Blue Zones Project Dodge County held a ribbon-cutting celebration Tuesday recognizing the Beaver Dam Unified School District as the newest worksite to become Blue Zones Project approved.
“About four years ago, our wellness key performance objectives group came across The Blue Zones book,” said Washington Elementary School principal Laura Maron, who is also on the district wellness committee. “We read it and thought that there are a lot of great practices in here about being physically and mentally well and taking care of yourself, loving your family; and that all of it will improve us in our positions at work. We have tried to implement many of those best practices.”
To kick off the 2017-2018 school year, staff were treated to a catered lunch featuring dishes inspired by the five original Blue Zones areas. Using the best practice recommendations from the Blue Zones Project Restaurant Pledge, the school has optimized the cafeteria to make healthier choices easier. Few vending machines are used on campuses and the machines that are available hold predominantly milk, water and 100 percent fruit juice. Staff also support one another in healthier food choices through potluck moais.
Walking moais were also formed throughout the district. The walking moais enjoy their walks on internal and external walking routes which have been posted on the wellness committee website. To limit the amount of time spent sitting, employees of Beaver Dam Unified School District utilize sit-to-stand desks and are encouraged to take micro-breaks throughout the day. When possible, meetings are conducted while walking or standing.
Along with the focus on moving more and eating healthier, employees are encouraged to downshift or destress, identify their purpose, and connect with other like-minded people who help encourage healthy choices. Staff recently participated in a Purpose Workshop and there are quiet spaces available for downshifting. Moais help to facilitate relationships that can be critical to well-being and professional development throughout the school year.
For details about becoming a Blue Zones Project Approved organization or general information about Blue Zones Project, Dodge County, call 920-212-8511 or visit dodgecounty.bluezonesproject.com.