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The Catalyst

Spotlight on Wellness: Take five to avoid afternoon slump

By Susan Johnson, Ph.D.,
director of Health Promotion

MUSC's September Monthly Mindful Challenge winner is Nicole Bernier of Ambulatory Care Services. photo provided

The September Monthly Mindful Challenge winner, Nicole Mullinax Bernier, service excellence manager in Ambulatory Care Services, credits her daily walks with a host of benefits and encourages her staff in Ambulatory Care to walk as well. Nicole spent a few minutes of her busy day sharing her experiences in the challenge and tips for staying active at work.

Q: What changes do you notice on the days you do walk?
Nicole: Walking helps clear my mind, gives me more energy and I have less back pain.

Q: How did you start and what keeps you motivated to walk?
Nicole: I have been walking as a form of exercise for many years (including Barre and Yoga) and what keeps me motivated is that walking is more than “just exercise.” Walking is great for reducing stress and it’s my quiet time.  

Q: What challenges do you face and how do you overcome them from getting away from your workplace to walk?
Nicole: There are only so many hours in a day, so to take time away from your work or desk can sometimes add more stress to an already busy schedule. Therefore, I add extra steps to my day by always taking the stairs or using the second floor indoor walking trail to go to meetings.

Q: Do you encourage your staff to walk?
Nicole:  Absolutely I encourage my colleagues to take a walk. In fact, a few of us have occasionally held five–minute walking meetings around the block. Not only can we address a few outstanding agenda items, but it helps with productivity.  

Q:  How often do you walk and where?
Nicole:  I walk daily at home. During the week, I walk in the evenings after dinner and on the weekends, I love to get up very early to walk before we begin our weekend plans. Also during the week, if it’s a nice day, I try to use my lunch break to take a 10–15 minute walk to Colonial Lake to clear my thoughts and ward off the afternoon slump.  

Q: Anything else you’d like to add or comment on?
Nicole: Walking is a great low–impact form of exercise for the mind and body. It’s great for a five–minute refocus booster or if you add interval training exercises into your walking routine, it can be a great aerobic, calorie-burning workout.  

Wellness Events

  • Mindful Combo Contest — Purchase a Mindful Combo Meal between Oct. 20 to Nov. 14 and you’ll be entered to win your choice of a Clemson or Carolina Fan Kit. Kit features choice of a Clemson or South Carolina Cut Out and team counter cooler. Combo must include Coca-Cola Zero or other Coke product or a Dasani Water. Submit your receipt into the entry box (including your name and email). A winner will be chosen Nov. 17.
  • Celebrity Chef Series: Mindful Twist on Chef Marvin Woods Coastal Soul Seafood Gumbo, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 5 at both cafeterias. Entree: $4.29, add a 20 oz. bottled water for $1.25 more.
  • Iron Chef Showdown — 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 6 at Culinary Institute of Charleston’s Palmer Campus featuring local and national celebrity chefs. Event hosted by SCHA and Sodexo in partnership with the CIC and MUSC Office of Health Promotion. To purchase tickets, visit
  • Cooking Well Invitational — 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 7 at Trident Technical College. Cheer on MUSC/Sodexo chefs as they compete against statewide teams in a healthy culinary competition. Visit
  • Flu Shot Satellite clinics will be held —
  • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 3, ART Auditorium, Rm. 1119 and from 6 to 10 p.m., Nov. 6, Children’s Hospital.
October 30, 2014



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