Posts filed under 'health'

Stick the Summer Slump–Get Happy!

I hope the title of this post is cheesy enough for you, but rest assured I am serious about getting you out of your summertime slump–you don’t have to be miserable just because you’re spending the summer back home!

Sure, we’d all love to run off and find balance in some exotic foreign country Ć  la Elizabeth Gilbert, heroine of Eat, Pray, Love–but most of us don’t have the time (or funds!) to drop everything and adventure into the wide wide world. So for the last couple months I’ve been sampling my way through a fantastic book, Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project–a book about how one woman took simple steps to make her life happier. Her steps are basic, but I’ve been trying a few, and they really work! Here are a few of my favorites:

Tackle a Nagging Task. You know that thing in the back of your mind–that little project you’ve been putting off for weeks (or months!)? Get it done. Whether it’s your annual checkup (ugh–I personally hate having my blood pressure taken) or cleaning out the chaos under your bed, get it done. It will take a little of the weight off your shoulders.

Remember Birthdays. You know how good it feels when someone remembers your birthday? Pass on that good feeling (with more than a wall-post on Facebook). All you have to do is shoot out an email to your BFFs asking for their birthdays and add them to your calendar (you can even have Google Calendar email you if you’re worried about forgetting). Making other people feel good can give you a nice mood boost, too.

Take Time for Projects. Don’t skip this idea if you’re not in to arts and crafts! All this means is to choose a goal, and make the time to do it. Always wanted to learn about photography? Skip some TV time and check out some library books, peruse photography blogs, or just play around with your camera. Trying to get a little healthier? Take a nutrition class, round up a running group, and make yourself a calendar to help chart your progress.

Laugh Out Loud. My Dad laughs out loud all the time, even if he is alone watching TV–I can hear him from across the house when I go home to visit–and it is part of what makes him so fun to be around. Too often we feel too self conscious to really let loose and laugh, but you know what? It feels good–I’d even say it can be kind of cathartic. So why not?

Want more ways to get happy? Pick up Rubin’s book at the library, or check out her blog, happiness-project.com.

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Add comment June 2nd, 2011

Dorm Fit: Links to Help you Work Out & Get Healthy

Losing momentum (or have yet to find any at all) in your fitness routine? This link roundup is targeted at helping you get more out of your get-healthy goals this year!

We Can Work It Out

Looking for some easy exercise routines you can do quickly and in your teeny tiny dorm room? Give one (or all) of these a try:

Just Eat It?

Exercise is only half the battle, though, isn’t it? Food is the other half, and you need to make sure it works for you, not against you!

Don’t Be Trendy

Diets are tempting, but usually not sustainable. (Who wants to give up carbs for the rest of their life? Yeah right, Atkins.) The best way to get–and stay–healthy is to follow the regular old guidelines you’ve been learning about all along: eat a balanced, healthy diet, don’t skip meals, exercise, and get a lot of rest!

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1 comment May 12th, 2011

3 Easy Ways to Get Healthy This School Year

Ready to get healthy? These three easy tips will get you started!

Rest Up

Managing your own sleep is one of the hardest things about moving away from home. Most of us either get too little (staying up way late and then having to crawl out of bed for class) or too much (sleeping in past noon on the weekends… or weekdays?!). But the key to a strong immune system and a healthy amount of energy is simply to get the right amount of shut-eye.

On average teens need 8.5 to 9 hours of sleep–some need a little less than that. If you’re not hitting your magical number of sleep hours, you could have trouble getting up, fall asleep in class, feel low-energy, and even show signs of depression. So get to bed a little earlier–or schedule your classes to start a little later–but do whatever it takes to get your body the rest it needs.

ReFRESH Your Diet

Sorry, that was cheesy. But once you’re done rolling your eyes at me, start thinking about how you can get more fresh fruits and veggies into your diet. Varying your produce can actually be a really easy way not only to keep your calorie intake low but also to help ensure you’re getting the variety of vitamins and nutrients your body needs to keep up with late night study sessions. (Sites like Fruit and Veggie Guru can tell you how to vary your fruits and veggies by color for optimal healthiness.)

Think you can’t eat fresh at the caf? Try mixing up lunchtime by hitting the salad bar, grabbing a piece of fruit with your cereal, or adding veggies like lettuce, onions, olives, or tomato to your deli sandwiches.

Make a Bet

I’m not going to lie–I am not the biggest fan of exercising: it’s tough, it takes time, it can get really boring, and it usually hurts!

While I’ve tried to get myself motivated on my own, I usually find my workout days dwindling within a few weeks. And that was when my sweetie suggested we make a bet–a nice cash prize for whoever could work out 6 days a week the longest. We’ve made it almost a month, and I’m doing better than I’ve ever done.

You probably don’t want to shell out your hard earned cash, but getting a friend or two involved in your workout–and maybe betting a chore or a dining-hall-cash meal to sweeten the deal–can have a huge influence on your motivation for exercise! Plus working out with someone else is much more fun–you might not even notice that you’re “feeling the burn.” šŸ˜‰

Want to learn more about health at school? Check out this article (with tons of link love to helpful sites) about how to (really) stay healthy in college.

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3 comments October 18th, 2010

Your Handy Dandy Back-to-School Roundup

Summer break is great, but now we get to gear up for another year of life on campus (and hopefully a little more independence–anyone else’s Dad keep the curfew thing going in the college years?). Ready for a refresher course in college living? Here we go!

Studying & Academics

Its that time again–time to hit the books and start getting the straight A’s your future employer wants you to get. šŸ˜‰ Check out these study tips and get your game face on.

