December 7 – 13 2014 is National Handwashing Awareness Week

National Hand Washing Awareness Week

Although the attached materials are created to engage children, handwashing is not just for kids.  This article, among many others too-easily-found when you Google ‘adult handwashing habits’, is a sad dose of reality for those of us who DO wash our hands.  Interestingly, 95% of people claim they wash their hands before leaving the bathroom, but take a look at the REAL numbers as people are being secretly watched.  Hmmmm.

So, it seems extremely relevant that we support National Handwashing Awareness Week to remind people about how handwashing can reduce the the spread of colds, diarrhea and many other infectious diseases.  And while you’re downloading and printing these flyers for the kiddos, maybe you’d like to print another one or two & take them to the office.  Be part of the solution! 

The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness:
1. WASH your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating.
2. DO NOT cough into your hands.
3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands.
4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose, or mouth.

The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness have been endorsed by the AMA and AAFP

December 5th is International Volunteer Day. Celebrate the Givers!

International Volunteer DayOn December 5, 2014, join us in recognizing all volunteers’ commitment and applaud hundreds of millions of people who volunteer to make change happen.  More of a celebration than a call to action, this event is all about touting the special people that give so much of themselves on behalf of others.  

In the run up to December 5th this year, social media will be an active platform for promoting and recognizing volunteers and volunteer action. Below are a list of activities and useful tools to help staff in spreading the word.

1. Social media conversations:  UNV on Twitter and Facebook will be posting regular content in the lead up to IVD. Please keep a look out for these: retweet and repost as much as possible. You can also tweet and post links on information that is on the website. Some sample tweets for your own local accounts (to be translated by you or by online volunteers) are:

  • Celebrate #volunteering! Tell us how you will #makechangehappen on International Volunteer Day #IVD2014 on 5 December! #actioncounts
  • How do you #volunteer and #makechangehappen? Tell us using #actioncounts & share your story via
  • International Volunteer Day #IVD2014 is a day to recognize & celebrate volunteers around the world on 5 December & everyday #actioncounts
  • To sum it up, every volunteer action counts! Submit a story via & tell us how you will celebrate #IVD2014 5 December.
  • Thank you, #volunteers, for all that you do! The world counts on you, & your stories inspire us: #actioncounts #IVD2014
  • RT if you are a #volunteer who is making every action count! #actioncounts #makechangehappen #IVD2014
  • RT if you will be celebrating International Volunteer Day #IVD2014 #makechangehappen #actioncounts

2. Ways to engage online volunteers:

  • Organize and implement a tweetathon (communicate tidbits and “happenings” in real time).
  • Map all on-site and online volunteers in your country to graphically show volunteers’ presence nationwide.
  • Create infographics to easily convey the meaning of volunteers’ statistics and their projects’.
  • Design an e-card about IVD to be shared with other UN agencies and NGOs.
  • Pictivism – changing your Facebook profile picture for a cause: on December 5, volunteers, and Volunteer Involving Organizations will put up the IVD logo as their Facebook/
  • Twitter profile picture to promote the IVD brand.
  • Selfie campaign (One Week Before) – We ask volunteers to post pictures with their volunteer experience on Social Media platforms using #Hashtags: #makechangehappen, #IVD2014, #actioncounts.
  • Volunteer challenge – nominate friends, family, co-workers, colleagues, etc. to participate in possible volunteer activities in their communities.

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month

Prevent BlindnessPrevent Blindness America has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month.  The group encourages everyone to consider if the toys they wish to give suits the age and individual skills and abilities of the individual child who will receive it, especially for infants and children under age three.

It’s so easy to get carried away buying gifts for the kiddos that we sometimes neglect to consider the safety of such items.  Over 70% of emergency room visits for toy-related accidents were for children 15 years or younger.  This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following guidelines for choosing safe toys for all ages:

  • Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.
  • When purchasing toys for children with special needs try to: Choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement, and texture; consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others; and think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it. Consult the “AblePlay” website at for more information.
  • Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with.
  • Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
  • Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (give a helmet with the skateboard)
  • Keep kids safe from lead in toys by: Educating yourself about lead exposure from toys, symptoms of lead poisoning, and what kinds of toys have been recalled; being aware that old toys may be more likely to contain lead in the paint; having your children wash their hands frequently and calling your doctor if you suspect your child has been exposed to lead.  Consult these two websites for more information:,
  • Do NOT give toys with small parts (including magnets and “button” batteries which can cause serious injury or death if ingested) to young children as they tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three.
  • Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
  • Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”.

