Category Archives: Intellectual

Our minds need to be continually inspired and exercised just as our bodies do. The intellectual dimension encourages openness to new ideas, motivation to master new skills, a sense of humor, creativity, and curiosity. People who possess a high level of intellectual wellness have an active mind and never stop learning. Striving for personal growth and a willingness to seek out and use new information are also characteristics of an intellectually-well individual

Contemplating the F-word

I recently attended an outstanding conference hosted by the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals, and one of the speakers in particular has left me thinking…

and thinking…

and thinking.

Even on a weekend. Which is almost unlawful.

She talked about the F-word. You know: Failure.

Her message was simple. We must not fear failure and rob ourselves of living life, we must share our failures with others, and we must celebrate failures in order to create a culture of innovation. This concept blew my mind. I’ve always held myself to the standard that failure is unacceptable. It means I didn’t try hard enough, or I made the wrong choice, or I did something incorrectly- whatever “it” is, I screwed it up. And she wants me to CELEBRATE and SHARE these things?!956b2cadd449b6b6a05ed4f8e65b9ee1

She asked for volunteers to share a time they’ve failed and what they learned from it. I have to admit that it rarely crosses my mind to think, “What did I learnfrom this mess?” when it’s all over. I usually think “Oh my gosh thank GOODNESS that’s over! Time to move on.”I try to stay on the safe side of everything, and if something doesn’t work out right, I sweep it under the rug and move past as fast as possible. The last few jobs I’ve had have been “firsts” for the companies- I was the first Executive Director and I’m currently the first Events Coordinator. (Did I mention that my degree is dietetics?!) Anyway, before I took my last job as ED, I was almost paralyzed with fear that I would say or do something wrong in the position and somehow make the entire organization crumble. I sat down with this same great lady at the time and rather than offering pity or comfort, she challenged me with statements like: “What’s the worst that could happen?” and “So what?!” I was not ready to even consider the outcomes, as my mind was too consumed with the possibilities.

I’m someone who can easily get lost in her own mind. I think about thinking- to a fault at times. So now I have this new challenge to start celebrating and sharing my thoughts on failures I’ve had. I’m not going to lie- it’s been a few weeks, and I still find myself paralyzed with fear at times when I think about failing- but I try to stop and open my mind to the possibility that it may happen as a lesson- as something to celebrate. I believe that most things happen for a reason, even if it’s a reason I don’t like. Or a lesson I don’t want to learn. It still happens, and it’s up to me to decide how to close the cover on that book.

Girl walking in a field carrying a suitcase

What have you failed at recently? And what became of it? Share it with me- let’s CELEBRATE!

 

Social Media Microphone

I remember quite clearly when Facebook was introduced to me by a friend. It was the fall of my freshman year of college, 2004, and she swore this was going to be “all the rage” in no time at all. I bought into it, thinking it’ll be a nice way to keep in touch. Of course, the trick back then was trying to get your friends to join so it would work right.

It was a time when you were limited on the number of characters you could use in a status,  and it was always “Stacey is…” You were given a lot less freedom in creating yourself on a webpage than what we have today. Things began to evolve, and soon you could have your very own picture, you could write your very own statuses (without the annoying “is” directing your path), and you could find almost anyone in the Facebook family.

My friend was right; this had become the “place to be.”

As the years have flown by, I’ve been disheartened and encouraged all at the same time. I see things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as  awesome people connectors and a form of self-expression. I’m able to tell my story creatively through pictures and thoughts. I’m able to keep in touch with friends and family- both near and far. I’m able to spread the word on anything I choose…which leads me to this question for you:

What are you trying to tell the world?

As times have changed,  I’ve seen some sobering displays of disrespect, distasteful outspokenness, and downright embarrassing outbursts. I won’t lie; I’m just as guilty as many in saying that I’ve posted a thought or opinion that I’m not proud of. At the time, it was too easy to post something to “get back” at a person or vent about a situation. All I had to do was write it, hit post, and wait for the satisfaction of people liking it- and therefore obviously (-in my own mind) agreeing with me…

But that’s just.not.right. Remember when you were little, and you said something out of anger or spite, perhaps even taking a swing at someone because you felt like they deserved it in that moment- but were corrected for your behavior shortly thereafter? The trouble with Social Media Microphones is that we don’t always have a parent or a teacher that corrects our behavior or unplugs the power source- so things can escalate quickly. Feelings get hurt and friendships get lost. And unfortunately, sometimes it all happens because of a misunderstanding.

