ERS Walk & Talk Podcast

ERS Walk & Talk Podcast

Join us on a 20-30 minute walk while we talk about health, wellness, and life in general. From the Employees Retirement System of Texas, podcast host Lacy Wolff walks and talks with her mentors, friends, experts and leaders about health and wellness.

Episodes

September 2, 2022 34 min

Lacy talks with Holly Cuozzo, a fitness specialist with the Texas Department of Public Safety. At the time of this interview, groceries cost 10% more than they did a year ago. With two teenage boys to feed, Lacy empathizes with other families feeling this impact on her household. Learn how Holly and Lacy approach eating well and economically at home, work and on the go. You’ll be craving Holly’s fried rice recipe at the end!

 Resour...

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Lacy talks to state employee and competitive sand sculptor Albert Lucio about “flow,” a mental state that’s highly correlated happiness and well-being. Anyone can experience “flow” by engaging with your passions and even work in ways that challenge you. Having served for 16 years with the Department of Family and Protective Services while pursuing his passion for building giant sand sculptures, Albert shares insights for creating f...

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 Lacy visits with Melanie Odums from the non-profit Trellis Company about new information that can have a huge impact your financial health.  If you have been making payments on student loan debt over the years while employed by a state agency (or any governmental entity), a public school or institute of higher educations, or a non-profit, you might be eligible for loan forgiveness from the federal government. There have been tempo...

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Years before Alexis Schminke became a fitness instructor with Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Alexis was an active child from an active family, who became a teen who struggled with body image and her relationship with food. She later became a forensic scientist with DPS and even later, found her passion for health and wellness… and for her own changing body.

Alexis talks about her journey to becoming an active adult and wha...

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In this short episode Lacy discusses how your mindset impacts your movement. She reflects on her childhood experiences that helped her to build movement mindset and how her mindset changed when she no longer had team sports in her life.

 Through a new activity she found a renewed sense of purpose and way to move that has been a cornerstone of her movement practice for the past 18 years.  In this podcast you will hear 5 strategies to...

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Lacy talks to Dr. Russell Frohardt, neuroscientist and Dean for Academic Success at Northwest Vista College, about keeping chronic stress in check. The human stress system evolved to alert us to immediate danger so that we can act fast and stay safe. But in this modern age, we must manage a stress system that is chronically “on.” Unlike our ancestors, who faced dangers in the natural elements, we face an onslaught of concerning new...

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Lacy talks with her ERS colleague, Diana Kongevick, Director of Group Benefits. As the person who directly oversees the HealthSelect health plans and other insurance plans, Diana shares the very human impacts of these programs. She also shares valuable insight and lessons from the unexpected loss of a child… not once, but twice. She talks about the unexpected gift she received from her adult daughter after her unexpected death, and...

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In part 3 of this 3 part podcast Professor Raj explains the BAMBA model of happiness. BAMBA represents the 5 determinants of happiness in the workplace and includes: 

  • Basic Needs
  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Belonging
  • Abundance Culture
  • Are You Controlling of Others Scale 

    1-  Strongly disagree 2- Disagree 3- Probably disagree 4- Neutral 5-Probably agree 6- Agree
    7 – Strongly Agree

    1. I have high expectations for the people that are important to me.
    2. ...

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    This short episode is Part 2 of a 3-part series on happiness and why it matters in the workplace with Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D. Following up on our April 29 episode on the research around workplace happiness, Lacy walks you through a few questions to measure your happiness at work and how that connects to productivity. Get ready with your calculators to tabulate your score.

    Resources:

  • Happiness at Work Webinar for ERS 
  • Raj's book: “I...
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    In this short podcast episode, Lacy shares a recording from a recent webinar she hosted with Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D. on the topic of happiness and why it matters in the workplace. Author of “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?” Dr. Raghunathan shares research on the relationship between happiness and workplace productivity, and why employers should care.

    Read more about the book: “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?”

    You m...

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    Director of Workforce Development at the Texas Department of Transportation, Chris Young oversees employee development and training. Even though he identifies as a lifelong learner, Chris hadn’t considered yoga to be something he would do, until he unknowingly started a stretching routine after a back injury. Today, Chris still uses – and teaches, of course -- yoga to support physical recovery and manage stress. Learn how TxDOT emp...

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    March 27, 2022 36 min

    Lacy talks with Kristn Trimble, a unit supervisor at the TDCJ Parole Division who participated in the daily morning check-ins over Zoom during all 10 weeks of the 2022 Get Fit Challenge. Struck by Kristn’s motivation to “show up” and challenge herself physically, Lacy wondered what brought her to this point, how she stays motivated and how she used the Get Fit daily workouts and the Wondr Health program to make lifestyle changes ar...

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    Take a walk as you listen to Lacy’s talk with Lindsey Menge, a licensed and registered dietitian, who is a member of the faculty and the employee wellness leadership team at Texas State University. Lindsey simplifies a sometimes complicated topic, which will have you considering whether intermittent fasting is right for you. She shares the three common forms of intermittent fasting, the health benefits and the challenges. Lindsey a...

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    Welcome to Part 2 of Lacy’s talk with Dr. Tedd Mitchell, M.D., and Dr. Janet Tornelli-Mitchell, M.D., chancellor and first lady of the Texas Tech University System. In Part 1, the Mitchells shared their mutual passion for fitness and a lifestyle that prevents illness and disease. As leaders, they are transforming the health of the Texas Tech University System’s workforce by promoting one of our health plan’s two, no-cost weight man...

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    Feel great about your walk as you listen to Part 1 of Lacy’s talk with Dr. Tedd Mitchell, M.D, and Dr. Janet Tornelli-Mitchell, M.D., chancellor and first lady of the Texas Tech University System. For them, physical activity – especially a daily walk together – has played an outsized role in their 38-year relationship. The Mitchells share the ways they’ve prioritized fitness in their time together and with their kids, and how it ke...

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    In part two of this two-part conversation, Lacy talks with Celeste Harris, a forensic psychologist with the Texas Department of Public Safety, about ways we can improve our relationships by avoiding common communication pitfalls and create new communication habits. Try as we might, we can’t (and shouldn’t) control another person’s behaviors. But we can identify and communicate our own feelings and needs and develop awareness around...

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    In part one of this two-part conversation, Lacy talks with Celesta Harris, a forensic psychologist with the Texas Department of Public Safety, about ways couples can improve their relationship, which can lead to stronger health. Studies show that feeling supported, understood, and accepted increases happiness and reduces our risk for health problems. But what if you don’t feel that way in your partnership or marriage? Dr. Harris de...

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    Lacy talks with David Yebra, U.S. Army veteran and Director of Training and Leader Development at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. What would it mean to become a better version of yourself? Director Yebra describes the extraordinary power of our own minds to both limit and guide ourselves into a future we envision. Why take the time to envision a future you? Well, “you cannot create what you cannot imagine.” Director Yebra...

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    Lacy talks with Dr. John Hellerstedt, M.D., who leads the agency responsible for Texas’ response to the pandemic: the Texas Department of State Health Services. 

    Fully aware of the role that strong health plays in protecting each of us from serious illness, Dr. Hellerstedt admits that -- like many of us -- he’s struggled to prioritize his health during these stressful two years.  And he shares his inspiration for getting back on tra...

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    Most of us already know what we need to do to become the person we want to be – healthier, more organized, or [insert your aspiration here]! But how do we sustain our motivation and habits to get us there? In this 18-minute episode of “ERS Walk & Talk,” Lacy shares the keys to behavior change that she has learned in her 20-year career in the field of health and wellness.

    Lacy discusses how we can use motivation to build systems...

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