Wellness Resources

The global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) is creating significant challenges for leaders at all levels and organizations of all sizes. At Vanderbilt University Medical Center, we are working closely with our colleagues, patients, and partners to monitor the virus and prioritize safety for all concerned.

As a part of our collaborative effort, we are sharing wellness resources that are practical for all levels. Resources will be updated weekly.

If you would like to submit materials to our site, please contact Ashley Wood (ashley.wood@vumc.org).

New Posts

Grow the Health of Your Wealth

Your financial health impacts more than you think. Join Mario Avila, the Director of the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, as he shares his best tips and resources to grow the health of your wealth. View the short presentation!

Control is the Goal

Control is the Goal blood pressure management program begins November 4. Register now to take part in this 6-week online program that promotes and encourages healthy choices that can help with blood pressure control and support regular blood pressure monitoring!

Think Pink! Webinar

Join Health Plus in October and Think Pink for breast cancer awareness!

  • Wear pink in October! Post a photo of yourself on Twitter or Instagram at @WellVanderbilt with #WhyIThinkPink and share why you Think Pink in October!
  • Register now for the Think Pink! Webinar on October 20 at Noon! Join Dr. Brent Rexer for this community event!
Babies & You

Health Plus supports healthy pregnancies by offering a prenatal education program, Babies & You, to encourage early and consistent prenatal care. Enroll in Babies & You to have access to monthly educational sessions! Next session: Vaccines During Pregnancy, October 21, Noon.

Crisis Situation Resources

Work/Life Connections-EAP offers faculty and staff resources for crisis situations, including immediate psychological crisis (call 615-936-1327 if you are in need of immediate assistance), financial hardship, emergency food/housing, and domestic violence.

Go for the Gold!

This year’s Go for the Gold is easy to navigate, quick to complete, and mobile friendly! And you can still earn a $240 Wellness Credit for completing all 3 Steps! Deadline is October 31.

Fit for Fall

Join the Fit for Fall Step Challenge to get active this autumn! Register now! Compete with colleagues or just have fun recording your steps to celebrate the season – and for a chance to win prizes! Participating in Fit for Fall also earns you the Health Plus Step Challenge Wellness Action in Step 2 of Go for the Gold!

Eat Well, Live Well

Join Health Plus Senior Health Educator Emily Cox, CHES, CHWC, to discover the essentials for nourishing your body and feeling your best! Friday, September 24, 12-12:45pm. Register now!

Mindful Breaks

You deserve a break! Health Plus offers several ways to take a relaxing and rejuvenating break during your day:

  • Virtually: Request a Mindful Break just for your department, or Register for a monthly Pop-up Stretch Break!
  • In-person: Join us on the Medical Center Plaza every Wednesday at Noon for a Pop-up Stretch Break!
  • On-demand: Follow along with a Mindful Break video!
Managing Mental Health During Covid-19

During a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is common for everyone to experience increased levels of distress and anxiety, particularly as a result of social isolation. Physicians and other frontline health care professionals are particularly vulnerable to negative mental health effects as they strive to balance the duty of caring for patients with concerns about their own well-being and that of their family and friends.

Click here for a list of resources by the American Medical Association on managing mental health!

Making Our Comeback with Compassion

Watch Making Our Comeback with Compassion to hear Vanderbilt experts share practical steps you can take to increase compassion for yourself and for others to improve well-being and come back from life’s challenges stronger than ever! Log in to watch the video and complete Step 3 of the NEW Go for the Gold!

Save the Date!

Save the date! Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s one-day mass vaccine event is back in person this year! Flulapalooza will be held on Sept. 22, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in an outdoor tent between Light Hall and the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital.

Facing the Facts of Fad Diets

Join Marilyn Holmes, Registered Dietitian, as she shares the truth about fad diets and how to make healthy, lasting changes to your nutrition. View now! Completing a Healthier You Presents also counts as a Wellness Action in Step 2 of the NEW Go for the Gold!

Walking Wednesdays

Walking Wednesdays resumes in August – anywhere! Join Health Plus for a group walk on campus Wednesdays between 12:30-1pm or send a photo of your own walk! Either way, you get moving AND get entered for a monthly prize drawing!

Pop-Up Stretch Breaks!

You deserve a break! Drop-in for a quick stretch break each Wednesday between 12-12:30pm on the Medical Center Plaza outside of the Au Bon Pain and VUH entrances. Or register for the virtual stretch break the first Wednesday of each month between 11-11:30am!

