Five Tips to Enjoy the Holidays

Around this time each year, there are images that imply that the holidays are supposed to be a time for mythical groups of people to gather around a perfectly set table. Real-life gatherings are more complicated than that.In many cases, the holidays bring people together who we don’t often see during the rest of the year. Being together again can remind us of how much you love and appreciate your loved ones. The holidays can also stir up more complicated emotions. These tips can help us to enjoy the holidays.

Have realistic expectations.

Focus on having a meaningful holiday. Embrace the imperfections and unique personalities of your loved ones.

Start positive conversations.

Steer the conversation toward topics that loved ones have in common, such as a shared hobby or an upcoming happy occasion. If the holiday has spiritual or cultural significance, this is a good time to pass on some of the day’s history and meaning.

Express your appreciation.

This is also an ideal time to let others know how much you appreciate the support they’ve shown you throughout the year. Research shows that expressing gratitude can lower your own stress level.

Share fun activities.

Your loved ones could take a walk, go ice skating, play a board game, make decorations, visit a children’s museum, or catch a family-friendly show. Make a point of repeating some favorite activities year after year. These kinds of traditions are the glue that helps bond loved ones together.

Sneak in some alone time.

If you start feeling stressed, take a few minutes to walk the family dog, listen to music, read a book, or go for a run. You’ll enjoy together-time more if you step away and decompress when you need to.

National Diabetes Month

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 37 million Americans are living with diabetes. With diabetes, your body stops making — or becomes resistant to — insulin, the hormone the body needs to effectively use glucose. In people with diabetes, glucose builds up in the blood. Over time, this can lead to a variety of medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, and blindness.

Because diabetes is so common, doctors regularly screen patients for Type 1Type 2, or gestational diabetes. This screening typically happens during your annual physical. But your doctor may also order testing if you complain of fatigue, extreme thirst, or abrupt weight changes. Obstetricians also screen pregnant women for gestational diabetes during their second trimester.

Prediabetes puts you on the road to possibly getting type 2 diabetes. Find out now, in less than 1 minute, if you may have prediabetes by taking the Prediabetes Risk Test. If your result shows you’re at high risk for type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor about getting a simple blood sugar test to confirm it.

Tips for minimizing type 2 diabetes risk

  • Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week.
  • Keep your weight in a healthy range.
  • Eat healthy foods, including lots of fruits and veggies.
  • Drink more water and fewer sugary drinks.
  • Don’t smoke.

25 hour day

Clocks “fall back” at 2am on Sunday, November 6, 2022, making November 6 a 25-hour day.

Suggestion: Update your clocks before going to bed on Saturday evening.

Hints on which clocks to adjust.

While our computers and smartphones will adjust to the time change automatically, these gadgets may have to be updated manually.

Kitchen Oven/StoveClock radio/alarmCar/truck clock
CoffeemakerWall clocksWristwatches
MicrowaveAlarm SystemMedical equipment

Suggestion: Now is a great time to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as well.

Did you know?

It’s daylight saving time, not daylight savings time.

While it’s common to hear people say “daylight savings time” or just “daylight savings,” the correct term is “daylight saving time.” There’s a grammatical reason for keeping “saving” singular, but you can also think of it this way: What are you doing during this time? Saving daylight. Thus, daylight saving time.

It’s not a worldwide (or even nationwide) phenomenon.

About 70 countries observe daylight saving time nationwide or in certain regions. Most African and Asian countries, including India, China and Japan, skip the clock change altogether.

Not all U.S. states practice daylight saving time, either. Hawaii and Arizona are on permanent standard time, as are Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The time frame used to be different.

In the United States, daylight saving time starts on the second Sunday of March and ends the first Sunday in November. But that wasn’t always the case, Geiger says. Prior to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which went into effect in 2007, daylight saving time was observed from early April until late October.

Many states want to stop changing the clock.

In the last few years, 19 states have either enacted legislation or passed resolutions to stick to daylight saving time year-round, but implementing this change would require an update to federal law.

What’s going on?

Campus is a buzz and there is lots of activities that vie for our attention. Here is a reminder about some of the HR-related items before you.


Recipes due October 7

Visit the Cookbook page for more details.

United Way

Visit the United Way page for more details.


Professional development brainstorming, that is.

Friday, October 28
10am – 11am
Olmsted Room or Teams

Visit the Brainstorming message for more details.

Flu Shots

October 13 and 26

Visit the Flu Vaccinations page for more details.

Buy one, get five free!

cultural institutions

Six southwest Michigan cultural institutions partner to benefit their collective membership.

From October 1-31, 2022, membership at any of the listed cultural institutions includes FREE admission to the other five!
Learn more about the program by visiting Southwest Michigan Cultural Membership Exchange.
Click the buttons below to plan your visits.

