From surviving to thriving: Wellness resources for the whole family

JHU Wellness Programs pulls together at-home work tips, online exercise options, kids' activities, and more

Kids making silly monster faces on pizza

Image caption: Make cooking a family activity by using kid-friendly recipes.


Maintaining your overall well-being is absolutely essential at this time. The message from JHU Wellness Programs: Let's transform surviving into thriving.

To help support employees while they navigate the current state of the world and the ups and downs of working from home, the HR team has compiled a list of the university's existing wellness resources along with offerings from its various vendor partners and the community.

Transitioning into telework

April Floyd, senior director of Benefits & Worklife, shares a few of her favorite tips from "How to Succeed at Working From Home," an article published by Forbes. (Check out the full article to get details.)

  • Get organized.
  • Have a set work space.
  • Plan and prepare for your day.
  • Avoid home distractions.
  • Take breaks.
  • Communicate your work schedule to friends and family.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Skype, Skype, Skype.
  • Overcommunicate.

Working from home in the new normal—resources from Thrive Global

"Working from home? Here's how to make your setup more ergonomic"—from The New York Post

Physical fitness

JHU wellness classes

Three-week JHU wellness classes in Cardio Fusion, Muscle Toning, Meditation, Yoga, and Zumba are now online via Zoom. Benefits-eligible faculty, staff, and bargaining unit employees can choose an unlimited number of classes for a flat fee of $20. Register through the wellness programs page of the Benefits & Worklife website.

Free fitness options

Additional tips for staying active

  • Review the American Heart Association's recommended exercise guidelines for adults and children.
  • Check out YouTube for a variety of fitness videos that meet your fitness level.
  • Reach out to your local gym to ask if it will be livestreaming your favorite classes.
  • Get outside for a walk, hike, or run. Be sure to take a midday break (recess with the kids!) to get fresh air and movement.

Stress management


April is National Stress Awareness Month, and HR's monthly thematic offerings include a live wellness webinar called Strategies for Stress Relief that's scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22. You can join the GoToMeeting from your computer, tablet, or smartphone, or call in by phone to 872-240-3212.

myStrength portal and app

Coming later this month in HR NewsWire is the fourth in a series of stories from the mySupport team on how you can use the myStrength portal and app to enhance your emotional well-being.

Mindfulness sessions with Neda Gould

Mindfulness meditation can be an excellent resource for managing stress and anxiety during uncertain times. Neda Gould, a faculty member in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and director of the Mindfulness Program, is leading daily mindfulness meditations at noon on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. The 30-minute sessions include a variety of mindfulness meditation practices in a virtual format. To join in, open this Zoom link at the scheduled times or go to Zoom and use the meeting ID 747 490 420.

Rediscover Calm

If you haven't taken advantage of your free access to Calm, this is definitely the time to do it. Calm is more than a meditation app; you can use it to access tools to support your kids, take a guided stretch break, and find music to help you focus. You can download the app on your phone or access your account at your computer. Here are a few Calm features suggested by Wellness Programs:

  • If you're finding it hard to focus on work at home, try Train Your Mind, a series of short recordings on mental fitness from LeBron James.
  • Toddler not napping? Use Sleep Stories or the Nap feature.
  • Sitting at the computer too long? Try Calm Body, several guided stretches to relieve tension, or get up and groove to a curated musical selection called Lo-Fi Beats.
  • When you're struggling to manage it all, try Radical Self-Compassion, a masterclass with Tara Brach.
  • And if you're feeling disconnected, start the day with your colleagues using Daily Calm, a 10-to-12-minute meditation/inspiration that changes daily.

Weight management


Chances are your usual routine has been seriously shaken up, making it more challenging than ever to maintain the healthy habits you've worked hard to achieve. JHU faculty and staff have access to a 50% discount on myWW membership. Billed as Weight Watchers Reimagined, myWW is a holistic wellness program that is designed to help participants lose weight, eat healthier, move more, and develop a positive mindset. The program offers access to digital or digital plus in-person workshops, which are virtual through April 30. Like the in-person workshops, the Zoom sessions offer support, strategies to stay on track, and advice from a WW coach.

To learn more about myWW, register for a free webinar on Thursday, April 16. Or, if you are ready to start your wellness program, you can sign up now and receive a gift.

Also check out myWW's 6 ways to snack smartly when working from home.

Children at home

Healthy eating tips

Create a meal plan that includes all meals and snacks. Make sure that the most accessible foods are healthy ones such as fresh fruit and vegetables that children can grab and go.

Want something quick and healthy? Check out these resources:

Tips for managing distance learning stress

  • Keep a daily routine for you and your children including reasonable wake-up and go-to-bed times, getting dressed for the day, and scheduling activities on a white board or notebook so kids know what to expect.
  • If kids are getting rambunctious, take recess breaks to get outside, encourage quiet activity time by turning the lights down and having children work on an individual activity online or a simple art activity that can keep them occupied.
  • Don't overlook meditation and breathing exercises. Tap into Headspace, which is offering a free version of its app for everyone right now. And Ten Percent Happier has approachable content and free resources on its website. Use these tools to practice breathing exercises and mindfulness with your children.
  • Struggling with home-schooling? Check out the Today Show segment, where educators provide tips, tricks, and resources. Additional tips for parents who are working with children from home can be found on the CNN website, and learning resources for different grade levels can be found on the Scholastic website.

Fun family activities

Gratitude is the attitude

It can be easy to focus on negatives when things are out of control or not going well, but even five minutes of gratitude practice added into your day can change your mindset. Regular expression of gratitude can lower stress and improve your immune system.

Have family members write down three things they are thankful for and share their list during breakfast, before the day starts. Or simply create a gratitude journal and jot down a few things that you are truly thankful for that day; stick with it for two weeks, and it may become a new habit.

Creative athletic activities for the kids

Register your kids for free online classes such as Cosmic Yoga, Art Hub for Kids, or Go Noodle. Schedule these during the times they might otherwise be doing after-school activities.

Need an easy activity you or your whole family can do right in your living room? Complete a Spell Your Name Workout by doing a different exercise for each letter of your name. Want to make it longer? Do your first, middle, and last name.

If you don't want to do those suggested exercises, have your kids produce their own fun exercises for each letter of the alphabet, and then do the workout as a family. Always be sure to modify, take breaks, and do exercises based on your fitness level.