10 Ways to Help Enhance Productivity

If you’re like me, you have a million and one things going on at all times. It can become overwhelming at times and eventually lead to poor productivity: whether that be academically or professionally.

Staying productive with your everyday tasks isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it is vital that you do so, especially in a work or academic setting. Poor productivity can lead to lower quality work than what’s expected from you and that can eventually lead to disciplinary action and added stress.

With the end of the semester quickly approaching (and winter break in sight), it’s important to make sure you’re staying on top of your work. If you’re feeling like you’re not getting the most out of your day, here are a couple things we came up with in order to help you enhance your productivity.

1. Minimize Distractions

Close out your Twitter and Instagram feed. Constantly getting caught up in social media and endless Reddit pages will ensure that you get absolutely nothing done.

2. Make a List

Writing down what you need to get done is a great way to prioritize and organize. By listing your goals for the day, you’re more likely going to work towards what you want to accomplish.

3. Reward Yourself

Have some sort of incentive for getting that one tricky task done that you were dreading all day. Maybe you tell yourself that you can take your lunch after you finish your to-do (because food is always a great way to motivate yourself). Treat yo self.

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4. Take It One Step At A Time

Taking on a bunch of things at once will only overwhelm you. By breaking down bigger tasks into smaller ones, you can approach it with more ease and knock them out one at a time.

5. Stay organized

Make sure your work area is organized. Not being able to find that one document you need will only cause you stress and waste your time. Taking the time to reorganize will both serve as a distraction and take you longer to do otherwise simple tasks.

6. Avoid being monotonous

Switch up your daily routine to keep from feeling like you’re stuck on repeat every day. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re stuck on autopilot from the moment you wake up until you’re done with your busy day. By switching up your tasks or the way you approach them, you won’t have that feeling and will find yourself having a more productive day.

7. Get feedback: find out what’s working and what isn’t.

Get opinions and feedback from your coworkers, supervisors, professors, etc. They can tell you what needs improvement and what’s working well. By receiving this input, you can improve your work habits and grow both professionally and academically.

8. Ask for help when you need it

Don’t feel bad asking for assistance. Sometimes you can’t do everything yourself, and that’s completely okay. The last thing you want to do is realize you had too much pride when you actually needed the help. A lot of times employees and students find that they asked for help too late. Avoid this mistake and take everything as an opportunity to learn and grow!

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9. Take a break

Get up and walk around. Sitting in one place all day will drive you crazy and cause you to lose both your interest in what your working on and your focus on it. Try to determine when you’re typically most productive during the day. For some people that’s in the morning whereas others find themselves doing their best work in the afternoon. Get your essential to-do’s done during your peak time frame.

10. Take advantage of your downtime

Walking to class? Commuting to work? Knock out some tasks while you do so! Obviously you can’t (and probably shouldn’t) do most of the things you need to get done, but you can use this time to plan out your day! Make a mental list or even write out in your phone what you plan on getting done when you get to where you need to be. This will help with organizing your day and give you more time to knock out these tasks instead of planning them out once you get to work, class, the library, etc.

By implementing these simple suggestions, you can find yourself being more successful in your workplace and it WILL get noticed!

What I Wish I Knew My Freshman Year

Dear Freshmen,

As I begin my junior year, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how much I’ve learned since I was a confused freshman wandering aimlessly around campus. After two years of college, it’s safe to say that I’ve adapted more to the ever-busy college lifestyle since my freshman year. We put a lot of thought into what we wish someone would have told us during our first semester of college, and here’s the advice we have to offer to you all.

1. Don’t be so quick to judge

Be open-minded. Join a club you never thought you would have joined. Talk to new people. There are a lot of great opportunities out there for you to submerge yourself in new things. It’s a great way to not only meet new people, but to really get involved with the campus community.

2. (Romantic) Relationships aren’t everything

Don’t get me wrong, you may find that the love of your life lives across the hall, but remember that college is also a time to grow as an individual. Keep this in the back of your mind and try to continuously learn both for and about yourself.

3. Check out the Involvement Fair

There are clubs for EVERYTHING. Go to a meeting, and get the feel of what an organization is about. It’s a great way to start building your resume and again, you’ll meet a ton of new people along the way! This year’s Involvement Fair will be on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 from 11-2 in Wyman Mall (UC to Goodhue). If you feel like you may need some guidance on what to get involved in, be sure to make an appointment with a Student Involvement Office intern! They are here to help you get connected to everything the UWW has to offer. For more information, check out the following link. (http://bit.ly/1M8a7Nw)

4. Accept your parent’s help

Independence that first year of college is amazing, but sometimes you WILL need to ask for help from your parents, and that’s okay.