The Cure for Burnout isn’t Self-Care!

You may be experiencing burnout and not even know it, say authors (and sisters) Emily and Amelia Nagoski. In an introspective and deeply relatable conversation, they detail three telltale signs that stress is getting the best of you — and share actionable ways to feel safe in your own body when you’re burning out. (This conversation, hosted by TED curator Cloe Shasha Brooks, is part of TED’s “How to Deal with Difficult Feelings” series.)

What Mix of WFH and Office Time Is Right for You?

Many professionals will choose a hybrid approach to work after the pandemic, sometimes working from home, sometimes from the office. But how to decide where to spend each day isn’t always as obvious as it seems. The authors describe a data-driven process for understanding where you’re most productive on which kinds of tasks — and how to convince your boss that your resulting plan is best for their interests as well.

Click here to read more!

4 Ways to Manage Your Energy More Effectively

When faced with new goals, it’s easy to jump in with both feet. But having staying power to sustain this initial energy is difficult. Many of us may eventually disengage, while others pushing themselves so hard they burn out. Still others might vacillate between the two.

The key to success isn’t starting strong, it’s staying strong. You need to self-regulate. First, set upper and lower boundaries for what you need to do to make progress on a goal in a specified amount of time, like a day or a week. Second, understand how you tend to work — if you work hard and fast to the point of exhaustion, work slowly and find yourself scurrying to the finish line, or somewhere in between — and make adjustments accordingly. Third, building time for rest and recovery based on your work tendency. Finally, create breathing room in your schedule for dedicated work.

Click here to read more!

We All Really Need a Vacation. Here’s How to Make the Most of It!

After a year of so much disruption, grief, and anxiety, taking time away from work and your responsibilities is especially important. Rest and time away increases resilience, which makes people better able to deal with the inevitable setbacks at work. It provides perspective that can help people see new solutions to problems, and it gives people a chance to pursue other life goals. Being deliberate about how you plan your vacation will maximize its many benefits. First, schedule at least a week away about three months in advance. Second, plan to go somewhere away from your home. Third, plan for a few mental health days, either to create a long weekend or to give yourself a breather in the middle of the week. Finally, prepare your clients and colleagues for your absence early.

Click here to read the article!

Emotional Intelligence is More Than a Buzzword – It’s a Requirement for a Return to Life!

For decades scholars have debated the relative importance of cognitive intelligence (IQ) versus emotional intelligence (EQ) to workplace performance. Research shows both are helpful. However, in the era of COVID-19, my bet is on emotional intelligence playing a much stronger role.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and regulate emotions in ways that help us think more clearly and work with others more effectively. Such an ability is a superpower for managing uncertainty and ambiguity—something everyone is experiencing these days.

Click here to read the article!

Your burnout is unique. Your recovery will be, too.

While it’s up to employers to provide a working environment that prevents burnout as much as possible, new research suggests that addressing burnout once you’re suffering from it is a little more complicated. There are steps that organizations can (and should) take to support their employees, but the most effective measures to counteract burnout are generally driven by the individual. Specifically, employees should start by identifying the source or sources of their burnout, and should then take action by focusing on self-care, acts of kindness towards others, or some combination of the two. Most importantly, the authors stress that compassion — whether towards yourself or your colleagues — is a muscle that can be trained, and that developing and practicing compassion is the key to combatting burnout.

Click here to read the article!

Make time for “Me Time.”

We’re all busy. Whether it’s responsibilities at home or at work, many of us focus so much on doing it all that we forget to focus on ourselves. But ensuring your own health and happiness is critical. How do you carve out time for yourself, your health, and your needs when you’re always on?

First, define what you need. We all need the basics of sleep, physical movement, and sufficient food, so ask yourself what you need and what you want. Next, determine what you can do within the time you have. Then, set the time. Scheduling helps you to see where self-care fits into your schedule, and how other essential activities have their places around it. Be sure to prepare yourself for these times. Eliminate hurdles and put items in place that reinforce positive behaviors. Finally, be clear with others about your time.

Click here to read the article!

What is Work-Life Integration?

Guilt is one of the biggest hurdles to work-life integration. Kick it to the curb and create less stress and more harmony in your life.

