Workshops and Programs

New program alert: Summer Strides: Walking Challenge
Let’s lace up our sneakers and move! This summer, we encourage you to get moving, individually or as a team, through this six-week period and beyond. There will be weekly raffles and a grand prize at the end!

Health and well-being is a life-long journey

The Syracuse University Wellness Initiative offers a variety of health and well-being workshops and programs to faculty and staff. Our workshops and programs allow you the flexibility to choose your own way to well-being, focusing on the goals that are most important to you. We are committed to supporting an environment that helps you be your healthiest, best self.

Take a look at the variety of wellness offerings below and don’t forget to subscribe to the wellness email list to receive the most up-to-date Wellness Initiative information (subscribe to the email list on the wellness homepage).

If you require accommodations to fully participate in any wellness program, please contact us at or 315.443.5472 two weeks prior to the scheduled date.

Soar into wellness: Attend monthly workshops
 Play along: Participate in challenges and take monthly quizzes
Take action: Join behavior change programs

The College of Professional Studies invites you to awaken your most sacred self with the davidji Immersion Workshop! August 18 – 21, 2022 at Minnowbrook Conference Center, located on Blue Mountain Lake in the picturesque Adirondacks!

Soar into wellness: Attend monthly workshops

Join Kim DeStefano for any or all of the below physical activity workshops. She is the senior health and wellness specialist of the Syracuse University Wellness Initiative and is a certified health and wellness coach. She received a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science here in 2005. Kim is always enthusiastic to share her knowledge with others, is very energetic and teaches with a “Make it Fun!” attitude.

Each of the below workshops will be held on Tuesdays from noon to 12:30 p.m. (If you aren’t able to attend the live session, check back for the recording link.)

Exercise is Medicine: What’s the Right Dose?
Yes, exercise is medicine! Science has shown that it helps us feel better, function better and even sleep better. But, what’s the right dose? Join this workshop to find out the answer! Learn about general physical activity recommendations then how to figure out what and how much is best for you! Watch Exercise is Medicine: What’s the Right Dose?

Fuel Up to Move More
Your body is your vehicle, so you have to keep your engine running when you work out. That means that fueling up your body can be important to how you feel when you exercise. Learn how to take care of your body before, during, and after exercise with healthy food and plenty of water. Watch Fuel Up to Move More

The FITT Principle
Whether you’re new to fitness or an avid exerciser, you can apply the FITT principle to what you do. FITT stands for frequency, intensity, time and type. Each component works in tandem to help you reach your physical activity goals. This workshop will explore what the FITT principle is, along with how you can incorporate it into your routine. Watch The FITT Principle

Shake Up Your Fitness Game
Consistency and routine are the backbones of any fitness program. If you want to take things to the next level or get back on track toward your goals, varying your workouts could be the key. In this workshop, you’ll learn how often to change up your workout routine, ways to mix things up and the benefits you might see. Watch Shake Up Your Fitness Game

Join Gail Grozalis for any or all of the below nutrition workshops and demos. She is the executive director of the Syracuse University Wellness Initiative. She is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and certified health and wellness coach. Gail loves sharing her knowledge about nutrition and food in fun, relevant and interesting ways!

Each of the below workshops will be held on Fridays from noon to 12:30 p.m. (If you aren’t able to attend the live session, check back for the recording link.)

Heart-Healthy Cooking Demo
Heart-healthy eating emphasizes nutrient-rich whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds as well as healthy fats that can help prevent heart disease. This cooking demonstration will highlight easy, quick heart-healthy recipes that include some bonus ingredients that your heart (and tastebuds) will love!
On the menu: “fried” rice—two ways and salmon in a snap! Watch Heart-Healthy Cooking Demo

Mindful Eating for Beginners
It’s not just about what we eat, it’s also how we eat! Mindful Eating for Beginners will introduce you to the principles and benefits of mindful eating. This workshop will provide actionable tips to start eating more mindfully and begin forming a more positive relationship with the foods you eat. Watch Mindful Eating for Beginners

