Author Archives: Benjamin Rackliffe

Thanksgiving Break Reminder

This is a reminder that the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday break extends from 12:00am Monday November 23rd through 11:59pm Friday November 27th. The break has been extended to the full week to show gratitude to all members of the Middlebury College community during this difficult time. Please note that this change does not affect the time entry deadline. For information on entering holiday time in Oracle, please refer to the following page on our website:

We hope everyone enjoys a safe and happy holiday.

What’s on tap for well-being…weeks of 11/23 and 11/30?

Please check the GMHEC Well-being calendar for changes to the regular schedule due to the Thanksgiving holiday.  The calendar password is GMHECWell-Being

Yoga will be operating on a reduced schedule which you can find here or on the TCY Facebook page.

From the GMHEC family to yours, we want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Be well.  Take care.  Stay safe.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Cigna creates client FAQ to answer the top questions
From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cigna has focused on delivering peace of mind and made health care easier for the people and businesses we serve. With headlines indicating that some vaccines are seemingly nearing the final stages of testing, we recognize that many clients will begin looking for guidance to help support and respond to their employees. Some of the areas we know are top of mind include:

-Availability of vaccine
-How those in your workforce fit into the phased vaccine rollout
-Vaccine costs for you and your employees
-Understanding what you can do now to prepare

With the support and expertise of our clinical team, we created an Understanding COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ to provide some grounding in what we know today. (Note: clicking this link will download the fact sheet as a PDF.) The FAQ also includes links to valuable resources and tips at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and other sources.

Click here to download the Understanding COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ

For other aspects of a Return to Worksite strategy, please visit our Cigna Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Employers and Brokers page, which offers helpful guidance and support you may need leading up to key decisions. Partnering with Cigna’s clinical team, we can help provide insights into worksite openings and how to keep them open.

What’s on tap for well-being…weeks of 11/9 and 11/16

You will find all the information about these events on the GMHEC Well-being calendar.  The calendar password is GMHECWell-Being

“Be selectively ignorant. Ignore topics that drain your attention. Unfollow people that drain your energy. Abandon projects that drain your time. Do not keep up with it all. The more selectively ignorant you become, the more broadly knowledgeable you can be.” – James Clear

Beth’s morning intention setting:  One of the best ways to gain control of your time & energy is to set an intention.  Setting and living your intentions allows you to focus on who you are in the moment, to recognize and live your values, and to raise your emotional energy, which in turn raises your physical energy.  Join Beth Umba, yoga and meditation instructor as she guides you through a powerful session to help you set an intention that will move you into your day with focus and energy.  Mondays and Wednesdays.  7:30-8:00 am EST. Zoom Meeting ID: 510 175 4836

Plant-based cooking with Nancy Wind:  Join health & lifestyle coach, Nancy Wind, for a fun, dynamic cooking workshop right from your own kitchen.  She will lead you through the preparation of a plant-based dish as you learn how to nourish yourself and your family for the upcoming holiday season. The meal will be gluten free and recipes will be provided in advance.   Monday, November 16th 6:00-8:00 pm EST.   Preregistration required.  Register here.

The Edge Six Week Focus on You:  Join the team from The Edge for this comprehensive six-week program aimed at supporting you through the holiday season.  Get support from your peers, a Registered Dietitian and a health coach in this remote program.  Discussion topics will include maintaining a balanced eating plan, creating sustainable habits and strategies to effectively manage stress.  Mondays, November 16th through December 21st.  Noon-1:00 pm EST.  Cost may be as low as $45 depending on your insurance.  To learn more or to register, contact or call (802) 951-2320.

Getting and keeping good credit.  Credit scores influence personal finances in more ways than most people realize. Whether it’s your auto insurance premium or the interest rate on your mortgage, you want your credit score to be deemed “excellent”.  Join the experts from My Secure Advantage and explore the criteria that determines a credit score, as well as how to establish new credit, how to recover from credit challenges, and best practices for maintaining an excellent credit score. Tuesday, November 10th noon-1:00 pm EST.  Register here

Working with Emotional Intelligence: Join Arnold Sanow, author, keynote speaker and executive coach to gain an understanding of what emotional intelligence is and to communicate in a positive way to improve your relationships.  Tuesday, November 17th.  1:00-2:00 pm EST.  Preregistration required.  Register here.

Supporting a remote workforce:  With an increasing number of employees working remotely, managers are tasked with developing diversified strategies to support remote workers. Explore the characteristics and dynamics of the remote worker. Develop an appreciation for the needs of remote workers and specific support recommendations.  Brought to you by New Directions Behavioral Health.  Wednesday, November 11th.  noon-1:00 pm or 3:00-4:00 pm EST.  Click here to register. 

Waving Worry Goodbye: Strategies to manage anxiety:  Anxiety can be an occasional visitor, or a long-term guest. Research shows that most anxiety is best managed with behavior intervention. This training will empower individuals to assess their personal anxiety and integrate specific behavior practices to increase relaxation and calm. Brought to you by New Directions Behavioral Health.  Wednesday, November 18th.  noon-1:00 pm or 3:00-4:00 pm EST. Click here to register. 

Leading in the face of adversity:  2020 has been a particularly challenging year, but the job of leading in the face of hardship never goes away. In this session, Snow Academy founder Shane Snow breaks down the surprising psychology of good crisis leadership, how to maintain people’s trust when things are going wrong, and how to deliver news that people don’t want to hear (but need to). Snow will connect his business psychology research to ancient philosophy to teach how you can better deal with leadership dilemmas when the stakes are high. Tuesday, November 17th 2:00-3:00 pm EST.  Register here.

