Posts Tagged 'inspiration'

December Kindness

The Dalai Lama once said “be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” I find this quote to be especially inspiring because it brings light to a topic that is not often discussed. I feel as though a common view on kindness is that it is simply being polite and respectful. In fact, Oxford dictionary’s definition is “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” And although I do find this definition to be true, I find there to be much more to kindness than just this.

A couple weeks ago I stumbled across the “Kindness Calendar – December 2017” and immediately shared it on our Twitter page. I loved the idea! I find it to be so creative and unique. Kindness is not often represented as something that requires much effort, and I think that’s exactly where the dictionary definition falls short. It is viewed as something that is more passive or just any basic human interaction. And this is why I say maybe there should be more thought and action behind our everyday kindness. There are so many monthly challenges out there that are great way to start up a new habit like eating healthy, working out, practicing meditation or mindfulness. And all of these actions require thought, effort, and consideration.

This calendar is great because it encompasses so many different forms of kindness. We can be kind to others: family, friends, or strangers, but we can also be kind to the earth, to animals, and even to ourselves and our bodies. Keeping in mind all of these forms of kindness, it really does become a challenge to overall treat life with kindness. It is such a fitting theme for December because it is so often seen as a month of giving and presents. But this year, let’s take our kindness to a new level. Practicing kindness is something I want to challenge all of us to do. So, this month I want all of you to follow along with this calendar with me. That means tomorrow, all of us are going to do something helpful for a family member. And on Thursday we are going to be kind to the earth, and so on.

I hope you all have a very kindness-filled week, and please share the amazing results that your kindness brings to your life with us, let’s spread kindness!

Alicia Diedrich

Gratitude and giving

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It’s that time of the year. Thanksgiving is just a few days away, the spirit of gratitude and giving is all around us. But there is more to gratitude than just Thanksgiving, November is national gratitude month. How exciting is that?! Not that we should need a day or even a month to dedicate to gratitude and giving, it should be something we practice and integrate into our everyday life. But, I would definitely say that having specific days, months, and movements dedicated towards certain issues helps to shine a much needed light on all of the issues that deserve the attention.

In today’s society, there is so much to be grateful for, yet so much left to be improved. Ironically, this is one reason I am so thankful for blogging and social media. It allows me to help spread gratitude and giving, something I have always been so passionate about. This year I have so much gratitude for all of the wonderful opportunities that Marquette has given me: including this internship with Marquette University Employee Wellness and leading me into my other internship as well. I am grateful for my friends and my family, and so much more. And although I am aware of my gratitude every day, being in the spirit of giving season feels great. I encourage all of us to express gratitude every day of our lives, but to take advantage of the amazing opportunities that arrive during this time of the year.

Every year there is a global movement called Giving Tuesday. There’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. This is such an amazing movement because the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has decided to match all donations given to nonprofits through Facebook giving tools. This is such a great way to show gratitude for all that life gives us and to pay it forward. So this year, instead of spending all of our money on things we only want, I say we skip Black Friday and Cyber Monday and put that towards Giving Tuesday. Let’s make this world a better place. It only takes a little bit of gratitude, but there are so many ways to make this world a better place. Donating is just one of them, but volunteering your time, or even just sharing and spreading the news goes a long way.

This year, join me in showing gratitude by making a difference in the world in any way that you can. Be grateful for what you have and give what you can. Let the season of giving and thanks make a new impact on you. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving break, and remember, everything in moderation, you can do it!

Alicia Diedrich

Forgiveness is wellness

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Every week I try to bring you the best in wellness tips and news on campus. I have discussed this concept of wellness lows and highs before, and at the beginning of the semester I made it my goal to make this my (and our) best year yet. Well, let me tell you, I was not prepared at all for what this semester has thrown my way. It has sent me spiraling into a wellness low, but that is OKAY! One of the most important things I have learned about wellness is that when you are not being as well as you can be (making poor nutrition choices, skipping workouts, or even not taking enough time to relax) you must forgive yourself.

It took me a while to not feel guilty about poor wellness decisions, or at least feel like I should feel guilty. However, I have come to realize that beating yourself up over past mistakes only leads to a hindered sense of emotional wellness. The only thing we can do when it comes to bad decisions (or just a wellness low we are experiencing that may be no fault of our own) is to learn from them and use that to work towards bettering ourselves in the present and future. So you ate two pieces of cake, maybe three, that’s okay. You skipped your workouts for the last week? Or you haven’t exercised in months, maybe years? That’s okay too. Remember how that made your body feel. We have one body to get us through the rest of our lives, and we should treat it as such, no matter how poorly it may treat us at times. I shared a quote on our Twitter account a while back by Jim Rohn, who says “[t]ake care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Despite how simple this is, it made a big impact in my mind because there is so much truth to that. Good wellness decisions may not cure our health problems, but it will 100% make the ride that much easier.