Celebrate spring! Spring Salads and Dressing Food Demo
Preparing dishes with fresh seasonal ingredients is delicious and healthy! In the Northeast, this means plenty of spring root vegetables and leafy greens. Think arugula, chard, asparagus, beets and radishes to name a few! This cooking demonstration will highlight the ingredients of spring in fresh salads—letting the seasonal bounty shine! Will also demonstrate simple homemade salad dressings to complement any salad. Watch Salads/Dressing Demo

Plant-Powered Eating for Optimal Health
Plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources. Adopting some of the principles of plant-powered eating can help improve overall health and boost energy levels! Watch Plant-Powered Eating

Webinar: Bone Health and Osteoporosis

  • Thursday, May 12
  • Noon-12:30 p.m.

Did you know the average adult has 206 bones in their body?  That’s 206 reasons to care about your bone’s health! Join Dr. Kathleen Robischon, Excellus BCBS Medical Director for Utilization Management and Medical Policy, for an engaging 30-minute virtual presentation to gain a better understanding of the importance of bone health as we age.  Dr. Robischon will discuss risk factors that you can control and ways to improve your bone health in order to help prevent the bone disease, osteoporosis, from developing.  There will be a few minutes in the end for questions with Dr. Robischon.

Register for Bone Health and Osteoporosis

Watch Back on TrackGain a better understanding of pain, function, attitude and beliefs, and their impact on your back health. Dr. Justice will introduce unique strategies you can use to help prevent or manage back pain, strategies that can also improve your overall health, happiness and wellbeing.

Watch Burnout and Building ResiliencyBurnout is becoming an increasingly common workplace ailment. According to a recent study conducted on employee burnout, 52% of respondents reported feeling burned out, and 67% claimed that the feeling has worsened over the past year. Learning to cope with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and those around you become more resilient.

Watch Why Sleep is So Important: Tips for Getting a Good Night’s SleepSleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing and vitally important during a pandemic, yet millions of people do not get enough. Are you one of the many adults that experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with daily activities at least a few days each month? Attend this session presented by Carebridge to assess your sleep patterns, learn about the connection between stress and sleep, and acquire new techniques to improve your sleep habits.

Join Carebridge and each month for a variety of virtual workshops designed with you in mind. For additional tips, resources and recorded webinars on important WorkLife topics, bookmark the CarebridgeCONNECTS page.

Choosing Leisure to Reduce Stress—May 10 (10:30-11 a.m.)
Do you feel guilty if you take time for yourself to relax? Do you feel leisure is only okay if it’s “earned” through hard work? Research shows leisure is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Attend this session to learn the health benefits of relaxation and how to be intentional about prioritizing time for fun. Register for Choosing Leisure to Reduce Stress

Influencing Your Children to be Hopeful—May 18 (10-10:30 a.m.)
Raising resilient children means encouraging them to have hope. After several years of difficult social issues and a global pandemic, this session will help parents and guardians reenergize their child’s sense of hope in both everyday events and larger matters. Register for Influencing Your Children to be Hopeful

Coping Through a Resurgence of Grief—May 25 (2-2:30 p.m.)
Raising resilient children means encouraging them to have hope. After several years of difficult social issues and a global pandemic, this session will help parents and guardians reenergize their child’s sense of hope in both everyday events and larger matters. Register for Coping Through a Resurgence of Grief

Play along: Participate in challenges and take monthly quizzes

Colorful array of fruits and vegetables

To get a full variety of vitamins and minerals, it is important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. There is no magic fruit or vegetable that contains it all and variety is, in general, the key to a healthy lifestyle. Fruits and vegetables of the same color often contain some similar nutrients. Therefore, it’s not only a fun challenge to eat the rainbow, but it’s also a good habit to build, to ensure well-balanced eating. It may also make you try new foods that you haven’t tried before. Experiment and have fun!

Watch Eat the Rainbow! to learn the importance of variety, get tips for boosting your fruit and vegetable intake and see produce options in all of the colors. Then, register to join the challenge designed to have you eat different colors of fruit and vegetables every day!

