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Feb 26
March 2021 | Employee Wellness Update

March 2021 Employee Wellness Update

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Covering the areas of Fitness, Nutrition, Mental/Emotional Well-being and Financial Health, the SFMTA Employee Wellness Update is committed to providing information that educates and encourages employees to take charge of their daily lives and to set healthy lifestyle goals.

To see the PDF print-friendly March 2021 Wellness Update, click here.

Healthy Notes and Opportunities

Exercise for Stress Management

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Stress can make you feel drained, anxious, and even depressed. While there are several ways to manage stress, none might be as enjoyable and effective as a regular exercise routine. Numerous studies have shown exercise provides excellent stress relieving benefits.

Specifically, exercise causes the brain to release endorphins, opium-like substances that ease pain and produce a sense of comfort and euphoria. It also encourages the nerve cells in the brain to secrete other neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which improve mood.

Almost any exercise can provide stress relief, but the following tips can help you find those likely to be more effective for you.

  • Choose an exercise you enjoy: The kinds of activities you choose depend on your physical ability as well as your preferences. It's important to choose activities that are accessible and feasible for you to do regularly. You should also consider whether you want to do your exercise routine on your own or with others.
  • Exercise every day if you can: The U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health recommends 30 minutes of activity on most, if not all, days of the week. You'll benefit from exercising three to five times a week, but you'll see more consistent stress reduction if you can be physically active every day.
  • Consider mind/body activities: In yoga and tai chi, your mind relaxes progressively as your body increases its level of muscular work. If you're attracted to a spiritual component, these forms of exercise are effective for honing stress management and relaxation skills.


Controlling stress ultimately comes down to making time to exercise. Physical activity provides an enjoyable and effective way to cope with life's troubles as it promotes lasting strength and empowerment.

For more about managing stress with exercise, click here.


Home Gym Safety Tips

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Working out from home can be a great way to stay active. However, because a home gym allows for less scrutiny from the watchful eyes of fellow gym-goers, the risk for injury can become more present. Individuals who work out at home should take some extra precautions to ensure that their workout is as safe and effective as it would be if accompanied by a trainer in a local gym.

  • Be aware of your surroundings: Make sure that the area is clear of obstacles, pets and small children. While your kids and pets can serve as wonderful cheerleaders for your exercise routine, they can also become a major distraction, which may increase the likelihood of an accident or injury.
  • Tidy up: Wipe down equipment after every use, and place free weights back onto the rack at the end of your workout. Tidying up your space will reduce the risk of trip hazards during your next workout and thus decrease the likelihood of injury. Likewise, wiping down equipment after each use will help kill germs and bacteria that may thrive in a warm, humid environment like a home gym.
  • Set up the space for success: When placing equipment, it's always better to have too much space than not enough. The more space you have between equipment, the wider range of mobility you will have to practice your exercises, and the less likely you will be to trip or injure yourself over a different piece of equipment.
  • Pretend you're going to the local gym: Adhering to the same safety rules and guidelines as your local gym is actually a great way to ensure your safety. For starters, you should always wear proper exercise attire when using your home gym. This includes athletic shoes and no loose articles of clothing that could become stuck in the exercise equipment.


For additional home gym safety tips, click here.

For information about SFMTA Safety Programs, please contact:
Gerald D. Williams, CSP (gerald.williams@sfmta.com)
Manager, Industrial Safety and Environmental Compliance Unit


Get Your Free Credit Report

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A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. Reviewing credit reports also helps you catch signs of identity theft early. During these times of COVID-19, accessing your credit is important. That's why each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — are now offering free weekly online reports through April 20, 2021 at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Nationwide credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment or renting a home. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, at least once every 12 months.

To order your free report, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1.877.322.8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it in. You will need to provide your name, address, Social Security number and date of birth. If you have moved in the last two years, you may have to provide your previous address.

Beware of impostor websites. AnnualCreditReport.com and the nationwide credit reporting companies will not send you an email asking for your personal information. If you get an email, see a pop-up ad or get a phone call from someone claiming to be from annualcreditreport.com or any of the three nationwide credit reporting companies, do not reply or click on any link in the message. It's probably a scam.

For quick FAQs, visit the Federal Trade Commission's website.


Got Tax or Financial Questions?

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Get free and confidential assistance from the SFMTA CARE Program!

The SFMTA CARE Program can offer you a confidential 30 to 60 minute financial consultation with a counselor at no cost. Financial specialists are able to assist SFMTA employees and their family members in various areas, such as tax questions, financial planning, budgeting, debt management, and more.

With services provided by Claremont EAP, additional offerings include counseling visits for personal issues (e.g., marital issues, parenting concerns, depression, anxiety, substance abuse) and work/life referrals (e.g., childcare, eldercare, school/college assistance) and legal consultation, (e.g., divorce, child custody, real estate, sample will kits).

For free and confidential assistance, call 1.800.834.3773. Counselors can help develop an action plan and refer you to the appropriate resources. Counselors are available 24/7. For additional program details, click here or visit the Claremont EAP website (www.claremonteap.com).


