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Becoming Wildly Resilient

Health & Wellness Podcasts

Join us as we explore a variety of well-being topics to help you thrive at work, home and beyond. Episodes feature conversations with University of Kentucky experts in physical, emotional, mental, nutritional and financial health.


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Join us as we explore a variety of well-being topics to help you thrive at work, home and beyond. Episodes feature conversations with University of Kentucky experts in physical, emotional, mental, nutritional and financial health.






Episode 34: Nature is Medicine

Dr. Connie Jennings, medical director of UKHC Integrative Medicine and Health, joined the “Becoming Wildly Resilient” podcast in April 2023 for a nurturing conversation about nature. Listen as Dr. Jennings shares an abundance of joy and passion for, and knowledge of, our world outside. Throughout the episode, you’ll learn how nature can dramatically improve our physical and mental health. Dr. Jennings explains why we should seek moments of awe in nature. You’ll also hear ways nature can teach us about resilience and some of Dr. Jennings’ and host Jakob Hester’s favorite nature spaces on the UK campus. Dr. Jennings also leads us through a short guided imagery nature meditation toward the end. You can find the episode show notes here.


Episode 33: Mindfulness and Money

Dr. Dan Stone, a Professor of Accountancy in the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics, joined “Becoming Wildly Resilient” in April 2023 to talk about mindfulness, money and the intersection of the two. Listen as Dan shares his “wealth” of knowledge from his personal life and professional work as a professor, researcher and mindfulness teacher. You’ll hear Dan explain what mindfulness is and how it gets us back in touch with what it meant to be human 250,000 years ago. He provides ways you can incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily life and how they can benefit your financial wellness. Toward the end, Dan also shares advice as someone nearing the end of their career and leads us through a 2-minute loving-kindness meditation. You can view the episode show notes here.


Episode 32: Humanity in Recovery

Dr. Alex Elswick, an Assistant Extension Professor with the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, joined “Becoming Wildly Resilient” in March 2023 to talk about addiction, recovery and our shared humanity. Alex is also a co-founder of Voices of Hope, a Lexington-based non-profit supporting people who use or have used drugs or alcohol and are seeking better health. Listen as Alex shares a wealth of knowledge from his lived experience and professional work. Some of what you’ll learn includes: what substance use disorder and recovery look like; what people commonly misunderstand about addiction and recovery, and how we can contribute to the shifting narrative; a holistic approach to recovery, including the power of social connection; and ways we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for those affected by addiction and recovery. You’ll also hear about Alex’s story from addiction to recovery and what he’s learned about resilience along the way. You can find the episode show notes here.


Episode 31: Curating Your Creativity

Rhonda Henry and Eric Wilkinson, mental health therapists with University of Kentucky Human Resources, returned to “Becoming Wildly Resilient” in February to chat about creativity. Listen as they explain: the four types of creativity; how creativity benefits our personal and professional lives; why we sometimes lose sight of our creative capacity; and how we can cultivate more creativity throughout our days. You’ll also hear them discuss creative writing and receive two starter prompts for exploring writing as a creative practice. You can find the episode show notes here.


Episode 30: DEI, a Compass to Belonging

Jason Brooks, Executive Director for Institutional Engagement with the UK Office of Institutional Diversity, and Dr. DeShana Collett, PA-C, a professor with UK College of Health Sciences and University Senate Chair, joined “Becoming Wildly Resilient” this month. Listen as they discuss the vital topic of diversity, equity and inclusion, particularly how they drive belonging and connect to well-being in the workplace. Some of what you’ll learn includes: what diversity, equity, and inclusion are, and why they are essential to workplace cultures; what barriers stand in the way of DEI work; and how we can use both top-down and bottom-up approaches to create more diverse, equitable and inclusive environments where everyone can thrive. You’ll also hear everyone enter a brave space as they get a little vulnerable, sharing lessons learned from times when they became mindful of biases, privileges or honest mistakes. You can view the show notes here.


Episode 29: Give Yourself a Break

The holidays and new year bring joy and celebration but can also be a little hectic, stressful or bittersweet. During this time, it’s common to forget to take care of ourselves. So, this month’s episode is a little different. Listen as some of the work-life and well-being experts with University of Kentucky HR Health and Wellness share how they have been practicing self-care lately. You’ll also be guided through a short 5-minute self-compassion meditation by health coach Jackie Carroll at the end of the episode. You can find the show notes here.


Episode 28: Well-Being for All

Lindsey Mullis and Morgan Turner, program director and program education assistant for the Kentucky Inclusive Health Collaborative at the UK Human Development Institute, joined host Jakob Hester this month to talk about the intersection of well-being and disability. In addition to the knowledge they bring from their professional roles, Lindsey is a parent of a child experiencing disability, and Morgan experiences both cognitive and physical disabilities. You’ll hear their stories and learn: what disability is and how to talk about it; what people often get wrong about disability and why those assumptions can be problematic; and how we can help create more inclusive environments and become better allies for disability. You can find the episode show notes here.


Episode 27: Raising Resilient Children

Alissa C. Briggs, PhD, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and licensed psychologist with UK HealthCare Adolescent Medicine, joined host Jakob Hester this month to talk about resilience and mental health in children and teens. You'll learn about: what it means for children to be resilient; the protective factors and skills that enhance children’s resilience; current mental health trends in school-age children; and how to support resilience and mental health as a parent or caregiver. Alissa also shares tips for coping as a parent or caregiver and touches on topics like growth mindset, the effects of social media use and proper self-care for adolescents. You can view the episode show notes here.


