Shaking off the stresses


With midterm exams coming to and end and a long weekend upon us, it is the perfect time to learn about stress relief. Stress is a very elusive term, especially when looking for a true definition. The American Institute of Stress published an article quoting the original definition to be, “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” They go on to explain that the word, almost immediately after it was originally coined, was used in the wrong context very commonly. This only added to the confusion surrounding this word, and in 1951, the British Medical Journal published a piece stating “Stress in addition to being itself, was also the cause of itself and the result of itself.”

As you can see, my research thus far has been very unhelpful in defining stress. I concluded that it doesn’t necessarily matter what it is, but determining what causes stress and ways to overcome it might be more helpful. So here is a list of the most common things that stress people out the most, and tips to relieve that stress:

The Money Issue: This is a big one. If you haven’t yet, go take a look at my blog about financial wellness, there is some great beginner information that could really help relieve some of this stress. I can basically sum up my past article with one word, budgeting. If you aren’t keeping track of every payment and expense you have, we have found your stressor. Ding ding ding.

Constantly Connected: Most people consider their smartphone to be an extension of themselves. They bring it everywhere, and if it dies or runs out of battery, they have a sense of emptiness and an unshakable feeling that they are missing something. You have probably heard this before, but taking work home with you and constantly answering emails is terrible for mental health. I would highly suggest setting predetermined which you will read and respond to emails. If someone (student, co-worker, boss) does email you outside of these times, have an automated message response that lays out your available times for email. If the message truly is urgent, they will call. If it can wait, it can wait!

Lack of Free Time: This is directly connected to the previous stressor. If you don’t have an established free time section in your schedule, Set aside some time right now. This is essential to being a productive worker. Even if you do usually have some free time in your schedule, make sure at least a half hour is alone time. Whether it be taking a nap, reading a book or listening to music, you need time to let your body and mind rest with minimal outside interaction.

There are obviously many more stressors that we experience all the time, but addressing these could have a huge affect on how we feel throughout our day. Make this list for yourself and see what common events stress you out most, brainstorm ways you can counteract this, and start living less stressed.

By Ben Eccles

The art of the “stay”cation


Fall is fully here in Milwaukee now! The leaves have changed and the air is cool and crisp. School and work are plugging on hard as ever, though. If you’re like me, sometimes you just need to get away. And in this day and age, with a full time job, plus commitments outside of work, it can be almost impossible to sneak in a vacation. It is just too tough to schedule around soccer practice and work meetings and Bible study. Low and behold, you get stuck in Milwaukee year-round.

But, you’re stuck in Milwaukee. Congrats! This is great! Milwaukee has tons of amazing things to do that can feel vacationy even though you could be only a few miles from your house. It does not require that everyone cancel their sports practice or reschedule their meetings or miss the study group! Welcome to the art of the “stay”cation, Milwaukee style.

So when it comes to staycationing, you have plenty of options to get out and about to enjoy Milwaukee this fall. Here are a few of my favorite things to do in our lovely city when I get tired of the daily grind.

Trip to the beach – Some might say that Milwaukee does not have a very beautiful coast line, but I’d argue with them about it. My favorite place to be on the Lake Michigan coastline is Atwood Park, which is just a ten minute drive north toward Bayshore. The remote beach has stones and sand, and even a small pier that you can use to venture into the water. It probably is no longer swimming weather, but the view of the vast lake and the seemingly untouched shoreline is worth the quick trip.

Paddling down the river – In this weather? Oh yes. There are a bunch of different ways that you can get out on the Menomonee or Milwaukee River in a kayak or a canoe. Riverwest Outdoors and the Urban Ecology Center are two helpful resources when it comes to renting gear, getting wetsuits and making a day of adventure on the water road of Milwaukee.

Checking out the museums – Walking through the mazes of exhibits in both the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Museum are expeditions in themselves. Both museums offer tons of exhibits and are both fairly close to downtown. You could try and hit both of these treasure troves in one day, or you could extend you staycation (my personal preference) and take them on one at a time.

Going out to eat at a new restaurant – Milwaukee has NO shortage of places to eat. Whether you are looking for something fancy, something new or something fast, this city has got you covered. Good thing you live right here and can try as many of them as you want! Treat yourself right to some French food or a killer slice of pizza, unlimited sushi or organic egg salad sandwiches. You can get them all right here in MKE.

The opera – Don’t knock this until you try it. If you are really looking for an out of this world experience, check out an opera. There is no better way to get a good dose of a new and exquisite culture than admiring the latest Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performance or listening to a classic musical at the Chamber Theatre. If you want to experience a full fledge opera, though, Milwaukee will almost always have a show for that niche!

Being well in life can depend on your pockets


What does it mean to be financially “well?” This question has really peaked my interest for a long time. There are many factors that contribute to someone’s financial wellness, and they are fairly universal since they can apply to a college student just as much as they can apply to a professional reaching retirement age. These factors can include personal finances/budgeting, financial risks and investing for retirement.