Productivity

One of the biggest challenges of life on your own is getting everything done and still having time to enjoy college! These productivity tips will help you start organizing so you can fit in all the important aspects of your life.

Money Stuff

Budgeting may not be fun, but it can be easy. Learn how to build your budget, save money, and build your credit score so you can graduate with a healthy bank account.

Health

Get healthy and stay healthy this year.

Dating

You don’t need a lot of green to impress your date. Take a look at these cheap-or-free (but still fun!) date ideas for fall, winter, and all year round.

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1 comment September 9th, 2010

Make More Time: How to Study While You Work Out

I have a love/hate relationship with exercise–I hate it while its happening, but I love how great I feel when I’m done. And I love that it has more than just physical benefits (did you know exercise can even helpĀ stave off depression?), but I hate trying to find time to do it. If you feel that way, too, you’ll love these ideas to help you sneak exercise into your study time.

Sound weird? Think of it this way–if you combine two chores like studying and exercise, you could end up with more free time for fun stuff later. šŸ˜‰

Book It (…or Notebook It)

Heading to the gym for some semi-stationary exercise? Take your books along. Equipment like the stationary bike, elliptical, and treadmill usually have space to prop up a book. You can also bring a notebook with your class notes if you don’t want to attempt fine print while you’re jogging. Bonus–focusing on your studies will help you forget how seriously painful an hour on the treadmill can be!

Listen In

Have a lit class to read for, but find yourself falling asleep a few chapters in? Try downloading the audiobook version and taking your iPod along for your workout (or hey, even on the walk to class).
Tons of classic public domain books are available (for free! And it’s legal!) atĀ Librivox.org–but be warned, they’re all read by volunteers, so not every reading is stage-worthy. You can also check out your local library for CD versions (not legal to rip those, though, just FYI) or if you’re willing to lay down some cash, check out the huge selection on iTunes.

Buddy Up

It’s hard to flip through flashcards while you’re lifting weights, so why not bring a study buddy to the gym? Grab a friend and quiz each other (or even just casually discuss–that will help info stick, too!) as you spot each other or run laps on the track.

Get Creative

One of the things I noticed–especially when I was just learning to study the collegiate way my freshman year–was that sitting in the library with a book was not the only way to study.
One of my favorite techniques was to put post-its by my doorframe and on my desk with mini-notes about whatever I was struggling with that week. I’d see them so many times a day, that eventually the information would sink in.

Obviously the post-it idea won’t work for a work-out situation, but you should try to come up with your own outside-the-box solutions. For example, if you’re struggling with reading notes and jogging at the same time, take along a podcast of your professor’s lectures instead (or even snag another related podcast–there are all kinds of educational downloads available online).

(Want more tips about getting fit and staying healthy at school? Try out theseĀ dorm room workouts, and learn aboutĀ eating well, calming down, & exercising in a small space.)

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Add comment April 8th, 2010

Goal Time: Making Your “I’m Going to Work Out” Goal Stick

Every year when I make my list of New Years Resolutions, the work-out goal pops up. I want to banish the extra holiday season flub. I want to run faster, jump higher, and yes, do some push ups. But mid-way through the year (or, ahem, sometime in February) a lot of our goals seem to go out the window.

This was my first year of really sticking to (at least some) of my goals. Here’s what I’ve learned about making sure you meet that work-out-this-year(!!!) goal:

1. Be Realistic. In every way. Understand your limitations (you probably can’t fit in a work-out every night, but I bet you can 3 times a week). Know your body–don’t expect to shed ten pounds a week; it’s really hard to have massive weight loss healthily!

2. Pick a Winner. One thing that will keep you coming back to your routine is finding something you love. Though I do the typical run on the treadmill (and hate it) I also do some pilates (which I love). There are tons of alternatives to just jogging at the gym. Intramural sports, swimming, kick boxing, karate, dance, bike riding. Choose something you enjoy so you look forward to work-out time as a break from studying.

3. Join a Team. I’m at me most consistent when other people are counting on me, because they help me hold myself accountable. So whether you round up a group to casually run, or join up with a school sport, make sure there is someone else around to help you push yourself to keep going.

4. Choose a Distraction. If you, like me, are a wuss when it comes to physical pain, then you are going to need a good distraction to keep you from allowing the internal whining to consume you. For me, the best distraction is talking with a friend. Conversation keeps me going, and I love running with other people. Second best is music, with a good solid beat. Third is a TV show. I can never really focus, but it at least gives me something to look at besides the SUPER SLOW timer on the treadmill. But you can choose whatever–maybe you like to make lists in your head, or plan out your tomorrow, or go through good memories. Do whatever works for you.

5. Make it Work.
So maybe a few weeks into your plan you realize that Monday nights you NEVER go to the gym, and you feel discouraged that you have yet to reach your target running speed. Allow yourself some leniency, and work around it. Let your body work up to your goal (you’ll get there if you stick to it) and schedule your workouts on nights when you KNOW you can do it. Any workout is better than none.

6. Stop Making Excuses. This is by far the biggest one, and thus the hardest one. I realized this year (watching The Biggest Loser, no less) that I make excuses all the time. I’m too busy to go to the gym, or too tired to run the full 30 minutes, or just “not motivated.”

So I decided to stop it, and just decide to go. Even when I’m tired, busy, or not motivated. I go. And while I don’t always make it every scheduled day, and sometimes can’t keep up with my previous day’s record, and honestly, can’t say I really enjoy the running itself, I do love the feeling of heading home knowing that I did it in spite of myself. That feels really good.

Good luck, my friends. I’m fighting the good fight with you. šŸ˜‰

photo by Lynette Lan

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1 comment January 11th, 2010

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