Sometimes I’m so proud of the way people use social media to spread a positive message or awareness of something, to share really exciting life news with their friends and family, to connect with new people in new ways. And sometimes… well, in the wake of things like elections or this “instant news source” that doesn’t always even allow us to know the whole story before forming opinions and taking action or the ability to create alternative personalities and profiles online to totally trick and … sometimes, I just need to quiet the World Wide Web. All of those opinions just get to be too much, and I’m not proud of our human race.

I get that there are times when emotions take over and passion is not containable, but in those moments try to go for a walk. Or write it down using a pen and paper. Find something that will make you slow down and really think about what you want to say. Many of you cannot imagine a time when you didn’t have this Social Media Microphone to blast your thoughts out to the world, but it used to exist. If I was frustrated with someone, I had to just sit with that uncomfortable feeling, write a letter, or make a phone call. 2 of those options made me face the person, and that was not always attractive enough to pursue. As a result, feelings were hurt less. Relationships were destroyed less.

You hold a lot of power with your Social Media Microphone. Use it wisely. Please remember that we’re all human on the other side of the screen.

Retro microphone on stage

 

A new kind of Bump.

When I was younger, my “life plan” was to be married by 20 and have at least one child by 21. I was also going to live in a purple house and play saxophone for the former President Clinton. (Because he was President at the time, also played the saxophone,  and I was obsessed with that instrument.)

Then life happened.

I starting losing weight… graduated from high school… started college… lost too much weight… struggled to find my purpose… switched colleges and degrees (again)… found a healthy and attainable weight… graduated from college… first “big kid” job in a new city… new job in a different city… met a boy and his dog… bought a house… got married… next job…

and now we’re here. I’m almost 29 years old and I don’t live in a purple house. I rarely play the saxophone for ANYONE- definitely NOT the former President.

But, now the “child” thing is happening. I’m 1/2-way to meeting our newest family member, and it’s been quite the journey so far. In terms of symptoms, I’ve had a ridiculously easy pregnancy. Aside from feeling like a walking zombie for most of my baby-growing time, I’ve had just a few aches and ailments, and I’m pretty darn thankful.

My loose skin which has hung so haphazardly for 10 years is now forming into a rounded “bump.” I love that little bump.  I’ve often found myself just holding it- holding my baby- to keep it safe and show love to both the child and my body. It’s important to do that. Just as important has been to surround myself with love- having people who support me and lift me up, who encourage me with their words and actions. I’ve felt an outpouring of all of these things since sharing our exciting news and there are so many days that these people have been the reason that I am able to remember how lucky I am.

The biggest struggle in all of this has been in the growing. In the beginning, I can remember having conversations with myself about what pregnancy may entail, and that it WILL include a weight gain. A good and important kind. And there was nothing wrong with it- as long it was done in a healthy way.  I’ve worked so hard on losing and maintaining a weight loss of over 100 pounds, and for the first time since I can remember, I’m having to process that it’s OK to gain. That when a shirt or pant or skirt no longer fits it’s a natural part of the process rather than a sign that I need to kick myself for eating all those peanut M&Ms.
If any of you have lost a significant amount of weight before pregnancy, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a weird (for lack of a better word) thing to have to accept and be OK with. It’s even harder when you have the appetite of a linebacker and a strong addiction to cake and candy and French fries that no longer seems to be avoidable. I’m certain that lost a lot of my self-control, and I swear people can just smell it on me… and know just what to offer to make me drool and make my knees buckle. I mean, even the Ice Cream truck drives by me while I’m out walking and by my house at least 4 times a week (I wish I was kidding).

So for now my goal has now been to (try to) eat healthy about 90% of the day (and yes- I do count down the minutes), as well as try to get some form of physical activity in almost every day… I know I eat more than I should, so this way I rest a little easier knowing that I’m trying. Like I said, I’m by no means perfect (like the times I’ve eaten jars of peanut butter as a “snack,” or the entire popcorn cake by myself, or that pan of delicious double cake, or….), but I give it a shot. Every day.  Just like I did before I was growing a human.

I want my child(ren) to grow up with healthy self images and love their bodies rather than avoid any reflective surface because they hate what they see. I want them to see food as fuel rather than “good or bad.” And I want them to enjoy playing rather than feeling like they need to torture themselves with exercise. I know that all of these messages- negative and realistic- are out there. And I know I can be one of the first to send the “right” messages about bodies and health from an early age.

