7 Ways to Spice Up Your Workspace

Let me ask you a question. Would you rather work at an empty desk surrounded by bare, white walls or a space that was a reflection of the things you love and your personality? Personally, I would go with the second option!

No matter if you’re working from home, your dorm, or an office, if your workspace is bland your work and your mood will start to be the same.

Here are some ways to spice up your space:

Sit Comfortably
If you have the money and your workspace allows it, buy your own chair. Make sure it is customized to what you need and what you like. I know I would much rather work on a padded chair with armrests than a rock-hard folding chair. Make sure you are getting the support you need so you can resist back and neck aches.

Friendly Faces
When work gets overwhelming and stressful, it’s nice to have ways to stay grounded. Have a picture of your dog or a family photo from your favorite vacation. Seeing the people you love and care about will keep your stress levels down. It will also remind you there is more than just that presentation you need to finish.

See Things in Color
Have you ever noticed that you feel refreshed and energized on a bright and colorful spring morning? But on a snowy and dull winter day you aren’t as chipper?

Many studies have been done on the effects of color and how we feel. Some research has shown that the color green can help eliminate stress, red can make your feel more detail-oriented, and blue can boost creativity.

Check out this short, fun color quiz to see what kind of colors you need in your life!

Decorate to Motivate
A lot of people are visually motivated. Put motivational saying on your desk, corkboards, and around your computer. Sometimes we just need a little reminder to keep us going.

Here are some motivational sayings you can decorate your space with:

  • “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”
  • “The expert in anything was always a beginner.”
  • “The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday.”
  • “Tell that negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up.”
  • “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”
  • “Never let success get to your head. Never let failure get to your heart.”
  • “Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.”

Make the Space Your Own
It is very important that your workspace reflects who you are as a person. If you are really into dogs, you wouldn’t have pictures of cats everywhere, would you? Find decorations and little things you can put in your space that will make you feel good.

A key to being successful and being a good worker is loving and knowing who you are as a person. Embrace your individuality and let your workspace show it.

Use your Resources
You don’t have to be an interior designer to have a rocking workspace. There are many magazines, websites, and stores that can help you out. My favorite place to look up new décor ideas is through Pinterest. But be careful, it can be addicting!

Have Fun with It
Work does not always have to mean work. You should enjoy what you do and have fun with it. The best way I like to do that is to have quirky things around to keep things more interesting and light-hearted.

Here are some places you can find unique and eccentric things for your workspace:

Photo by PB Teen.

5 Simple and Effective Office Workouts

Are you someone who just can’t find the time to exercise? I know I am! So I came up with a short, yet effective, office workout routine that you can do in the convenience of your workplace or home.

Office Workouts

Even if your schedule is jam-packed, you can always find time for a quick workout. Here are the 5 simple workouts you can do to get started on the path to a more healthy and active lifestyle.

1. Chair Dips (Arms and Legs Exercise):

  • Start by supporting your arms on the chair
  • Then sit at a 90 degree angle off of your chair
  • Start with straight arms then lower yourself by bending at the elbows
  • Then straighten your elbows back into the starting position
  • Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps

2. Wall Sits (Leg Exercise):

  • Position yourself up against a sturdy wall
  • Put yourself into a sitting position at a 90 degree angle
  • Hold this pose for 60 seconds
  • Do 3 sets

3. Feet Raises (Abs and Legs Exercise):

  • Start in a sitting position
  • Lean back slightly
  • While in the sitting position, lift your legs a few inches off the ground
  • Then lower them without touching the ground
  • Do 3 sets of 20 reps

4. Chair Lunges (Leg Exercise):

  • Position a chair behind you
  • Lift one leg onto the chair
  • Bend the leg remaining on the floor to a 90 degree angle then lift yourself to your starting position
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps per leg

5. Desk Push-Ups (Arm Exercise):

  • Position yourself a generous distance away from your desk or table
  • Place hands firmly on the edge of the desk or table
  • Lower yourself into a push-up position then lift to your starting position
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps

Remember, you can always increase the number of sets reps and sets. Start off at a level you are comfortable with and make sure to stretch when needed.

Would you like to see how these workouts are done? Check out our Office Workouts video!

Health and Wellness Extra: Are you interested in really super charging your health and fitness? Feel free to check out my post on how to eat healthy on a budget.

If you want more tips on how to stay fit 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.

College: The Game of Balance

College is a game of balance. Attending classes, studying, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, and finding time for friends, family and yourself can be very difficult.

College BalanceThe following tips will help you stay balanced and stress-free:

Get Organized
It took me almost all of my college years to acknowledge this one. Organization is one of the hardest things to get the hang of for many of us. But there are many resources that you can use to get become more organized.

The best thing to do is make organization binders. This way you can organize everything from work, projects, to-do lists, grocery lists, meal plans, bills, personal documents, and everything else you need to keep track of.