Picture a professional who’s always at ease. Maybe you know someone like this at work. They respond to your emails and pings quickly, but also seem to have a rich personal life, interesting hobbies, and a life outside of work.

How do they do it? 
They might be employing a work life balance practice called work-life integration. With 60% of Americans saying they struggle to keep a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives, it’s no wonder the concept of work-life integration has trended recently. 

Click here to read the full article on Work-Life Integration!

Five Wellness Trends for 2021

Welp, 2020 wasn’t exactly what anyone could have predicted. With the coronavirus pandemic, routines were disrupted, and, as many Americans began to work from home in March, offices were abandoned. What Americans saved in commute time, they put back into their jobs. Those who couldn’t work remotely began investing a lot more time and care into trying to stay safe and protecting others. What once felt invigorating (it was a new challenge working during a crisis) has left Americans depleted over the long term.

More than four in ten Americans say it’s affected their physical health, and 45% say it’s negatively impacted their weight. More than half (53%) say it’s negatively affected their mental wellbeing. In 2021, we can refill the tank.

The results of our annual Mindbody Wellness Index look a bit different this year, but one thing is clear: 2021 demands a re-prioritization of self-care. That commute time needs to convert to wellness time. We need to take better care of ourselves moving forward, and that might require a bit of creativity.

Here’s what you can expect to see in 2021.

New and Improved Health Risk Assessment

Take your health in a new direction this year! Start with the new and improved Health Risk Assessment! Receive a personal report on your health risks, along with information on simple changes you can make to reduce risk and improve overall wellness. Here’s to your best health in 2021!

Top COVID Questions Answered!

You have questions, and our experts have answers! Dr. Ana Nobis, Margie Gale, and Mary DeVault answer your top questions related to coronavirus. Gain important insights about coronavirus prevention, exposure, and how to safely go forward while staying connected with others. View the webinar now!

Preparing Your Household In Case You Are Affected by COVID-19

Creating a plan in case you, or someone in your household, has been exposed or becomes ill will help manage anxiety and lessen worry. It is better to be prepared than to be caught off guard!

Vanderbilt Physician Parent Group

VPPG is a group dedicated to supporting the needs of physician-parents at VUMC through community-building and resource-sharing.

To learn more about VPPC, please contact Ashley Wood (ashley.wood@vumc.org).

Overcoming Burnout and Compassion Fatigue in Higher Education

Like health care professionals, those who work in higher education are empathic. The rewards for entering the profession are derived from helping others. However, empathizing too much can lead to burnout, or another type of chronic stress called “compassion fatigue,” which results in mental or physical exhaustion, caused by exposure to other people’s trauma.

Click here to read more!

An Empath’s Guide to Surviving Academia

Empaths are naturally attracted to the academy. Even if you aren’t an empath (take the test here) or a highly sensitive person (take the test here), the promise of social justice, nurturing students, producing scholarship that has an impact, becoming a community organizer and having a flexible schedule are all reasons caring people are drawn to the academy.

These institutions can also create slow, smoldering burnout scenarios for empaths.

Read here for lessons learned by a faculty member on surviving academia.

Babies & You

Health Plus supports healthy pregnancies by offering a prenatal education program, Babies & You, to encourage early and consistent prenatal care. Enroll in Babies & You to have access to monthly educational sessions, now offered virtually!

Take a Mindfulness Break

Take a break with Health Plus Mindful Breaks – now offered via Zoom! Schedule a break for your team to join in guided stretching and breathing to feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and renewed!

Unconventional Time Management Tips

Time management: 6 unconventional tips

Amidst a pandemic, effective time management is more important – and more challenging – than ever.

Consider these unusual strategies.

How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance

80 percent of American workers feel stress on the job, and nearly half want to learn how to manage stress. 42 percent say their co-workers need such help, and in the European Union, work-related stress is the second most common occupational health problem, after back pain, affecting 28 percent of workers. 

Click here to read about improving your work-life balance!

How to Create Meaningful Connections While Apart

Author Priya Parker shares tools for creating meaningful connections with friends, family and coworkers during the coronavirus pandemic — and shows how we can take advantage of gatherings that are unique to this moment of social distancing. “We don’t necessarily need to gather more,” she says. “We need to gather better.”

(This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. Recorded March 27, 2020)

10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don’t converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening.

In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”

Nourish a Healthy Mind & Body!

