Posts Tagged 'Wellness'

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

Wellbeing Biography: Lauren Scherer and her Crossfit love


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

Preserving political wellness


With the election season finished, I believe it is time to revisit and address the emotions we have all felt. Many people were surprised about the results of the presidential election, some are extremely happy; some are struck with grief, anxiety and fear. Political affiliations aside, I believe it is extremely important to continue having fruitful political discussion, even though the votes have already been cast.

The thing I have found most success with in the last few weeks has been having positive political discourse with those who have differing opinions to me. Hearing and truly understanding the other side of any argument is incredibly important, but this does not mean you have to change your view. Empathizing with those who may be afraid isn’t only the right thing to do, it is the only way we can preserve what makes the United States so great; our differences.

Many people have found it very helpful to temporarily disconnect themselves from major news networks and social media, and while this isn’t a permanent solution, it can definitely promote mental and emotional wellness. However, it is important to expose yourself to new experiences and social issues, so permanently tuning out those resources may end up negatively affecting people in the long run.

Psychology Today reports that 52 percent of Americans have experienced stress and anxiety from this election, and they say the way to respond is with compassion for others1. I completely agree with this sentiment. Now, more than ever, it is important to be a good person. Politics and personal beliefs aside, this world we live in needs more goodness. It is on every single one of us to make our community, our country and our world a better place. No political party, religious belief or personal opinion should ever get in the way of being a decent human being.

Here I have listed a couple articles on how to deal with post-election emotions; check them out:



By Ben Eccles

Prejudices do not make us well


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


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.



Being well in life can depend on your pockets


What does it mean to be financially “well?” This question has really peaked my interest for a long time. There are many factors that contribute to someone’s financial wellness, and they are fairly universal since they can apply to a college student just as much as they can apply to a professional reaching retirement age. These factors can include personal finances/budgeting, financial risks and investing for retirement.

While there is an astronomical amount of information on all of these topics (thanks, Internet!), I have tried to condense some of the information in fairly simple terms. This is a great jumping off point if you are interested in improving your financial wellness!

Having a good understanding of your personal finances is an integral part of becoming a financially well person. Knowing exactly where your money is coming and going is part of being fiscally responsible. Many people find it very helpful to create a monthly budget to provide them some guidance. A simple way to do this is to record exactly how much income you are receiving, whether it be from a job, an investment, or otherwise. Next, you can track everything that you spend that money on. This is a very wide range of things; from car payments to grocery bills to clothes shopping. Understanding exactly how much you are spending and what you are spending is possibly the most important part of your personal finances. Once you have your monthly income and monthly expenses, find the difference (income –minus expenses). If the difference is a positive number, you are living in a financially sustainable way. If the difference is negative, you are actually losing money every month, which means you are living in a financially unsustainable way.

While the concept of keeping a budget and sticking to it is simple in theory, it can be very hard to limit ourselves to spend less than we earn. It takes a lot of focus and discipline to do this. The outcome of being financially responsible is a sustainable lifestyle that minimizes financial stress and allows for a lot of flexibility when something like poor health or unintended expenses come up (and they always do).

We can separate financial risks into three categories: loss of income, unintended expenses, and outliving assets in retirement. Loss of income can be due to a whole host of things like death, sickness, injury or loss of job. Unintended expenses are things like medical bills after an accident or natural disaster causing damage to the home. Outliving your assets in retirement is most likely the least consider risk people have. Most people don’t really worry about retirement until it is staring them in the face. This is obviously not the correct way to do this, considering time is one of your greatest assets when it comes to investing. Taking advantage of very simple investing strategies and placing them in a work sponsored 401k or IRA, letting them sit and profit from compound interest is a very popular and simple way you can hedge against outliving your assets.

Therefore, realizing and obtaining financial wellness goals can be broken down very simply – be informed and active in your personal finances and minimize your financial risks. The things discussed in this article are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to financial literacy, but understanding that this is the starting point is the first step in becoming financially well.


By Ben Eccles

Wellbeing Biography: Ben Eccles


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.

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