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December 11
December WEL News

​Dear colleagues

​I trust that you are all well.

This month, I thought I would start with a historical quote that still has relevance today:

It is more important to know what kind of patient has the disease, than to know what sort of disease the patient has.

Caleb Hillier Parry of Bath (1755‒1822)

This perspective aligns with our public health and WEL approach in addressing situations, and is a lens for viewing the world that can enrich our observance of International Human Rights Day on 10 December.

On your quest to spend time with loved ones during the holiday season, be mindful that a focal theme for this month is prevention of injuries.

Not all injuries are physical. I came across a fascinating TED Talk delivered by a man of African origin who shares how to handle anxiety in a society that is uncomfortable with emotions. By the time you get around to reading this, you may have engaged with World AIDS Day or the International Day of Persons with Disabilities ‒ so after viewing this clip, you might choose to engage differently: ​

And if you're thinking: 'I know enough about stress', new research indicates that stress can only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Doubtful? Then watch this TED Talk by psychologist Kelly McGonigal, who explains how stress can be used positively, and introduces an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others. l invite you to share your thoughts on these ideas:

Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend | TED Talk |

So, your practice for this month is around you and gadgets ‒ technology.

  • Consider a 'digital vacation': Choose one day a week to stay away from a device completely. If that feels too overwhelming, start with a few hours, by placing the device in a bag or another room.
  • Set guidelines and discuss your expectations with others: For example, at meal-times, agree to put your phones away. For some, that might take place only after they have taken a picture of their plate to post to social media ‒ and that is ok.
  • Try to reduce screen-time before bed and keep screens out of the bedroom: This applies to both you and the younger generation and is slightly more difficult to enforce. It is easy to stay up later than intended when you are online, gaming, or responding to mail. There is also evidence that the blue light emitted by devices may affect healthy sleep, long after you have turned the device off.
  • More tips are available via this link:

And the last word comes from a WEL participant:​

During weekends the laptop is not in the bedroom, my husband he appreciates it. I have more time, more energy, am healthier and can support others.

WEL participant 2013

​Take care.​

 Sarah Davids



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