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Your Well-being

Physical well-being

New York Teacher

Our physical and mental health are connected. Research shows that people who exercise regularly not only have better physical health but better mental health and emotional well-being. That’s because exercise can boost your mood, concentration and alertness and lead to a more positive outlook on life. It distracts you from worries and helps you be present in the moment.

Physical activity has also been shown to help treat mild to moderate depression and anxiety and is a valuable addition to other treatment options.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week of whatever form of movement you prefer: walking, running, biking, sports, yoga, dance, you name it! Build up your physical activity gradually.


Maintaining a healthy diet, staying well hydrated and eating regular meals will help you feel your best. “Healthy eating” is not one-size-fits-all: It’s important to consult your physician and understand what is best for you.

But there are axioms: Fruits and vegetables add a helpful range of nutrients. Lean protein is important. Water is great for hydration. Whole-grain breads, cereals, rice and pasta release energy more slowly and are healthier than white bread, rice or pasta. Nuts and seeds, avocado and oily fish provide healthy fats for brain health.

Sleep and rest

Quality sleep is crucial for good physical and mental health. If you’re having trouble sleeping, here are some tips for improving your sleep:

  • Stop drinking caffeinated beverages by noon and avoid alcohol and tobacco in the evening.
  • Have a set bedtime and maintain a sleep schedule.
  • Get regular exercise and natural light exposure during the daytime.
  • Use relaxation techniques, such as a body scan meditation, at bedtime.
  • Dim lights and keep phones, TVs and laptops out of the bedroom.

See additional resources.

Call the UFT Member Assistance Program at 212-701-9620 to speak with a licensed clinician or email