Archive for the 'Wellbeing Biography' Category

Wellbeing Biography: Lauren Scherer and her Crossfit love

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Gym Class (\’jim ’klas\) noun

  1. The most torturous experience in which an awkward, uncoordinated, non-athletic bookworm could be forced to participate in in front of her peers.

At least, that’s how I defined it all of my school-going life. I have never considered myself “athletic” by any means. I only played tennis in high school because there were no cuts and the team t-shirts were cool. When I got to college, however, I started exercising more regularly to get out of my “prison cell” of a dorm room, as well as for stress relief and all of those other health benefits. I tried a little of everything. Running, yoga, elliptical, Zumba, and strength training classes over the years, never really finding anything I loved to do.

CrossFit was being offered for the first time shortly after I started working at Marquette. I decided to try it out after hearing how it could transform your body, and how every workout was different so I wouldn’t get bored. It was like having your own personal trainer every time you work out. I still did not consider myself very strong or athletic, and did not know what to expect, or if I could even finish a CrossFit workout. I decided to give it a try anyway, and I’m glad I did! Three and a half years later, I’m still enjoying it, and have never felt any better, healthier, or stronger!

CrossFit at Marquette is a 45 minute class, twice per week. It starts with a warm up, and then moves on to a lifting set such as a back squat, deadlift, or overhead press. After that, the WOD (workout of the day) could range anywhere from 5-20 minutes, averaging somewhere around 12 minutes (trust me – 12 minutes sounds a lot shorter than it feels!).

The instructor, Ryan, is diligent in providing foundational knowledge behind every movement and lift, and makes sure we all have correct form before starting the WOD. These workouts are completely customizable to fit any level of fitness or mobility, which is evident in every CrossFit class at Marquette. It doesn’t matter if you’re lifting 5 lbs. or 105 lbs., there is no judgement in class, just encouragement (and maybe a little complaining to Ryan J).

While many of us are now considered “veterans” of CrossFit at Marquette, we always welcome new participants to join us for whatever torture Ryan has in store for us that day. I call it torture, and it might feel torturous at the time, but it’s worth it. I have pushed myself through tough workouts, and I have become significantly stronger because of it. The results are what keeps me coming back for more!

 

By Lauren Scherer

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

Wellbeing Biography: Alicia Diedrich

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Hello Marquette employees! My name is Alicia Diedrich, and I am junior transfer student studying Communication Studies and English, with a special interest in Spanish. I wanted to start off by saying that I am very excited to become part of the Marquette University Employee Wellness team. As I am joining this team, I thought I might share with you the story of why I am passionate about wellness.

When it comes to wellness and healthy living, my journey is just merely beginning. In November of 2015 when I finally discovered what had been causing me to go through life living like a zombie, my quest for wellness began. I had spent months, probably years struggling with undiagnosed hypothyroidism, and an iron deficiency. Now, both of these issues have many of the same symptoms, so I like to believe that my symptoms were just amplified. Once I knew, the weight that had been sitting on my shoulders for what may have been four or more years started to lessen. Of course, we threw medications at it, but it continued to get worse with each and every blood test, my symptoms returning sometimes even worse than before.

I had gone far too long just dismissing my symptoms as normal. I was too tired to function most of the time, getting out of bed was the most difficult part of my life every day (even more so than working 35+ hours a week and going to school full time). I had always written it off because I was a teenager, and a college student – I was supposed to be tired. But was I supposed to be so exhausted that I could barely function? Was I supposed to have no energy or passion to do the things I loved to do?

I was beginning to realize that I had to make a change in my lifestyle. I had to get out of this menacing cycle. I decided to take matters into my own hands. Alongside my mother, who has struggled with the same issues, I set out on a journey to regain control of my life. Endless amounts of research went into taking better care of myself.

Since then, I have taken pride in eating healthier, being more active and overall putting my well-being above everything else, yes, including work and school. It started to make sense that if I was not well, then I would not excel in the other areas of my life either. I have had uphill battles, and downhill battles with my health, but I’m glad to say that my new found sense of wellbeing has made these battles significantly easier. Since I have made an active choice to be well, I have no longer had to stay home sick while missing an exam, I have no longer skipped my morning classes because it was simply too difficult and terrifying to face the task of getting out of bed in the morning.  During this quest to be well I have encountered setbacks, but that’s okay. I am still learning about wellness.