Jan 29
February 2021 Employee Wellness Update

February 2021 Employee Wellness Update

SFMTA Fit Agency 2018.jpg

Covering the areas of Fitness, Nutrition, Mental/Emotional Well-being and Financial Health, the SFMTA Employee Wellness Update is committed to providing information that educates and encourages employees to take charge of their daily lives and to set healthy lifestyle goals.

To see the PDF print-friendly February 2021 Wellness Update, click here.

Healthy Notes and Opportunities

What is Healthy BMI in Adults?

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BMI stands for body mass index, but you'll almost always find it referred to simply as BMI. It's an estimate of how much body fat a person has, and it's calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by his or her height in square meters. There are loads of online calculators that will generate your BMI when you put in your stats. Here's what your number means:

  • Less than 18.5 = underweight
  • 18.5 to 24.9 = normal weight
  • 25 to 29.9 = overweight
  • 30 or higher = obese


BMI can be useful in telling you whether your weight is in a healthy spot, and if your BMI has fallen outside the normal range it clues you in when you may be at risk for various health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

BMI has long been a popular tool for measuring body fat because it's easy to use and doesn't require any fancy equipment to calculate. However, BMI is not a perfect metric and should only be used as a preliminary tool to determine if you're at a healthy weight. The problem with BMI is it doesn't say anything about body fat composition, body fat distribution, or metabolic consequences. For example, athletes may be incredibly muscular, but their BMI might qualify them as obese since muscle is denser than fat.

So don't panic if your BMI signals you're overweight or obese, but rather take it as a hint that it's time to see a physician for a more thorough assessment. You have to dive deeper and not look just at BMI to know for sure whether you need to be concerned.

For more information about BMI, click here.


Fire Extinguishers

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Fire extinguishers are used to extinguish or control small fires, often in emergency situations. Most commonly, the SFMTA has multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguishers in our facilities and vehicles, suitable for multiple types of fires. Fire extinguisher work much like a can of hair spray, utilizing the P.A.S.S. Technique:

  1. PULL: Hold extinguisher by the tank (pressure on the handle could pinch the pin). Pull the pin straight out.
  2. AIM: Start 10 feet back from the fire. Aim at the base of the fire
  3. SQUEEZE: Squeeze the lever slowly to release the extinguishing agent.
  4. SWEEP: Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire, moving in slowly until the fire is out.


Once a fire is out, several potential hazards could still be lurking. Look out for smoldering embers, slippery floors, hazardous byproducts, etc. In addition, once someone uses an extinguisher to fight a fire, it must be turned in for inspection and recharging.

For information about SFMTA Safety Programs, please contact:
Gerald D. Williams, CSP (gerald.williams@sfmta.com)
Manager, Industrial Safety and Environmental Compliance Unit



Tax Season Do's and Don'ts

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It’s tax season again! If you’ve made mistakes on your tax forms in previous years or you’ve had to file for an extension more than once, this is the perfect time to right those wrongs. Consider the following tips on what to do (and what to avoid doing) before the April 15th tax filing deadline:

  • Don't use last year's numbers:
    There's a reason why you need to file taxes every year. Since the last tax season, you could have gotten married, had a child or taken on a side gig. You don't want to just use the numbers that you wrote in on your old tax return. Doing so could delay your tax refund.
  • Stay organized:
    You'll need to report certain details in order to fill out your forms and the process can be quite labor-intensive. It's best to have a system in place to keep track of old tax returns, other tax documents, receipts and records of income. That way, they're accessible when you need them.
  • Choose the right filing status:
    Filing status errors are one of the most common mistakes that taxpayers make, and it can have big consequences if your tax bill is higher or lower than it's supposed to be. If you're not sure, consult a tax preparer or use the interactive tax assistant on the IRS website.
  • Don't forget extra sources of income:
    Handing in your W-2 form is probably second nature. But you'll also need to report all of the earnings that aren't coming from your day job, such as your capital gains or other miscellaneous income.
  • Don't forget about deductions:
    Tax deductions lower the amount of your income that's subject to taxation. Once you have a clear sense of what you can deduct at tax time, you can create a plan that reduces your overall tax liability.


For additional tax filing tips, click here.


Got Tax or Financial Questions?

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Get free and confidential assistance from the SFMTA CARE Program!

The SFMTA CARE Program can offer you a confidential 30 to 60 minute financial consultation with a counselor at no cost. Financial specialists are able to assist SFMTA employees and their family members in various areas, such as tax questions, financial planning, budgeting, debt management, and more.

With services provided by Claremont EAP, additional offerings include counseling visits for personal issues (e.g., marital issues, parenting concerns, depression, anxiety, substance abuse) and work/life referrals (e.g., childcare, eldercare, school/college assistance) and legal consultation, (e.g., divorce, child custody, real estate, sample will kits).

