Category Archives: Tips

“Eat Yourself Healthy!” Lunch and Learn

Dr. Sarah Derenzo of Vitality Chiropractic and Wellness presented at a well-attended Lunch and Learn on Wednesday, April 5. Faculty, staff, and students learned about healthy eating habits, certain food groups to avoid, supplements, and more. Dr. Derenzo provided a few tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as:pizap.com14915051224181

  • Shop on the outside perimeter at the grocery store,
  • Prepare your snacks and meals ahead of time,
  • And drink lots of water.

Dr. Derenzo hosts a variety of classes at her office located in South Range, MI. Visit her website for dates and times.


Financial Wellness Lunch and Learn

 

WorkLife Connection offers the third Financial Wellness Lunch and Learn from noon to 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 28 in MUB Alumni Lounge A. Chris Riesgraf, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones, will discuss strategies to “Bring Balance to Your Budget.”

Learn about the basics of budgeting, how to sharpen your spending and savings strategy, and the importance of credit and debt. If you are saving for college, planning for retirement, or have any investment goals in mind, you’ll find this Lunch and Learn very informative and helpful to reaching your goals.

Feel free to bring your lunch; beverages will be provided.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that your holiday season was filled with love, laughter, and happiness. Now is the time of year to make some New Year’s resolutions, and actually keep them! Did you know that only eight percent of people successfully fulfill their resolutions in a year? Here are a few tips that could help you become a part of that group.

o-NEW-YEARS-RESOLUTIONS-facebookWhen making your resolutions, it’s important to remember that it is all about quality, not quantity. Be sure to limit them to things that you really want to accomplish. Resolutions should be things that you really want to do, rather than things you should do. By doing this, you might be more motivated to achieve them. Your resolutions should also be specific. The more detail you put in, the easier it will be to accomplish. Once all of your resolutions are made, it’s time for you to make an action plan. We all know how easy it is to fall behind on resolutions, but if you have a specific plan, it is much easier to keep up with them. For example, a common New Year’s resolution is to exercise more. Instead of saying just that, decide the days and times that you will exercise throughout your week and mark it on your calendar. If you plan your work out times and write it down somewhere that you see often, you can get that constant reminder which will help you keep motivated.

There are many things that you can do to keep up with your New Year’s resolutions. If you work hard and stay motivated to achieve your goals, 2017 just might be your best year yet!


Outdoor Winter Fun Here in the Keweenaw

IMG_4494By Morgan Laajala, WorkLife Intern

It’s hard to keep motivated when you’re busy, especially during the cold, winter months. If you don’t want to spend money on a gym pass, there are things you can do outside that are enjoyable and keep you active. Next time you are sick of sitting inside, try one of these winter activities!

There are many opportunities to try new winter activities in the Houghton area. You could go snowboarding or skiing at Mont Ripley, cross country skiing on the Michigan Tech trails, go snowshoeing, go hiking on some of our local trails, or find one of the free public rinks around the area and go skating. You can even grab some friends and play a game of hockey! These kinds of activities don’t make you feel like you’re working out; instead you will just be having fun. By trying these new activities, you may find a new favorite hobby.

A lot of kids in the winter want to play outside all day long. The cold doesn’t bother them, and they don’t want to go inside to warm up or eat. All they want to do is play, build forts, go sledding, and make snow angels. If you have kids, the next time they are playing outside, go on and join them to play and get your activity in. Although it might be years since you’ve last gone to a sledding hill, I guarantee you will have fun flying down that hill, and you will get quite the workout walking back up!

If none of this appeals to you, a simple walk once or twice a day for about 15-30 minutes is easy to do, and can help relieve stress as well as give you the physical activity you’re looking for. Many people don’t like to walk in the winter because of the cold, but walking in the winter actually gives you more of a workout than in the summer because you must work to keep warmer, and walking in snow can give you some resistance that you won’t get in warmer seasons. Just be sure to watch for slippery spots!

Although it’s hard to stay motivated in the winter, there are many things you can do that don’t feel like exercise, but help you keep active. The most important thing to remember when you are outside in the winter is to make sure to wear layers and dress appropriately for the weather.


Don’t Let the Water get Stagnant: Tips for a Learning Organization

By Amelia Newman

We are an output society. Education has taught us this. From the time we start college, for instance, we push out assignments. One after another, just to get it done, whether we truly understand what we’re doing or not. A common phrase in the scholastic world is, “I’m good at BS-ing.”

So we morph to fit into a society that’s more about the doing than about the understanding. And so do our organizations. At some point many of us shut our brains down and are no longer learning new things, but rather going off of what we already know.

Therefore the question is raised: how do we mix up the stagnant water? How do we keep moving toward a culture of learning organizations? Here are a few tips that any one of us can either initiate or start practicing to help keep our schools and work environments moving in a healthy direction.

