Creating consistency

Image result for drinking water

We’re almost at the time of the year where we are going to be thrown into a completely different schedule as the semester begins. While a huge change can really mess with our bodies and minds, there are a few things we can do now to prepare ourselves for that schedule change.

An essential part to staying healthy and happy is getting your body on a consistent schedule. I really am the last person that should talk about consistent schedules. I am a student and a bartender, which means a lot of early mornings and many late nights. But because of this, having a routine is one of the things I want the most in my life right now. I would love to be able to wake up and go to sleep at the same time everyday. I know just how much my erratic sleeping and eating schedule can mess with me. However, there are still a few things we can all do to help our body establish some consistency.

There is one simple technique I hear about constantly: start off your morning with a full glass of water. Now, I definitely need to improve on this myself, but I am a firm believer that this really does make a huge difference in kick starting the mornings. Water is the best thing for our bodies, and since we need so much in a day, starting off the day with one glass is an easy way to get a head start. After a refreshing glass of water, it’s important to nourish our bodies with a healthy breakfast. Think protein and produce. Eggs, veggies and fruit make up the perfect, delicious breakfast. And after breakfast, I advise to always leave the house with a full water bottle. Ever since I started doing this, I have significantly increased my water intake, and it has helped me to avoid not-so-good-for-me drinks like soda and other sugar filled drinks. Adding these simple tasks into your morning will get you off to a great start for a morning routine.

Keeping a consistent nighttime routine is also essential to keeping our bodies in check. When you think about a night routine, try to think relaxing and winding down. For me this means a shower, lighting a candle, maybe reading a book, and of course, more water! Those are only a few of the things you could add to your nightly routine to help you wind down and get ready for a good night’s rest, so create a routine that works for you.

No matter what, establishing some consistency for your body will help you feel more rested and at ease. Start introducing yourself to a routine now so that by the time fall semester rolls around, we are already all set to take on our new schedules and challenges.

Alicia Diedrich

The power of laughter

Image result for laughAs the summer is winding down, I’m sure we are all grasping at any last opportunities to fit in some fun and relaxation while we still can. There are so many great things we can do for our mind and body to keep them strong, happy, and relaxed. One of the simplest ways we can help our brains stay happy is through laughter! You have probably heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine. And it turns out that saying is pretty accurate.

There’s some really cool science behind why this is. Studies have found links between laughter and healthy blood vessel and blood flow, and it can even raise good cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the heart. Along with muscle relaxation, lower stress hormones, and a boost in immunity, laughter can help boost your mood. There’s more information on how laughter can improve your health at the link below. Laughter is also free, so I don’t see how you could go wrong with a good laugh. So although you probably can’t laugh on command, make it a point to fit more laughter in your day to day life. Some of the best sources of laughter are your family members and friends, (I think I say this almost every week) so spend some quality time with the ones you love! Another great way to fit in some laughter is of course to watch a favorite tv show, a funny movie, or find hilarious YouTube videos, articles or books. Even just a small smile can help you feel better, try putting on a huge, ridiculous grin randomly during the day just because. Both laughter and smiling are contagious, see if you can get anyone else to catch it from you.

There definitely is no shortage of comic relief out there. And while laughter won’t fix everything, it really will help you lead a life of wellness, because who doesn’t love laughter, after all laughter may be the best medicine. I hope you have a week full of laughter!

Alicia Diedrich

http://www.theemotionmachine.com/psychology-of-laughter/

 

SNAP Benefits

Hello everyone, yet another beautiful summer week has passed. It’s August already! It’s also my 21st birthday today and I am so glad to be here writing today. I am coming to you with some great information on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). I know I write a lot about how it’s important to eat well in order to live a life of wellness, but I don’t often talk about how difficult eating well can be, for so many different reasons.