5. Get enough sleep!

You should not be pulling all-nighters every night. It WILL catch up to you and it’ll affect your health, grades, and wellbeing. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

6. Work hard play hard

Working hard your first semester is vital. You don’t want to get into bad study habits your first semester a kill your GPA. Go to the library, but at the same time, make sure you’re not forgetting to have some fun, too.

7. Attend SI sessions

If you’re having trouble with a class, go to the SI session! SI (Supplemental Instruction) sessions are there for students who may be struggling with course content or just want the extra review of material. These can be very helpful and can save you a lot of stress if you feel like you may not have done the best on one of your exams.

8. Attend Advising meetings

THIS IS IMPORTANT. You don’t want to be taking classes you don’t need. Your advisors are here to help make sure you stay on track, so don’t skip your advising meetings! If you’re unsure of what career path you may want to go down or want to learn more about a specific industry, you can also set up a meeting with a Career Advisor as well. Check out this link for more information on Career Advising Services. (http://bit.ly/1UE5Yjv)

9. Call home

Your family misses you; don’t forget about them when you’re at school. Make sure to give them a call every once in awhile!

10. Diversify classes

Being in five business classes can be both stressful and boring. Switch up your classes to make sure you stay interested in what you’re learning.

11. Student Discounts

Your student ID gets you SO many discounts! Take advantage of that and save your money, you broke college students.

12. Never stop applying for scholarships and grants

Your parents probably made you apply for a ton of different grants and scholarships. Don’t stop once you get to college. Keep looking for them and save yourself some money on tuition. It’s an expensive four (hopefully) years.

13. Read the syllabus

I know hearing each professor go over their syllabus is boring as can be, but there is a lot of very useful information in them. Make sure you read it all and know the expectations for that class right off the bat. Knowing important dates for each of your class will help you plan ahead and avoid any potential conflicts.

Good luck to all of you freshmen on your first semester of college! Remember to always make the most out of your time here, it goes by all too quickly.

 

Surviving Finals Week: Stress Management Tips

With finals season approaching, it is not surprising that stress levels are rising. For a lot of us this is the most stressful time of year. From final exams to group projects and presentations, it seems like the work will never end.

I did some research to see what we can do to help reduce our stress levels and finish out this semester strong. Here are a few tips that I found:

1. Sleep. I know that sleeping when it seems like you have endless amounts of work to do seems like a bad idea. However, getting a good amount of sleep every night can actually help you feel less stressed during the day.

If you are someone who works better at night, schedule time for a nap during the day. Your body needs to rest. Getting sleep can help you feel more relaxed and allow you to focus on the schoolwork that you need to accomplish.

2. Make some time for fun. If you are spending all of your time in the library studying all day every day, you are eventually going to get burnt out. If you schedule a few hours in your week to just hang out with your roommates or watch some Netflix, you will start to feel less stressed.

While it may seem like a good idea to stay in and study all the time, your brain needs a break too. With the weather getting nicer, find a friend to just sit outside and talk with. This way your brain is getting a break from all of the educational stuff and you’re getting a chance to relax.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you have that assignment that you just can’t figure out. Whether it’s coming up for a topic for your big paper, or just getting some pre-presentation jitters out. Your professors are there to help you. They have office hours for a reason. Go in and talk to them, chances are they’d be more than happy to work through your problem with you so that understand what you are doing.

Ask your friends for help. If you haven’t been there already, you probably will in your time here. Friends are there to help you practice your presentation and tell you that you are saying “um” too much. Plus, chances are they’re going to ask you to return the favor someday.

4. Remember to eat. From experience I can tell you that there’s nothing worse than spending all night studying and then remembering you didn’t eat. Is it worth it to eat right before bed, or do you just wait until the morning? The decision is never easy. Even if you are just snacking while you are reading your textbooks, or creating a presentation. That is better than nothing.

Your body needs food to function. If you forget to eat, then you will lose any momentum you had in studying and you will have to spend refueling yourself. Also make sure that you don’t just go on a diet of Toppers and McDonalds. Treat yourself to some nice fruits and veggies everyday so that you are making sure you stay healthy.