Tip 101:

Be question-friendly. Show that you can both be asked a question and can answer one for someone too. This is huge. Many people either in school or in the  workplace get stumped on something with a simple solution all because they are afraid to ask a question. We’re afraid to appear dumb in a smarter and smarter world. So laugh a little about your mistakes, and in the process say what you’ve learned. This will help a shy person feel that you are approachable and they may come and ask you a question.  Maybe there are even some things you’ve thought you should ask your boss recently, but then you told yourself,”No, I’ll just figure it out.” Well, why not go ahead and ask?

Tip 102:

Out with the old, in with the new. Talking about what’s new, trying out new fads, new technologies, and new health options can really help make the workplace more exciting. When a work culture is too sedentary, it does not encourage learning and change within the organization. But showing a co-worker how you utilize your android phone for organizing and planning, sharing how your new version of software has really improved your job, or how your new desk chair has really improved your back posture, can help your organization overall to stay up to date.

Tip 103:

Read books related to what you do. One can always improve and learn more. Have some fun with this and don’t treat it like a college textbook that you want to avoid. There are many good, creative books out there with tips for a healthy workplace, and you are a big part of what gives your organization its own culture.

Tip 104:

Inspiration is key. This is fundamental for other things such as a creativity, innovation, invention, etc., so do what it takes to stay inspired. Maybe it’s certain people in your life that inspire you, a nature photography hobby you do on the side, or traveling to a place you’ve never been. Whatever it is, take some time between your work and personal life to stay inspired.

Tip 105:

Take a break to recharge. This goes along with focusing on your breathing, especially when you’re stressed out. It also means taking care of you. If you’re like me, stress takes a huge toll on you mentally and physically. I find that when I’m especially stressed out, I’m sitting there not breathing well and not really learning anything in class or at work. If I try to work on something I have to do, I can’t focus. So I have to stop and recharge with something relaxing, in order to re-feed the brain.

We are real people with real lives who need to make real decisions that have important things at stake. We are not computers, simply calculating and functioning—though sometimes we may feel like it. Whatever the case, we all need to stop a little and recharge, taking a little thought for what we are doing.


Meditating is Weird

meditateI am terrible at meditating: I don’t like to sit still, I fidget, I can’t keep my eyes closed, my mind tends to wander about and worry about the next thing on my calendar, and my legs just won’t twist into the pretzel-like lotus position if you paid me a million dollars to do it (although, I’d really try hard to get there if someone wanted to pay me that much to do it!). Meditating is weird. And, for me, it feels weird to meditate at work.

Mindfulness has become a buzzword among businesses and leaders in the last few years, and many businesses and organizations are incorporating mindfulness practices at work as a way to help their employees reduce stress and become more productive. When we hear the word, mindfulness, many of us (myself included) conjure images of workers in our business attire silently sitting in a dimly-lit room while struggling to balance in lotus position and sitting on those thin yoga mats, trying to meditate in silence while we struggle to keep our minds from wandering to our next task. Over the past year, however, I’ve learned that my imagination is very inaccurate when it comes to mindfulness at work.

What is mindfulness?

There are many definitions and descriptions of mindfulness. Simply put, to be mindful means to be aware of how you are experiencing the present moment.

For example, take a moment to focus on your physical self:

  • Right now, how is your posture? Check to see if you’re slouching over your computer or mobile device: are your shoulders hunched? are you looking downward at your mobile device? are you sliding down in your chair? are your legs crossed or are your feet both on the ground? Try repositioning your body so your posture is in alignment and your muscles relaxed.
  • How does your physical self feel? any soreness or stiffness in your neck or back? If so, maybe now is a good time to look away from your screen for a little bit and stand up to stretch your muscles a bit.
  • How’s your breathing? do you feel short of breath? are you feeling a little tired? While you’re standing, take a deep breath—as much as your lungs can hold—and exhale. Try this one or two more times.
  • How’s your thirst? would a drink of water make you feel better? do you have that dry feeling in your mouth that we are so good at ignoring? Since you’re standing, maybe it’s a good time to take a little walk to get a quick drink of water.

As we get absorbed in our work, it’s easy to let our bodies slump down and succumb to gravity. But it’s important to take some time throughout the day to allow ourselves to be aware of our bodies and how they are making us feel.

And this type of practice—simply running through the above physical inventory of our physical self, and adjusting our posture and breathing for a few minutes—is mindfulness. In fact, I like to think of it as taking a moment of self-care.

The Science of Mindfulness

Sure, mindfulness includes meditation or similar practices. This article published in Mindful magazine, Rewiring Your Emotions is a useful piece that provides some information about how mindful practices can help improve our neurological health. Ultimately, simple habits like this can help us to do well in all areas of our lives: work, home, hobbies, self.


Mindful Moment: How Do You Breathe?