Registration is now closed.

How does it work?

Please watch the Eat the Rainbow! video to get a head start on ideas of different colors of fruit and vegetables. Once registered, you will receive a challenge log and postcard of colorful examples via campus mail prior* to the start of the challenge (*must register by March 15).

  • Reach for the rainbow: On Friday, March 18, you will receive an email with eating the rainbow tips, tricks and recipe ideas —make a list and use the weekend to get some colorful shopping done!
  • Colorful fruits and vegetables, oh my!: On Monday, March 21, you will receive an email with more reasons to eat more color!
  • Seasons of eating: On Wednesday, March 23, you will receive an email with produce for every season and tips to keep in mind when shopping for them.
  • Almost to the end of the rainbow: On Friday, March 25, you will receive an email with ways to make the most colorful plates over the weekend. The goal is to make your plate as colorful as possible!
  • That’s a wrap!: On Monday, March 28, you will receive your end-of-challenge check-in email with a few questions about how it went, a brief quiz and an evaluation.

Take the 14-Day Sleep Challenge:  Feb. 21—March 7

Hand pressing button on vintage alarm clock Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical component of your heart health as well as your overall well-being! Insufficient sleep and poor sleep quality has been associated with a slew of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Those who get enough sleep typically have better weight control, more energy, a brighter disposition and a stronger immune system.

All faculty and staff who complete the sleep challenge will be entered into a random drawing for some awesome prizes!

Registration is closed

How does it work?

After registering, you will receive an email to complete the pre-challenge sleep survey to assess your current sleep status. After submitting, you will receive an email with your answers, be sure to save these answers to reference when you complete the post-challenge sleep survey.

  • Start getting your Z’s on. Monday, Feb. 21 you will receive an email with tips on how to get your z’s on to help you get the best sleep possible. Throughout the challenge, you’ll discover ways to make sleep-friendly choices, build a bedtime routine, find your back-to-sleep solutions (if applicable), and track your sleep.
  • Track your sleep. Print and use your challenge log [PDF] to track your sleep and find which strategies work best for you. Reflect on your sleep each morning, noting which strategies from each of the three parts had the most positive effect on your sleep. The log is for your personal use; you will not be asked to submit your log.
  • Mid-challenge motivation. Monday, Feb. 28, you will receive an email with additional info and resources on sleep. The goal is to keep you motivated and complete the challenge.
  • Complete your sleep journey. Monday, March 7, you will receive your final challenge email with the post-challenge sleep survey and evaluation. These must be completed by Wednesday, March 9 to be entered to win. Be sure to have your pre-challenge survey answers handy so you can look back and compare the changes and improvements you made.

Cultivate gratitude in the workplace

The workplace is one of the best places to practice gratitude. In addition to an increase in work performance, gratitude also helps improve employee health and well-being. A grateful attitude leads to a positive and happy mindset. Get your department started with the Gratitude Challenge!

The Wellness Team will provide you with everything you need to successfully deliver a team gratitude challenge! The challenge features 30 small, achievable goals to help you and your team express gratitude and better appreciate the little things in life. The beauty of this challenge is the dates and length are totally up to you.

Sign my department up!

