Posts Tagged 'meditation'

New employee wellness space

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Hello again Marquette! I am bringing you some exciting news this week. You may have already heard, but yesterday we celebrated the grand opening of our new employee-dedicated wellness space located in the lower level of Coughlin Hall. I hope you all had the opportunity to join us at the grand opening yesterday afternoon.

This new wellness space is such a wonderful addition to campus, the MU Employee Wellness team is certainly very excited about it! This new space allows Marquette’s employees to utilize the space to improve themselves and their wellness. It has a similar concept to Marquette’s Interfaith Meditation Space, allowing individuals to reflect on their own or possessing the ability to hold group sessions dedicated to wellness. The Interfaith Meditation Space is open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 am to 11:45 pm, and Sunday from 9:00 am to 11:45 pm. That already gives our campus a extensive lot of time to access the space and to work on our wellness.

The best part about the new wellness space though? It’s open 24 hours a day! This means that if you’re on campus until late at night, you can go to the wellness center. Or if you decide you absolutely need to get away from home for some time to yourself, you can come in at 3:00, 4:00, or 5:00 am and it will be there for you! This space is here to help all of our staff achieve their wellness goals and find some calmness and peace of mind in the midst of our hectic, busy lives. There are plans for the new wellness space to soon hold free, on-demand, Immersive Fitness & Meditation Classes. This is such a huge step for our community because now there will be wellness classes that work with your schedule! If you are too busy to attend the regularly scheduled classes, you will now have the ability to make your own time for these classes, so no more excuses! Get out to Coughlin Hall and work on your wellness.

We will soon have more information and links on how to access the space, so when this information becomes available, this post will be updated to include these links to make it easy for you to find the information you need to achieve your new wellness goals. Remember, we are going to make this our best year yet!

Alicia Diedrich

Mindfulness Meditation

I hope this week finds all of you in a peaceful, calm, and relaxed state of mind. I am anything but all of these right now! I am moving to a new apartment today, and it’s only a block away from where I was living. Needless to say, my day is a little hectic! So even if you are finding yourself in the midst of some crazy life change like me or just any old stressful day, week, or month, I’d like to remind you it will all be okay. But make sure you’re taking some proactive steps to help yourself along the way to a relaxed mind so you don’t get too stressed out. We’re lucky here at Marquette because we have lots of great resources to help you work towards a life of wellness.

One of these great resources is the free Mindfulness Meditation sessions that are held every week. Now I’ve definitely heard it before. “How is sitting there in silence and meditating going to help me?” And I have definitely been skeptical about it before, but this year I was given the opportunity and motivation to have a new experience with meditation. This past spring semester I took Theology 2310 – Explorations in Christian Theology with Dr. Nussberger. In this class we were assigned a project to spend half of the semester regularly performing or participating in any kind of prayer practice. I chose to do at least 10 to 15 minutes of meditation daily for the remainder of the semester. I did a quiet meditation where I focused solely on my breathing, allowing all of my other thoughts to escape my mind. And while this was not always an easy task with my crazy-busy, racing mind, it was well worth it in the end.

I could not believe what just a few minutes of silence could do for me. Letting myself turn off my brain from all of my worries and everything on my to-do list. Before my quiet meditation days I never realized just how necessary it is to give all of your body a break: yes, including your brain! Now, if you’re unsure how to get started on meditation, let’s backtrack to the Mindfulness Meditation classes that I mentioned. There’s just a few more weeks left of the summer session, so get started on your meditation now! Join this week’s Mindfulness Meditation on Wednesday from 12:15 to 1 in AMU 233. If you end up loving the Mindfulness Meditation, don’t worry that the summer session is almost over, we will surely be back with another session this fall! Mindfulness is just one step in the direction of living a life of wellness, but being mindful in your everyday decisions on nutrition, exercise, and a well mind are the key to overall well-being. Meditation is a great way to achieve a new level of mindfulness.

Hopefully discovering Mindfulness Meditation will allow you to find yourself in a new, relaxed and peaceful state of mind despite whatever craziness is going on in your life, just like it did for me. Happy meditating!

Alicia Diedrich

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.