A positive mindset can be challenging when facing hard times and uncertainty.Jamie Pope, registered dietitian, shares simple eating habits and foods that can have a big impact on your mood and help support immunity in Nourish a Healthy Mind & Body: A Healthier You Presentation!

Wellness Resources for Faculty/Physicians

Click here to review the VUMC Wellness Resources for Faculty and Physicians at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Practicing Wellness During COVID19

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are working from home these days. Under normal circumstances, telecommuting can offer a pleasant break from your daily routine. You can enjoy freedom from a long commute and the luxury of working in your sweats.

But this situation is far from normal. Harpreet Gujral, program director of integrative medicine at Johns Hopkins’ Sibley Memorial Hospital, offers the following suggestions on staying centered and healthy when you’re working at home during the pandemic.

Click here for suggestions to maintain wellness while working from home or in the office.

Maintaining Health as a Caregiver

Resources for health care leadership.

Amid the COVID-19 global outbreak, it’s likely to be a stressful time for those who work on the front lines of health care.

The following lists provide practical strategies for health system leadership to consider in support of their physicians and care teams during COVID-19.

Wellbeing Connection

Greater Good’s Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus.

Practices, resources, and articles for individuals, parents, educators, and health care professionals facing COVID-19.

Psychological First Aid for your Team

Psychological First Aid for Your Team.

Frequent and meaningful communication is a hallmark of high-performing teams, and it matters even more during a crisis.

Click here for resources and recommendations for your team.

Stress Check Practice

Click here to listen to the University of Washington’s guided meditation on Stress via Soundcloud.

Trauma Sensitive Yoga Practice

The Trauma-Conscious Yoga Method provides free online yoga sessions for individuals of all wellness levels.

This gentle and trauma-sensitive yoga sequence is appropriate all ages as well.

10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don’t converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”

Engaging with VUMC Health & Wellness

​Bridgette Butler, Health Promotion Coordinator of Health Plus, shares the best way for faculty and staff to learn about helpful information and important services from Health & Wellness – including Health Plus, Occupational Health, and Work/Life Connections-EAP.

Click here to listen to the Wellcast!

Managing Emotions

In the workplace, emotions can often run high; sometimes, they can cause you to say or do things that you may later regret. But the only person responsible for your emotions is you; you own them. That’s why developing emotional intelligence is so crucial in protecting your professional reputation.

In this course, you’ll learn how to manage your emotional IQ, or EQ, in order to handle difficult situations more effectively. You’ll explore the science behind emotion, self-management techniques, as well as methods for recovering from emotional hijackings. You’ll also learn different strategies for building emotional intelligence, such as taking ownership of your emotions, becoming emotionally self-aware, and identifying emotions.

Stress Management

When you’re constantly adding items to your never-ending to-do list, feeling overwhelmed at work and at home, and finding your health and relationships negatively impacted, you are likely experiencing stress. Stress is produced by your own feelings and reactions to certain external events, rather than by the events themselves. But while you may not always be able to control the external events causing your stress, by applying mindfulness techniques, you can control your reactions to them.

This course explains the physiological, behavioral, and psychological signs and symptoms of stress and where it can come from. It outlines strategies for maintaining work/life balance and managing stress. It also covers ways to change your responses to stress and make them more positive and how to use relaxation techniques and adopting mindfulness to help you focus.

Parenting During Uncertainty

Faculty and staff who are parents are invited to join this parenting group for weekly discussions for support and parenting tips during COVID-19.

Come together and build resilience as parents and individuals!

Register now. Select “Virtual Psychoeducational Group for Parents” in the “Services Sought” box.

Nutrition Corner!

Nutrition Corner makes healthy eating simple!

Each month will include a practical new topic and easy, delicious recipes.

Participate in May’s fun and easy online module Fueling Your Workout!

Practicing Emotional First Aid

We’ll go to the doctor when we feel flu-ish or a nagging pain. So why don’t we see a health professional when we feel emotional pain: guilt, loss, loneliness? Too many of us deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, says Guy Winch. But we don’t have to. He makes a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies.

Practicing Self-Care During Times of Uncertainty

Many professionals have likened our coronavirus pandemic experience to grief. Learn how to cope by practicing with self-care.

Click here to read how to practice self-care during a time of uncertainty!