Here are some of my favorite free printables for getting everything in your life in order:

Prioritize
Once you know what needs to be accomplished, it’s time to prioritize. This means figuring out which tasks are most important and which ones need to be completed first. For example, if you have to plan a friend’s birthday bash for next month but also have a presentation due tomorrow for your internship, you should do the presentation first.

When you prioritize, you are able to avoid the problem of, “I have so much to do, and don’t even know where to start.” Make a list and number your tasks in order of importance and by the date each needs to be completed.

Avoid Procrastination
Oh yes, the dreaded “P” word! If I had a dollar for every time I saw a Facebook status or tweet from a college peer about procrastination, I wouldn’t need a job after graduation.

We all procrastinate, but here are some ways you can avoid it:

  • Make lists
  • Make a specific time-frame for downtime
  • Be around enthusiastic and driven people
  • Get into a routine
  • Reward yourself for completing tasks (perhaps some frozen yogurt after you finish that English paper?)
  • Avoid distractions – go to the library, a café, or somewhere it is easy to focus
  • Divvy up the time for larger tasks and project
  • Put motivational photos and quotes on a bulletin board in your office
  • Do simple tasks right when they come up

Have “Me” Time
Trying to balance everything can be very stressful and overwhelming. It is important that you make time for yourself to reenergize and keep your sanity. It is okay to tell your friends you can’t go out one night because you want to catch up on Walking Dead  and Duck Dynasty episodes.

Having balance means making time for the  things that bring you happiness. Haven’t opened up a new book in months? Well it’s time to burst open the binding and get lost in some you-time!

Know When to Say “No”
Sometimes we college students feel like we need to be superheroes and balance the weight of the world on our shoulders. However it will do nothing but hurt you in the end. In order to keep balance in your life, it is important to not bite off more than you can chew.

For example, if you have an academic overload and your boss asks you to participate in planning a charity event, it is okay to turn it down. Do not simply say, “no,” but explain that you have a lot of things on your plate right now for school and to please have your boss keep you in mind for the next opportunity.

Find Ways to Move
For many of us it isn’t realistic to make it to the gym every day. So find ways that you can stay moving throughout the day and won’t take away from other things you need to get done.

Here are some ways to keep your body going outside of the gym:

  • Stand instead of sit
  • Walk to class instead of driving
  • Take the stairs
  • Clean your place (talk about killing two birds with one stone!)
  • Park further from buildings
  • Fidget at your desk
  • Dance around to your favorite music
  • Do crunches, squats, or burpees during TV commercials

Explore Your Options. Get Help.
The awesome thing about college is there are resources everywhere. You typically can find guidance from your professors, advisors, tutors, a health clinic, and counseling centers. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or be embarrassed. We are all human and need help at times!

Here are some links for resources on the UW-Whitewater campus:

If you want more tips on how to balance college life 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.

Eating Smart and Healthy on a College Budget

Healthy and Smart Eating on a College Budget

We have all said it, “Food is so expensive!” But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be! Here are some simple tips for getting more for your buck. Not only that, but having healthier food options.

Eating on a Budget

Shop with the Seasons

Fruits and vegetables that are in season are much cheaper. For example, berries are summer fruits and you can buy a container of strawberries for $6.99 in winter – compared to half that if they were in season.

Here are the seasons for some popular fruits and vegetables:

  • Fall-Broccoli, Cranberries, Cauliflower, Grapes, Pineapple, Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes
  • Winter-Grapefruit, Kiwis, Oranges, Pears, Collard Greens
  • Spring-Apricots, Asparagus, Corn, Limes, Mango, Peas, Honeydew
  • Summer-Cucumbers, Blueberries, Bell Peppers, Cherries, Eggplant, Strawberries, Raspberries

Cut those Coupons

No, you don’t need to become an extreme couponer. But it is important to get a deal when you can. Search through local papers and ads to find coupons for items you actually eat! Don’t buy something just because you can get a dollar off but you don’t really like it. It will most likely end up in the garbage.

Here are some websites to redeem free grocery coupons:

Fresh is Best

Always look at the expiration dates on food, especially produce and dairy. This will make your food last longer after purchasing.

Spoiler Alert! Stores place older items in the front and newer items in back. You will have to dig but your wallet will thank you!

Have a Plan

Making a grocery list will help you stick to your budget. If you just go into a store with no plan you are more likely to buy things you don’t need. So try to avoid impulse buys and make a strict “I NEED” list.

Also try to avoid the grocery store on an empty stomach. Have you ever heard of the term, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach?” Well when you’re hungry and grocery shopping, you will probably fill your cart with anything and everything to satisfy that hunger craving.

The Freezer is your Friend

One of the biggest ways for food to suck up your money is wasting it. If you make a pasta sauce and there is half of the pot left over, don’t throw it away! Put it in a container and pop it in the freezer. Then you can thaw it different day and have another meal ready to take to the office or use for a last minute meal.