Need tips on how to make your remote workstation work better for you and your body.  Check out this webinar from the ergonomics experts at The Rising Workplace.

Resilience might just be the word of 2020 and understandably so. With all that is going on in the world, we need to be able to bounce back and recover from challenge, set back and trauma.  How resilient are you?  What can you do to build more resilience?  Check out these resources from Cigna.  

Peak performance in work and in life depends on personal energy and teams who manage their energy individually and collectively report higher levels of health, well-being and engagement. We so often hear about the importance of time management, but time is finite. Time is the one thing we can never make more of. Energy, on the other hand, is a renewable resource and learning how to manage our energy is the key to health, happiness and peak performance. If you are interested in bringing this thirty minute presentation to your team, contact Rebecca Schubert at to schedule a time that works for you.  Come away with practical strategies you can implement to help you and your team avoid an energy crisis and which will enable you to thrive in work and in life.

With the colder weather coming in, now is the perfect time to allocate some time mid-day for some movement.  Check out our lunch time fitness classes which are suitable for all fitness levels.  Details are posted on the calendar.  The password is GMHECWell-Being.

Please note that we will not be holding our lunch time workouts during the week of Thanksgiving but yoga classes will still be available.  Take care & stay well.

TIAA Communication, Education, Advice Update

File:TIAA logo (2016).svg - Wikimedia Commons

November 2020

Financial Essentials live webinars
November Webinars
Making gifts to loved ones and charities November 10 at 12 pm (ET)
Money at work 1: Foundations of Investing November 10 at 3 pm (ET)  
The Power of Saving November 11 at 12 pm (ET)  
Making it easier for you: Online tools and resources November 11 at 3 pm (ET)  
Retiring in the ‘New Normal’ November 12 at 12 pm (ET)  

December Live Webinars
Inside Money: Managing Income and Debt December 8 at 3 p.m. (ET)  
Lifetime income–market proof your retirement December 9 at 12 p.m. (ET)  
Strategies for staying on track December 9 at 3 p.m. (ET)  
Postcards from the Future – A woman’s guide to financially ever after December 10 at 12 p.m. (ET)  

New Homes in the Works at Habitat for Humanity of Addison County

About – Habitat for Humanity Addison County

Habitat for Humanity of Addison County (H4HAC), an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, is a non-profit organization that creates opportunities for people to live in decent, affordable, energy efficient homes.  The exciting news is that H4HAC will be building, not one, not two, but FOUR new homes over the next four years in Booth Woods, on the south edge of the town of Vergennes (less than a mile walk from the town center).  These homes have been designed by several classes of Middlebury College architecture students under the guidance of John McLeod, professor of architecture and a practicing architect in Middlebury.  The first home designed, in 2017, for 51 Seymour Street in Middlebury, is complete and just received a design distinction honors award from the American Institute of Architects.

Habitat House at 51 Seymour Street

The Booth Woods residences are two, three and four bedroom homes, ranging from 1,100 to 1,250 square feet.  Three of the four are single story.  The structures are of the highest energy efficiency and will cost little to heat and cool.  

Families qualify with combined annual incomes in the $40,000 to $70,000 (depending on the number of children) and with relatively good credit ratings (perfect is NOT necessary).  The mortgages of the finished homes will range from $170,000 – $190,000; and are held by H4HAC at 0% interest.  These homes would typically market for high $200k’s.  Habitat homebuyers also invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called “sweat equity”, and receive financial education.

To apply, simply go to the H4HAC website and click on Apply for a Home:

Additional opportunities for Addison County homeownership (including a program with a significantly lower income requirement) can be found on Vermont 211’s database by going to and clicking on the blue rectangle that leads to the search engine.  You can discover the details of H4HAC’s program, and other programs that can help you become a homeowner, by entering the following terms in our Keyword Search (be sure to enter your ZIP Code first):

  • Subsidized Home Acquisition
  • Housing Down Payment Loans/Grants
  • Housing Counseling for Homebuyers

And remember, you can always reach a Vermont 211 Community Resource Specialist by dialing 211 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), or by texting your ZIP Code to 898211 (Monday-Friday 8:00am – 8:00pm).

Covid Cost-Share Waiver from Cigna

Cigna Extends Cost Share Waiver for Covid Testing and Treatment

At-Home Covid Testing Available

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Cigna has taken important steps to provide easier access to care and ease the financial impact customers may experience with COVID-19 testing and treatment. As federal guidelines evolve with the COVID-19 pandemic, Cigna is adopting a position that considers the federal public health emergency (PHE) period extension.

Extension Dates
Out-of-pocket costs will continue to be waived for COVID-19 testing and testing-related services including the office visit, whether in person or virtual, through the PHE period, currently scheduled to end on January 21, 2021.*

Cigna is also continuing to waive out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 treatment-related visits at all sites of care, virtual or in person, and for both in- and out-of-network providers until December 31, 2020.*

It’s important to understand diagnostic tests are covered for individuals with symptoms of a COVID-19 infection or who had exposure to someone with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection, as well as for individuals before an elective hospital admission or procedure. Non-diagnostic and antibody tests are not covered by Cigna’s standard coverage, but may be covered as required by state law. For more on testing, please download the Cigna testing brochure on the Returning to the Worksite web page. At-Home Testing If your healthcare provider recommends a test or you complete the on-line Cigna symptom checker you will be able to request an at-home diagnostic test. Cigna has created the Coronavirus Resource page (, which includes more information about testing and screening, helpful tools, insights into available solutions, and tips about effective preventive measures such as the importance of wearing masks and social distancing.