Proper nutrition, regular exercise and mindfulness, just to name a few, all help to put us in the state of mind we need to be in to tackle every day with our best and brightest selves. These simple things give us the energy to get up and do great things, to grow stronger and smarter, and to be the best for others in our lives as well. I have always been a firm believer that if you don’t first take care of yourself, you can’t be at your best for others in your life either.

This is just another friendly push to make this our best year yet, and to remind you that wellness setbacks can and do happen, and it is OKAY! Now, go do something that is good for you, you deserve it.

Alicia Diedrich

Wellbeing biography: Kristin Kipp – Whole 30

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I’ve never liked the word diet. I think it’s because, more often than not, the word “diet” is used to describe a way of eating to lose weight, and in this sense, Garfield said it right, “DIET is DIE with a T.” There are many different definitions of the word diet, but one definition that puts diet in a positive light comes from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Here it’s defined simply as “habitual nourishment.” I love thinking of food this way. I grew up on a farm with an abundance of fresh produce. We canned a lot of fruits and veggies for the winter and made our own jam. We even raised a pig every year to eat. From a young age, I loved good nutrition and physical activity, and my passion brought me to what I do today, so I am thankful for that.

Now I have a family of my own, and we are trying our best to instill good habits for our little girl. Thankfully my husband loves to garden and eat good food. He devotes much of his time to cooking good meals for us. We are a “whole foods” family – we drink whole milk, eat real butter, and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. We buy our pork from a local farmer and make sure that there are no nitrates or MSG added at the butcher. We participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), go to local farmer’s markets, and try to buy organic, grass-fed, cage free etc. when possible. We rarely go out to eat, cooking most of our meals at home, but we’re definitely not perfect when it comes to food. No one should be. And although we try following all the good things I listed above, it doesn’t always happen, and we tend to follow the “everything in moderation” rule. Besides…Who can pass up those hostess cream filled chocolate cupcakes?

I really had no desire to look into the Whole30 when it came out. I hate all the fads that come and go, and I try to promote lifestyle changes for the people I work with. I’m not overweight, and I’m fairly physically active, so besides enjoying some sugary treats and having a glass of wine or a beer every now and again, I thought I was doing pretty good with my overall nutrition and health. A few years ago, though, I started having some health issues that took me almost 2 years to work through. During this time, I became really attuned to my body, and although the issues I was having didn’t stem from my diet, I became curious after I started feeling better. Was I feeling the best that I possibly could be? Could the Whole30 help me identify foods that aren’t working for me? Would elimination of these foods help me to run again without pain? Having felt really good for the last 6 months before I decided to try the Whole30, I really didn’t believe that I was going to feel much of a difference, but it turns out, I was wrong.

The first couple of days of the Whole30 were the worst…I’m not sure if everyone feels that way, but I was miserable. I felt like I was detoxing. I hated restricting myself from foods that I really wanted to eat, and not having my morning cup of coffee with whole milk and Organic Valley’s French vanilla half and half creamer was the worst. I also had a headache for the first four or five days, which could have been attributed to not drinking enough water, but nonetheless…I felt crappy. What I do know is that after about that first week, I started to feel good. Actually, I felt great. I had so much energy. I wasn’t experiencing that afternoon sluggishness around 2pm that makes you want to go to the nearest candy bowl on your co-worker’s desk. When my alarm went off at 4:45am, I felt well rested and ready for my morning swim. When I worked out, I felt amazing. I feel like I could go on and on about how great I felt, but then something really crazy happened after about two weeks….. I was able to run for the first time in 2 1/2 years without pain or stiffness.

Having completed the Whole30, I have a deeper appreciation of what eating healthy means to me, and to really eat well, feel good, and enjoy our food, I believe it takes a true conscious effort to eat mindfully. I’ve always told people to pay attention to how food makes them feel, and it’s not that I don’t pay attention to this myself, but the Whole30 required me to practice mindfulness as it relates to food every day for 30 days. Many people may do the Whole30 just to lose weight. They treat it as another fad diet that they are going to try and hope for results. Don’t get me wrong…you will lose weight, but if that’s all you are doing it for, you are missing the point, and as soon as you go back to your normal habits the weight will come back on. Eating mindfully – understanding what and why you are eating, taking the time to enjoy food, listening to whether you’re hungry or not, and understanding the effects food has on your body – is important for weight loss as well. Your body can’t do what it’s supposed to do if you are not fueling it correctly. This means that if you aren’t eating enough calories, or too many calories, or just not the right combination of foods, you’re not going to lose weight. This also means that if are fueling your body with foods that are causing inflammatory responses, you may just be sabotaging all your efforts to be healthy and lose weight as well.