5. Manage your time. If you are like most college students, you will have more than one project to work on or more than one exam to study for. Make sure that you are spacing out your time wisely. If you know that one of your exams is going to be really difficult and you are going to need to put a lot of time into studying for it, start early. This way, instead of spending hours at a time studying for just that one exam, you can break it up over a few days and study other things along with it.

Doing this will help you not only not get bored with the topic you are studying for, but will give your brain a chance to retain the information. The breaks that you give yourself can be used to nap, sleep, or have some fun. This way both you and your brain are getting the breaks that you deserve.

While finals are a stressful time of year, it is not impossible to keep your stress levels down. These are also not the only ways that you can help calm your stress. Everyone handles stress differently, so figure out what works best for you and do that.

Big Buildings to Open Roads: Jonathan Fera’s Journey to Happiness at UW-Whitewater

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Being born and raised in a big city, I became naïve of what was outside the Milwaukee city limits. The city was so fast and so vast that any other area seemed unexciting in comparison. That mindset did not last past the age of eighteen.

I decided to come to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater during my senior year of high school. My advisers informed me of the College of Business and Economics at this institution and it’s positive reputation, so it seemed like the perfect fit. That career path only lasted two days into my time at UW-Whitewater until I switched to a communications major with an emphasis in public relations.

During the fall semester of my freshmen year, a strong depression caused by missing home and wanting to be around my family took over my life. I was socializing with people in my residence hall and in my classes, but it was never enough to be happy.

The city was calling my name to come home. After all, I missed the quick pace environment and diverse culture.

How was I going to spend the next three and a half years here? It was not until I opened my eyes to the amazing opportunities at UW-Whitewater that this attitude changed.

After talking to my Resident Assistant, she mentioned attending the spring involvement fair to look for student organizations to join. I had an interest in political communications after dropping the business major, so I joined the UW-Whitewater College Democrats.

I immediately got involved with the organization and started to make friends outside of my residence hall and classes. It was refreshing to have conversations with like-minded individuals that were passionate about the same things I was.

During my sophomore year, I joined the organization’s executive board as their Communications Director and the next year, was elected President.

Besides the College Democrats, I found the Whitewater Student Government (WSG) and the University Marketing and Media Relations Department.

I started attending Whitewater Common Council meetings because of my role as Intergovernmental Affairs Director for WSG. This allowed me to become more engaged in the community and be able to call Whitewater a new home.

It all happened so fast and I was so overwhelmed by my professional involvement that I began to lose sight of why I got involved in the first place: to be happy.

I was asked to join the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity my junior year from some WSG colleagues. I did not think I was the kind of person to join a Greek organization.

When looking back at that decision, I wouldn’t take it back for the world.

This past semester, I assisted in coordinating the grassroots efforts of the WarhawksVote campaign for the gubernatorial election. This allowed me to have a say in promotional material, strategic messaging and online content through both WSG and University Marketing and Media Relations.

After the election was over, I wanted a new opportunity. I wanted a new project before entering the workforce. After all, this is the last semester to make the most out of what became the best four years of my life.

Fast-forwarding to present day, I am now the Career Social Media Intern for UW-Whitewater Career and Leadership Development. While WSG is a part of the Warhawk Connection Center, I have never worked for the department before.

I am excited by this new opportunity and exciting challenge to better myself and my craft, while helping others gain the skills, motivation and resources to find a job or student organization to join.

After the journey I had to pursue in finding my place at UW-Whitewater, I hope to make that process easier and less stressful for other students.

Career and Leadership Development has the resources and guidance to help students find their place at this institution. To motivate them to succeed and take chances. To help them be happy.

The Road to Productivity: Exploring How Warhawks Persevere and Prevail

“There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes, but with hard work there are no limits!” –Anonymous 

It’s that time of the year again when workloads outweigh energy levels! Winter is quickly approaching and finals are right around the corner for us Warhawks. During this time of year it’s easy to become stressed out, burnt out, or just down right depressed from the amount of work you have to complete.  So in an effort to alleviate some of that stress, here’s what a few fellow Warhawks from Career and Leadership Development had to say about how they stay productive during late semester chaos:

Lisa Helms: PRIDE Intern

“With school it is a little harder for me to stay focused but I usually pull things together at the last minute. However with work, I stay focused by making to do lists when I get into the office. I start by checking my email to see if there’s someone that I need to communicate with right away and I just take it one step at a time.”