Check out the challenge specifics

  • This gratitude challenge can be anywhere from 14 days to 21 days (your department chooses the dates and length).
  • Each department will receive a challenge kit from the Wellness Initiative with all necessary supplies.
  • The goal is for each participant to choose and complete at least one act of gratitude each day of the challenge. Participants check off each act of gratitude they accomplish.
  • Each department will receive a challenge kit, including:
    • One gratitude saying poster (sayings may vary)
    • One ‘Life must be lived as play’ poster
    • Positivity card packs
    • Thank you cards
    • Dove dark chocolates
    • Individual items for each participant: gratitude button, personal notepad (notepads may vary),  a list of 30 possible acts of gratitude
  • Each department organizer that completes all roles/responsibilities will receive a gratitude mug and notepad as a thank you gift!
  • Each department that completes the challenge will receive a gift bag of goodies to share!
  • Sign your team up to participate in the department challenge.
    • Choose a team organizer/(s) to deliver the challenge.
    • Choose the dates and length (be sure the start date is far enough away so there is time to pick up the challenge kit).
  • Send invitation email to all possible participants (give people a “join by date”).
  • Send an email to the Wellness Team with the complete participant list.
  • Pick up your department challenge kit from the Wellness Initiative. After pick up, dispense items to participants.
  • Begin the challenge and have fun with it!
  • At the end of the challenge,  send the Wellness Team the names and the total number of participants who completed the challenge.
  • Be sure all participants complete the program evaluation to fully complete the department challenge.
  • If the challenge is completed, pick up the post-program gift from the Wellness Initiative.

  • Send team organizer/(s) customizable invitation email template, as well as two “keep the momentum” going email templates.
  • Put together challenge kit:
    • Purchase challenge items for all participants on the department participant list.
    • Print materials needed to participate in and complete the challenge.
  • Schedule time for department organizer/(s) to pick up their department challenge kit.
  • Be available for any questions or assistance.
  • After receiving the completed list from the department, send all participants a post-program evaluation.
  • If the department meets all criteria for challenge completion, schedule a time for the department organizer to pick up their gift and the department gift.

A bunch of question marks on colorful papersPlay along with us and test your knowledge about a variety of wellness topics.

Current month’s quiz: Back to Basics

In case you missed it, take past quizzes:

Take action: Join behavior change programs

Watch Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Program info session (7-minutes)

Am I Hungry? logoAIH is a non-diet, weight-neutral approach that empowers individuals to take charge of their decisions about eating, physical activity, health and self-care.  Am I Hungry?® is a comprehensive mindful eating program that guides participants to reconnect with their physical signals to guide when, what, and how much to eat without restrictive diet rules and recognize and cope with their triggers for overeating.

This five-week interactive group program for faculty and staff will be conducted in a group setting via Microsoft Teams. The focus is to help individuals break out of emotional eating cycles using practical, doable strategies.

Read about staff member Kristi Vega’s experience with the program last fall.

The Spring 2022 program is full. Please feel free to add yourself to the AIH waitlist.

The Am I Hungry® Mindful Eating Program is a five-week commitment that includes one, weekly 45-minute virtual session.

Each week, there will also be:

  • suggested reading of chapters in Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat
  • recommended workbook pages to complete
  • **Each participant receives the Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat book and workbook with enrollment into the program.

You can choose to commit as much time as you would like, but to get the full benefit of the program, it is most beneficial to include the reading and workbook.

*All participants will need to plan a time for the week of March 14 to stop at the Skytop Office Building.  At this time, you will pick up your materials and complete the payroll deduction form.

Microsoft Teams group:

  • Thursdays (March 24, 31, April 7, 14 and 21)
  • Noon—12:45 p.m.

Covered in the weekly sessions

Think: It is what really differentiates Am I Hungry?® from all other programs as it gives participants the skills and tools to create change on the inside first, so the changes made on the outside will last. Participants are guided through discovery of the Mindful Eating Cycles, a decision-making tool that helps them develop greater awareness and improve their ability to make effective choices around six key decision points:

  • Why do I eat?
  • When do I feel like eating?
  • What do I choose to eat?
  • How do I eat?
  • How much do I eat?
  • Where do I invest my energy?

Covered in the reading assignments

Nourish: The Nourish component provides nutrition education without rigid, unsustainable rules. Participants learn to approach food selection from an “all foods fit” perspective, focusing on meeting the body’s nutritional needs through balance, variety and moderation.

Live: The Live component of the Mindful Eating Program inspires participants to rediscover joy and vitality in physical activity and integrate activity into their daily lives in a satisfying, sustainable way. Live takes a small steps approach to physical fitness, focusing on realistic changes and overcoming internal resistance and external barriers to exercise.