I reinvested in myself, and in my future. Taking care of myself now means being happier and healthier in the future. It is never too late to begin taking care of yourself. I repeat, it is NEVER too late to begin taking care of YOU. Make yourself a priority.

Now, although this is where my wellness journey began, it is certainly not where it ends, and I am constantly searching for ways to improve my health and well-being. I am in this journey with you, and I cannot wait to share what I learn along the way with all of you.  
Alicia Diedrich

Wellbeing Biography: Ben Eccles

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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.

Wellbeing Biographies: Sarah Schlaefke

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Photo by Nolan Bollier

Recently the news contains headlines that are riddled with devastating events. Dark and dismal happenings like shootings, bombings and corruption cover our TV screens, newspapers and social media feeds. I don’t know about you, but I could use a pick-me-up. Here’s my shot at adding a little positivity to your daily news intake.

As a wellness website, I feel that it is important to recognize, celebrate and encourage the sharing of our own healthy lifestyles as well as the lifestyles of those around us. Through Marquette Employee Wellness, I would like to start a little collection of stories amongst our campus of the positive changes, successes and even valiant efforts put forth by our community. This is an opportunity to share with those around us what we have been working on, not to boast and not to be ragged on for it, but to set forth positive examples and inspire each other to take on wellness for ourselves. We are, however, Marquette, and we do, in fact, make quite a difference, even in our own lives.

So to start us off, I’ll let you in on a little more about me.

A year ago, I could not have told you that I would be writing anything even remotely near to “wellness.” I did not really know what it meant to be well. I was struggling with some heavy depression, a not-so-healthy relationship and just an all-over raincloud on the outlook of my life. After a while, and after I had given up on the hopes of being happy, something changed.

I woke up one day feeling like I deserved it, which is true – we all do. I deserved to be happy. I could make that my reality, too. I just had to go at it headfirst. From that moment, I cannot think of a single regret.

I tossed my garbage relationship out the window. I started doing things that I wanted to do again, not things that I thought were out of the way and approved of by everyone else. I quit the job that made me unhappy. I took up rock climbing and full-fledged strength training. I cared more about what I ate, telling myself that my body deserves to be fueled correctly, so that I could go and accomplish the great things I wanted to accomplish.

Yes, I still had a handful of people doubting me, telling me “no,” or putting me down. I actually just decided that life is too short to care what they think. It was a tough pill to swallow, but in the end I realized that at the end of the day, I have to live with myself, so taking care of myself and my wellbeing became very important.

Today I am part of an amazing relationship with a man who makes me really happy and is pretty much my best friend/default adventure buddy. I am extremely excited to start up classes again this semester; I am very much looking forward to working with the teachers I  have. I also just recently began writing freelance articles with OnMilwaukee, one of my journalistic dreams come true. I have been slowly seeing progress in my climbing, which I have been using as inspiration to making new media featuring nature and the outdoorsy lifestyle. My faith is strong. My relationship with my family is full of smiles and laugher. And I am just about done with all of the anxiety and depression treatment that I started when all I could see is dark blue. All in all, I don’t think I could say I have ever been happier than I am right now. I am proud of my wellness and that is why I am here. I am aching to inspire others to take hold of life and just go for it, go for the happiness. And I know I am not the only one.

Here’s the good part. Since I can’t be alone on this wellness adventure, I want to hear from you about the successes, goals and healthy habits that have made you a better person. Your story does not need to be long, and it doesn’t need to be perfect (that’s why I have copy editing experience, don’t you worry). But I do want to hear it.

It is important to support each other in our journeys to wellness. This is why I feel this little project is essential. I hope that you will reach out to me with a story. We are not alone this planet for a reason. Let’s work together on being the difference in each of our lives.

Wellbeing Biography stories can be submitted to me, Sarah Schlaefke, at sarah(dot)schlaefke(@)gmail(dot)com. I will edit them up and let you know when they will be posted! Please feel free to include a photo, too, because the Internet loves pictures.

Thanks for reading, hope to hear from you all soon. Stay healthy, my friends.


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