Meditation During Uncertain times

This short guided 15 minute meditation for anxiety and stress is the perfect way to welcome peace, balance, and joy into your life especially during uncertain times like the current COVID19 pandemic. Through the simple act of reconnecting with your inner self, this easy guided meditation is perfect for anyone that is needing some positivity and calm during these uncertain times. It is time to let go of the negativity, stress, anxiety….whatever is holding you back in your life. Let this class take you on a meditative journey to cleanse and heal yourself from the inside out.

So find a quiet space, put some headphones on, close your eyes, and enjoy.

Limiting Negative Beliefs

Cy Wakeman and Dr. Sasha Shillcut discuss the most common limiting beliefs that hold women back and ultimately limit success and happiness.

In this episode, they tackle a major thought distortion many suffer from: All or nothing thinking! They also talk about how perfectionism keeps people from doing brave new things.


Episode #2 Comparison and Preconceived notions https://youtu.be/jUxfgdABtlE Episode #3 Failing makes you a failure https://youtu.be/nNPRdXjb4So Episode #4 It’s too good to be true! https://youtu.be/Y0gXsWCIsIw

Mindfulness Video Series

Have you always wanted to enjoy the many benefits of practicing mindfulness? This brief but helpful mindfulness video series is a great place to start! These introductory practice videos are all under five minutes a piece!

A Journey to Wellness

In this segment of “Under the Microscope,” we follow Sasha Shillcutt, M.D., on her journey of wellness and finding the joy again in medicine.

VUMC Well-being Resources During COVID19

Vanderbilt Faculty & Staff Health and Wellness is a one stop location for your well-being resources during COVID19.

Click here to view their materials!

Dr. Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of four #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and Dare to Lead.

Brené’s TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 35 million views.


Need counseling? No problem! Vanderbilt Work/Life Connections-EAP has you covered!

Work/Life Connections-EAP ConnectCARE now offers teleconsulting sessions via phone or ZOOM Telehealth videoconferencing, which is an encrypted platform that is completely confidential.

  • Make an appointment for our WLC ConnectCARE options by calling 615-936-1327, scheduling a time to talk with your Work/Life Connections-EAP Counselor between Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm.
  • Your Counselor will contact you at the designated time for your confidential session.
  • If you need a private space to speak with the counselor through phone or ZOOM, please let our office know.
Resilience during the Pandemic

​Jim Kendall, Manager for Work/Life Connections, offers recommendations for resilience practices for all employees who are facing stressful situations during COVID-19.

Click here to listen to the Wellcast!

Cy Wakeman, Leadership Expert

Burnout is something we all experience at one point or another in our life, especially when it comes to working and jobs. But the key isn’t creating new circumstances for yourself, such as leaving your job – they key is strike the right balance and find pleasure in any circumstance that comes your way.

William R. Blythe, MD, AAO-HNS Board of Directors, and Partner at East Alabama ENT is joined by Jo A. Shapiro, MD, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Harvard Medical School, and founder of the Center for Professionalism and Peer Support at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (and who is currently recovering from COVID-19), and Julie L. Wei, MD, Division Chief of ENT and Audiology at Nemours Children’s Health System discuss the importance of physician wellness during COVID-19.

Click here to listen to the AAO-HNS Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Podcast Series Episode 6: ENTs Personal COVID-19 Experiences: Managing Your Wellness

The coronavirus has upended countless lives here at home and around the world. We’ve all become too familiar with new terms — shelter in place, flatten the curve, social distancing. The stock market is bouncing wildly. During this time, we saw the greatest number of unemployment applications in our nation’s history. And there’s still no toilet paper at the grocery store, if you can even go to the grocery store. So are you feeling stressed yet? Anxious? At your wits’ end because you’re trying to telework and the kids are making noise in the next room? And will someone please walk the dog?

Click here to join Lynn Bufka, PhD, Senior Director of Practice, Research and Policy at APA in discussing Mental Health and COVID19. Bufka is also a practicing psychologist and has been talking constantly with journalists who are covering the coronavirus pandemic.

Ted Talk with Dr. Susan David

“Life’s beauty is inseparable from its fragility,” says psychologist Susan David. In a special virtual conversation, she shares wisdom on how to build resilience, courage and joy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Responding to listeners’ questions from across the globe, she offers ways to talk to your children about their emotions, keep focus during the crisis and help those working on the front lines. 

Dr. Susan David, Harvard Psychologist, discusses “How To Be Your Best Self In a Time of Crisis” in this Ted Talk.