While there is an astronomical amount of information on all of these topics (thanks, Internet!), I have tried to condense some of the information in fairly simple terms. This is a great jumping off point if you are interested in improving your financial wellness!

Having a good understanding of your personal finances is an integral part of becoming a financially well person. Knowing exactly where your money is coming and going is part of being fiscally responsible. Many people find it very helpful to create a monthly budget to provide them some guidance. A simple way to do this is to record exactly how much income you are receiving, whether it be from a job, an investment, or otherwise. Next, you can track everything that you spend that money on. This is a very wide range of things; from car payments to grocery bills to clothes shopping. Understanding exactly how much you are spending and what you are spending is possibly the most important part of your personal finances. Once you have your monthly income and monthly expenses, find the difference (income –minus expenses). If the difference is a positive number, you are living in a financially sustainable way. If the difference is negative, you are actually losing money every month, which means you are living in a financially unsustainable way.

While the concept of keeping a budget and sticking to it is simple in theory, it can be very hard to limit ourselves to spend less than we earn. It takes a lot of focus and discipline to do this. The outcome of being financially responsible is a sustainable lifestyle that minimizes financial stress and allows for a lot of flexibility when something like poor health or unintended expenses come up (and they always do).

We can separate financial risks into three categories: loss of income, unintended expenses, and outliving assets in retirement. Loss of income can be due to a whole host of things like death, sickness, injury or loss of job. Unintended expenses are things like medical bills after an accident or natural disaster causing damage to the home. Outliving your assets in retirement is most likely the least consider risk people have. Most people don’t really worry about retirement until it is staring them in the face. This is obviously not the correct way to do this, considering time is one of your greatest assets when it comes to investing. Taking advantage of very simple investing strategies and placing them in a work sponsored 401k or IRA, letting them sit and profit from compound interest is a very popular and simple way you can hedge against outliving your assets.

Therefore, realizing and obtaining financial wellness goals can be broken down very simply – be informed and active in your personal finances and minimize your financial risks. The things discussed in this article are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to financial literacy, but understanding that this is the starting point is the first step in becoming financially well.


By Ben Eccles

Fall Recipe: Lemon Crab Linguine


So crab might not be what you had in mind when it comes to delicious fall foods, but if you haven’t tried to mix it in some of your everyday dishes, you might be missing out. Crab brings so many interesting tastes and options to the table. It’s super healthy, offers a bunch of protein with little to no fat. The sweet taste also compliments spicy dishes, flavorful dishes and light dishes. Here is a favorite crab recipe of mine, to get you started on the crab kick this fall. Before you know it, this seafood could become an everyday dish, too.


  • 13 ounces of spinach linguini
  • 13 ounces of  white crab meat
  • 1 long red chili, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • Grated zest (lemon peel) of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of torn basil leaves
  • Juice of half of a lemon

Make it!

  1. Boil a large saucepan of salted water. Add the pasta to the pan, stir well and boil on high for around 8-10 minutes, or until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the crabmeat, chili, crushed garlic and lemon zest in a bowl. Stir the extra virgin olive oil into the mixture, and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well with a fork to make the crab meet flaky.
  3. Drain the cooked pasta and put it back into the saucepan. Add the crab mixture, basil leaves and lemon juice, and stir well!
  4. Drizzle with a little more extra olive oil, if desired in order to keep moisture. Taste and add extra lemon juice if you want a more lemony taste. Dig in!

Wellbeing Biography: Ben Eccles


Well-being: the state of being happy, healthy, or successful.

Since becoming aware of how important my wellbeing is, I have always found it interesting that we as humans constantly barter our wellness for some other medium of satisfaction. For example, I know that I love Chinese food. Not the traditional dish you would be served in China, but the greasy “Americanized” Chinese food. I love the smell, I love the taste, but the feeling I have the morning after a night of Chinese food is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. After an experience like that, you would think I would never return to the sweet and sour chicken I love so much, but you can bet that a few weeks later, I will be on the phone ordering that same dish. Why? Why would I subject my wellbeing to that torture?

While I admit that not everyone feels the same way about fried rice and egg rolls, we all have our own “Chinese food.” Most of us probably have multiple things that we do even though we know there is really no long-term positive affect to them (and possibly a negative long term affect!). It doesn’t take a nutritionist to tell you that your double fudge brownie adds little to no nutritional value to your diet, or that your daily Diet Coke isn’t really very good for you. We all make choices that are poor for our health, and my theory behind why we do these things is that we don’t value our wellbeing nearly as much as we should.

