Category Archives: Spiritual
Spiritual wellness is a personal dimension that involves possessing a set of guiding beliefs, principles, or values that help give direction to one’s life. It involves a high level of faith, hope, and commitment to your individual beliefs that provides a sense of meaning and purpose. People can express their meaning and purpose in life through nature, art, music, religion, meditation, or good deeds performed towards others. Spiritual wellness may or may not involve religion. Although religion is an integral part of spirituality for some, one does not need to be involved in organized religion to be spiritual.
psst… Did you get the title? I guess I had to be a part of the cool kids and reference the latest craze. Truthfully- I haven’t seen the movie yet. I only heard John T butchered Idina’s name. (And to be fair, I would’ve probably said something similar. Wouldn’t you?)
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. Mostly about weight loss, self image, and the journey that I’ve been on for a dozen years (WOW- it’s been that long?! I feel old). When I was 16, I tipped the scales at over 300 pounds. I didn’t see a “big person,” and it was honestly confusing to me to hold up my clothes and accept the fact that I not only filled them, but I challenged many of the seams’ thread power.
As I said, those days are long gone. A lot of hard work and much better lifestyle choices have helped me maintain my 100+ pound weight loss. I’d be lying if I told you that it has been easy. I think at some point it did get easier, but I.still.struggle.every.day. If I’m not finding it hard to say no to a pound of peanut M&Ms, I’m daunted with the task of looking in the mirror and not only accepting, but loving my loose skin and remnants of stretch marks.
Did you know that we all have bad days? Mine might look different than yours, but even the most successful people run into challenging moments that sometimes end in defeat.
The age of social media has somewhat muted our ability to accept that it’s OK to be anything less than perfect. There’s a funny picture I recently saw that has a couple happily posing while on a hike; underneath was a picture of them fighting with the title “3 seconds earlier.” Social Media allows us to share our highlight reel with the world… and if you’re anything like me, it also creates an unnecessary perception of pressure to continue “one upping” yourself or those around you.
A few weeks ago, I sat and at a pound of peanut M&Ms. Yes, an ENTIRE POUND. By myself. Just watching tv, relaxing (OK- well maybe it was a combination of stress and emotional eating a little bit, too). Anyway. When my hand hit the bottom of the bag, I was MORTIFIED at what I had done. I couldn’t believe that “I was so weak”… in my head there were much harsher adjectives I was using in reference to my moment of weakness. Let’s just say- I was not being a nice person, and I went from a moment of pure bliss and enjoyment in the form of sweet and salty crunchiness to complete defeat and horror.
The next day I woke up still mad at myself and began plotting the things I would HAVE to do to make sure that pound of peanut M&Ms didn’t end in a 100 pound weight gain. I would HAVE to spend at least 5 hours at the gym. I would HAVE to eat one meal and nothing else. I would HAVE to not see anyone because they would surely smell the chocolate and peanuts seeping out of my pores…
HOLD UP. STOP THE BUS.
Do you hear how ridiculous that all sounds? Reflecting back on it, I do! At the time it seemed very rational though. (And for the record- I did my normal time at the gym and ate my normal 2 meals and 14 snacks, and I saw several friends/family members. haha!)
Here’s the thing. Sometimes you’re going to have a moment of weakness. A bad day. A tough decision. And sometimes the best option won’t be the one that you choose to make. But that’s OK. Just as important as it can be to make a good choice, it is equally as important to forgive yourself for being human. As I read in a book the other day,
“Don’t let a Lapse become a Relapse.”
As both an emotional and stress eater, I know all-too-well how easy it is to fall off the tracks. One “bad” bite can lead to a “bad” meal can lead to a “bad” day can lead to a “bad” week… and pretty soon I’ve given up the gym and my 10 heads of lettuce a week.
Now I’m working on a different mindset. For too many years following my weight loss, I had a “good or bad” mentality. Everything was black and white.