Cherish Golden: PRIDE Intern

“ I usually go to the library and sit at a table in a quite area to stay focused on academics. I don’t get on the computers because then I’d be distracted.  At work, when I’m all out of tasks, I just find little stuff to do to stay busy. Even if it’s just fixing the chairs, I have to stay busy and remain on my feet in order to be productive. “

Radaya Ellis: Biology Major

“Well I have a productive playlist that I listen to when its grind time to get me back focused. Artist on my productive play list include artist such as Lil Boosie, to help motivate me, and Kirk Franklin, to uplift me. Listening to artist along those parameters helps keep me motivated both in work and at school. “

Katie Barbour: Involvement Office Graduate Assistant

 “A lot of times around the end of the semester I have a lot of big projects to do. So for me this semester I have two large group papers, as well as projects in two different classes. So at this point, it’s really a matter of working effectively with my group members and trying to be a leader within those two groups to make sure we get things done. Especially since finals are right before graduation and that’s when those things are due, and frankly I don’t want to be overwhelmed with group projects that late in the semester. So I think just being proactive and making sure you get things done ahead of time really helps relieve some of the stress”

Becky Wintringer: Warhawk Connection Center Intern

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“To-Do Lists are a big thing for me. I have post-its and color coded notes and stuff all over the place. I use my calendar to color code everything! Blue things are for class, green things are for work, and purple things are for organizations. I just try to stay managed by plotting out certain times of the day for individual things so that I’m not just doing all homework for three hours but individual tasks during individual times.

Anthony Richardson: Seal Entertainment Intern

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“In order to stay productive I pretty much just remind myself of why I’m here and I use that as motivation to assure that I persevere throughout the rest of the semester.”

We hope these tips can help you achieve your fullest potential and maximize your productivity during stressful times. Be sure to finish up this semester strong and don’t be afraid to join the dialog. What are some strategies that you live by to manage  stressful times and remain productive? Comment and share your ideas.

How to Boost Your Creativity

Many people think of creativity in terms of painting a masterpiece or drawing a flawless self-portrait; but creativity can be anything from creating a new entrée from scratch to submitting an original idea during a work meeting.

Be Creative

Here are some things you can try to boost your creativity:  

Take a Walk
Walking is usually associated with exercise, but it can also boost creativity. Take a 20 minute walk and allow the world to just be. Leave your electronics at home. Watch things. Stop and smell the smells. Notice wildlife and all the beautiful things around you!

Genres, Genres, Genres
Another way to boost creativity is experiencing new things in your every day life. Always watch comedies or read mystery novels? Try switching it up and rent an action-filled flick or read a romance novel.

See Things Differently
The best way to do this is take photos. And I don’t mean the normal stand-and-click type of photography. Get dirty. Lie down on the ground and shoot from foot level. Or climb a tree and see how the world looks down below. Seeing things in a different way will not only open your mind but it will also make you more willing to try new things and be less intimidated by things that are different.

Find Your Inner “Artist”
I have heard it time and time again, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” But I believe everyone can become creative in their own way. When people think of being creative or being an artist they always seem to think about painting, drawing, sculpting, or crafting. Maybe you cannot draw an exact picture of your dog, but you may be strong in another area of creativity.

Here are some things you can try to find your inner creative skills:

  • Take a dance class
  • Sing karaoke
  • Write poetry
  • Design a new outfit
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Dabble into interior design
  • Draw tattoo ideas
  • Experiment with food/plating design
  • Plan a garden
  • Start a landscaping project
  • Build something out of wood
  • Try new hairstyles
  • Play around with clay
  • Take a makeup application class
  • Make your own jewelry
  • Write a song

Build a Curiosity
When I say be more curious, I am not saying question and over-analyze every little thing. But it is important to keep your mind going. Next time you are applying for jobs, don’t just look into what your field of study is. Explore other options and see what is all out there. It could surprise you!

Don’t Expect Perfection
Have you ever gone to a photo gallery and wondered, “How is that even art?” Well, it’s because art is very subjective. You will start to notice a slump in your creativity when you are constantly trying to make your creations or projects “perfect”. Not having as many expectations will leave room for risks and new ideas to surface.