The standard cost of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Program is $100.

All participants enrolled in the program will contribute $60 via payroll deductions, but will have the opportunity for full reimbursement by meeting the attendance criteria.

  • Weekly paid employees agree to have $12 per week deducted after taxes from their paycheck for five weeks  (March 30 through April 27) for a total of $60.
  • Semi-weekly paid employees agree to have $20 deducted after taxes from three paychecks (March 31 through April 30), for a total of $60.

You will receive a full reimbursement of $60 via payroll if you:

  • complete the pre-and post- eating cycle assessment
  • attend four of the five 45-minute sessions
  • complete the post-program evaluation

Please note: you must fulfill all of the above criteria to receive reimbursement.

Throughout the program, trained Am I Hungry?® facilitators, Gail Grozalis and Kim DeStefano will guide participants to:

  • Understand why diets don’t work for most people
  • Be in charge of their eating, instead of feeling a lack of control
  • Consistently eat the foods they love without guilt or overeating
  • Learn how to balance eating for nourishment with eating for enjoyment
  • End mindless, emotional eating
  • Restructure thinking from good and bad foods

According to Michelle May, M.D., founder of Am I Hungry?® and author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat, “Most diets fail because they are negative and unsustainable, leaving the dieter feeling guilty and disappointed. Diets focus on what people should eat without addressing why they eat in the first place. As a result, the overeating cycle is never really broken. Am I Hungry?® is an inside-out approach to eating and self-care that focuses on changing thoughts and feelings first, so changes in behaviors will last.”

Although participants are not given rigid rules to follow, a study of 229 participants showed improved self-efficacy, significantly increased activity, more healthful eating, and gradual weight loss by a majority of the participants. 90% completed the program and nearly all said they would recommend it.

Research shows that the simple process of checking and recording your blood pressure at least twice a week over four months may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. It also shows that proper nutrition, particularly with a reduction in sodium, can help to lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

Syracuse University has continued their partnership with the YMCA of Greater Syracuse to facilitate the BPSM for active benefits-eligible faculty and staff. This is an evidence-based program developed to support adults with hypertension in lowering and managing their blood pressure.

Take a moment to watch the BPSM info session, then if you think you qualify and would like to, express interest in participating.

Throughout the four months, the program focuses on practicing home self-monitoring of blood pressure readings, identifying triggers and adopting healthier eating habits to better manage high blood pressure.  Participants will:

  • Measure and record their blood pressure  at least two times per week
    • all participants will receive their own blood pressure cuff (included with the program) and receive instructions for proper use
  • Meet one-on-one each week with Stephanie Michaels via Microsoft Teams (from week of Feb. 28 through week of June 13)
  • Attend one 45-minute seminar each month via Microsoft Teams
    • Monday, March 14  (Noon – 12:45 p.m.): Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension
    • Monday, April 11 (Noon – 12:45 p.m.): Lowering Sodium Intake
    • Monday, May 9 (Noon – 12:45 p.m.): Shopping, Preparing and Cooking Food for Better Blood Pressure Management
    • Monday, June 6 (Noon – 12:45 p.m.): Heart Healthy Eating for Life

You must be an active benefits-eligible faculty and staff that:

  • is diagnosed with high blood pressure and/or are on antihypertensive medication
  • has not experienced a recent (within the last 12 months) cardiac event
  • does not have atrial fibrillation or other arrhythmias currently
  • does not have or are is at risk for lymphedema

The Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program (BPSM) will be delivered by Stephanie Michaels, a YMCA lifestyle coach trained in group facilitation beginning the week of Feb. 28 through the week of June 13.

There is a maximum number of 12 participants. All persons that watch the info session, qualify and express interest will be placed on a list. If there are more than 12 people interested,  participants will be randomly chosen from the interest list. Stephanie Michaels will contact the selected participants.

