Elevate Your Health and Well-Being Through Free Midday Webinars

Monthly webinars, hosted by LIVE FOR LIFE, begin at noon and last for 30 minutes

A woman takes notes while looking at a laptop

The monthly Health Matters live webinars hosted by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke’s employee wellness program, focus on a variety of health and fitness topics on the third Monday of every month. A separate monthly webinar series in partnership with Duke Personal Assistance Service (PAS) called Mini Mental Makeovers centers on mental well-being. Mini Mental Makeovers are hosted by Laurie Kovens, a Senior EAP Counselor with PAS, on the second Wednesday of every month.

Duke's Elaina Cossin, right, poses with her daughter, Madeleine.
Elaina Cossin, right, poses with her daughter, Madeleine. Photo credit: Courtesy of Elaina Cossin

Both webinar offerings begin at noon on their scheduled days and last for 30 minutes, providing a convenient break from most work schedules for relaxation and personal education, according to LIVE FOR LIFE’s Brian Zelanko.

After the Health Matters sessions, the webinars are available on-demand for anyone to view, with a library that goes back to the program’s inception in April 2022. Sleep Health is the most watched Health Matters webinar in the catalogue.

The Mini Mental Makeover offering is a newer addition to the webinar series, starting in October 2023, and are only available live, not recorded in order to protect the privacy of participants sharing personal thoughts and feelings.

Kovens follows a system developed by Dr. David Thoele, a pediatric cardiologist at Advocate Children’s Heart Institute in Park Ridge, Illinois, for health care providers to use with patients and families.

A word cloud displays words that show how overwhelmed, exhausted and frustrated participants feel before a Mini Mental Makeover.
A word cloud at the start of a Mini Mental Makeover session displays how participants feel.

Each Mini Mental Makeover session begins with a check-in of participants to ask how they’re feeling in a word or an emoji, and the results are displayed anonymously in a word cloud.

“Although you can practice Mini Mental Makeover on your own, the group allows you to see what you have in common with other people,” Kovens said. “And you can also be reminded of the range of human experience, and you can inspire each other.”

Kovens then asks attendees to identify one thing they need that day, to recognize three things they’re grateful for, and then share a six-word “story of their life.” And the final step is to share three wishes.

“The value of that is to step outside of all of the expectations that we are all dealing with all the time – whether those are expectations that other people have of us or expectations that we have of ourselves,” Kovens said. “This is a time to be creative and ambitious and let yourself see a bigger picture.”

Kovens then asks to participants to check in again with a word or emoji that’s again displayed in a word cloud – and is often surprised to see a positive shift from just 30 minutes earlier.

A word cloud shows positive words after a Mini Mental Makeover session.
A word cloud at the end of a Mini Mental Makeover session shows how participants' mood has improved.

“This is where we see tremendous transformation,” Kovens said.

Cossin, the Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies Program Coordinator in the Department of Music, joins Mini Mental Makeovers whenever possible, too. She plans to attend the next Mini Mental Makeover and is signed up for the Health Matters webinar on March 18 called “Meal Kits Made Easy.”

In 16 years at Duke, she’s realized that taking 30 minutes for herself during her lunch break on occasion is beneficial.

“If you don't take five minutes to try to take care of yourself in some capacity, you're just causing yourself problems,” Cossin said. “And Duke really tries to emphasize that without being pushy; it feels like Duke cares.”

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