Use Your Hands
Doctors Carrie Barron and Alton Barron, authors of The Creative Cure, advise us to step away from the keyboard and pick up a pen instead. Writing with a piece of paper and a pen can actually be very calming and peaceful. And sometimes the whole experience of writing by hand will get the creative juices flowing.

Change Your Environment
Sometimes when we are stuck in the same office or room, our creative juices can stop flowing. Your boss wants you to come up with a new design for the company flyer and all you have is a blank sheet of paper? Step out into the hallway or lounge to change your environment up a little bit.

Here are some more quick ways to boost creativity:

  • Meditate – The perfect cure for a mental rut! It promotes divergent thinking, a state of mind in which we’re able to generate new ideas.
  • Get other opinions – Getting other people’s perspective may give you new ideas and start a new stream of thought.
  • Look at something blue or greenThe colors tend to improve performance on cognitive tasks. Research has shown that we associate blue with the ocean, sky, and openness in general, while green signals growth. Different colors are very powerful for the process of creativity!
  • Laugh – This will not only put you in a better mood but will clear your mind as well. When we are stressed or worried about things, our minds can get fogged. Lighten up a little bit and you will see your creativity sky-rocket!
  • Make a Creativity Board – Find photos in magazines, quotes online, or anything that inspires you and post them onto a poster or cork board. Hang it up in your office or the place you need a creativity boost.
  • Spend time alone
  • Write ideas down
  • Keep a notebook by your bed

If you want more tips on boosting your creativity or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at MediaCLD@uww.edu and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.

The Ultimate Guide to De-Stress

The end of the school year is coming up fast and we all know what that means: late night study sessions, hectic schedules, and high stress. But there are plenty of ways to take the edge off and relax before summer.

Get Some Shut-Eye

For many students, exam time means pulling all-nighters and loading up on tons of coffee and energy drinks. If you look back at my early college years, I did the same thing. But taking an exam or going to a meeting on little sleep and high amounts of caffeine is never a good idea.

Not only will your body feel awful, your mind will not be as sharp either. So make sure to get your 7-8 hours to feel fresh and more relaxed for what you need to accomplish the next day.

Take Some “You-Time”

This time of year can be hard to find time for yourself. Between studying for finals, job searching, and everything else on your hectic schedule, there is little time for relaxation. Make sure to take some breaks. Even if it is just setting your textbook down for a half hour and taking a walk, it will help!

Our minds and bodies can only take so much information and stress at a time. Find little things you can do throughout the day to keep yourself level-headed and relaxed.

Use Your Weekends

A rule of thumb I like to use to de-stress is to always to use my weekends to my advantage when possible. During the week I am jam-packed with internship duties, class, projects, and meetings. So as long as I don’t have something on the weekends that I HAVE to accomplish, I use it to enjoy myself and unwind.

If you are really stressed, I would not recommend participating in crazy, extravagant weekend plans. Do something to escape your week-day reality a little bit. Here are some things you can do to take the edge off without going overboard:

  • Go see a movie
  • Go to a local museum
  • Watch a local band
  • Have dinner with friends
  • Spend an afternoon at Barnes & Noble (reading is free!)
  • Go to a karaoke bar
  • Try a yoga class
  • Cook or bake
  • Perform an act of kindness
  • Take a social media break (yes, I said it.)
  • Enjoy the outdoors (if it warms up out there!)
  • Get a professional massage
  • Shop around local thrift shops for hidden treasures

Hit the Gym

Nothing says de-stress like a good workout! It goes without saying that working out does amazing things for your body and mind, and finals are the perfect time to get in the routine.

Don’t like working out in public? Here are some awesome workouts you can do in  your office, apartment, or home.

Don’t Procrastinate

We all procrastinate at times. But it does nothing but makes us more stressed and rushed. An easy way to keep from procrastinating is make a detailed schedule and checklist. There are many apps you can download to have a detailed schedule and to-do lists right at your fingertips. My favorites are the Cozi and Paperless apps.

Also make sure to keep close communication with your boss, professors, and others you need to work with to ensure everything is on schedule so that you are keeping on track.

Laugh Until Your Abs Hurt

According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter lightens your mental load and actually causes positive physical changes in your body. Here are some other benefits of laughter:

  • Promotes creativity
  • It’s contagious
  • Treats insomnia
  • Makes you more approachable
  • Boosts immune systems
  • Lightens the mood
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Creates a more enjoyable work environment

Can’t seem to work up a good laugh? These might help:

Start implementing these tips into your hectic schedule and you will de-stress in no time!