For free and confidential assistance, call 1.800.834.3773. Counselors can help develop an action plan and refer you to the appropriate resources. Counselors are available 24/7. For additional program details, click here or visit the Claremont EAP website (www.claremonteap.com).


Dec 30
SFMTA Wellness Bicycle Giveaway!

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SFMTA Wellness Bicycle Giveaway!

With an inclusive motto that highlights a vision of "Moving Forward Together, In Health," the SFMTA Employee Wellness Program has promoted a holistic approach to employee well-being since its founding. Despite the challenges and changes brought about by the past year, we remain committed to our mission.

To celebrate the New Year and new opportunities, SFMTA Employee Wellness is giving away a free mountain bike in partnership with SF Health Service System (SFHSS) and Kaiser Permanente! We simply want to know:

What are your well-being goals for 2021?

Think about what you want to accomplish and email your response to wellness@sfmta.com by Jan. 31, 2021. You will then be entered in our special prize drawing for the mountain bike. We'll announce the winner in February and post responses on our Wellness blog as a source for insight and inspiration.


Dec 30
January 2021 | Employee Wellness Update

January 2021 Employee Wellness Update

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Covering the areas of Fitness, Nutrition, Mental/Emotional Well-being and Financial Health, the SFMTA Employee Wellness Update is committed to providing information that educates and encourages employees to take charge of their daily lives and to set healthy lifestyle goals.

Healthy Notes and Opportunities

Finding Your Purpose in Life

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It feels good to have a sense of purpose, knowing that you are using your skills to help others in a way that matters to you. Research further suggests that purpose is tied to having better health, longevity, and even economic success. But how do you go about finding your purpose if it's not obvious to you? Exercises aimed at uncovering your values, interests and skills, as well as practicing positive emotions like gratitude, can help guide you in finding your purpose.

  • Identify the things you care about: Purpose is all about applying your skills toward contributing to the greater good in a way that matters to you. So, identifying what you care about is an important first step.
  • Reflect on what matters most: Understanding what you value most may help you narrow down your purpose in life to something manageable that also truly resonates with you.
  • Recognize your strengths and talents: We all have strengths and skills that we've developed over our lifetimes. Think about how you can apply them toward something you really care about.
  • Cultivate gratitude and awe: Both gratitude and awe are tied to well-being, caring about others, and finding meaning in life, which all help us focus on how we can contribute to the world.
  • Look to the people you admire: It can be larger-than-life examples like civil rights leaders or climate activists, or everyday people who are doing good in smaller ways, such as a friend who volunteers to collect food for the homeless.


To fulfill your purpose in life, just look to your inner compass and start taking small steps in the direction that means the most to you. For more about finding your purpose, click here.


Set SMART Fitness Goals

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Setting SMART goals can help you to clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving success. While often applied in work settings, SMART goals can also be used in other aspects of your life, such as fitness and physical activity. To help keep yourself accountable, give yourself a SMART goal for fitness:

  • Specific: This is the "what" of your goal, describing exactly what you're going to do and where. For example, "I will walk outside more often."
  • Measurable: How can you measure your goal each day, month, or year? Add specific units and numbers to your goal. "I will walk outside 30 minutes a day."
  • Attainable: Is this goal attainable for you? Think about your current fitness level and the competing demands on your time.
  • Relevant: Is this goal meaningful and beneficial to you?
  • Time-bound: What is the time frame of your goal? How many days a week, and for how long? For example, "In the month of January, I will walk outside for at least 20 minutes at least three days a week." At the end of your time frame, you can evaluate your success and make a new SMART goal.


For more info about setting physical activity goals, click here.


Text Tess for 24/7 Emotional Support

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Tess is a chatbot, offered through the SFMTA CARE Program, that provides secure emotional support and check-ins to boost your wellness. Tess is available 24/7 to connect via text messaging whenever and wherever you need.

  • Chat with Tess for unbiased emotional support in the moment you need it most.
  • Build resilience and self-awareness by practicing coping skills at your convenience
  • Get follow-up reminders and check-ins to reinforce emotional wellness skills
  • Access resources relevant to your needs

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The more you chat with Tess, the more she will get to know your needs and preferences in order to deliver personalized support. While Tess is not a therapist, she is trained by industry leaders to ensure your interactions are high quality.

For more information, click here.


Safety Complacency at Work

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Complacency happens when you've been doing something one way for so long without an incident that you assume that nothing wrong will happen – until it does. If everything seems routine to you, it's probably time to ask yourself if what you're doing habitually is safe. Consider the following tips to help beat safety complacency in the workplace:

  • Think ahead: Who and what are you working with? What are known hazards? What will you be doing? What may have changed? What could go wrong? What will you need to do if the worst happens? Have you planned for it?
  • Recognize your self-awareness: Are you paying attention to those little things that aren't quite right? Are you paying attention to the work at hand, or are you distracted?
  • Use a different set of eyes: Have someone walk through with safety in mind, focusing on potential hazards. They can spot where small breakdowns are occurring and make sure they get fixed before they build into larger issues.
  • Good habits: If you have developed good performance-related habits, you're more likely to see problems sooner and react faster. Develop your skills to the point of "habit strength," so your actions will fall back on those good habits.