Free COVID Tests

Get free at-home COVID tests by requesting them through Project Act and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

What to do

  • Visit Project Act online
  • Enter your zip code to confirm test availability
  • An immediate response will appear on-screen, including a button to order tests (if available)
  • Submit your name, mailing address and mobile number
  • Receive five tests to your mailing address in approximately two weeks

More information

Need more tests? No problem! Tests can be re-ordered monthly while supplies last.

No credit/debit card is requested or necessary.

Test availability is based on zip code.

Visit Project ACT’s Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Contact for questions about this program.

Project ACT

The Rockefeller Foundation launched Project Access Covid Tests (Project ACT) to provide free at-home COVID-19 tests directly to vulnerable Americans.

In the initial phase, Project ACT offers households in selected communities in six states (Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, and Ohio) access to free, rapid, at-home COVID-19 test kits.

Each State participating in Project ACT identified eligible communities using U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index combined with data on COVID-19 burden to identify areas at high-risk for COVID-19. Eligibility differs by State.

Act Fast! Free shoes for elementary students

Elementary students who attend public school in Kalamazoo County are eligible for a free pair of athletic shoes through First Day Shoe Fund.

First Day Shoe Fund distributes brand new athletic shoes through local school districts each fall. During the first two months of each new school year, they distribute shoes to students in need at all Kalamazoo County Public Elementary Schools. First Day Shoe Fund continues to help students in urgent need throughout the school year whenever possible. They distributed 5,291 shoes in 2021. First Day Shoe Fund (FDSF) is a 501(c)(3) organization out of Portage, MI.

When does online ordering close?

Online ordering is open through September 9, 2022.

Who Is Eligible For New Shoes?

Students in Pre-K through 5th grade at any Kalamazoo County public elementary school. 

Student Loan Debt Relief

Do you have federal student loan debt? Do you know someone who has federal student loan debt? If so, this post is for you. There is a multi-part plan to assist student loan borrowers. Visit for more details.

Loan forgiveness of up to $20,000

Many borrowers and families may be asking themselves “what do I have to do to claim this relief?” There will be more details announced soon. To be notified when the process has officially opened, sign up at the Department of Education subscription page. Borrowers will have until Dec. 31, 2023 to apply.

Employer-based debt relief

Borrowers who are employed by non-profits (such as Kalamazoo College), the military, or federal, state, Tribal, or local government may be eligible to have all of their student loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This is because of time-limited changes that waive certain eligibility criteria in the PSLF program. These temporary changes expire on October 31, 2022. For more information on eligibility and requirements, go to

Final extension of repayment pause

Because of this, no one with a federally held loan has had to pay a single dollar in loan payments during the past couple of years. The final pause extends through December 31, 2022, with payments resuming in January 2023.

Additional considerations for current and future borrowers

There is a proposed rule to create a new income-driven repayment plan that could reduce future monthly payments for lower- and middle-income borrowers.

Additional details will be forthcoming. If you’d like to be among the first to know, sign up for email updates from the U.S. Department of Education.

Winding down routines

At the end of the day, do you feel frazzled, quick to anger, and/or anxious? If so, you’re not alone. With all of our day-to-day obligations, the pressures of home and work life, and other issues you and your loved ones may be facing, it is easy to get caught in a whirlwind of stress, frustration and anxiety. These tips can help you wind down and regain a sense of balance at the end of your day.


Take a walk around the neighborhood, practice yoga in your living room, and go break a sweat. Exercise is a tried and true method of stress relief as it gets your heart pumping and releases feel-good hormones that can help give you a sense of well-being.

Recognize and release tension

Select the area of your body where you hold stress. Inhale and tense this area (for example, if it’s your forehead, wrinkle your forehead and furrow your brows) and inhale to the count of three. Next, release the tension while slowly exhaling to the count of four. Repeat as needed, or try this technique on other areas of your body in which you may hold stress.

Take a break

Try dedicating 5-10 minutes at the end of your day to taking a break to see if you feel better. Just taking even five minutes to sit quietly and follow your breath can help you feel less fragmented and more connected and balanced.

Go outside

Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the sounds of the environment, and take a good look at the sights. It will help you feel more connected and refreshed after a stressful day. Remember to dress for the weather as we inch towards autumn and winter.

Lose yourself in something you love

Did you previously have a hobby that you just couldn’t get enough of? Well, what are you waiting for—get back to it! Hobbies are a great way to wind down and get some “me time.”

Take time to unplug

Spend time free from technology and screens by simply savoring a quiet moment with your eyes closed. Pick a drawer or other out-of-sight place to stash your devices, and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Find a bedtime routine

By doing the same activities each night before bed, you can train your body to wind down in preparation for sleep, which is crucial for sleep quality and quantity. Choose a relaxing activity such as reading a book, listening to music, meditating, having a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea or glass of warm milk to help signal to your body that it’s time to sleep.