Once you have been confirmed to be part of the BPSM program, you will need to:

  • Plan a time to stop by Skytop Office Building the week of Feb. 21 to:
    • Get your blood pressure cuff
    • Sign payroll deduction form and enrollment forms (can also be completed and emailed ahead of time)
    • Sign up for your weekly one-on-one time slot with Stephanie

The standard cost of the Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring is $100.

All participants enrolled in this program will contribute $60 via payroll deductions, but will have the opportunity for a full reimbursement by meeting the attendance criteria as well as blood pressure submissions.

  • Weekly paid employees agree to have $5 per week deducted after taxes from their paycheck for 12 pay periods (March 9 through May 25) for a total of $60.
  • Semi-weekly paid employees agree to have $10 deducted after taxes from their paycheck for six pay periods  (March 15 through May 31) for a total of $60.

All participants enrolled in the BPSM have the opportunity to receive full reimbursement of payroll deductions ($60) by meeting the criteria below.

Here’s how it works!

Reimbursement #1

You will receive a $25 reimbursement if you:

  • Attend 6 out of 8 of your personalized check-ins (weeks 1-8)
  • Take your BP a minimum of 2 times per week using your at-home cuff
  • Provide weekly BP log to YMCA facilitator

You will receive an additional $5 reimbursement if you:

  • Attend 1 of the 2 monthly seminars

Reimbursement #2

You will receive a $25 reimbursement if you:

  • Attend 6 out of 8 of your personalized check-ins (weeks 9-16)
  • Take your BP a minimum of 2 times per week using your at-home cuff
  • Provide weekly BP log to YMCA facilitator

You will receive an additional $5 reimbursement if you:

  • Attend 1 of the 2 monthly seminars

The above equals a total of $60 reimbursed.

Working together to prevent type 2 diabetes

Syracuse University continued its partnership with the YMCA of Central New York to facilitate the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) for active benefits-eligible faculty and staff. The DPP is a CDC-recognized, evidence-based lifestyle change program developed specifically to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. It is designed for adults who have prediabetes or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but who do not already have diabetes.

This small-group program offers peer support while helping people eat healthier, increase their physical activity and lose weight.

Please read through all the information about this program carefully. If you believe you may qualify and want to learn more, please register for an info session.

Individuals who have already been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes do not qualify for this pilot program.

In order to qualify for the pilot program, you must be at least 18 years old, overweight (BMI > 25) and at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes indicated by a confirmatory blood value* or a clinical diagnosis of gestational diabetes (GDM) during a previous pregnancy. If a blood value or diagnosis is not available, a qualifying risk score** may be used to enroll.

  1. Must be an active benefits-eligible Syracuse University faculty or staff member.
  2. Prediabetes confirmed via one of three blood tests*:
    1. Fasting glucose = 100 -125mg/dl
    2. 2-hour post prandial glucose = 140- 199mg/dl
    3. HbA1C = 5.7% – 6.4%
  3. If no blood test, qualifying score (9 or higher) on an American Diabetes Association or CDC risk assessment**.

The DPP will be delivered by Stephanie Michaels, a YMCA lifestyle coach trained in group facilitation; Stephanie will transfer accountability to participants over the course of the year-long program.

Group: Tuesdays, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Bird Library, Spector Room (608)

There is a maximum number of 15 participants. All interested participants that qualify will be placed on a list, there will be 15 participants randomly chosen to participate in each group. Stephanie Michaels, the intake coordinator from the YMCA of Central New York will contact the selected participants between Sept. 28 and Oct. 1.

One-year commitment (26 one-hour sessions):

  • Mandatory orientation session: Oct. 12
  • 16 consecutive weekly sessions: Oct. 19—Feb. 15 (no session Nov. 23 or  Dec. 28).
  • Step down to 3 sessions every other week: Feb. 22, March 8, March 22.
  • Step down to 6 sessions once per month: April 19, May 24, June 21, July 19, Aug. 16 and Sept. 13.

Two data points (data is recorded in a HIPAA compliant online tracking system) are collected from participants at each session: weight and minutes of physical activity.