Good= lots of exercise, fruits, vegetables, no fat, smaller clothing sizes…
Bad= ice cream, peanut M&Ms, not exercising, a plateau or increase in clothing sizes, marshmallows…
I was missing out on SO.MUCH. and it finally got to the point that I felt deprived and was ready to rebel by eating every “Bad” thing in sight. I’ve since learned to Let it Go once in a while… to enjoy a nice treat. I put in a lot of effort into eating healthy and exercise. And now I’m working on loving what I see in the mirror. After all, I’ve worked really hard for the body I have for a really long time, and considering what I’ve put it through, it DESERVES love!
Think about your own life. Do you allow yourself to fail lovingly? Are you willing to forgive yourself, learn from the situation, and move on when things don’t happen according to plan?
I’m going nuts. (Like, even more crazy than the norm.)
This winter is breaking my will. Yesterday I did so many “laps” around my house trying to find something to occupy my time that I started crying- CRYING!! After a series of questions from my husband and tissues, we determined that I’m stir crazy and just tired of being so cold.all.the.time. (Seems like a logical reason to cry, amIright?!)
My story is not unique. I think pretty much all have nearly reached breaking points in what has turned out to be a long, polar-vortex-ridden winter. It’s March and we’re still waking up to ridiculous-below-zero temperatures.
My friends… as much as we hate to hear it, to think it, or to believe it… we must press on and hold on to hope that warmer weather is on its way. And not just a “temporary warm up,” I’m talking about lasting above zero temps. In the meantime, I think it’s important that we take care of ourselves and each other.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing, and perhaps even more prominent this year. People suffering from SAD often feel tired, moody, or depressed for a length of time on an annual basis. It’s more common to see SAD around the winter months, but it may also be experienced in Spring/Summer. Treatments include light therapy, psychotherapy, and medications.
If you aren’t diagnosed with SAD, you might still feel the symptoms (and if you’re like me, you can add stir crazy and anxious to the list). This is the part where taking good care of yourself becomes really important:
- Drink plenty of water to keep flushing out your body and avoid dehydration. Establish and then keep a consistent sleep schedule- even on the weekends (make sure it’s enough).
- Fruits and vegetables are also an important part of staying healthy; vitamins and minerals from these foods will help you- inside and out, head to toe.
- Get off the couch and MOVE. When it’s -50 outside, the last thing anyone wants to do is jump in the car and go workout, but trust me on this one: just get there. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wanted to take a day
soff because of the cold, but I can tell you I’ve never regretted going. I’ve also “treated” myself to some new workout DVDs (dancing ones are my favorite, because we’re all dance stars in our living rooms) for those days where it is absolutely impossible to go anywhere (we’ve had our share of those as well).
- Do what delights you. Find your creative outlet and go wild. I’ve gotten quite a few puzzles put together this winter, and I couldn’t be more excited every time I open up a new one. (And if puzzles don’t scream “go wild,” I’m not sure that anything does!)
- Think positive. I know, this is one of thee HARDEST things to do when you live in a place where it hurts to breathe… but do your best. Surely there are GOOD things in your life that give you reason to be thankful and smile? If not- look harder.
- Make sure you are keeping in contact with the people who make you happy. Find fun reasons to get together and laugh (gym dates? trying a new sport like cross country skiing using equipment from the Outpost? lunch dates? book club?). Talk about life, or the Olympics, or the latest award show, or whatever you enjoy. Even though I’m a self-proclaimed social butterfly, there have been long spurts of time in the past few months when I just couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone besides my husband and our dog- and even that was a struggle. In those moments, I’ve been thankful for the gentle nudges and lunch dates with friends and family- something that I could look forward to.
I’ve given you a few things to help you get through the final stretch of this crazy winter we’ve been having…
Now tell me: What would You add to the list?