Until Baby D arrives, I can practice being a good role model to those around me by keeping my self-talk positive, by forgiving myself for the jar of peanut butter, by appreciating the fact that I can still exercise and eat what I want.
Being love and showing love.

Is THAT what You call Commitment?

Throughout your day, if you really think about it you commit to a lot. You commit to the outfit you’re wearing. You commit to wearing your seatbelt on the way to school/work. You commit to riding your bike or walking to work. You commit to your responsibilities at work. You commit to cooking supper or maybe choosing where to pick up something to eat. You commit to taking the dog for a walk or going to the gym. You commit to sleeping at night.

Do you think of it that way? Do you see your life as a series of choices to commitments you make?

Maybe I’m off… maybe your car is broken so you HAVE to ride your bike or walk. Maybe your favorite shirt is dirty so you HAVE to wear the other shirt. Maybe it’s raining out so you HAVE to find a different way of exercising. But really, don’t you still have a choice in committing to these things at a certain level?
I mean, you could call for a ride, you could pick your 2nd favorite shirt, you could embrace your exercising alternative… do you see what I mean?

I’m not saying that you need to walk around and high five everyone you pass on the street because you were “tasked” with picking up all of the dog poop at a recent volunteer event… but you could at the very least remain a pleasant human being. I think most people would agree that isn’t the best job in the world, but you are greatly appreciated for doing it. Pull up your big kid pants and put a smile on your face- after all, it’s only temporary!

There are other times when you choose to do things- like attend an after work event with coworkers. It’s up to you to be mindful and respectful of all of the others present with your conversation… meaning, you aren’t bashing those who chose not to come. And you aren’t negatively simmering over the fact that you showed up. You are simply there and enjoying whatever unfolds. Choosing to see the bright side of your choice and only worrying about yourself.

Commitment… what does it look like? In my mind, it looks strong. It looks reassuring. It looks positive. It looks attractive.

What does your commitment look like?

example

You are Allowed.

Dear Self,

Sometimes you push too hard. You forget to take a break for fear of failure. You let those silly voices tell you that ‘you are not worthy of rejuvenation because the person next to you must be working harder. You have to keep going. Even allowing one hour or one evening of rest will undo all of your efforts. Get up. Get going. Keep going’.

Do you ever find yourself feeling this way? It might be at work, or at the gym, or at your place of residence… this overwhelming sense of guilt for daring to listen to your body and take care of yourself by breaking for a nap to to watch your favorite show or read a chapter in your book. I do- like, all the time. I found myself in this predicament last week. The previous week at work had been pretty crazy and I don’t think I ever did recover. You know, because there’s always a house to clean, a dog to walk, clothes and dishes to wash… the list never ends. Every time I thought about sitting down I would feel like I was just wasting time.

I could feel my body telling me I better slow down “or else” on Monday, but once again ignored it; I had stuff to do!

And then it hit me. HARD. By mid-afternoon Tuesday I felt physically and emotionally exhausted. It hurt to sit. And think. And function. By the time I got home I was going back and forth from tearing up to yawning. All I thought about was taking the dog for a walk and picking up the house and finishing the dishes and cleaning off the counters and all of the other little things that I felt like I HAD to get done that night or risk total failure as a human. (I know, I know… totally ridiculous, right?!) But … my body had officially had enough.

So I stopped. I allowed myself permission and space to just sit, and then just sleep. After a 2 hour “dead sleep” nap plus a full nights’ sleep, I woke up the next day feeling human again.

In a go-go-go world, it’s easy to get caught up in a rough cycle that will eventually lead to breakdown. It’s important that we remember that the majority of people feel this way- that we are all “competing” for that “I’m the busiest person” trophy… and yet, you don’t win a prize for that.

Slow down.

Allow yourself to sit and enjoy life- whether it’s through a hobby, a phone call to a friend/family member, or even taking a little bit of time to catch up on your favorite TV show. From my experience, the police won’t show up on your doorstep because you chose to take care of yourself… and the dishes/clothes/messes will be there tomorrow.

How will you slow down this week?

slowdown

So…Do you want to?

Asking for consent before you engage in sexual activity is important because it will keep you and your partner comfortable and in control of what is going happening.  When asking your partner for consent, there is no right or wrong way.  You just have to say what feels most comfortable for you in the situation, whether that means you get straight to the point or sugar coat it.  Some ways to ask for consent are:

 

  • Can I kiss you?
  • What are you comfortable with?
  • May I …?
  • Would you like to try this with me?