Free YMCA family membership for the first 20 weeks of the program:

  • All enrolled participants will receive the YMCA family membership (more than a $300 value!).
  • The membership can be used at any of the six locations that are part of the YMCA of Central New York.

The standard cost of the National Diabetes Prevention Program is $429.

All participants enrolled in the DPP pilot will contribute $200 to the DPP program via payroll deductions, but will have the opportunity for a full reimbursement by meeting the attendance criteria as well as weight and physical activity session submissions.

  • Weekly paid employees agree to have $5 per week deducted after taxes from their paycheck for 40 weeks (Oct. 27 through July 27, 2022) for a total of $200.
  • Semi-weekly paid employees agree to have $10 deducted after taxes from their paycheck, approximately 40 weeks (Oct. 29 through Aug. 15, 2022) for a total of $200.
  • How does reimbursement work? 

Build resilience one quick, yet powerful moment at a time

“Too busy to stop, rest, sleep, or even breathe” is our shared mantra. Burnout, compassion fatigue, fear, apathy, self-doubt… are common everyday experiences. And no one is immune. It needn’t be this way.

Release, Relax and Reach™ is a virtual, interactive series developed by Spherica LLC and facilitated by Heidi M Weiker, MSSA. This series conducted via Zoom includes guided instruction and lots of hands-on activities. Each week we’ll explore quick and powerful, proven methods that you can use right in the middle of your stress-filled days. Together, we’ll release out of our unrelenting distress, relax into calm energy, and reach into peace and joy in order to reach out into the world refreshed and renewed. We’ll share ideas, demonstrations, and stories. We’ll learn relevant science and contemporary theory, as we practice the methods in real-time.

Too much going on to add another virtual calendar event to your day? You are not alone. We get it. And the last thing we want to do is to add to your stress! That’s why this is designed with your modern-day challenges in mind. It isn’t a canned stress-management class lecturing you on what you already know.

  • It’s insightful.
  • It’s engaging and fun.
  • It’s practical.
  • It’s a respite from the daily grind.

Next series dates: TBD

Check out the series details:

Heidi M WeikerHeidi has over 30 years of experience in speaking, teaching, curriculum design, executive and life coaching, and consulting across North America She co-owns, with her sister Tanya, a contemporary training firm, Spherica LLC.

Heidi’s known for her keen insight into human nature and intrinsic motivation This is out of her depth and breadth of experience and involvement with distinctly diverse individuals and groups global leadership teams, inner-city gangs, academic faculty, teens, medical staff, athletes, kids Grateful to have served as a direct coach to several global CEOs and their C Suites, she continues to build on this experience Currently, Heidi’s engaged in researching, designing, and delivering plenaries, workshops, programs, and intensives in stress and inner resilience, mind focus and presence, authentic connection and communication, and conscious command and positive mindedness She inspires deeper awareness and thought-provoking insight, while engaging her audiences in powerful, yet fun ways to turn enhanced awareness into action Heidi has a relentless passion and love for her service to others She is deeply committed to her clients and to inspiring people to believe in themselves as human beings and to celebrate all that is good within and around them.

Post getting her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University, she received her Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University On the days she’s not teaching, she spends her work hours delved into learning, research and instructional design Rarely seen without pen and paper, she’s always doodling, writing, reading, and creating Outside of Spherica, she loves to be with her family and friends, and she enjoys music, the fine arts, cooking, dancing, travel, walking, and the outdoors .

Release, Relax and Reach™ is an eight-week six-week commitment that includes one, weekly one-hour session from Wednesday, May 15 through Wednesday, June 29.

  • Wednesdays (May 11, 18, May 25, June 1, 8,  15, 22 and 29)
  • Noon-1 p.m.
  • via Zoom link sent via Outlook calendar

You’ll have the opportunity to build your own best practices for moving through stress and strain all while reinvigorating both your well-being and your performance. Every session blends interaction, cool information, and dialogue, with hands-on experience that includes a variety of enjoyable guided breathing exercises.