Tags: drink water, enough sleep, exercise, fruits and vegetables, hobbies, Outpost, polar vortex, seasonal affective disorder, socialization, socializing, staying healthy, staying strong, think positive, Wellness, wellness center, winter blues, working out
Last time you heard from me, I talked about change; specifically, why I resist it with everything inside of me. I’ve never really been a risk taker, and so far it’s led me down a pretty decent “safe” path.
I’m not sure why, but I’ve noticed that the older I get, the more I have moments of “Let’s do this!” They come out of nowhere, leaving a giant pit in my stomach, and shortness of breath, and a desire to move. Sometimes those moments are for little things, like deciding to workout when I don’t feel like it or trying a new recipe. And sometimes those moments are for big things, like zip lining through a rainforest* or starting a new job. (*Full disclosure: I’ve never ziplined through a forest. Let’s be real.)
A few months ago, I decided to try something new in my professional life. I have a very unconventional path when it comes to the workplace. I graduated with a degree in Dietetics (the science of food) after dabbling in secondary English education. My first “real job” was as a NDSU Extension Agent in Benson County, focusing on things like youth development, living on a budget, overall health, and 4-H. It was a great mix of teaching and wellness.
About 2 years later, I took the job as the first Executive Director of the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals. This was a brand new arena for me, filled with new obstacles and experiences. I joked that I was still using my degree, because I had many coffee and lunch meetings, so I was still involved in the “food part.”
Two weeks ago I started a new position as Events Coordinator for Scheels in Grand Forks. A much larger store is opening in June, and it’s my job to find fun and useful ways for our store to be a part of the community. I have to be honest; this is another BRAND NEW place for me to be. As Executive Director, I did get some experience in event planning and execution, but I have a feeling this will be a bit different.
While attending a pretty intense job training recently, it hit me:
This feels right.
We all wait for that moment after deciding to try new things because of that possibility of failure. Sitting in the unknown can be almost unbearable, so when the moment of “ahhh…” hits, it’s pretty awesome.
I feel fortunate for my newest professional opportunity, and even more for that “ahhh…” moment. For several months I’ve thought “I THINK this is the right move… But how will I know??!” It has taught me patience, the beauty in courage, and confidence in myself and my abilities.
I can’t promise you every ending to a new adventure will be smooth or comfortable or even pretty. But unless you take a chance every now and then, you never have the opportunity to grow!
When was the last time you had an “ahhh…” moment?
After almost 7 months of marriage, the time finally came for my hubby and me to take our honeymoon in a tropical paradise. It’s no secret that this winter has been a rough one, so we were looking forward to it with great anticipation- even maintaining an hourly countdown to departure. 3 days before we left, almost-record low temps blanketed the area, leaving us stir crazy to say the least.
Before we left, I told my husband we were taking a break…
from technology, that is.
I asked him to commit to a whole week without carrying a cell phone or iPad around, tuning out the noise of the world. He reminded me that the cost of using phones were nothing less than outrageous for “being connected,” so the temptation to cheat would be greatly reduced. When we arrived at the resort, there were wi-fi hotspots and computer stations set up all over the place, but we remained committed.
We woke up each day not knowing what the weather would be doing.
We had no clue what was happening past the next 3 beach chairs.
Sports scores and Facebook statuses were forgotten and irrelevant.
It… was… AMAZING.
At first I was a little uneasy at the thought of leaving everything to chance, and we decided to keep a phone on for emergencies, but it stayed in the room and was rarely checked.
One of the first and most profound things that I noticed was how much TIME you have when you aren’t “connected” around the clock. We showed up early for most activities (and I tend to run at least 5 minutes late), and had plenty of time to really stop and enjoy our surroundings and talk about everything.
People say that our generation has lost the ability to converse. If you want to test yourself, leave your phone at home for a few days and rely on face-to-face conversations. Yes- it was challenging to come up with things to talk about at times, but in those moments, we learned how to be comfortable with silence- another Lost Art.