Well I am here to say that there is a way! SNAP benefits offers nutrition assistance to low-income individuals and families, senior citizens, those with disabilities, and others. The program delivers monthly electronic benefits that can be used just like cash to purchase food at authorized retailers. The program allows individuals and families get the food they need. If you even think you could be eligible for SNAP benefits, don’t hesitate to go through the pre-screening eligibility process. If you qualify, all you have to do is contact your local SNAP office or apply online. You can find more detailed information on how to apply here.

There are so many different retailers that will accept the SNAP benefits in their stores so you are bound to find a store that you love with products you can enjoy and that will hopefully help you get a start on mindful eating. The Near West Side is starting a farmers market and they want people to be able to use their benefits there. This is such a fantastic opportunity to use the benefits on delicious, local, healthy produce. There are so many great benefits to eating well that everyone should be able to enjoy. Being healthy and happy goes hand in hand, but you don’t have to do it alone. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is here to help.

Any and all information about the SNAP benefits can be found here. I hope you all have a great last month of summer vacation before we’re back at Marquette for the fall semester. And again, don’t be afraid to look into the SNAP benefits program, they are here for you.

Alicia Diedrich

Mindfulness Meditation

I hope this week finds all of you in a peaceful, calm, and relaxed state of mind. I am anything but all of these right now! I am moving to a new apartment today, and it’s only a block away from where I was living. Needless to say, my day is a little hectic! So even if you are finding yourself in the midst of some crazy life change like me or just any old stressful day, week, or month, I’d like to remind you it will all be okay. But make sure you’re taking some proactive steps to help yourself along the way to a relaxed mind so you don’t get too stressed out. We’re lucky here at Marquette because we have lots of great resources to help you work towards a life of wellness.

One of these great resources is the free Mindfulness Meditation sessions that are held every week. Now I’ve definitely heard it before. “How is sitting there in silence and meditating going to help me?” And I have definitely been skeptical about it before, but this year I was given the opportunity and motivation to have a new experience with meditation. This past spring semester I took Theology 2310 – Explorations in Christian Theology with Dr. Nussberger. In this class we were assigned a project to spend half of the semester regularly performing or participating in any kind of prayer practice. I chose to do at least 10 to 15 minutes of meditation daily for the remainder of the semester. I did a quiet meditation where I focused solely on my breathing, allowing all of my other thoughts to escape my mind. And while this was not always an easy task with my crazy-busy, racing mind, it was well worth it in the end.

I could not believe what just a few minutes of silence could do for me. Letting myself turn off my brain from all of my worries and everything on my to-do list. Before my quiet meditation days I never realized just how necessary it is to give all of your body a break: yes, including your brain! Now, if you’re unsure how to get started on meditation, let’s backtrack to the Mindfulness Meditation classes that I mentioned. There’s just a few more weeks left of the summer session, so get started on your meditation now! Join this week’s Mindfulness Meditation on Wednesday from 12:15 to 1 in AMU 233. If you end up loving the Mindfulness Meditation, don’t worry that the summer session is almost over, we will surely be back with another session this fall! Mindfulness is just one step in the direction of living a life of wellness, but being mindful in your everyday decisions on nutrition, exercise, and a well mind are the key to overall well-being. Meditation is a great way to achieve a new level of mindfulness.

Hopefully discovering Mindfulness Meditation will allow you to find yourself in a new, relaxed and peaceful state of mind despite whatever craziness is going on in your life, just like it did for me. Happy meditating!

Alicia Diedrich

Beat the summer blues

Although it is summer and there have been plenty of warm and sunshine filled days, this year has been particularly stormy. And there are thunderstorms in the forecast for most of the rest of this week. So if storms give you the blues, then make sure you get outside today while it’s nice and hot to take in some vitamin D (and don’t forget to wear sunscreen).  