These tips will only help fight complacency if people put some effort into them. In order to fight complacency you have to do something that gets you actively thinking about the hazards and risks of the job. For more about beating safety complacency, click here.

For information about SFMTA Safety Programs, please contact:
Gerald D. Williams, CSP (gerald.williams@sfmta.com)
Manager, Industrial Safety and Environmental Compliance Unit


Get Unlimited Work/Life Referrals

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The SFMTA CARE Program can provide you with work/life referrals on a wide range of services. Plus, you have access to unlimited referrals, so if your needs change, you can always call back for a revised search. Get a customized report of services that meet your specific needs, including:

  • Elder Care: Assisted living, nursing facilities, hospices, senior centers, Alzheimer's support, veteran's services
  • Child Care: Day care, nannies/babysitters, special needs care, preschool/nursery schools
  • Parenting resources: Child development, child safety/nutrition, adoption, raising teenagers, school/college assistance
  • Other Work/Life Issues: Medical/dental providers, veterinarians, pet sitters/kennels, home repair, apartment locators, moving/relocation, etc.


With services provided by Claremont EAP, additional CARE Program offerings include counseling visits for personal issues (e.g., marital concerns, depression, anxiety, stress), legal consultation (e.g., divorce, child custody, real estate, sample will kits) and financial consultation (e.g., budgeting, debt management, financial planning, tax questions).

For free and confidential assistance, call 1.800.834.3773. Counselors can help develop an action plan and refer you to the appropriate resources. Counselors are available at all times. For additional program details, click here or visit the Claremont EAP website (www.claremonteap.com).


To see the PDF print-friendly January 2021 Wellness Update, click here.



Nov 30
December 2020 | Employee Wellness Update

December 2020 Employee Wellness Update

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Covering the areas of Fitness, Nutrition, Mental/Emotional Well-being and Financial Health, the SFMTA Employee Wellness Update is committed to providing information that educates and encourages employees to take charge of their daily lives and to set healthy lifestyle goals.

Healthy Notes and Opportunities

A Time to Celebrate Gratitude

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Like everything else during this difficult year, the holiday season may be filled with tough choices and changes for families. The good news is that the holidays are also a time when gratitude is front and center – and gratitude can especially help us be resilient through tough times. Make the holidays more meaningful by taking note of life’s many blessings. You’ll enjoy the benefits of being thankful: less stress, increased joy, better health and stronger relationships!

For more about meaning of gratitude and how to cultivate gratitude in your life, click here.

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Featured in last year's Year-End Staff Appreciation Winter Celebration, the SFMTA Gratitude Wall display was a big hit as staff, their families and friends took part to help raise the feeling of collective goodwill across the agency.

Since so many of us are working from home this year, why not create your own personal Gratitude Wall? Write simple notes of thankfulness and post them on your wall or have family members string theirs across the room. This is an easy way to acknowledge all the good things in our lives, no matter how big or how small.

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For copies of our SFMTA Gratitude Post Notes to kick you off, click here or email: wellness@sfmta.com

SFMTA Gratitude Prize Question

There are so many reasons to find gratitude in our lives. With the holiday season upon us, we want to know: What are you thankful for?

Simple or profound, we welcome all submissions. Email your response to wellness@sfmta.com by Monday, Dec. 28 to be entered for assorted random prize drawings (see some of the sample prizes below), as well as be included on our Wellness blog.

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Keep Connected During the Holidays

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With social distancing, you might not be physically together with your extended family and loved ones during the holidays, but you can still honor holiday traditions and stay connected during these challenging times. When thinking about holiday rituals and adapting to current circumstances, consider how you can recreate a shelter-in-place version of meaningful moments you have shared in the past:

  • Mail out handwritten holiday cards instead of sending an email. The heartfelt sentiments in hand will be worth it.
  • Make the favorite foods of your distant family members.
  • Use decorations that remind you of your loved ones.
  • Call or Skype your family or friends and share your favorite holiday memories, photos, etc.
  • If you don't feel comfortable going to a family member's house for a shared meal, maybe you can bake various dishes or holiday treats and drop them off.
  • Play games or try doing fun activities together online. Trivia night, dancing, karaoke, charades are a few examples.


While sharing time with each other virtually may not be ideal, it is a nice way to still feel close while being physically apart during the pandemic. For more tips on staying connected, click here.


Roasted Winter Vegetables

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There are three big reasons to roast winter vegetables. First and foremost, roasting makes winter vegetables of all kinds wonderfully delicious. The insides get tender and more sweet while the outsides get browned and slightly crispy. Second, roasting is a beyond-easy way to cook vegetables in general: just pop them in a hot oven and wait. Third, that hot oven can be a delight when weather is chilly, warming the kitchen in a most pleasing way.