If you want more tips on stress management or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at MediaCLD@uww.edu and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.

7 Ways to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Did you know there is a place where there is little excitement, minimal room for growth, and large amounts of boredom and fear? It’s called your comfort zone!

I think it’s time to stretch those limits a little! Not only will your life become more exciting, but you’ll also build confidence, meet new people, experience new things, and diminish fear.

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Here are some ways to start stepping out of your comfort zone.

Try Something New Every Day

Don’t be intimidated by this! When I say try something new every day I don’t mean bungee jumping one day and swimming with sharks the next. It can be the teeny tiniest thing: trying a new food, taking a new route to work, or smiling at strangers.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes the littlest changes can make the biggest difference.

Stop Comparing

Social media makes this one a little difficult, but it is doable. If you are constantly looking at your friends’ profiles and seeing posts like, “Just booked a ticket to Africa, leaving tomorrow!” or “So many great things happening to me; ready for this new chapter in life!” it can make your life seem dull in comparison and can be discouraging.

Comparing our lives to others is not realistic. Everyone has different opportunities, financial stability, and lifestyles. So try to not compete with others and just challenge yourself in your own ways. Here’s something to try: When you see pictures on Facebook of someone jumping out of a plane from thousands of feet, instead of being envious, ask yourself if you would even want to do something like that if you had the chance. Personally, I’d rather check swimming with dolphins off my bucket list!

So if you start doing things that are important and fulfilling to you trying new things will come a lot easier!

Take Opportunities

Okay, I’m guilty. There are plenty of times that sitting on my couch watching my backed up TiVo seems more appealing than taking up an offer to join a cupcake decorating class with friends.

But if you don’t start taking opportunities that are presented to you, then you might really be missing out. The next time your friends ask if you want to try a charity run or take an acting class, do it! You never know when that opportunity will come again.

Make a Bucket List

I’m proud to say my bucket list has hit three pages already! Making a list of things you want to do in your life will not only be motivating, but it will be a constant reminder of the things that spark your interest.

Not sure where to start with your bucket list? Here is a great website of bucket list inspiration.

Learn to Laugh at Yourself

One of the biggest reasons people don’t step out of their comfort zone is because they are afraid of being embarrassed or failing. But if you learn to be a little more light-hearted and laugh at things that don’t always go right, trying new things will be a no-brainer!

The next time you take a pottery class and your pottery wheel gets a mind of its own and your clay flies up against the wall (yes, this happened to me), just make a joke out of it and keep going!

Embrace Your Fear

Sometimes the fear of the unknown is a big reason for staying in your comfort zone. But the key is to turn that fear into excitement.

Have you ever caught yourself in the same boring routine? Or always doing the same things over and over again? Well the reality is there is no excitement in always knowing what will happen next. So embrace the mystery of the unknown and give them a try. The outcome could be life-changing!

Involve Friends and Family

It’s okay to have security blanket outside of your comfort zone. Having friends or family there to try new things with you will not only make you feel more comfortable, but also make you more likely to keep trying new things.

UntitledIf you want more tips on stepping out of your comfort zone or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at MediaCLD@uww.edu and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.

Sleep: Your New Favorite Hobby

Spring is finally here! Well, sort of. Warmer weather means going to baseball games, cooking out with friends, going to the beach, concerts, and late nights. But this doesn’t leave much time for sleep.

Getting enough sleep can not only reduce stress and improve memory, but it can also extend your lifespan! Here are some benefits and facts about sleep that you should be aware of.

Benefits of Sleep: Sleep Can…

  • Boost creativity
  • Reduce the risk of depression
  • Improve physical appearance
  • Sharpen your attention
  • Help with weight loss
  • Make you more alert
  • Help your body heal itself
  • Boost energy

The Facts

  • You should get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep each night
  • More than 70 million Americans live with over 85 types of sleeping disorders
  • Check out this awesome infographic: Sleep Facts
  • 77% of college students have trouble sleeping, according to the National Sleep Foundation

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Sleep Trouble: Ways to Fall Asleep Easier

  • Turn off all electronics
  • Do not exercise in the late evening or night
  • Listen to calming music (Pandora has relaxation and meditation stations)
  • Do not eat a couple hours before bedtime
  • Do not play games on your phone or electronic devices (it will stimulate your brain and keep you awake)
  • Make lists and take notes before bed of what you need to do the next day (otherwise you will be thinking about it when you’re trying to catch some ZZZ’s)
  • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature (research has shown that people fall asleep easier in cooler temperatures)
  • Keep your room clean (clutter causes stress)
  • Limit your caffeine intake

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So while making your spring and summer bucket lists, make sure to add sleep into your schedule. Happy snoozing, Warhawks!