Personally, I really enjoy thunderstorms, but when it’s rainy every day or wakes me up in the middle of the night, it gets a little sickening. It’s summer, It’s supposed to be nice enough to enjoy a day at the beach or biking the trails. But this year has left us all wanting to close our blinds and stay in bed all day. Who wants to walk around campus in the rain? And although you may be tempted to stay in the darkness in the comfort of your bed, lift your mood by doing the exact opposite. Get up and move around the house, turn on lights to help you forget about the looming dark clouds in the sky above. I personally say get outside and enjoy it, rain or shine, but I realize this option may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

If you do decide to stay indoors because of rain, do something good for yourself at home. It’s the best excuse there is to clean your house from top to bottom, cook a delicious and healthy meal, do some yoga and meditation, read a new and exciting book, or spend some quality time with your pets and family. There are an endless amount of healthy and positive activities to fill your day so that you don’t have to give in to the gloomy weather.

No matter what the weather is, use it to your advantage. Use the nice, warm days to be active outdoors, and use the stormy days as personal days to work on improving yourself or your surroundings. Never let a day go to waste, find something meaningful to do everyday. Finding a purpose in your everyday life will help beat the summer storm blues.

Alicia Diedrich

National Bike Challenge: Accepted

The National Bike Challenge – Town Gown Showdown has been going on since May 1st and there’s still a couple months left to take part! Marquette teamed up with other Milwaukee-area schools and Milwaukee County as a whole to take on this annual cycling competition. Last year Milwaukee took 3rd place with over 169,000 miles from May 1st through September 31st! If you ask me that’s pretty incredible. But I also say that means this year Marquette and Milwaukee will do even better.

I want to see Milwaukee as the #1 biking community. I especially want to see all of Marquette’s employees and retirees out putting on some miles on their bikes. As of week 8, we were sitting at 57,746 miles. Considering the challenge lasts a total of 18 weeks, I think it’s safe to say we’re off to a good start (although behind last year).  We are currently in week 11 and have 7 more to go, so that leaves plenty of time to make sure you log some miles. Whether you are going 1 mile, 10 miles, or 30 miles at a time, it all counts. When you are doing something beneficial for your body, IT ALL COUNTS. So don’t be afraid to get out there and do some biking today.

It’s really easy to take part in the challenge. First, you have to create a Strava account, connect with Marquette’s club and then sync to the National Bike Challenge. For detailed instructions on how to participate, visit our employee wellness page.

After you’re all set up with your Strava account, it’s time to get on your bike. You could go on a grand, solo adventure, or gather up some family members and enjoy a fun afternoon together. There are so many cool places to bike in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas. You can find maps of biking trails here along with plenty of other biking resources from bike sharing to safety information.

Now that you’re all set with biking resources and plenty of motivation to get out there and make Milwaukee and Marquette proud, I hope to see you all on the trails.

Alicia Diedrich

Healthy you, happy 4th

Happy 4th of July to everyone! I hope you are all planning to spend some quality time with loved ones today. As we spend today celebrating our independence day, we must keep wellness in mind, just like any other day. It’s a great day to get in some exercise or spend some time cooking a delicious, healthy meal for the holiday. The weather is supposed to be beautiful all day today here in Milwaukee, so make sure to enjoy it!

When it comes to holidays, it’s normally a lot harder to keep ourselves active and well since there always seems to be tons of unhealthy food around and plenty of excuses to put off exercise until later. But I encourage you to instead use those very reasons as motivators to get up, get in some exercise, and take pride in eating something healthy. Do something for the wellness of your mind and body. If you have some extra free time on your hands, that’s exactly why you should do something good for you.

Since you may already be spending time with family and friends, you can easily make it into a fun group activity. If you want to do something fun and active, get in a bike ride or a swim, or pick up a ball and toss it around for a game of catch. If you just want to relax, do some yoga and mindful meditation. You’ll feel more relaxed and rejuvenated afterwards. Cooking or putting together a healthy snack can even be a relaxing activity, and you get to fuel your body with plenty of vitamins and nutrients at the same time. Berries are a healthy, delicious, and easy snack to make into a 4th of July themed appetizer, but there are an endless amount of options for eating something healthy. 

Most of all, it’s good to keep a positive attitude and know that just because it’s a holiday, that’s no reason to forget about taking care of your health and well-being. 

Wishing you a safe and healthy 4th of July!

Alicia Diedrich


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