Archive for the 'Sarah Schlaefke' Category

Well, it’s been good, MU

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Hey, Marquette Wellness community. Sarah here. And I would just like to let you know about what’s coming up for us here at Employee Wellness.

First off, our school year is almost through, which is great because summer is great and outdoors activities are great. But also it’s a bit sad, considering I graduate and have to take on real-world things instead of college-world things. That being said, I have to leave Marquette Employee Wellness behind. But don’t worry, I’ve left you in good hands with my protege, Alicia.

With the end coming near for me, though, I thought I would take this post as a chance to talk about moving forward and how it opens doors. I don’t have scientific evidence or research studies to back this up, but it’s something that my mom always said to me and your probably said this to you too. When one door closes, another one opens.

So if you’re like me and looking to move up and on from where you are in life right now, believe me I know that fear you may be feeling. Let this serve as a reminder though that it is all part of a plan. And while it can be tough to let a door shut behind you, remember that if you forward, there is probably a new door waiting to open right ahead.

I know I am writing this a little bit for myself, just to keep my anxiety at bay, but it’s not like what I am saying is useless. If your day or week or month or semester is scary because it involves moving on to unknown territory, hold fast. It will all work out.

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him.” Romans 8:28

Over and out – Sarah Schlaefke

A healthier you and a healthier Earth

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There are so many reasons to adapt a healthier eating regimen, but let me add this one to the list. Eating healthier not only helps you be healthier, but it also helps our planet out, too.

When the New Year rolled around a few months ago, I had to think long about a New Year’s resolution that I wouldn’t quit on after only a few weeks or a month. My final consensus was to no longer eat red meat. And this was not an easy sacrifice to make, either, especially because my grandfather is a commercial beef farmer, and my house is riddled with frozen pounds of delicious steaks and hamburgers. I wanted to start making a positive change and serve as an example, too, so I went ahead and gave it up anyway.

In 2011, a non-profit in Washington D.C., the Environmental Working Group, conducted a study on how the types of meat we consume impacts the environment based on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted through the industry per kilogram of the meat consumed. Lamb meat was ranked the worst for the environment, spitting out about 86.6 pounds of greenhouse gases per kilogram of meat.

I don’t eat a lot of lamb, so giving up that type of meat was easy and not all that impactful in my opinion. Beef came in second worse, according to the study, producing 59.5 pounds of greenhouse gases per kilogram. Then pork, at 26.5 pounds. And chicken showed to be the most environmentally friendly meat, producing only 15. 5 pounds of greenhouse gases per kilogram eaten.

These numbers were enough to make me reconsider my food choices. Along with the well-known fact that chicken is much learner that beef. Since beef is so high in fat and cholesterol, if consumed too regularly, it can lead to heart disease, high cholesterol and other fat-related diseases. It only made sense to me to discontinue my hamburger obsession and turn to turkey burgers.

Along with the greenhouse gas issue, meat also takes a toll on the supply and demand for clean water. Throughout the farming processes, we have to keep in mind the plant side of what goes into maintaining livestock. In order to keep cows, you have to feed them. In order to feed them, you have to grow corn and soybeans. These plants then require watering, and many farmers use pesticides and herbicides in order to ensure their harvest. This creates toxic run off and toxic soil, affecting all living organisms around these plants, eventually dwindling down to affecting us. So when it came to the choice to set aside a steak or poison the ground we walk on, I couldn’t choose the latter.

Now, in no way am I a vegetarian, and in no way do I condemn anyone who just can’t separate from his or her steak. I feel you. But it doesn’t have to be to beef or not to beef. It is more of a how-often-do-you-eat-it kind of ordeal. By choosing beef less often, by only eating it once or twice a week, we could reduce greenhouse gas emission, land and water use by up to 45 percent. On top of that, we’d be investing in our own health, helping us breath in fewer harmful toxins in the air, purifying our water and consuming less fat. Eating less red meat is a win-win — a happier, healthier you and me and a happier, healthier planet and future.

Be quiet

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When was the last time that your idea of relaxing was listening to the air conditioning pump waves of coolness through the room? Or staring blankly off into space while slouched in the couch in your living room? Or lying on the floor motionless and waiting until all you can see is the black behind your eyelids? These forms of relaxing aren’t what first crosses my mind when I need to wind down. But maybe they should be.