Many roasted vegetable recipes call for seasonal favorites like carrots, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, turnips, winter squash, eggplant, and more. Experiment with your favorite vegetables. Try a mix of starchy and cruciferous vegetables for a hearty side dish. Serve with your favorite type of meat, then add leftovers to your morning eggs or a salad for lunch.

To roast your vegetables, just follow these basic steps:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut your vegetables into small chunks or hearty bite-sized pieces. Toss them with oil so they're completely coated.
  • Lay the vegetables out on a baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle on any desired seasonings, such as rosemary, basil, parsley, marjoram, or simply salt and pepper.
  • Bake until veggies are lightly browned in areas, and tender. Different vegetables require different cooking times. Check your vegetables after 25-30 minutes, turn them over with a spatula, then cook until they're tender and nicely browned around some of the edges (about 25-30 minutes more.)

For more about the joy of roasted vegetables, click here and here.


Holiday Electrical Safety

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With all the lights and decorations going up at the office, in the maintenance yard and at home, the holidays are a great time to remind everyone of some basic electrical and fire safety habits. Remember to decorate safely, be careful with lights and watch out for fire risks.

  • Be sure that all electrical items are certified by a nationally recognized independent testing lab like Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Inspect lights before use, even if you have just purchased them. Make sure all the bulbs work and there are no frayed wires, broken sockets, missing bulbs or loose connections. Do not replace bulbs when the power is on.
  • Do not overload outlets with too many electrical devices. Read the manufacturer's instructions for the number of light strands you can safely connect and how many can be plugged into one socket.
  • Use extension cords only when necessary and only on a temporary basis. If you are using extension cords and adapters to add receptacles, consider having a qualified electrician add more outlets.
  • Use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets, which are designed to shut down if there is circuit overload. This significantly reduces your chances of electrical fire.
  • Don't place extension cords in high-traffic areas of your workplace, or under rugs or carpets, where they might become a trip hazard or a fire hazard.
  • Never extend an extension cord or power strip by "daisy chaining" (connecting it to another extension cord or power strip).
  • Turn off all lights and electrical decorations before leaving the area.

For additional holiday electrical safety tips, click here.

For information about SFMTA Safety Programs, please contact:
Gerald D. Williams, CSP (gerald.williams@sfmta.com)
Manager, Industrial Safety and Environmental Compliance Unit


Get Unlimited Work/Life Referrals

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The SFMTA CARE Program can provide you with work/life referrals on a wide range of services. Plus, you have access to unlimited referrals, so if your needs change, you can always call back for a revised search. Get a customized report of services that meet your specific needs, including:

  • Elder Care: Assisted living, nursing facilities, hospices, senior centers, Alzheimer's support, veteran's services
  • Child Care: Day care, nannies/babysitters, special needs care, preschool/nursery schools
  • Parenting resources: Child development, child safety/nutrition, adoption, raising teenagers, school/college assistance
  • Other Work/Life Issues: Medical/dental providers, veterinarians, pet sitters/kennels, home repair, apartment locators, moving/relocation, etc.


With services provided by Claremont EAP, additional CARE Program offerings include counseling visits for personal issues (e.g., marital concerns, depression, anxiety, stress), legal consultation (e.g., divorce, child custody, real estate, sample will kits) and financial consultation (e.g., budgeting, debt management, financial planning, tax questions).

For free and confidential assistance, call 1.800.834.3773. Counselors can help develop an action plan and refer you to the appropriate resources. Counselors are available at all times. For additional program details, click here or visit the Claremont EAP website (www.claremonteap.com).


To see the PDF print-friendly December 2020 Wellness Update, click here.



Oct 28
November 2020 | Employee Wellness Update

November 2020 | Employee Wellness Update

SFMTA Wellness 10YR Anniversary logo.jpg

Covering the areas of Fitness, Nutrition, Mental/Emotional Well-being and Financial Health, the SFMTA Employee Wellness Update is committed to providing information that educates and encourages employees to take charge of their daily lives and to set healthy lifestyle goals.

Healthy Notes and Opportunities

Work of Art Well-being Challenge

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There’s no set formula or specific guidelines for being happy. How you interact with others, the way you manage life’s ups and downs, thoughts and attitudes you choose, and the relationships you nurture make up the rich tapestry of you: your personal work of art.

Practice Living an Emotionally Healthy Life!
Take the Work of Art 4-Week Challenge!

Employees and their families are invited to participate in Work of Art, a four-week challenge (Nov. 16 to Dec. 14) designed to help you explore the art of living an emotionally healthy life. Within a few weeks, participants learn the skills to foster resilience, build emotional fitness and boost happiness.

Work of Art introduces emotional well-being activities that make thriving possible, including:

  • Mindfulness: Full, nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment
  • Optimism: A bright outlook about the present and the future
  • Gratitude: Conscious appreciation of what's good in life
  • Connection: The feeling of belonging…being part of something


Although participants create art on their mobile or desktop device, artistic skill isn't needed to achieve significant well-being benefits in Work of Art. As they complete activities they value, participants track progress by "painting" images with personal meaning. Your accomplishments are reinforced through buddy and team features as well as the option to share your works in a gallery for all to admire. You can also take part in weekly prize challenges and enter to win special giveaways.