How do you breathe? It’s not something we usually think about, yet it has an incredible influence on how we feel, both physically and mentally. Everything we do is powered by the oxygen we absorb when we breathe. Why we don’t take a few minutes every day to focus on breathing is beyond me. In fact, let’s do that right now. Stop reading, sit back in your chair and fill your lungs; really consider what your body is doing to draw air in. Hold that breath for a moment, and push it back out.

Done? Welcome back. First, I’m betting you’re feeling at least somewhat refreshed. Second, how were you breathing? Let me guess: your chest puffed out, your shoulders rose, and you pulled your stomach in as you inhaled, while everything relaxed as you exhaled. This is how we’re taught to breathe at a young age, so, for most people, this is the natural way to inhale and exhale. Unfortunately, we have all been lied to because this is entirely opposite to the way our bodies are predisposed to breathe.

The diaphragm is the major muscle involved in respiration, and it’s located right below the lungs near the solar plexus; this is the muscle responsible for expanding and compressing the lungs. The diaphragm stretches down toward the pelvis (which also pushes your abdomen out a little) to fill the lungs to the bottom and relaxes to its original position when you exhale. This is what the diaphragm is supposed to do. The way we are taught to breathe actually forces us to do the opposite: using the chest and neck muscles to expand and compress only the top lobes of the lungs. These muscles aren’t meant for continuous respiration and using them as such inevitably prevents us from filling our lungs to capacity. These upper body muscle tend to become overtired and distressed over time as well. Interesting, right?

If you ever watch an infant or a pet breathe, especially when they’re asleep, you can see their stomachs puff out because they breathe with their abdomens rather than their chests. Unfortunately, as we grow, we learn to breathe with our chest and tend to forget about abdominal breathing—unless we are taught otherwise. The good news is we can still re-learn how to breathe properly as adults. All it takes is spending a few minutes a day focusing on expanding the stomach and keeping the chest still while breathing. With consistent practice it can, again, become your body’s automatic breathing reflex. Breathing naturally has been shown to reduce the body’s stress responses, as opposed to chest breathing, which activates them and causes stress-related problems such as anxiety, hypertension, and headaches. So, if stress is bearing down on your shoulders and you’re feeling tense, try breathing with your diaphragm for a few minutes. It can do wonders for your well-being.

 

 


Laugh in the Face of Adversity: Maintaining a Sense of Humor in the Workplace

Humans are social creatures and humor is one of the greatest interactions we have that connects us to one another. We laugh in countless situations in countless settings, from family dinners to friendly get togethers. Even when first meeting someone, a well placed and proper joke does wonders in breaking the ice and paving the way to more casual interaction. Humor is fun, easy, usually free, and makes us feel comfortable being around each other in everyday social settings—something that is often overlooked in the workplace.

The workplace: “no pain, no gain;” “work isn’t supposed to be fun;” “work before play;” “no rest for the weary.” These are phrases often used when discussing our work and career. We seem to be under the impression that we should not be having fun at our jobs, which is where we spend much of our time. Plus, work can be frustrating: your boss piles you with files, forms, and impossible due dates; you ran into a co-worker and dropped your lunch; you’re tired and your patience is frayed. It’s no wonder we feel so stressed out and frazzled by the end of the week—nay, day—we typically have more things to complain about than rave about when we are asked about our days at work. This is a serious health problem that can be alleviated by a simple change in attitude to allow ourselves to make our jobs more enjoyable. In other words: Be funny; it may improve your health!

Studies have shown that laughter really is medicinal. In fact, laughing is similar to exercising in that it works your core muscles and stimulates the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. When you have a good, hearty chuckle, your body increases endorphin levels and reduces stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Subsequently, your body’s stress responses diminish: blood pressure lowers, muscles relax, and mood improves. Not only will you feel refreshed after a good giggle fit with your colleagues, but that shared chuckle over the ridiculous demands of your job and home lives also helps your immune system stay active.

 

What can you do to build a sense of humor in the workplace?

  1. Start with a smile (even if it’s a fake one)—“Fake it ‘til you make it,” as the old adage goes, and it goes for a reason. A conscious smile can go a long way to make it easier for a real smile to creep onto that face of yours.
  2. Take a step back and look for what’s ridiculous—It can be easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re in the middle of a project. Try to look at your situation from an observer’s perspective, and you may find it easier to recognize some of the absurdity of what you’re doing. It might even help to think about your life as a sitcom. In other words, sometimes the important things we do can give us a good chuckle.
  3. Take short breaks—Make time to read your favorite webcomics or watch short, funny videos. Use these breaks as rewards for getting things done and you may see improvement in how you feel by the end of the day.
  4. Make sure your friends and co-workers are on board—You may need to be the one who initiates the humor in your workplace, so make it a point to start days off by sharing a video you found that cracked you up or by telling your colleagues about something hilariously stupid that happened to you the other day.

 

Now, get out there and use that humor of yours to laugh at all these lemons life inexplicably puts in your pockets.