If you are anything like me, free time is consumed by the TV yammering in the background, maybe music faintly playing from my computer or the sound of my family’s voices or someone on the phone fills the quiet space of my house. Recently, though, I have been trying something new. Instead of dousing my calm-craving brain in more and more noises, I’ve sought silence instead.

At first, the quiet bugged me. I was tempted to at least turn on some music. But after really thinking about it, I realized that even if silence was irksome at the moment, maybe it shouldn’t be.

Especially in this day and age, everything we do can seem like multitasking. It may seem like our brains have adapted to our busy-bee life style, but having to take in and process information constantly actually really stresses our brains.

As part of my New Year’s resolution, I jumped back into habitual yoga. Most practice sessions end with corpse pose, shavasana, where you lie motionless on your yoga mat and space out until you don’t even realize that you are breathing. For a busy-body like me, this was a hard pose to do. Halfway through, my anxious, impatient self would want to look around, move around or at least tap my fingers to fill the blank, quiet space.

As I keep going to yoga, though, this pose has become easier and easier to settle into at the end of practice. The quiet lets my brain calm down, relax and stop having to put up with the constant stimulation I otherwise am putting it through. Lying in silence has taught me how to truly relax and has opened my mind to welcoming the quiet at other times of my day, not only when I am at the yoga studio.

I’ll present some crazy silence science later on in another post probably, but I wanted this one to just serve as a tip from me to you. If you are looking for an ultimate way to relax and escape, let your brain rest with some minutes of pure silence. Whether it be at your desk, on your couch after work or in bed before you sleep, try to take a second to let your mind go blank. I like to think about looking at the night sky. My brain eventually takes over and fills in the black you see when you close your eyes. Taking seconds of silence has helped me reduce my stress and maintain a more acute focus throughout the day. I hope that you might try being quiet, too.

Wellbeing Biography: My battle with a deadly disease

If you were to ask me to describe myself, I would probably say something like, “Hi, I’m Jason Trovela, I am a 4th year senior at Marquette University studying psychology and marketing. I’m not sure how else to answer this because I would usually tailor it towards the specific audience listening to me.”

When it comes to wellness, my life has been pretty well. I would consider myself someone that never had any major medical issue. I never had broken a bone or had any major illness. I have never even had the flu. The worst medical issue I’ve had before this are bad migraines (which didn’t even start until I turned 19).

This all changed pretty rapidly for me, though, when I was a sophomore here at Marquette. I wasn’t feeling well one day and, you know, I knocked it off as a cold. Typical student sickness. I had plenty on my plate – classes, fraternity meetings, work on the side. Now being sick wasn’t something I wanted to deal with so I tried to sleep it off. Only I woke up feeling even worse.

Once I could no longer move from muscle pain, I finally went to the hospital. I had no idea what kind of sick I had gotten but it was definitely doctor-visit-worthy. When the doctors from the ER came back with my blood test results, it almost seemed like a scenario that wasn’t happening in real time.

“You have meningitis.”

The words didn’t mean too much to me then but the doctors treated it with the utmost seriousness. Everyone else was extremely shocked, but I was unnerved. It needed to sink in.

Meningitis, if you aren’t aware, presents flu-like symptoms and is hard to diagnose without in-depth medical tests. This makes sense since I felt like I was just really sick, but with a really bad cold. I thought I was getting the flu for the first time. I was having physical joint pain, but I thought I just did something stupid over the weekend that caused me to hurt myself, so I thought the pain would pass. I got really nervous when I started developing red spots/rashes all over my body, but I have an allergy to sulfa. I had an allergic reaction to a medicine I had when I was younger, so I thought I just had to take a different medicine and it would go away. Turns out, these were all the tell-tale signs of deadly meningitis.

I was in so much pain that once I was in the hospital, things became very hazy. There were intense painkillers involved and many other intricate medical tests, procedures and seclusions.

Eventually, I realized what was happening to me. I was numb. It takes an incredible amount of luck to get meningitis. According to the CDC, the mortality rate for meningitis can be as high as 70 percent, and most survivors are left with some sort of terminal disability, such as neuro damage, loss of one or more of the senses or even the lost of a limb.

After a few months of recovery, though, I was cured. Unscathed.

Although this seems more like a sickness biography, this is my story on my way to a higher sense of self wellness. Once I was admitted to the hospital, and even though others felt that I was doomed to this sickness, it never once crossed my mind that I wouldn’t leave that hospital. I never stopped trying to get on my feet again. I was instilled with a new sense of life.