Register today at: sfhss.org/well-being

During these uncertain times, this program is perfect for the situation so many of us are facing right now. For more information about Work of Art, click here or email: well-being@sfgov.org


National Caregivers Month

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November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to reflect on the compassion and dedication that family caregivers embody every day. We honor the people who lovingly give baths, clean houses, shop for, and comfort the millions of elderly and ill people who are friends and loved ones. Here are just a few facts that caregivers should remember this month:

  • You are not alone: More than 1 in 5 Americans (21.3 percent) are caregivers, with an estimated 53.0 million adults having provided care at some time in the past 12 months.
  • Knowledge helps make your job easier: Resources about caregiving and visiting supportive websites can help manage daily frustration, as well as give you a sense of community.
  • You can take a break: Respite care and adult daycare are short-term care options, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, that allow caregivers a chance to "recharge."
  • You have someone to talk to: Caregiving support groups can be found online and by contacting your local hospital.
  • You have to care for yourself first: If you don't keep yourself happy and healthy, it's doubtful that you will be able to do your best for others. Remember to take care of yourself.


For additional facts caregivers should know, click here. For caregiver resources, including care guides, how-to videos, tip sheets and webinars, visit: www.aarp.org/caregiving/local.


Embracing Your Good Self

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Too often we focus on our flaws and mistakes. But while there is a place for acknowledging and learning from your weaknesses or errors, there is also a place for appreciating the good in yourself. By feeling free to embrace your positives, you will share them more with other people; enabling you both to enjoy the good feelings and consequential benefits.

  • Remember the good stuff: Think back on times when you were at your best in some way. You may have been kind to someone who needed it or achieved some hard-won accomplishment.
  • Remind yourself that you embody that good stuff: Rather than dismissing the good you see in yourself as unimportant or an anomaly, embrace it. Remind yourself that this is part of what makes up the "real" you.
  • Carry the good stuff into your current life: Once you are aware of positives in yourself, reflect on them regularly. You can do this simply by thinking, I am good at that or I am a good friend. Also, look for ways to live your values and positive traits every day.

By following these steps, you can live up to your "good" self – the one that you carry within. You will find that you feel more fulfilled when you do this. Also, as your inner self flourishes, your relationships with other people will bloom. For more about the benefits of appreciating the 'good stuff' in you, click here.



Improve Driving Visibility at Night

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When Daylight Savings Time ends on November 1st, many people will find themselves spending more time driving in the dark. Our depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision are compromised at night, and the glare of headlights from an oncoming vehicle can temporarily blind a driver. While we do only one quarter of our driving at night, 50% of traffic deaths happen at night. How can we combat the hazards of driving in the dark?

  • Make sure that your headlights are clean and aimed correctly.
  • Clean your windshield to eliminate streaks. Make sure your wiper blades work well and that the wiper fluid container is filled.
  • Dim your dashboard lights to help your eyes adapt to the dark.
  • Even though a route may be familiar, don't go on autopilot; stay alert.
  • In unfamiliar areas, map out your route ahead of time.
  • Don't touch your phone, eat, drink, or do other things that distract you.
  • Minimize distractions like talking with passengers or listening to the radio.
  • Look away from oncoming lights. Looking at the right side of the road may help.
  • If there are distracting neon signs or brightly lit buildings, try to concentrate on street-level activities.
  • Don't drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medications.
  • If you wear glasses, make sure they're anti-reflective.
  • Have annual vision exams.
  • Slow down to compensate for limited visibility and reduced stopping time. Adjust your speed to the range of your headlights.


As we 'Fall Back' to shorter days, take extra care on the road! For more tips about night visibility, click here.

For information about SFMTA Safety Programs, please contact:
Gerald D. Williams, CSP (gerald.williams@sfmta.com)
Manager, Industrial Safety and Environmental Compliance Unit


Get Unlimited Work/Life Referrals

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The SFMTA CARE Program can provide you with work/life referrals on a wide range of services. Plus, you have access to unlimited referrals, so if your needs change, you can always call back for a revised search. Get a customized report of services that meet your specific needs, including:

  • Elder Care: Assisted living, nursing facilities, hospices, senior centers, Alzheimer's support, veteran's services
  • Child Care: Day care, nannies/babysitters, special needs care, preschool/nursery schools
  • Parenting resources: Child development, child safety/nutrition, adoption, raising teenagers, school/college assistance
  • Other Work/Life Issues: Medical/dental providers, veterinarians, pet sitters/kennels, home repair, apartment locators, moving/relocation, etc.


With services provided by Claremont EAP, additional CARE Program offerings include counseling visits for personal issues (e.g., marital concerns, depression, anxiety, stress), legal consultation (e.g., divorce, child custody, real estate, sample will kits) and financial consultation (e.g., budgeting, debt management, financial planning, tax questions).