Being back home has been a bigger adjustment than leaving. I found so much enjoyment out of disconnecting that I’ve had a hard time forgetting to carry my phone! I’m setting a goal to continue consciously shutting out the noise of social media for a time each day in order to connect with loved ones and unwind.
I challenge you to join me- put down your phone and close your laptop for even an hour a day.
Trust me: YOU HAVE TIME.
And once you develop a routine, you may even look forward to it!
So… are you in?
I’m done with the whole “New Year, New Me” thing. Saying something like that would make me a liar. The truth is, I woke up the same on Wednesday, January 1st as I did on Tuesday, December 31st… well, I did pick up a nasty cold. But you get what I mean. My name was still Stacey.
For too many years, I told myself that I was going to make some sort of positive change on Monday (mainly to lose weight). Oddly enough, Monday never came. I would just allow myself to make a few extra less than healthy decisions the weekend before, digging a deeper hole, and never doing anything to reconcile it. I’m not sure why it was too hard for me to believe that I was capable of a happier, healthier life. I guess it was too easy to stay stuck. And so the weight just kept coming, week after week and year after year.
Sometimes I would actually start exercising or cut out a candy bar here or there, but by the end of day 1- MAYBE day 2- I was done. It was too overwhelming to think about the bigger picture- how much weight I really needed to lose, or NEVER eating chocolate again, or dealing with 2nd day exercise soreness… excuses were my easy out.
Every year around this time, gyms and produce aisles are flooded with eager “Resoluters.” They feel an awakened sense of determination to really make it this time. And to those people I say: “GO YOU! Welcome to a better way of life!” I encourage you to stick with it, even if a negative voice in your head starts to creep in and whisper lies and excuses. Know that you are stronger than that voice, and every.little.bit counts. It took me 16 years to get to 300+ pounds, and I assure you it will take me working at it the rest of my life to stay healthy.
Instead of thinking about all of the ways I need to change myself in 2014, I spent my New Year’s Eve celebrating the blessings that 2013 brought. I married a wonderful man, moved into our first home, fell in love with a black lab named Abby, welcomed my first nephew, traveled to new places, got to know some great people, and faced some health problems head-on. Good and bad, it all helped to shape me into who I woke up as this morning.
Let’s try something new this year. Let’s not wait for 2015 to work on that goal. Let’s not wait for Monday. Let’s just start now. Believe in yourself enough in this moment to take the first step… and then keep walking. (or skipping)
I ran across this saying while looking for a festive picture this morning and had to laugh. It wasn’t long ago that I lived by that motto throughout the holidays. From the time I woke up to the time my head hit the pillow, I thought about what bar or cookie, side dish, or “main event” I was about to indulge in. I ate until I was ready to burst, and usually had one more bite- JUST to be sure I wouldn’t feel hungry in 10 minutes.
I think about that mentality now, and I just think: Yikes.
Although our society often makes this time of year about the food, the expanding waistlines, the food comas, and the once-a-year delicacies we are about to indulge in… I challenge you to do a little reframing this year. For me, Holidays have become more about the togetherness, the fun traditions (like digging out my “Festive” Thanksgiving sweater vest), and love of others, rather than the food on my plate. Don’t get me wrong- I have my favorite foods that I enjoy as well, but now I try harder to concentrate on the conversation rather than the fork-to-mouth ratio.
One of my favorite things is now a bundled up brisk walk around the block with my aunts and cousins mid-afternoon. I know, it sounds crazy when you consider the temperature and quite often the wind, but it’s a great way to catch up with each other, get energized and burn off some of those extra almond bark pretzels I’ve enjoyed.
I want to hear from YOU!
Have you made any changes to the way you approach the Holiday season? How do you stay on track?
Posted by sarahknodel
With Thanksgiving a little less than two weeks away I’m sure everyone has been thinking about all the delicious homemade foods they will be eating; I know I have.