Doing this 30-day challenge isn’t easy (or inexpensive). It takes a lot of preparation/cooking, time reading labels, space in your refrigerator, and self-discipline to do it. I’ve kept a lot of great habits from this process and found out what foods really impact the inflammation in my body. It hasn’t completely stopped me from eating these foods, but I do pay the price. I don’t know if there is anything else wrong in my body that is keeping me from running like I’d like, but now I know how food affects this already present inflammation. If you are thinking about trying it, I would ask you to the approach the Whole30 differently. Think of it as an experiment in helping you to take a mindful approach to your eating that will help you create new healthy habits that you’d like to continue once you’ve finished, and as a way to identify how food truly affects your body so you can try to limit these foods and avoid the ill effects.

Written by Kristin Kipp

Kristin is the Director of Employee Wellness at Marquette University and is a Registered Dietitian.

A quest for wellness

Hi all! This is the last blog of summer vacation, I can’t believe it went by so fast! I will be coming to you next week with a day and a half of my senior year under my belt. Because this is my senior year, I feel inspired to make this my best year yet, and I want to do that with you.

In my first blog post with the Marquette University Employee Wellness team, I shared my quest for wellness with all of you. One of the biggest aspects I focused on was that I always have highs and lows with my wellness journey. I would say that most of this summer was a wellness low for me, so I am ambitious about making this year a wellness high. Every week I blog about something we can all do to improve our wellness, but unless we are following through with these on a consistent basis, it probably won’t do much to help us meet our goals. I hope that you are all looking forward to making this year your best year alongside of me. Together, we can do this!

We have so many great resources on campus that will help you achieve your best year yet. Sign up for a group fitness class, the mindfulness meditation class, and/or take part in the National Bike Challenge. Pack a healthy lunch and snack in your bag every day, with the grand opening of Sendik’s on campus this week, it will be even easier to grab some healthy food to fuel our bodies between classes. (I don’t think I have ever been this excited about a grocery store in my life, we finally have one on campus!). Most importantly, I challenge all of us to be mindful of our everyday life, our surroundings, our decisions. If we stay mindful about our decisions, it really is just that easy. Make the mindful decision to eat the apple instead of the cake, or to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Anything you can do to give your mind and body a little healthy energy.

I am ready to take on my senior year at Marquette with a new perspective on myself and my life. I would like to encourage all of you to make this your best year yet alongside of me. Writing this blog every week will help keep me accountable for my wellness decisions, so I vow to bring all of you some great, new wellness advice every week in order to keep you accountable as well. Enjoy the last week of summer break, get in some rest and get ready for our best year yet!

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

Helping others helps you

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Wellbeing is usually a balance of a healthy diet, exercise and rest, but we all use different ways of getting to this well state of mind and body. For me, one of the biggest contributors to my own wellness is actually helping others!

Throughout my life I have dedicated hours upon hours of my time to volunteering. And while the amount of time I spent doing so may have been slightly unhealthy, it made me a happier, more positive, and passionate person. You always hear people say that volunteering has a positive influence on the community around you, but you do not often hear people talking about the tremendous impact it has on the volunteer. I can tell you first hand how big of an impact helping others has had on me. While I was in various community service clubs, I sought out other opportunities within the community as well. I have done everything – serving food at homeless shelters, raising money, tutoring kids, teaching tennis, working in a hospital and more. Looking back, these were some of the best experiences in my life, and I only wish everyone could share these same experiences. I was able to see the differences that my actions made on other people. Seeing the smile on the kid who finally got that difficult math problem right. Or meeting new people who shared my passion for helping. Each and every part of my volunteering opportunities has helped me move forward toward living a life of wellness.

With my chaotic college life, I have found that I spend less and less time doing these activities that I used to love. However, when I once again set aside some time to take part in serving my community, my mood improves, and I tend to forget about all the other worrisome aspects of my life. All of these trivial parts of life seem to melt away when you immerse yourself into the act of giving. Due to this, I encourage you to take on a new community service project, even if it’s only a one day thing. It will help your community and give you a new and different sense of wellness and connectedness with that community. Sign up with your spouse, your kids, a sibling or a few coworkers. This will make for a day of fun and adventure while making a difference in the community and your own life.

Seeing the impact that just one person can have on another person, a family, a community and the world is absolutely inspiring. And if my passion for helping others encourages just one other person to get out there and make a difference in their community and their own life, then I will consider my mission accomplished.

The impact that volunteering has had on me is everlasting, and I hope that my accounts inspire you to dive into these amazing experiences as well.

 

Alicia Diedrich


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