Words of Wellness

As our ability to deliver in person events dwindled during COVID-19, we began to send brief notes of inspiration and support. Please find them here along with some related pieces written for The Conversation.

An Antidote for Despair | January 19, 2023

This is the season when we begin to notice the return of the light, when we notice that our resolutions have faded or taken hold. It’s the season when the excitement and stress of holiday expectations are behind us. It’s the season when the fields are fallow.

Field of reeds

Silence | September 9, 2022

Have we found the time to capture that true solace that allows us to regenerate and recuperate? Have you been soaking up sunbeams that metabolize Vitamin D and rejuvenate our energy levels? There is still time to find the stillness and quietness that is a necessary practice of the art of well-being.

Photo of sunset

Transitions | June 30, 2022

When I chose the topic, I hadn’t remembered that Claudia wrote something very similar exactly one year ago. However, it is still important to acknowledge and contemplate the significance of transitions. Let’s take a short pause, in this moment, to consider how transitions affect us and how to embrace them.

Sabrina Ford, PhD

Passing the Torch | May 19, 2022

Many of you are already aware of the fact that my role at the college has changed. I retired, and then much like Tom Brady, have already partially come out of retirement. I am passing the torch while still available for faculty & staff support.

Claudia Finkelstein

Transitions | March 31, 2022

You will notice that this March edition of the Culture of Caring newsletter is arriving at the last minute. Why? Because the topic has flip flopped as the month has passed. It ranged from goodbye to anticipation, and now, to the concept of transparency, goodbye and anticipation all rolled into one newsletter.

Photo of building atrium

Enjoy the Journey | February 18, 2022

If you have been reading the Culture of Caring newsletters, you may be aware that in the pursuit of chasing away the winter doldrums, I signed up for two winter activities: the Groundhog Day half marathon and the Muskegon luge. The planning began in November when the days were short and cold. My mood was bleak. I was in search of things to help lift my mood. Now that the days are longer, and the two events have passed, I’d like to share with you what I learned.

Photo of winter boots

Have Some Fun | January 14, 2022

It may seem crazy to be asked “when did you last have fun?” in the throes of a never-ending pandemic. But hear me out, I really want you to consider what you do for fun, and how recently you deliberately had any.

Child sledding

Time for a Reframe | December 16, 2021

Feeling stuck? You’re not alone. In a recent mindful popup session, I mentioned my own sense of stuck-ness and was interested to hear from several of the participants that it had struck a chord. What’s going on?
Blooming flowers

Fixed or Flourishing? November 23, 2021

Feeling a bit gloomy during a recent short, cold November day, I found myself (not following my own advice) engaging in doom scrolling in semi darkness. Among the memes and outrage, I found a quote that made me pause.


Give yourself a break today | October 29, 2021

Have you given any thought to self-compassion lately? Maybe it’s time. Why is self-compassion relevant? We have all been buffeted by so many changes.


Opening | September 29, 2021

This past weekend I had the opportunity to witness an open mind. The willingness to consider a different perspective and a subsequent thirst for more exposure to varying points of view was an honor to witness. 

Outdoor art installation

Training lessons | August 26, 2021

I signed up to participate a half marathon in September and have been training for weeks. Each time I run, many lessons come into my mind that are applicable to life in general. 

Scenic view of river

Reemergence | June 29, 2021

I’d like to encourage us all to take this as a period of gradual reemergence rather than as grudging re-entry. We can take a look at our relationship to our work, to our peers, to how we would like to show up, not only at work, but in the world at large.

Lakeshore water and beach

May 12, 2021

After a long year of change and adjusting to ever shifting goalposts of “the new normal” we seem to be heading out of the worst of it. There is cautious optimism about the months ahead based on current trends.

Culture of Caring wordmark

April 8, 2021 [The Conversation]

Anxious about going out into the world? You’re not alone, but there’s help. In an article on The Conversation, Dr. Claudia Finkelstein offers advice on how to deal with anxiety due to the pandemic.

Culture of Caring wordmark

March 26, 2021

After a year of waiting, waiting some more, and asking ourselves ‘when it will end?’ there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. So, it may come as a surprise to notice anxiety – and maybe even dread – about what will happen when “it’s over.”


March 9, 2021

Among the many tired clichés that have been used about getting through this pandemic, is “this is a marathon not a sprint.” This got me thinking – a good metaphor for where we are now is the “wall” that runners hit.

Woman marathon runner

February 12, 2021

While reflecting, I drafted a ‘words of wellness’ update. I wrote it, re-wrote it, asked for feedback, and edited over the last week and it continued to fall short. I was writing about the importance of culture change, transparency, and psychological safety. 

Time for change

Janurary 15, 2021

As we awaited the end of 2020 and were hoping for brighter days ahead, 2021 had other plans. At this stage of the pandemic, all metaphors have been exhausted. It is a marathon not a sprint. It is a time of reckoning. It is unprecedented (maybe).


October 30, 2020

Claudia Finkelstein, MDCM, Director of Wellness, Resilience And Vulnerable Populations, offers tips for helping students navigate polarizing pandemic election times. 

Vote buttons

August 19, 2020

As September rapidly approaches, so do questions of returning to school, work, and sports – safely – in person, in a “hybrid” way, or at all. Questions about the wisdom of every decision abound. There are many conflicting truths and needs to attend to. 

Blank tablet screen

June 16, 2020

I had planned to write a COVID-19 re-entry toolkit for this episode of the Culture of Caring newsletter. It will come. However, there is still much to be discussed and learned about racism and anti-racism.

Black Lives Matter graphic

June 3, 2020

Are you feeling powerless as an ally right now? Here are some actions you can consider.

End Racism Now graphic

May 13, 2020

We have been at this a long time. We have been bombarded with coping strategies, exercise sites, and possible pandemic self-improvement projects. At some point we just need to take a break from the heaviness of it all and embrace levity. 

Choose joy graphic

May 12, 2020 [The Conversation]

In an article on The Conversation, Claudia Finkelstein, MD, Jennifer E. Johnson, PhD, and Julia Felton, PhD, write about the need to focus on our "emotional protective equipment" as reopening begins in uncertain coronavirus times.

Woman in mask

April 14, 2020

We have heard that some members of our College of Human Medicine community are feeling that the Culture of Caring is really “only for survivors” particularly because of the use of the term Trauma Informed Principles.

Two people hugging

April 3, 2020

As we approach the second week of the governor’s order to ‘Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives.’ many of you may have noticed swings in emotions, energy levels, motivation and anxiety.

Love graphic

March 23, 2020

It is a time of balance in uncertainty. We need to stay informed without being overloaded. We need to stay careful and responsible without panicking. We need to adjust our daily schedules… the list goes on.

Globe with face mask