For free and confidential assistance, call 1.800.834.3773. Counselors can help develop an action plan and refer you to the appropriate resources. Counselors are available at all times. For additional program details, click here or visit the Claremont EAP website (www.claremonteap.com).


To see the PDF print-friendly November 2020 Wellness Update, click here.



Sep 23
October 2020 | Employee Wellness Update

October 2020 | Employee Wellness Update

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Covering the areas of Fitness, Nutrition, Mental/Emotional Well-being and Financial Health, the SFMTA Employee Wellness Update is committed to providing information that educates and encourages employees to take charge of their daily lives and to set healthy lifestyle goals.

Healthy Notes and Opportunities

Don't Let the Flu Get You Down!

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Anyone can get the flu, and it can be serious. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine. Especially for those who work with the public, it is even more important to get the vaccine if you, someone you live with or someone you care for is at high risk of getting the flu.

Getting a flu shot this year is more vital than ever because of COVID-19. Both COVID-19 and the flu are contagious respiratory illness that present with similar symptoms. A major flu outbreak would not only overwhelm hospitals this fall and winter, but also likely overwhelm a person who might contract both at once.

For more information about the flu vaccine, see here.

Take advantage of your employee health plan benefits. Get your free flu shot now!

Employee Health Plan flu shot coverage

  • Blue Shield HMO: Get a flu shot from a Primary Care Physician at no co-pay cost. Your medical group may also offer reimbursement for flu shots at a clinic or pharmacy.
  • Kaiser Permanente HMO: Go to any Kaiser Permanente medical facility for a free shot. Visit kp.org/flu or call 800.573.5811 for times and locations.
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO (City Plan): Flu shots are covered 100% from an in-network physician, or at selected pharmacies and Convenience Care Clinics.

For additional details on your employee health plan flu shot coverage, visit: www.sfhss.org/well-being/flu-prevention.


Natural Sleep Aids

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If you could find natural aids to help you get the best sleep possible, would you? For those among the nearly half of Americans who sometimes have trouble with sleep, you may be interested in how to slide into slumber the natural way.

  • Lavender: Try sniffing this purple flower before your bedtime. Its scent slows your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure and skin temperature. You can run an essential oil diffuser or add a few drops to your pillowcase.
  • Warm milk: We've all heard of warm milk's ability to send us off to dreamland. It's because dairy foods contain tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance.
  • Chamomile: Many people enjoy it as a soothing herbal tea, and for good reason. It works on certain brain cell receptors that help you relax and fall asleep. Chamomile is safe, but it can interact with certain medicines.
  • Tart Cherry Juice: Tart cherries are a source of melatonin, a key sleep hormone. The more common Bing and other sweet cherries don't have the same effect, so look for the tart variety. Sip a cup about an hour of two before bedtime.


For other natural sleep aids you can try, click here and here.


Exercise without Working Out

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Want to be more physically active and get enough exercise to stay healthy, but hate to work out? Below are just a few activities that can count as exercise.

  • Chores: Get two things done at once! You’ll get a “moderate” workout if you wash your car, clean out the gutters or vacuum the floors. It’ll help get you in better physical shape, and a clean car or house may boost your mental well-being, too.
  • Gardening: If you dig, bend, and clip around your garden for 30 minutes or so, you’ll get a decent workout. And it may even put you in a better mood. If you don’t have a plot of your own, try container gardening or a local community garden.
  • Video Games: In one study, people who walked, ran and climbed on a special mat during a fantasy role-playing game did more exercise than if they'd spent the same amount of time on a treadmill. As a bonus, if you play active games, you're more likely to do more "non-gaming" exercise.
  • Dancing: Clear some space, put on some music and take a dance break! It can re-energize a study session, lazy Sunday or game night. Do it with family and let each person take a turn as DJ so everyone's favorites get played.
  • Pooch time: People who walk their dogs get significantly more exercise than those who don't. As a bonus, our pets can also help us feel less social anxiety and interact more with other humans.


For extra tips on how to get more active, click here and here.


Protect Yourself in an Earthquake

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Whether you are in your home, an office building or a public venue, know how to protect yourself during an earthquake. Public safety experts agree that "Drop, Cover and Hold On" is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes.

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  1. DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter nearby.
  2. COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand. If a sturdy table or desk is near, crawl under it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall, away from windows. Stay on your knees, bent over to protect your vital organs.
  3. HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If you are under a shelter, hold on to it with one hand and be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts. If you have no shelter, hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

The main point is to not try to move but to immediately protect yourself as best as possible where you are. Earthquakes occur without any warning and may be so violent that you will most likely be knocked to the ground where you happen to be.