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

Purging of the poisonous people

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 2.43.16 PMLife is filled with handfuls of wonderful people. But it also cannot be ignored that there are plenty of Debby-Downers in day-to-day life. Sometimes people are just chronically negative, having a bad day or taking out a personal problem on you. Needless to say, this can ruin a work day, or any day really. We all probably have in mind that one person who constantly picks on our work or can barely spare a compliment when you do happen to do a good job. Usually, I try to ignore the negativity, but it can build up into a pessimistic mountain at times. So recently I’ve taken on the task of separating myself from the people who have just proven to be toxic in my life.

No, I’m not saying rid yourself from every single person who has hurt your feelings ever. You would be one lonely loner, that’s for sure. In life, we all have to remember that we are just human. We cannot be perfect and we cannot expect others to be perfect either. But we also cannot ignore self-care by letting Negative-Nancys take advantage of us. And we can’t let Meany-Mike strip us of our self-esteem on a regular basis. What I mean to say is that if there are people in your life that you are constantly putting yourself out for, relying on or covering for and they just keep using you like that, move on.

Ah, those scary words. Move on. Certainly not an easy thing to do and certainly not one of my favorite things to do either. I always find myself worrying about things like, “Oh, what if they change and see how much I do for them?” or “Maybe they just need a positive influence in their lives like me.” Forget it, man. Letting someone who does not have his or her own self-esteem worked out steel-roll you for all of your I-love-myself points is not fair to you! I fell into this trap of trying to be the bigger person by staying close friends with some people who were quite rude to me on a regular basis and would constantly use me for whatever I had to offer at the time. Not a fun gig. Not a real friendship.

And I know, you might be thinking that God says we should love our enemies. This is true. But He never said let them take advantage of you and toss you around for whatever they want or need. We can go out of our way, as Christians (and frankly as decent human beings) and help our neighbors, whether we like them or not. We should also, though, stand up for ourselves and the precious person that we were created as.

So if there are bullies getting you down, just step away. It is way more possible than you think. I’ve done it, my mother has done it with her friends and my dad has done it with his job. They seem much happier to me. And I can assure you that I’ve never felt better or stronger myself. Like I said, there are tons of fantastic people in the world. Go out there and surround yourself with great influences, others who lift each other up and friends who will always have your back. You deserve it. No one needs the little guys picking on you, and soon enough, they too will realize it themselves.

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.

The tense topic of stretching

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Photo via breakingmuscle.com

I would consider myself a pretty active person. I am a kickboxing trainer, I bike, I play volleyball, I rock climb, I kayak. You name it, I have probably done it if it is an active sport. My biggest problem is that these are all get-up-and-go activities. If you’re also involved in active sports like these, then you might know what I go through every time it is suggested that I stretch before I start.

Ah, stretching. The most seemingly unnecessary waste of time holding you back from getting your groove on. What we really fail to see sometimes, though, is that stretching is the key to physical progress and being physically capable to do all these active activities that we love.

I’ve heard it time and time again, “Oh no, I don’t need to stretch. I never get hurt. I’ll be fine,” Alright, you may be fine now, but 20 years from now, your body might not feel the same way.

What happens when we don’t stretch? Well, at first, nothing. We get to go along with our workouts carefree and quickly, unworried about injury. We’ll see progress and get stronger or better. But one day, we’ll be sitting at our desk in the office and end over to grab that paperclip that just slipped off the desk when suddenly a shooting pain stings your lower back. Could blame it on age, could blame it on just twisting it funny, but these painful muscle pulls and tears can be prevented. How? Stretching.

Imagine your body as a rubber band. When you work out, your rubber-band-body is strung tightly around a stack of notecards, tensing to keep them together. If you were to leave that rubber band wrapped around that pile of paper, eventually the rubber would become brittle and snap. This works the same way with the muscles in your body. If you continue to exert force with your muscles for long periods of time without proper stretching, then your muscles, too, will become brittle and stiff, causing injuries.

I don’t know about you, but I really dislike being injured – even more than I dislike sitting around stretching and waiting to do something active that I love. It is important, though, to get those muscles nice and loose before I get my head in the game. By stretching, I am allowing myself the opportunity to workout to the best of my ability and giving my body what it needs to help me do what I want to do. Yes, stretching can be hard and boring, but instead of sitting there and thinking, “Gosh, I’m so tight,” or “Ugh, this is such a drag,” tell yourself that you are respecting your body and taking good care of it by stretching.

Stretching will definitely be a staple in my workouts from here on out. I want to take care of my body so that I can do all the sports and crazy activities that I love to do. Taking the extra time to loosen up your muscles will keep you going. Believe me, I think it is worth the time investment.


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