Posts Tagged 'Health'

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/

 

Sweet dreams – the importance of sleep

We’ve all heard it before: sleep is important for your health and well-being. But for some reason, sleep seems to be one of the first things to take a back burner when life gets crazy. You just have to finish grading those papers, answering those emails, or maybe even just watching one more episode of your latest Netflix craze. I will admit that I too do these things. But I will also admit that because of that, I learned a hard lesson about putting my health and well-being before anything else. My freshman year of college, there was one week where EVERYTHING was due. I stayed up late working on my homework the whole week. But, that’s when classes got even more difficult because I got the flu. I was miserable the whole next week and had to miss a few classes. Bottom line is, is staying up late to finish something really worth it if it will later affect the same thing?

My answer is no. From then on, I have always completed as much homework as I possibly could within a reasonable time. I would rather take extra time on a project than turn it in in my sleep-deprived state, because it probably wasn’t done to the best of my abilities in the first place. Anything you have to do will still be there in the morning. My best tip is to learn how to practice good time management skills so you can get the beauty rest you really need.

If my personal story doesn’t convince you, then maybe some science will. According to the National Institutes of Health, a consistent loss of sleep can lead to struggling with memory, concentration, and slowed reaction time. These things are detrimental to personal and professional lives, not to mention getting into the driver’s seat of a car, or other dangerous activities. Sleep deprivation can increase the risk of accidents in the car, or just in everyday life tasks. These are only the beginning effects that sleep loss has on the body. Over time, prolonged sleep loss can lead to hostility, alcohol use, use of medications to stay awake, weight problems, poor decision making, and more

So really, just put down the work, the book, or the remote and get some shut eye. You will be a happier, healthier person both psychologically, and physiologically. And if you are having trouble sleeping all the time, you aren’t alone. There are over 40 million Americans suffering from over 70 different sleep disorders, so don’t be afraid to seek help from a doctor. Wishing you sweet dreams and a good night’s rest.

Alicia Diedrich

Summer recipe: Chicken and black bean salad

It’s the first day of summer today, so that calls for a healthy seasonal recipe. This chicken and black bean salad is one of my absolute favorite summer recipes. It is healthy, easy to prepare and best of all it is so delicious that the whole family can enjoy it. This recipe makes six servings. 1 serving contains 259 calories, 519 mg of sodium, and 21 mg of cholesterol. Here’s what you need:

Salad dressing:

⅓ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1½ teaspoons sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ teaspoon pepper

Salad:

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (11 ounces) Mexicorn, drained

1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned

⅓ cup sliced green onions

6 cups torn romaine

1½ cups cooked chicken strips

Additional cilantro or parsley, optional

First, combine all salad dressing ingredients, shake well and set aside. In a large bowl, toss beans, corn, red pepper and onions and set aside. Arrange romaine on individual plates; top with bean mixture and chicken. Then, drizzle with dressing and garnish the dish with additional cilantro or parsley if desired.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do (especially since I don’t have to turn on my oven in my hot apartment). And I also encourage you to make this into a fun family cooking activity before you sit down to have dinner together as a family. Or you can cut the recipe in half and have flavorful, healthy salads for lunch the next few days. Either way, since today is the longest day of the year, you’ll have plenty of daylight to fit this quick and easy recipe into your day today. If you’re looking for another healthy, oven-free recipe, the spring recipe that I published is just as tasty in the summer! Happy cooking!

Alicia Diedrich

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 samhsa.gov 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.

 

Ben

New year, new us

IMG_3267Welcome back, MU community! It’s the second day of the school year and Employee Wellness has lots planned for this semester. We are really excited to share it all with you! First off, yes, it is still me, Sarah, but we have a new face on the team. Her name is Alicia Diedrich, and she is excited to start spreading some wellness news, too. You’ll be hearing from her more next week.

Last January, I started a little bit of a redesign of the structure and content on our webpage. You may have noticed. Get ready for some more future updates and cool upgrades to where you are finding wellness information through us. We hope to have more helpful facts ready for you more often very soon.

I’m also pretty stoked to let you know that we will be working more with the Office of Marketing and Communication. Hopefully this will allow us to become a full service wellness desk, able to answer all your questions and bring you details about tons of cool and health-centric events on campus and throughout Milwaukee.

Speaking of cool events on campus, we already have plenty of fun classes planned to help you get in your daily fitness. From yoga to crossfit, we don’t want you to forget to have fun every once in a while during the work day. Getting fit at the same time is a plus. Be sure to register here to check out our calendar and take another step toward a healthier lifestyle.

So get excited and get moving, MU! Let’s make this a great and healthy semester.

Committing to a long and well life

IMG_3164As the summer is wrapping up, I knew that I needed to get some last minute things finished before I have to go back to the world of school. One of those things was visiting my grandparents. So this weekend I road tripped out to the great state of Iowa to hang out on the farm with my grandpa and grandma.

My grandparents live in lovely, little Homestead, Iowa in the Amana Colonies. Its functions in the heart of the Midwest’s corn belt and contributes to Iowa’s beef-producing epicenter. Grandpa has lived on this farm all of his life; I’m not kidding, he was born on this land 79 years ago. He grew up doing the hard labor that farming requires and continues until this day to feed all of his cattle and plow his fields himself. Grandpa is the kind of guy who just enjoys his work. Every year when I see him, though, he jokes about how after this upcoming winter, he’s going to quit farming. “Ok, yeah right, Grandpa,” we always say. This time prompted him to bring up his last visit to his general practitioner.

Grandpa got his bones tested, his blood tested and all of that other stuff to make sure that his body was still working well. At the end of the visit, his doctor asked him if he was really 79 years old. He couldn’t believe that he was as old as his birth certificate suggested; his body only suggested my Grandpa could be 60 years old. The doctor attributed my grandfather’s youthful condition to the daily physical activity that he does.

Most doctors recommend that you should be getting at least one hour of physical activity a day, whether it be going for a walk, playing a sport or doing some yoga. Staying active can keep your body young and working properly, and my grandpa can testify to that. I’m not suggesting that we all become farmers, although we could use the boost in agriculture. I’m recommending that we get up and make wellness a priority instead of shoving it to the side as if it were a luxury.

Being active is as important as sleeping. Without it, none of us are going to last very long. As humans, we have the strength and build to move. If we were meant to sit around and do nothing, we’d be sloths or vegetables.

Now, I’m not a carrot or squash, and I am hoping that you are not either. And my grandpa’s story only reiterates what so many other sources say: GET MOVING. SO before it is too late, start making physical activity a priority and necessity. Because really, it is a necessity. I hope that some day I can tell my grandkids that although I am eighty, I can still do all the fun things someone in their 60’s is doing. I don’t want my body to fall apart on me. The main point of wellness is not only to be well now, but to be well always, for the rest of our lives. So get up and get moving, just like my grandpa has done his whole life. It’s so worth your while that it will add years to your life.

 


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