Some things to remember on Thanksgiving to avoid the “turkey gut” are:
Don’t over indulge. This sounds like common sense but many people get caught up in the spirit of the holiday and the vast amounts of food that are set out in front of them. This doesn’t mean you can’t try everything that is set in front of you; it means to portion the foods you want to eat.
When portioning your plate remember the myplate visual guideline.
Don’t skip breakfast or lunch just because you are preparing to eat a large Thanksgiving meal. When you skip meals you starve your body.
Drink lots of water; many times people think they are hungry when infact they are actually thirsty.
Out of sight out of mind. After eating a Thanksgiving meal put away the food. When food is out of sight you are less likely to keep grazing on the food.
After your delicious Thanksgiving meal take a walk with all of your family and friends.
By following these tips it will help prevent the need to loosen the top button of your pants and prevent the “turkey gut”.
Tags: #healthyUND, #ieathealthyUND, food, happyholidays, Holidays, home cooking, myPlate, nutrition, overindulging, portionyourplate, Thanksgiving, thinnerthanksgiving, turkey, turkeyday, turkeygut, walking
My social media outlets have gotten so loud.
I’m not sure if it’s because of the fact that I’m getting older and my peers are starting to be involved in issues greater than “what outfit should I wear on picture day” and “I sure hope it’s square pizza day at school.” As we begin to graduate and enter the workforce, get married and start families, establish life in new places and take bigger adventures… life seems to get more complicated.
At my old job, I often spoke about cyberbullying. And I see it. All.The.Time. Can we all just agree to stop the nonsense and be a part of a positive change of pace? I’m not going to sit here, point fingers and tell you why a certain person or belief system is right or wrong… rather, I’m going to simply ask that before you post something, would you please take an extra moment to think: Would you say this to someone’s face? It’s easy to say things when you’re separated by cyberspace… but people are still human- with feelings, emotions, reputations, families, and lives outside of the Internet.
If you are able and willing, I’d like to pose an “Emotional Wellness” dimension challenge:
For the next week, make a point to encourage your peers. Share positive things that will bring a smile to someone’s face. Use your social media outlets as platforms to spread peace. What do you think; join me?
Posted by cptstephrhoffman
Have you ever wondered “Why should I pay for group exercise classes when there are free ones on the schedule?”
Believe me, I’ve wondered the same thing. – but then I realized one of the MAJOR benefits that come from these classes. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like being surrounded by a TON of people when I exercise. I usually workout at the Wellness during times when there are NOT a lot of people in the building – but I’ve always wanted a little extra guidance and motivation with my workouts without the many faces all trying to do the same things as me at the same time – like in group exercise classes. Let’s face it – I can get stuck in a rut sometimes, even as a personal trainer. So my choices for the extra guidance & motivation as well as the major change up to my routine was either hire a personal trainer for an hourly rate OR look into the Specialty Group Exercise program. Since I was a college student at this point – I was like any other college student and strapped for cash I had to decide what was more budget friendly, but still getting the same results. The answer? Specialty Group Exercise.
So when I discovered Boxing which was offered as a Specialty Class (a few years ago) – I fell in love with the SMALL class size. There were only 8 people in my class and I got some very valuable attention and training at about 1/12th the cost of a personal training package!
I had never pushed myself so hard in a workout in a long time. Sure in the past I’ve always had my good workouts that left me sore the next day, but in this case someone was there holding me accountable making sure I wasn’t letting myself become complacent and take the “easy” route. They encouraged me when I didn’t feel that great about myself,helped me meet my fitness goals and kept me moving!!