After surviving a perilous disease, I don’t take anything for granted anymore. I don’t complain of being bored any longer. After recovering from such a painful experience, it still feels good just to breathe.

I think of this as my second chance. I am constantly striving to go out and make something of myself. Of course I think of how lucky I am, it is always in the back of my mind. But I am determined to not waste my life. My second life. My new sense of life.

Ghost-written by Sarah Schlaefke

Prejudices do not make us well

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In this day and age, some people might argue that racism is dead. “We already freed the slaves,” or “The Civil Rights Movement ended years ago,” is what those people would argue. But with the election today, many of our votes are being cast based on this topic. Needless to say, racism is still a raging issue that affects us all whether we like or not.

In one of my classes today, we had a really long discussion about whether or not racism is reasonable and if it is reasonable to hope for a society someday that does not involve any form of these skin-based prejudices. In the end, we sadly had to come to the conclusion that aiming for a raceless world is a goal set way too high. Sadly. We argued that we could spend years rewiring the way people think or we could teach our kids to be more accepting. But in the end, if there is just one or two outliers, who have an opinion that someone of skin of a different color is less important, the whole ideology would be ruined. Humans are too flawed for a utopian civilization.

But we are not too flawed to be generally decent humans toward each other. And my arguments toward why you shouldn’t be racist might seem like no brainers, but prejudice truly affects us ALL. No matter what side of the story you’re on.

So I want to propose this. Racism does not make us well. It makes us close minded. And that just makes us dumber. It makes us unhappy and anxious, judging people all the time and worrying about being judged ourselves. It makes us struggle, whether we are part of the marginal or the center parts of society. Putting others down doesn’t lift you up, it makes you a lot scummier than the way that you view those you’re bashing. It promotes bullying among kids and hurts their chances of success later on in life. Supporting prejudices does not make you a victim to “oh, it’s just the way the world is,” it makes you a perpetrator too. As Desmond Tutu said, ” If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

Even though I don’t think that a racistless society is a reasonable thing to ask for, it doesn’t meant that we can’t work toward being a more inclusive, kinder, better society. Well, duh, you’re probably thinking, but it is easier said than done. I want to therefore challenge you to think outside of your own box. Look at the situation of our planet. Then of our country. Now our city. Even down to our school. If we all took one extra step every day to shed a judgement that we have of someone else around us, how would that affect the world we live in? If we took the time to put ourselves in another person’s shoes, what would we notice that we wished could be changed? What odds are stacked against us? What do we have going for us? What can we do to help each other out through this crazy thing called life?

Well, I guess I don’t really have all the answers this time. I son’t have the magic key to a more equal community. But I have those questions for food for thought. I think that just thinking about this topic is possibly enough of a seed that could grow into a more accepting culture. And if we learn to accept others more openly, that could help us accept ourselves, too. And as you may remember, one of the first steps toward wellness is accepting yourself.

Spend some time on your spiritual wellness

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Recently we have been going through all the different types of wellness and the importance of balancing them throughout your life. What’s more important in our Jesuit school, though, than giving our spiritual wellness some thought?

Spirituality is different for everybody. There is no such thing as a right or wrong way to be spiritual. And with the utmost respect for everyone with varying beliefs, I’m not here to tell you how you should believe in what you believe. But I am here to give you a few suggestions to help yourself and those around you achieve the greatest possible spiritual wellness.

Be openminded. Being solid in faith does not have to mean that you have to be close-minded. What is great about beliefs and the many people around us is talking about viewpoints and learning from each other. By exploring spirituality together, you are able to become more solid in your own faith. Keeping an open mind will also allow those around you stay openminded, which will diminish the possibility of offending one another and core beliefs. Positive discussion can help you understand others and where their faiths come from, as well.

Take time to yourself. In this day and age it is really easy to get caught up in only doing things if you have company. But since spirituality is so individualized, taking on your own beliefs by yourself could help you a lot. Taking the time to read about what you believe, reflect and focus your day to day life on your faith will help you grow in your own spirituality.

Aim to love. I think it can be universally agreed upon that love is the foundation of nearly all faiths. Whether it be love for yourself, your neighbor or the world, compassion can make everyone more spiritually well. If you are practicing love, you will be so much less burdened than if you were instead holding grudges or upholding a dislike toward someone else. This will also encourage those around you to show love too. The golden rule that is also pretty universal is love your neighbor as you yourself would like to be loved.

 

 

Fall Recipe: Lemon Crab Linguine

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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.

Ingredients

  • 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!

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