This became clearer than it has ever been for me during my freshman year of college. I, along with most college-aged people, didn’t value my wellbeing very much at all. I didn’t eat particularly well, my workout schedule started strong but fairly quickly I had eradicated the gym completely from my weekly routine, and I probably averaged around 5 hours of sleep per night. The affects of these choices didn’t hit me immediately. They were gradual, and once in action, they were very hard to counteract. My grades began to suffer, I started napping in class, and the Freshman 15 became a very real thing for me.

This was one of the most confusing times in my life. I was having all of these great experiences as a young college student living on his own for the first time. But at the same time, my mental, physical and emotional state was pretty severely damaged by the poor decisions I was making. I remember very clearly the night all of this truly dawned on me. I was in the McCormick basement studying for a chemistry exam and it was almost 4 o’clock in the morning. This wasn’t an every day thing, but it happened often enough that I just accepted the fact that a good night’s sleep wasn’t an option on a night before a test. Once I finished studying, I packed up my things, and dragged myself to my room to catch 3 hours of sleep before my 9 a.m. chemistry class. As you might have guessed, I bombed the test. It was almost like I hadn’t studied at all. My thoughts were so scrambled by my lack of sleep that I could hardly read the questions on the pages. After this experience, I was always more aware of how my current decisions were going to affect my future self.

The point of this story is not to make anyone (including myself) feel bad about the decisions made. I think it is important to indulge in ones personal pleasures every once in a while because I think that is how we get the most joy out of our lives. But hopefully after reading this article, you can more consistently say no to things that may cause some immediate satisfaction or relief but are detrimental in the long run. Awareness is truly only a small part of the battle, but acting in favor of your wellbeing will ultimately lead you to a better, happier life.

Back to school, back to snacks

20150408144705-90-minute-morning-routine-workday-more-productive-healthy-breakfast-cereal-fruit-smoothieWe’re about two weeks into the school year, and if you’re anything like me, you have reverted to grazing all day instead of taking on the task of making a whole meal. Eating food that is good for your body is tough when you snack all day. It is very easy to reach for the Oreos instead of cutting up a sweet red pepper when you get hungry midday. I have gathered for you, instead, a few recipes that I lean on when I need something quick and easy to eat.

Veggie Quiches – So if you’re trying to get a good kick of veggies, these little quiche cups are a good way to do it. The eggs provide protein and you can add whatever veggies that you want in order to get the fill you are looking for. A little bit of cheese on top make these for a delectable and easy healthy go-to.

Hearty Cookies – I love cookies and sweets so a healthy cookie like these are perfect to get my sweet tooth satisfied. Plus, since these have more whole grain ingredients will help you stay fuller longer throughout the day!

Apple Chips – Eating apples can become a hassle and a little bit boring if you do it everyday. In order to keep the doctor away, this spin on apples is a interesting way to get some of the awesome health benefits that apples offer without the same old plain apple.

Banana Wraps – Again, bananas are great but can get a bit boring. By adding some peanut butter and a tortilla, this snack is easy and less messy, plus you get to enjoy peanut butter. So instead of reaching for the twinkies, whip up one of these easy finger foods to snack on.

What’s “wellness” and how can I get it?

PrintHello to my fellow Golden Eagles! My name is Ben Eccles and I am one of the brand new Wellness Program interns for this school year. I am so excited to get involved with everything our wellness program has to offer, but first let me tell you all a bit about myself.

I have just started my junior year in the college of health sciences studying exercise physiology. I work as a desk receptionist in Carpenter Tower and as a campus tour guide. My hobbies include playing volleyball, soccer and basketball with my friends and trying to teach myself how to cook because I can’t rely on the meal plan anymore.

As interesting as I might seem, that is not the main focus of today’s post. I wanted to share some insight on how I view wellness. Many people (including myself at times) think that they are too busy to eat well, live well and feel well, but I believe a great way to fight this misconception is with knowledge. Allowing yourself to learn is the first step you can take to become the best version of you.

So what does wellness mean? Most people believe wellness is going for a run every day or eating green vegetables with every meal. While those things can nurture a healthy life style, not everyone has the ability or the option to do them. Being asked to define wellness as I am studying to be a wellness professional is something that can’t be done in simple terms.

Wellness, the way I have learned it, has 8 dimensions. Meaning there are 8 different facets of life for us as individuals to be well in. These dimensions are emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, intellectual, and environmental. I’m sure that at least half of these are fairly simple to understand in terms of wellness, but what on earth does occupational or intellectual wellness mean? I have provided a list that I found from of brief definitions for all of these dimensions to give you an idea of what each of them mean.

Emotional Wellness – the ability to effectively cope with life and create meaningful relationships

Financial Wellness – satisfaction with current and future financial situation

Social Wellness – developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system

Spiritual Wellness – expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life

Occupational Wellness – personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from one’s work

Physical Wellness – recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, sleep and nutrition

Intellectual Wellness – recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills

Environmental Wellness – Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulation environments that support well-being 

That is all I have for today! I will be back soon to expand on these ideas and cover new topics in health and wellness.



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