Now while Boxing isn’t here this semester (bummer I know!) – I know there are some great options to choose from – there is ViPR which is brand new and puts a fantastic spin on strength training – taking you back to some very functional work in a new light. Reformer Pilates (which I’ve taught in the past) that is a great CORE workout that helps with balance too – after teaching that class I always felt stronger than when I wasn’t teaching! Rise & Climb is a completely NEW concept – this class will teach you how to become a better climber, become a stronger climber and will get you into the wall during the off hours (now ladies – who couldn’t use a little upper body strengthening? Am I right??) And lastly Beginner’s Mediation Yoga – which will help you center yourself spiritually & emotionally to be able to help find yourself & help keep you calm in the waning moments of the fall semester. Registration is going on NOW for all of these so I encourage you to sign up too before all the spots are gone! Head to the Wellness Center website NOW!!!
I hope to see ALL of you trying something new!
Posted by leahsherman25
Back to School
Tips For A Healthier Freshman Year
Welcome to your college freshman year…the beginning of a new and exciting adventure. This may be the first time your away from your parents for an extended period of time, and this most likely, is the first time you are living on your own. Many freshman students find adjusting to the “college lifestyle” to be quite challenging. It could be a culture shock having to actually do your own laundry, make your own food, clean up after yourself, and to have nobody telling you how or when to do so. One of the hardest things to learn when you first come to college is how to balance all of your needs with the demands that come along with a full course load. Trying to figure out how to balance being involved on campus, getting a job, making new friends, staying connected with friends back home, and getting in enough study time, could cause your health to go to the back burner. The hard thing about that is that when your health starts to become lesser and lesser of a priority, balancing and adapting to this new college lifestyle will become even more challenging. The good news is that there are some key tips to follow in order to keep your health on track that can make it easier to maintain balance throughout your college career.
Check out these rockin’ tips for a healthy school year:
- Get enough sleep: It is a common thing for college students to pull all-nighters to get in an attempt to get in some extra studying time or because procrastination on some paper or project. Not having a regularized sleep schedule could cause not only cause physical health problems, but also mental health problems as well. These could include problems such as anxiety, irritability, and weight gain. It is recommended to get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
- Stay active: Make exercise a part of your lifestyle. There are plenty of ways to stay active on campus, such as going to the wellness center with a friend, joining intramurals, taking a stroll around campus, or biking, rollerblading, or running on campus. Exercise burns off excess calories and it can also reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Exercise should not be the main priority in your lifestyle, but it should become a regular habit.
- Take time to relax: Not only is balancing the many demands of college difficult, but it can also be stressful. It is extremely important to pay attention to your emotional needs, as they are just as important as studying for that first test that you are stressing about. Stress can lead to health issues if not addressed and dealt with properly. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take time for yourself to relax and do quiet and/or enjoyable, non-schoolwork related activities. Reach out to a family member or a trusted friend to talk about what is stressing you out. Taking care of your mind will allow you to better focus when studying and it will allow you to maintain a healthy mind and body.
- Be mindful of your diet: Make sure that you are trying to eat balanced, nutritious meals. You may have heard of the ever so popular, but dreaded, phrase “the freshman 15.” Experts say that although the generalized number of fifteen pounds of weight gain isn’t exactly accurate, students do typically gain weight during their freshman year of college. First off, make sure to eat breakfast to help your metabolism get started for the day and give you energy for those morning classes. Secondly, snacking isn’t a bad thing as long as you are monitoring it and trying to include relatively healthy snacks such as: apples and peanut butter, low-fat popcorn, or veggies or pita chips with hummus. Students should strive for a balanced diet to stay healthy. A balanced diet includes foods from every food group such as: fruits, grains, veggies, dairy, and protein. Having a balanced diet will help to prevent weight gain and to keep your body and mind healthy in general.
*For more information on how to stay healthy as you are adjusting to the new school year visit the Health and Wellness Hub on the main floor of the student union, or visit Student Health Services located in McCannel Hall- Room 100.
Source: Kang, Jaewon. “4 Steps to a Healthier Freshman Year | USA TODAY College.” 4 Steps to a Healthier Freshman Year | USA TODAY College. USA Today Educate, 2013. Web. 16 Sept. 2013.