physical Activity

Exercising regularly keeps you energized throughout your shift and can improve the quality of your sleep.

Tips on how to achieve this:

  • Aim for 150 minutes of physical activity each week and at least two strength training workouts.
  • Exercise before a shift to get the blood flowing and your body warmed up for your shift.
  • Stay active throughout your shift.
    • Take your breaks! Your brain and body need a break. So take it!
    • Go for a walk when possible. Access hospital friendly walking maps here.
    • “Deskercise” on your unit. Examples can be found here.
  • Physical activity reduces arousal and anxiety, which are two main causes of disrupted sleep.
  • Take your exercise outside.
    • Sunlight exposure triggers an increase in serotonin production, which is a hormone associated with boosting mood and helping body functions like sleep.
    • Go for a gratitude walk. Take in the beauty of your surrounding and give thanks for all the wonderful things in your life.
  • Walk! Make it routine. Walk before dinner, after dinner, with your kids, with a friend or with your dog! Just go!
  • Perform gentle exercises before bed to relax your muscles and get your body primed for sleep. Incorporate the exercises in your bedtime routine from week one.

Additional Resources: Pillow Mist Recipes

Sleepy Time Spray

Ingredients: Water, Witch Hazel, 3 Parts Lavender, 2 Parts Sweet Orange, 2 Parts Roman Chamomile
Supplies: Mini Spray Bottle, Small Funnel


  1. Fill spray bottle with water or witch hazel.
  2. Add lavender, sweet orange and roman chamomile essential oils. Close lid and shake well.
  3. Spray onto your pillow sheets.

Soothing Lavender Spray

Ingredients: Water, Witch Hazel, Lavender Essential Oil
Supplies: Mini Spray Bottle, Small Funnel


  1. Fill spray bottle with water or witch hazel.
  2. Add desired amount of lavender oil. Close lid and shake well.
  3. Spray onto your pillow sheets.

Zen Eucalyptus Spearmint Spray

Ingredients: Water, Witch Hazel, Eucalyptus and Spearmint Essential Oils
Supplies: Mini Spray Bottle, Small Funnel


  1. Fill spray bottle with water or witch hazel.
  2. Add equal parts Eucalyptus and Spearmint oil. Close lid and shake well.
  3. Spray onto your pillow sheets.