Episode 26: Understanding Anxiety and Depression

Kim Releford, LCSW, a mental health therapist with HR Health and Wellness, joins host Jakob Hester to discuss two of the most common mental health conditions: anxiety and depression. In this episode, you'll learn about: the relationship between anxiety and depression; the signs and symptoms of each and how we can recognize them in ourselves; how the stigma is lessening but still persists; and when to seek professional help and what you can expect when you do. Kim also shares tips for managing anxiety or depression, plus how we can support mental health in the workplace, regardless of whether or not you are experiencing a mental health condition. You can find the episode show notes here.


Episode 25: Dispelling Diet Culture

Vanessa Oliver, a registered dietitian nutritionist with UK HR Health and Wellness, returns to the podcast to talk about diet culture. As a certified Intuitive Eating counselor, Vanessa shares this framework contributes to our resilience. Listen as she and host Jakob Hester discuss: what diet culture is and why it is problematic for our overall well-being; how diet culture has disguised itself as wellness culture; what it means to have an anti-diet mindset; and ways we can overcome and dismantle diet culture when we're on an anti-diet path. You can view the episode show notes here.


Episode 24: A Human-Centered Approach to Belonging

Dr. John Nash, an associate professor of Educational Leadership Studies in the UK College of Education and director of the Laboratory on Design Thinking (dLab), joins host Jakob Hester to talk about taking a human-centered approach to fostering belonging and de-risking innovation in the workplace. You'll learn about: our need to experience belongingness; what human-centered design is and how it can help bolster belonging; and how we can ask better questions to discover and meet others' unmet needs. They also touch on related topics and terms, including drive theory, recognition, strengths, authenticity, curiosity, listening, and motivational interviewing. You can view the show notes here.


Episode 23: From Empathy to Compassion

In this episode, host Jakob Hester is joined by Dr. Erin Hester, an assistant professor in the College of Communication and Information who also happens to be his wife. They close out the second year of the podcast with a conversation on empathy and compassion. Listen as they discuss: the definitions and differences between the two; benefits of each, both in and out of the workplace; and ways we can get better at experiencing empathy and expressing compassion. You can view the show notes here.


Episode 22: Finding Your Flow

Amy Rodquist-Kodet returns to chat about flow for the final conversation in a three-part series on (re)discovering our spark and seeking more true fun. In this episode, she and host Jakob Hester discuss the benefits and subjective nature of flow, what inhibits flow, and some tools and tips for finding your flow at work, at home or with others. They also wrap up the conversation on true fun with ideas for how you can start feeling more alive again. You can find the episode show notes here.


Episode 21: Cultivating Connection

Drs. Anthony Limperos and Scott Soltis join host Jakob Hester to chat about connection for the second conversation in a three-part series on (re)discovering our spark by seeking more true fun. In this episode, you’ll learn: what it means to feel and be connected; why connections matter; how modes of connection have changed in recent years; and how we can cultivate more connections in and out of the workplace. They also share some personal examples of true fun and connection, plus discover multiple similarities in their personal and research interests. You can find the episode show notes here.


Episode 20: Playfulness and Laughter

Ann Bassoni, a mental health therapist with HR Work-Life, returns to kick off the first of a three-part series on (re)discovering our spark by seeking more true fun. In this episode, Ann and host Jakob Hester chat about playfulness, one of the three core elements of true fun. You’ll learn: what true fun is and is not; why focusing on true fun is a way forward for us; how playfulness and laughter are good for our minds, bodies and relationships; and how humor helps make the workplace feel more human. They also share some personal examples of true fun and playfulness, as well as ways you can begin incorporating more true fun and playfulness into your days. You can find the episode show notes here.


Episode 19: Flexing Emotional Intelligence

On this episode, Audrey Bachman, a Training Specialist Senior with HR Training and Development, chats with host Jakob Hester about emotional intelligence (EQ). You’ll learn about the fundamental skills and benefits of EQ, how EQ shows up in our personal and professional lives, and how we can develop our EQs individually and collectively. Audrey and Jakob also share personal examples of lessons they’ve learned through their EQ journeys. You can view the show notes for this episode here.


Episode 18: Going the Distance

Dr. Natalie Jones, an Extension Specialist for Family Health, joins host Jakob Hester on this episode to share what she has learned about physical, mental and emotional resilience through her experiences as an endurance athlete. Among her long list of athletic accomplishments are the completion of three Ironman races and a recent coast-to-coast cycling trip. Listen as Natalie shares how she got started, what keeps her going, and how she’s adapted to the challenges she has faced over the years. You’ll also hear advice for finding joy and success in whatever goals you’re pursuing in 2022 and beyond. You can view the episode show notes here.


Ep. 17: From Negativity Bias to Positive Outlooks

Dr. Kate Leger, Assistant Professor of Psychology from UK College of Arts and Sciences, joins host Jakob Hester to close out 2021. In this episode, you’ll hear them discuss how we experience and respond to daily stress, why we’re hardwired to cling to negative events, and ways we can cope with both by using principles of positive psychology. They also dive into the specific benefits of practicing gratitude and how you can cultivate more of it. You can find the episode show notes here.


Bonus: A Meditation for Slowing Down

Health coach Jackie Carroll recently joined host Jakob Hester on the show to talk about slowing down—what it is and how we can get better at it. To complement their interview, Jackie recorded this meditation to help you slow down. Be sure to go back and listen to the full episode, titled "Episode 16: Slowing Down," to learn more about the importance of slowing down, plus hear other ways you can incorporate it into your everyday life.


Episode 16: Slowing Down

In this episode, health coach Jackie Carroll returns to the podcast to talk about slowing down. Listen as she and host Jakob Hester discuss what it really means to “slow down” and why it is an essential practice for your well-being. You’ll also hear why it is challenging to practice slowing down, as well as some examples of ways to slow down or support others who may need to slow down themselves. You can find episode show notes and more here.