If you want more tips on sleeping habits or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at MediaCLD@uww.edu and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.

8 Ways to Boost Your Confidence and Overall Happiness

We all need a little pick-me-up or self-esteem boost every once in awhile. But if you’ve been feeling down in the dumps lately, it’s time for a change! Confidence and self-esteem are not only essential for success but also for overall happiness.

Regaining Confidence

It is important to remember that there is no secret formula for happiness, and each person can find joy in different ways. But here are eight effective ways you can start living life to the fullest and become a more confident person.

Discover What YOU Like
After years of going through the interview process, I am proud to say I can honestly and confidently answer the question, “What do you like to do outside of work?” One of the most important parts of being a confident person is knowing who you are and what you like. Always be open to trying new things, joining new organizations, and exploring new territories. The more things you try, the easier it will be to find the things that bring you joy.

If you are a UW-Whitewater student, check out our Student Involvement Office to join one of more than 200 Student Organizations, get a job on campus, join an intramural team, volunteer your time as a Warhawk Ambassador, or to go Greek!

Master the Game of Balance
Life is all about balance. In order to be a happier person you must be able to balance a handful of tasks, relationships, and plans. It is easier said than done, but by keeping things organized and prioritized you will be able to keep your stress under control and really enjoy your life.

You can find more tips on how to keep balance in my previous blog post, College: The Game of Balance.

Inside and Out
Sometimes we forget that taking care of ourselves means several different things. In order to become a more confident person, it is important to exercise your body AND mind.

This can be difficult – I know from experience! The times I am really focused on getting into shape, my academics and work start to suffer. And when I focus all my energy on classes or getting ahead at work, my workout routine suffers. So make sure to schedule your time accordingly and fit both in. You’ll thank me later!

Stay One-Of-A-Kind
An amazing thing about being human is that each person is different, but sometimes we forget to celebrate the things that make us unique.

Unfortunately, media and society have portrayed beauty, success, and happiness in very specific ways. And when certain parts of our lives don’t measure up to the “status quo,” it can get discouraging.

The important thing to do is to create your own definitions of beauty, success, and happiness. You can do this by surrounding yourself with those who love and support you, accept and embrace who you are, set personal goals, do the things you enjoy, and start using positive self-talk.

Stay Motivated
A great way to stay self-confident is to have goals and to always be working towards something. I know the days I lounge around my apartment and watch TV, a typical Sunday, I don’t feel 100 percent. Those are the days I don’t have a lot of energy, I lack motivation, and I don’t feel very good about myself.

So even if it is taking the dog for a walk or getting a jump start on a project, make some sort of small goal each day you want to accomplish. That way when you accomplish it you will feel great about yourself!

Stay Humble
It is important that when you do have moments of success to not let it get to your head. There is a quote I always tell myself to stay grounded, “Never let failure get to your heart, and never let success get to your head.”

Don’t get me wrong, achieving your goals is an amazing accomplishment, and you should be proud! But it is important to remember if you put yourself on a high horse you could have a harsh fall.

Here is a list of 50 ways to stay humble.

Stay Optimistic
Guess what, the world didn’t end in 2012! So that means it is no longer an excuse for our actions and emotions. When things get overwhelming it can feel like the end of the world, but it is important to remind yourself it really isn’t.

A good way to stay optimistic is remind yourself of the good things and people in your life. Another great way to stay positive is to restore your faith in humanity. Here is a Pinterest board filled with amazing stories and photos that will help you stay positive when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Give to Others
One of the best ways to boost self-esteem is to help out others. There are many opportunities out there to get involved. Find a cause you care about and boost your self-esteem by getting involved with your time.

Here are some community service opportunities through UW-Whitewater.

If you want more tips on how to become more positive or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at MediaCLD@uww.edu and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.

Photo by Heather Schwartz.