For more information:
Call Prevent Blindness America at (800)331-2020 or go to their website:

‘Mindless to Mindful Eating’ Success Story

Kelli and her family

Kelli and her family

Recently, Enliven Wellness Works sat down with Kelli Marchman Rivera to discuss her recent successes after completing the Mindless to Mindful Eating Corporate Wellness Program. Here’s what she had to say…

EWW: What positive health/mind/behavior changes have you experienced since the start of the program?
KMR: I am in control!!! Eating was taking over my life. I ate for every reason in the world except for being hungry. Since starting this program, I now am paying attention to what my body is telling me, and giving it what it asks for. Putting down my fork was the first step. Now, as a family, we eat more unprocessed foods (my husband is so excited about our new crock pot!), and we take the time to sit down with no distractions and enjoy each other’s company. And I’ve had my son tell others about how big your stomach actually is (a fist) and how much food it can hold. I LOVE hearing this thinking taking hold in my family.

EWW: How would you describe your health before you started Mindful Eating?
KMR: As an older teacher, I was eating to control stress. My weight was creeping up the scale, cholesterol was an issue, and I was always tired. I had also noticed the shape of my body changing, and while a little extra around the middle is common in 40-somethings, I was unhappy. I felt out of control, and it was time to do something. The Mindful Eating program came at exactly the right time for me. I used to eat everything on my plate without really enjoying it. Portion control was my biggest issue. Even now I still find myself eating everything on my plate. I just use smaller plates, or put half away before putting the food in front of me.

EWW: What motivated you to make these changes? 
KMR: As a teacher, there are many things that are beyond our control. Teacher evaluations, unruly kids, long hours, and new curriculum every year take its toll emotionally and physically. Eating was one thing within my power to control. And now I can.

EWW: What keeps you motivated?
KMR: My body is changing. While I do not own a scale, and never will, I feel that my clothes are fitting a little bit better. My mood is happier. Control does that. And in the back of my mind, the idea that being healthy will keep me around longer to take care of my family will always motivate me. I’ve also been talking to others about being mindful. While some have been resistant, I’ve had a couple come back and say, “You know, I tried putting down my fork, and I really did begin to feel satisfied before I’d finished the food.” Success!!! Friends in the program have also helped me. It’s nice to see a fellow mindful eater in the hallway, and celebrate successes together.

EWW: What are your future goals?
KMR: I will continue to eat mindfully, one day at a time. With the holidays coming up, this will be interesting. But no more diets! I am in control of me! I choose what I will eat, and this has freed me up from the guilt involved in what I used to think of as “cheating”.  I have also begun a weight training program in the mornings (Body Electric on PBS) that makes my body feel stronger. And I will continue to wear my pedometer. It’s a great motivator to get moving.

EWW: Do you have any advice for others who would like to improve their health but realize now that diets are not the answer?
KMR: Pay attention to your body. Slow down and listen. Food is not for comfort. Food is just for staying alive. Put your fork down between bites for just one meal. And see what happens. 


Enliven_Logo_sprout_1Enliven Wellness Works provides a full menu of workplace wellness solutions.  To learn more, contact or click here.

What Are Your Triggers for Head Hunger?

When a craving doesn’t come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it!

Physical Triggers
How have these common physical triggers for overeating affected you? What strategies can you come up with to deal with each trigger more effectively?
* Thirst
* Fatigue
* Salivation
* Urge to chew, crunch, or suck
* Pain
* Hormonal cycles
* Medication side effects
* Medical conditions
* Other:__________________

Environmental Triggers
Common cues for overeating include people, places, activities, and events that you associate with eating. Be creative when coming up with strategies for dealing with these common triggers.
* Mealtimes
* Eating on a schedule
* High risk times
* Holidays
* Weather
* Preventive eating
* Sight or smell of food
* Seeing other people eat
* Trigger foods
* Advertising
* Social events
* Grocery shopping
* Preparing food
* Serving sizes
* Food associations
* Mindless eating
* Eating while driving
* Watching TV
* Dining out
* Eating at work
* Business entertaining
* Other:__________________