Some of the methods we’ll discuss

  • Physiology of the stress mechanism.
  • Heart-to-brain communication and short-circuiting Fight or Flight.
  • Network connections in the brain.
  • Shaping and shifting the living maps of the brain.
  • Your human brain and body ‘on’ stress.

Some of the practices we’ll do

  • Breathing to reduce the toxic impacts of chronic stress.
  • Deepening our breath to cultivate presence and peace.
  • Heart breathing’ practices for being in the moment and synching all biorhythms.
  • Engaging in meaningful appreciation and intentional gratefulness.
  • Immersing in nature, our natural boost.
  • Rhythm and music, the primal need for and power of it.

All participants enrolled in Release, Relax and Reach™ series will contribute a total of $60 $45 via payroll deduction but will have the opportunity for full reimbursement by meeting the attendance and assessment/evaluation criteria.

What is the payment schedule?

  • Weekly paid employees agree to have $7.50 per week deducted after taxes from their paycheck for 8 pay periods (May 11 through June 29) for a total of $60.  Weekly paid employees agree to have $7.50 per week deducted after taxes from their paycheck for 6 pay periods (May 25 through June 29) for a total of $45.
  • Semi-weekly paid employees agree to have $15 deducted after taxes from their paycheck for four pay periods  (May 16 through June 30) for a total of $60. Semi-weekly paid employees agree to have $15 deducted after taxes from their paycheck for three pay periods  (May 31 through June 30) for a total of $45.

How do I receive full reimbursement?

  • there will be two reimbursement dates:
    • you will receive $30 $22.50 after week four three as long as you:
      • complete the pre-program assessment and
      • attend at least three two of the sessions
    • you will receive the remaining $30 $22.50 after week eight six as long as you:
      • complete the post-program assessment and evaluation and
      • attend at least three two sessions

Please note: that you must fulfill all of the above criteria to receive reimbursement.

*Amended May 9

Even when everything around you seems out of your grasp to change—you can always change the world inside of you.

To help ensure a healthy, productive, respectful environment in which to work, learn and live, Syracuse University became smoke- and tobacco-free on July 1, 2015.

Tobacco-Free Campus Website

Together, Human Resources, Carebridge and the Syracuse community offer a variety of tobacco cessation resources:

Medical Benefits

Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Prescription Medication

If you are enrolled in the University’s health benefits coverage through SUBlue, SUOrange or SUPro, you and your enrolled family members are eligible to receive coverage at no cost to you for prescription drugs and FDA-approved over-the-counter products to help you quit tobacco. You will need a prescription from your physician (even for OTC products) and must fill the prescription with a participating pharmacist. Coverage is available at no copay for up to a 180-day supply of:

  • Over-the-Counter Medications (generic or store brand only)
    • Nicotine replacement gum, lozenge or patch
  • Prescription Medications
    • Bupropion sustained-release (generic Zyban) tablet
  • These three prescription medications are covered after you have tried one over-the-counter nicotine replacement product and bupropion sustained-release tablet separately:
    • Chantix tablet
    • Nicotrol inhaler
    • Nicotrol nasal spray

If you have any questions about this coverage, contact Optum Rx at the number on your member ID card.


The full suite of Carebridge’s comprehensive services and resources are available to all those eligible to participate in the University’s medical plan, including benefits-eligible faculty and staff, and their dependents. Call Carebridge at 1.800.437.0911 anytime to assist in tobacco cessation.

  • Information & Resources: Carebridge Wellness Resource Specialists will provide educational information and resources to help callers learn about preparing for and remaining tobacco free. Resources include community-based support as well as internet and phone-based support.
  • Telephonic Consultations: Carebridge provides short-term telephonic consultations with behavioral health clinicians and wellness coaches to assist individuals with cutting back or quitting their tobacco habit.
  • Counseling: Carebridge FSAP referrals are available for in-person counseling for tobacco dependence as well as co-morbid conditions such as stress, depression and anxiety.

Community Resources

If you are ready to quit smoking or using tobacco, there are a variety of resources in the community that have helped many smokers and tobacco users take that first step!