 

If you still feel unsure on what to say, just remember to ask exactly what you would like to do with your partner and get a yes or no answer.  If your partner gives you a vague answer or seems hesitant on what to say, that may be a sign that they don’t want to engage in the activity.  If that happens, tell your partner that it is okay if they don’t want to engage in that activity or anything at all. 
 
Once you and your partner have given consent, that does not mean things can’t stop.  You and your partner always have a right to say “no”, even if an agreement was made beforehand.  Some examples of what a partner might be doing if they want you to stop are:

 

  • Lack of eye contact
  • No response
  • Discomfort or tensing up
  • Saying things like, “I’m not sure,” “I’m scared,” or “Wait, I…”

 

If your partner doesn’t show any of the signs listed above but you feel that they might want to stop, just ask.  Overall, taking the time to pay attention to how your partner is responding will make them feel comfortable and respected. 
It’ll also help you to know when you are doing something right because your partner is giving you “yes” signs. Some examples of a “yes” sign are:

 

  • Telling you to keep going
  • Directing you on how to do something
  • Telling you that they are okay with that

 

Just remember to ask for consent before engaging in any sexual activity, pay attention to the “yes” or “no” signals, and always stop if you or your partner don’t want to engage in the activity anymore.  
If you are going to be sexually active, make sure you are always using protection.  The only way to be 100% safe from sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy is to abstain from sexual activity.  Information in this blog was found from Think About It.   ​

UND Students Stay with the Same Friends When They Party!

89.1% of UND students stay with their same group of friends when they party.

stay_with_friends

This is a social norm that has begun to spread across campus. If you are anything like me, your initial reaction might have been along the lines of “… Okay? …” This social norm can be a little confusing if you are not aware of what protective behaviors are related to drinking. It might seem odd that we’re telling you about students drinking, but what it is really saying is that UND students are being safe when they party!

Staying with your friends when you go out drinking is what we call a protective behavior. It’s important to always have people you know and trust around so that they can lookout for you if you ever need help, or are too drunk to recognize a dangerous situation; and you can do the same for them. Essentially, what we’re doing is using the “Buddy System.”

However, staying with your friends is not the only protective behavior out there…
There are many other actions you can take to keep yourself safe when you drink. A few of these include:

  1. Setting limits on how many drinks you will have in one evening;
  2. Limiting your drinking sessions to certain days and times;
  3. Eating before and during drinking;
  4. Avoiding risky or heavy drinking situations;
  5. Spacing out your drinks and alternating in non-alcoholic drinks; and,
  6. Making a pre-determined plan about how to get home at the end of the night that does not involve driving yourself.

These are just a few things to keep in mind the next time you go out drinking. Hopefully, this is helpful in explaining why it is good that students stay with their friends when out partying.

Time Management is Possible

Time Management is Possible

My name is Antonia and I am a procrastinator. Phew! It feels better to have that in the open. Acknowledgement is the first step towards change, as they say. Now that I’ve said it, I know that many of you are fellow procrastinators and even those who are not – get distracted at times. As the spring semester begins to wind down, and the assignments and tests begin to pile up, time management becomes a timely topic of interest (see what I did there) and necessity. I want to share with you some tools, tips, and tricks that I have found very helpful.

1)      Plan Ahead- If at all possible; do not wait until the day before to complete a task that should be done over many days or even weeks. I once waited to complete an interview for a paper two days before it was due. Think about adding your tasks to your phone/computer/tablet’s calendar, so that you get reminders a week before they’re due.

2)      Make a List. When you look at all of the things you have to accomplish, put them down in writing. When you wrote down all the things that you need to do for a day, prioritize by thinking about what you really need to accomplish and what can wait. When you have your list, place it somewhere you can see it; somewhere you cannot forget it. I have been known to place it on the television screens so I would not watch a show until I had finished my list.

3)      Find a Study time & remove all of your distractions. Are you most productive in the morning or the evening? Does this depend on the type of project you are working on? For example, I am most creative late in the evening but I can complete more mundane tasks in the morning hours when I have more energy. Know what works best for you and set that time aside for studying and homework. To stay focused, try apps like Stay Focused or Self Control that lock you out of certain time sucking websites so you can be more productive.