Emotional Triggers
Identify emotions that trigger a desire to eat (including specific examples). Brainstorm better ways to distract, calm, comfort, and nurture yourself without turning to food.
* Pleasure
* Reward
* Love
* Boredom
* Stress
* Feeling overwhelmed
* Loneliness
* Worry and tension
* Sadness
* Avoidance
* Guilt and shame
* Anger
* Negative self-talk
* Perfectionistic thinking
* Communicating with body size
* Spiritual needs
* Restriction and deprivation
* Diet mentality
* Negative body image
* Weighing yourself
* Eating disorder
* Other:__________________

Think before you eat!  Download this poster for your refrigerator:


Copyright Michelle May MD. Reprinted with permission.

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yoyo dieter and the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat .

Compassion or Control?


Compassion or Control? Have you ever compassionately helped someone out of a bind and felt exhausted or depleted? Have you offered advice that wasn’t acted upon and felt angry? Have you given something that wasn’t utilized and felt used? Me, too! And I didn’t like it; not one bit. But it kept happening – over and over – and I had to start to look at the common denominator – me.

As I’ve ambled through my journey of self-discovery, I picked up a copy of Iyanla Vanzant’s “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up” (at my friend’s gentle encouragement), and boy, did she hit me with some zingers! When I got to the topic of compassion – which, I thought – by my continuous out-pouring of ‘help’ –  I would glide through – I was stopped in my tracks. It hit me like a ton of bricks – and I didn’t like that either, but the Truth was so loud that I could no longer ignore it.

Compassion, she says, is not helping others get out of their messes, but supporting them through their messes until they come out the other side. Helping someone do something they should be doing for themselves is not compassion, but a quest for power and control. Power??? Control??? Me??? Ummmmmm…yes. That was my (sad) Truth. Man, that Iyanla tells it straight!

But the more I read it, again and again, it started to make sense. If I was really acting with compassion, I would not be carrying their load and the responsibility for the fixing. Compassion doesn’t feel like that. Control sure does. She goes on to say that compassionate people do not take other’s power away. And isn’t that what I’m doing when I’m making the calls for you? Scheduling appointments for you? Paying the bills for you? Shoving my (unsolicited) solutions down your throat? Yep. I’ve taken on the role that believes ‘I know best and can do it better, and you should – and will – be grateful’ (which usually doesn’t happen).

“A compassionate person wants you, as a universal being, to realize your wholeness. Your wholeness has nothing to do with being nice, and a compassionate person recognizes that your journey to wholeness may not look nice. Compassionate people have the ability to nurture, comfort, and provide nourishment to others at various stages. They heal without making themselves sick”

Since I’ve been practicing the art (and it is an art because it takes lots & lots of practice) of compassion, I find myself more at ease; more able to discern where I end and you begin. I’m able to be truly compassionate and demonstrate empathy, and sometimes sympathy, while supporting others through their crises’. It allows me to be more loving and kind, and it allows them to stand on their own two feet and solve their own problems. In other words, I’m supporting them while they find their own power. And that’s something we can both feel good about!

Here are some tips I’ve used to help me discern between compassion and control:

  • Is this something they can/should be doing on their own?
  • If I do this, will it deplete or exhaust me in any of the following ways? Energy? Money? Time? Peace of mind?
  • If they don’t/won’t accept my help, can I be at peace about it?
  • What’s the worst that can happen if they do it on their own, even if they fail?
  • Can I let others fall down and learn their own lessons, or do I insist they avoid that pain at all cost and just let me handle it?

I think you get the gist. If letting people manage their own lives causes me any distress at all, it’s time for me to retreat. There’s a reason that the airlines suggest we put on our own masks before helping others with theirs.



Laura M Turley, LMT – After working over 30 years in various corporate roles, then managing the many challenges of middle age, Laura finds that she’s uniquely qualified to relate to – and address – the myriad issues facing individuals in this age group. Certain aches and pains that accompany growing older (and wiser!) are quite common but equally as significant are the increasing side effects of our habitual patterns, life stresses and the fact that we make little-to-no time for ourselves. Massage allows her to bridge the gap between your daily pressures & pains of life to a more healthful, pain-free existence – and it feels good, too!  Laura’s clients say that her knowledge – coupled with her compassionate approach – is what keeps them coming back.