You should also do this with fruit and meat. I’m a girl who loves smoothies. But I always had problems with my fruit going bad before I could use it all. Now I make my own smoothie–bags. Take a Ziploc bag and mix in all of the fruit you need for a single smoothie. Then when you’re ready to indulge in a fresh drink, you’re all set!

Another perk of freezing fruit for smoothies is the fruit will replace the ice cubes. The drink will be chilled and you can say bye-bye to watered-down drinks.

Office Meals

Vending machines and cafeterias can really shrink your wallet and expand your waistband. Make sure to pack your lunches the night before! This is a time you can utilize your freezer meals (as long as your office has a microwave or way of heating your food) or make a brown-bag lunch.

And if you can’t heat up your meals, here is a list of 90 no-heat meals for the office.

More for Your Buck

Check out these awesome price comparisons! Who would have thought you could get so much healthy food for these prices?

Health and Wellness

Health and Wellness

Health and Wellness

Health and Wellness

Check out the rest of the comparisons, here.

If you want more tips on how to eat healthy on a budget 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 Tips to Avoid Germs at the Workplace

Did you know?

  • A keyboard has 60 times more germs than a toilet.
  • Cold and flu germs from a sneeze can stay on a surface for 48 hours.
  • Light switches get up to 217 bacteria per square inch.

Gross, isn’t it? Here are seven tips for staying germ-free in the workplace or the classroom!

Germs in the Office 1

Wash Your Hands!

Sounds simple right? But a lot of us only think to wash our hands after using the bathroom. Well, get that out of your head! In addition to washing your hands after using the bathroom you should wash them before you eat, after using communal objects (staples, the fax machines, etc), and after sneezing or coughing.

No Sink? Sanitize!

I know it sounds crazy to go to the bathroom every time you want a snack or need to use a scissors. What’s a simple solution? Use hand sanitizer! You can get a bottle of it at Wal-Mart or Walgreens for a bargain. Bath and Body Works also has mini sanitizers that can go on your keys. I have one and my coworkers were very thankful for it after our team-building exercises a few weeks ago!

Avoid Sharing

Your grade-school teachers are going to get upset with me for this one. We have always been told that sharing is caring. But when it comes to cold and flu season sharing is your worst enemy! Some things you should avoid sharing with friends or coworkers include: food, drinks, pencils, pens, or your phone. Have some extra pencils and pens around in your office for others to use if you NEED to share.

Avoid Germ Areas

A simple way to avoid germs is staying away from their hangout spots! Whenever possible, avoid directly touching door handles, sink handles, water fountains, and toilet seats. Use paper towel to open bathroom doors and turning on sinks whenever possible. Some restrooms provide deposable covers for toilet seats, but you can always use toilet paper to line the seat.  Also bring your own water bottle to avoid placing your mouth on water fountains.

Strengthen Your Immune System

In order to stay healthy you have to take care of your immune system. That means eating healthy, getting quality sleep, taking plenty of vitamins, and exercising on a regular basis. Vitamins C and D are good vitamins to start with (as well as a multivitamin). Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, make sleep your friend, and be active for at least 30 minutes a day.

Look But Don’t Touch!

One of the best ways to stay germ free is keeping your hands to yourself! While you’re at it, keep your hands off of yourself as well. Try to avoid touching your face as much as possible. This means don’t pick at your teeth, no resting your head on your fist, and no rubbing of your eyes or nose. And to be safe, always sanitize.

Wipe It Down

It’s always smart to have some sanitary wipes on hand. Wipe down surfaces such as your phone, chair, computer mouse, keyboard, door handle, and communal objects. You would be surprised by how many germ covered things we touch on a daily basis. Yuck!

Germs in the Office 2

If you want more tips on how to stay germ-free 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.

Photos by Heather Schwartz.

A New Semester Means a New You!

Let’s face it, being a college student is hard! It’s all about balancing classes, extra-curricular activities, meeting new people, and everything in between. Then try to incorporate exercise, regulating stress, or worrying about health and wellness. Who can possibly do all of that? Here’s the good news – you can!

Career & Leadership Development knows the importance of self-image, confidence, and living well. Each week I will be posting ways you can take the awesome person you already are, and help you reach your utmost level!

Here is a list of some things you can expect to see this semester:

  • How to dodge germs in the office and classroom
  • Healthy eating on a college budget
  • Balancing college and work life
  • Office and dorm workouts
  • Ways to stay on task and get tasks done
  • Ways to create a positive self-image
  • How to step out of your comfort zone
  • Ways to de-stress

And the list goes on! Keep an eye out for our health and wellness tips and get ready for a whole-new you!

If there are more things you want learn more about 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.

Happy new semester Warhawks, let’s make it count!