4)      My fourth and final step is possibly the most important. Are you ready for it? Just Do It! That’s it. Just get it done. Running away from work only accomplishes one thing: creates a larger pile for when you get back. If you plan ahead, make lists, and set a study zone and time, you’ll be better equipped to get things done. If you’re saddled with a particularly burdensome task, think about why you are doing it and how it will benefit your future success. Use those positive thinking skills! You can also use the Pomodoro technique and take short breaks throughout your work sessions. The semester’s coming to a close, and those assignments are piling up. Don’t panic. Take a breath. You can do this.

If you’d like more tips, tricks and helpful apps to manage your time more effectively visit the Student Success Center in the Memorial Union, or try these links:

 

http://und.edu/student-affairs/student-services/

https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-started/inside-the-classroom/8-ways-to-take-control-of-your-time

http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/professors-guide/2009/10/14/top-12-time-management-tips

http://www.doit.wisc.edu/news/top-time-management-apps-tools/

 

 

KNOW the facts

KNOW

What do you know about alcohol use?

Do you know what the standard drink size is for beer, hard liquor, and wine?

Can you name 3 factors that influence your Blood Alcohol Content, or 3 protective behaviors?

If these questions are difficult for you, you may not be as informed on alcohol use as you could be. What does it matter, you say? Well, Cash Cab is coming to YOU on UND’s campus, April 28th through May 2nd, and knowing facts about alcohol is the only way for you to WIN! So brush up on your knowledge of alcohol use, stop by the Health & Wellness Hub for more information on alcohol, and look for the Cash Cab golf cart driving down University for your chance to show what you KNOW!

Make goals for National Money Smart Week

Set your goals for National Money Smart Week!

Last week was Money Smart Week.

It’s like January 1st for your finances! A week where we can all reflect on our money saving – or not saving – habits, loans and other debts, and budgeting skills. Then, we can make a resolution; not the “I’m going to hit the gym for 3 hours every day for an entire year and never come near to chocolate,” kind of goal. But a SMART goal. One that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely!

What’s the point of making a goal if you can’t accomplish it? At UND Financial Wellness, we believe when this method is followed, the likelihood that you will accomplish your goals will increase greatly.

Let’s first do some brainstorming. Where in your financial life do you need a tune up? Perhaps you know nothing about your student loans or how you are going to pay for school. Or, while it may be hard to believe from looking outside, summer is just around the corner. Have a plan for summer employment or summer classes? Maybe you are scrambling to find money for groceries and to pay rent at the end of the month. Whatever it is, you know your struggles – don’t hide them, use this week as a time to make changes!

Specific

When you determine this goal, make sure it is specific. A goal such as “I want to pay for more of my school instead of using loans,” has little merit. While the overarching idea is spot on, it lacks specifics to make it accomplishable. You can’t fix every financial problem in one sitting; instead, take one problem and create a solution. To revise the previously stated goal, let’s try, “I will pay half of my tuition out of pocket.”

Measureable

How about a measurement? If you are trying to pay for half of your tuition, what is the dollar amount? To revise this goal, “I will pay $2000 out of pocket for my tuition,” Setting your goal so that you can measure it is vital to tracking your progress and success.

Attainable

Now that you have a specific goal that can be measured with simple math, ensure that the goal is attainable. When trying to pay $2000 out of pocket, don’t plan on picking dollars off the money tree in your backyard. Determine if this goal is attainable. For the tuition goal, does this require some extra hours of work in the summer or applying for scholarships? Include this in your goal so you have the means to accomplish this. “I will pay $2000 out of pocket for my tuition by working 40 hours a week this summer.”

Relevant

We can have all sorts of financial goals. Some people may hope to travel the world or own a house. For our goals for Money Smart Week, we want to focus on something relevant to our lives. As students, our financial resources are likely tighter and many of our goals are focused on necessities. Purchasing a large house or planning an extravagant trip may not be relevant to our lives at this point. Instead, a goal focused on what is pertinent to our life, such as tuition, is most important.

Timely

Finally, make your goal timely. To check up on your progress and ensure success, set a deadline. For example, “I will pay $2000 out of pocket for my tuition by working 40 hours a week this summer and saving $500 each month from May to August.”

Now that you have the steps to make healthy decisions, determine what it is that you want to change in your financial life, and take a stab at it! Track your progress and revise for your circumstances! If you need help, feel free to make an appointment:  http://www.UND.edu/financial-wellness

Good luck and Happy Saving!

 

*Blog written by Kaitlin Bezdicek.  Kaitlin is a student at UND and a peer educator for Financial Wellness.

 

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