For more information on how to protect yourself during an earthquake, visit www.shakeout.org/dropcoverholdon

For information about SFMTA Safety Programs, please contact:
Gerald D. Williams, CSP (gerald.williams@sfmta.com)
Manager, Industrial Safety and Environmental Compliance Unit


Time to Fall into Better Habits

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With the new season underway, we can end up facing many challenges, as we juggle more and more of life's responsibilities. The SFMTA CARE Program offers a range of free personal assistance for SFMTA employees and their families. Get organized now to improve your life for the better. Here are just a few ways that the CARE Program can help:

  • Visit a mental health counselor to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the work/life juggling act
  • Get referrals on a range of parenting issues such as child development, student enrichment programs, tutors and finding childcare for when school is closed
  • Save time and money by consolidating your debt --
    talk to a financial consultant about debt management
  • Plan for your family's future with simple will kits, powers of attorney and advance health care directives


With services provided by Claremont EAP, offerings include counseling visits for personal concerns (e.g., marital issues, parenting concerns, depression, anxiety, stress, substance abuse), work/life referrals (e.g., childcare, eldercare, school and college assistance, health/daily convenience), legal consultation (e.g., divorce, child custody, housing/real estate, personal injury) and financial consultation (e.g., budgeting, financial planning, debt management, tax questions).

For free and confidential assistance, call 1.800.834.3773. Counselors are available at all times. For additional program details, click here or visit www.claremonteap.com.


To see the PDF print-friendly October 2020 Wellness Update, click here.


Sep 23
Protect Yourself from the Flu!

Don't Let the Flu Bring You Down!

Anyone can get the flu, and it can be serious. The flu can cause mild to severe illness and may even sometimes lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine. Especially for those who work with the public, it is even more important to get the vaccine if you, someone you live with or someone you care for is at high risk of getting the flu.

Getting a flu shot this year is more vital than ever because of COVID-19. Both COVID-19 and the flu are contagious respiratory illness that present with similar symptoms. A major flu outbreak would not only overwhelm hospitals this fall and winter, but also likely overwhelm a person who might contract both at once.

You cannot get the flu from a flu shot. The flu virus in the vaccine is either dead or inactivated so that it will not make you sick. Mild reactions such as soreness, fever and headaches are common side effects. What you are feeling is your body's immune system making antibodies.

For more information about the flu vaccine, see here.

Take advantage of your employee health plan benefits.
Get your free flu shot now!

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Employee Health Plan flu shot coverage

  • Blue Shield HMO: Get a flu shot from a Primary Care Physician at no co-pay cost. Your medical group may also offer reimbursement for flu shots at a clinic or pharmacy.
  • Kaiser Permanente HMO: Go to any Kaiser Permanente medical facility for a free shot. Visit kp.org/flu or call 800.573.5811 for times and locations.
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO (City Plan): Flu shots are covered 100% from an in-network physician, or at selected pharmacies and Convenience Care Clinics.


For more details about your employee health plan flu shot coverage, visit: www.sfhss.org/well-being/flu-prevention

Due to high demand, previously announced worksite flu clinics may already be full.


Aug 13
Back-to-School Caregiver Resources

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Back-to-School Caregiver Resources

As a result of the pandemic, millions of students are going back to school virtually this fall. Those of us who are fortunate to work remotely will play a much larger role in our kids' distance learning while navigating remote work, home life and the pandemic.

Luckily, education leaders and organizations are offering free resources for caregivers during this challenging time. In addition, it's important to learn about the resources made available by your school, district or homeschooling group.

Consider the following list of articles, videos, and webinars to support you as you juggle the demands of work while helping your children's distance learning in this age of uncertainty. Just click the title to view.

Resource Guide


Webinars/Videos


Articles


Additional Resources


Jul 31
Responding to Community Unrest

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Responding to Community Unrest

Many people, particularly Black people, are experiencing anguish as acts of racial injustice persist and their communities protest in response. Exposure to traumatic events, either personally or via media, can lead to feelings of anger, fear, anxiety, and helplessness, as well as a loss of trust. In some cases, it can overwhelm a person's ability to cope.

If you are struggling:

  • Remind yourself that you are not alone
  • Talk to others who understand and respect how you feel
  • Limit your exposure to news and social media
  • Make sure to exercise and eat healthy meals
  • Allow yourself to feel joy at times and to cry when you need to


There's a lot of uncertainty in the world right now and the reality is that no set of self-care can fully relieve or address the pain. However, regardless of the challenges you're facing, resources are available to help you.

  • Anti-Racist Resources from Greater Good
  • The Peer Assistance Program offers emphatic, thoughtful one-on-one support to SFMTA employees. Connect with a Peer 24/7 at 415.923.6346
  • The SFMTA CARE Program offers access to personal counseling, legal and financial consultations, and work/life referrals. For free and confidential support, call 800.834.3773
  • SFHSS EAP counselors are available 24/7 for free and confidential individual telephone counseling and consultations. Call 628.652.4600 or 800.795.2351
  • Access Mental Health Benefits through your Health Plan


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About this blog
No, this isn't actually my picture. I just haven't gotten around to updating this section. It's good to know that someone is reading every last word though. Thanks!