Finals Season: Time to Hit the Books

This weeks challenge: Reading.

With final projects and large tests looming around the corner, the constant consumption of knowledge normally results in a Netflix binge at the end of the day. This last week, I had a different approach than my normal routine of video consumption. I have never been a big reader and once I got a phone in high school, reading became a much rarer occurrence. I challenged myself to read non-scholarly material for at least 30 minutes a day and here is what I found.

1. What was the biggest change/effects I noticed?

I was expecting to become a chore. That last thing I want to do after reading material, reading emails, or writing a paper is to relax by ….reading. Amazingly, I found that I was able to relax very quickly because that material I was now consuming was an enjoyable narrative, not a chore that I would have to report on. I felt much more refreshed after I put the book done instead of the normal sluggish feeling I feel when watching a show.

2. What were minor changes/effects that occurred throughout the week?

I started falling asleep way quicker. I think the active use of my brain to read as opposed to the mindless consumption of media tired it out more. When it was time to sleep, shutting off was easy.

3. Was this health habit enjoyable?

My book of choice this week was the classic series of Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein. If you haven’t read it, I cannot recommend it higher. Genuinely amazing writing and series defining literature. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable habit.

4. How can this health habit sustainable in the long term?

This is probably the most sustainable habit I have done this whole semester. I personally think that having a good book to read makes this habit the most sustainable. Having a reading list and being open to suggestions makes sure you’ll never run out of material.

I hope to continue this trend because it has been one of the most refreshing to attempt.  There is not much to say about this habit other than peaceful. It was peaceful. Honestly, just try it for yourself because it can totally change your day. Right now, you probably have more time than you normally do, so pick up a book and enjoy  the experience. I don’t have much to say about this habit because it just pleasant. At this time in life, we could all use a refreshing habit because ready or not…

Life Willkomm

Cold Showers Bring May Flowers

This Spring has been…… less than ideal recently. While all of us are quarantined in our respected places of residence, I decided to make myself more miserable. How does one do that?

They take cold showers.

Yes, this week I tackled the one habit I was dreading on doing the most. The relaxing steam of a warm shower with the soothing water running down your body can be the most pleasant part of a day, but this week it was ripped away from me for the sake of experimentation and here is what I experienced.

1. What was the biggest change/effects I noticed?

I’ve been in cold water before, but this was different. My body was so conditioned to hearing the faucet turn on only to be followed by a nice stream of warm water. When I walked into that cold blast of water, I was more awake than I have ever felt in my life. All week, I never got used to that feeling of instantaneous alertness that came from being immersed in cold water.

2. What were minor changes/effects that occurred throughout the week?

I noticed that I was in a better mood after the shower and I felt a different level of concentration for about an hour after I finished showering.  My showers shortened significantly to the point where I was showering in about 2-3 minute. Each shower became a mission to scrub down as fast as possible.

3. Was this health habit enjoyable?

This habit sucked. I knew it was good for me, but I reallllllly hated it. It was a habit that I enjoyed the benefits of, but there was no joy in the habit itself.

4. How can this health habit sustainable in the long term?

This health habit is sustainable, but you gotta be a little crazy. I think a cold shower once or twice a week is doable, but I think it is all about familiarity. The more you do it, the better it will be. Just like waking up early, it is like ripping off a Band Aid.

I remember when I was in South Africa water was scared due to a drought they were having. I always volunteered to shower last which normally meant I got the cold water. Since I was there for 3 weeks, that meant just about 3 weeks of cold showers so I slightly knew what to expect. I still really hated this, but I’m so glad I did it. The mental clarity after the initial shock of the cold blast was slightly euphoric. That feeling of alertness was only thing that motivated me to keep on taking cold showers. I think I’ll consider taking a cold shower every now and then for that feeling of mental preparedness  because ready or not….

Life Willkomm

Leaving Procrastination Station

Welcome back for another week of experimentation in the world of habits.

This week’s challenge: No Procrastination

This last week I decided to not do any “fun” activities until my work was done for the day. I have to preface this habit with the motivation behind it. One of my best friends and roommate for 3 years in now going into his second year at med school. He was a National Merit Scholar in high school (tested into the 99% percentile), graduated from Whitewater with a 4.0 with ease, and rarely studied. I never saw this man stressed out, frantically typing a paper, or pulling an all-nighter. I would constantly ask him how he had all this free time when I was doing school work and he simply replied, “I already did my homework.” He laid down this wisdom

“You’re going to have to do the work anyways so I would rather get it out of the way as early as possible and then enjoy the free time with no stress.”

Obviously, this has gotten him pretty far in life so I decided to try that this week. I made sure that my homework was done before I did any extracurricular or personal activities.

1. What was the biggest change/effects I noticed?

Stress disappeared instantly. I cannot explain how eliminating procrastination had the biggest effect on my mood. I felt I could actually enjoy my free time instead of constantly worrying about what I had to get done later.

2. What were minor changes/effects that occurred throughout the week?

As the week progressed, I found it easier to make school work a priority rather than a job that had to be done. It shifted my mindset from chore to activity and actually gave me a great structure for my morning. As we are all floating in the ambiguous blur of the day from COVID-19, structure is a beautiful thing.  

3. Was this health habit enjoyable?

This was very enjoyable. It made me sleep better, enjoy the day more, and generally give the day more purpose. School work used to be, “I’ll get that done by tonight,” but shifting the procrastination to purposeful made this habit more enjoyable as the habit progressed.

4. How can this health habit sustainable in the long term?

I had to defer to the expert, my friend, on this one. He is actually hardwired to work this way, but he did say to make a list of what you need to get done without making it insurmountable. He said there basically 3 categories for work:

1. Immediate deadline – it is due that night

2. Cushion work – by doing it now you reduced tomorrow load

3. Long-term – group projects

He said the goal it to do all immediate work, as much cushion work as you feel like doing as early as possible, and at least some long-term work every day and you’ll always be fine.

Of all the things I have done, I think this one will probably be the most useful moving forward into the future. The reduction of stress is a burden off your back that will make you enjoy the day so much more as opposed to having a nagging laundry list in the back of your mind all day. I hope you choose to test-drive this habit at least once to see how much it can change your day. Having the stress removed and the deadlines monster vanquished lets you take full advantage of the age of saying carpe diem because ready or not…

Life Willkomm

Until We Meat Again

Welcome back for another week of trying something new.

 This week: Vegetarian

I am a frequent consumer of meat. I normally start my day with 4-5 eggs and maybe a slice  of bacon. My lunch normally has chicken involved in some form and dinner is reserved for beef. My family buys a cow every year at the county fair so our freezer is fairly stocked full of meat and beef is a staple of my family’s diet. I had heard in my perusings through the internet that the vegetarian diet, although often done to fight against animal cruelty and the meat industry, can have health benefits. One of my friends switched to the vegetarian diet to help with digestion issues and another who switched to help with skin care. I decided to put these things to the test to see if this diet is for me and here is what I found.

1. What was the biggest change/effects I noticed?

I ate a lot more bread. I down vegetarian frozen pizzas like a fiend that week. If I couldn’t have meat, my body wanted a substitute which occurred in the form of carbs. Lots and lots of carbs. I did have to check to make sure the ingredients were actually vegetarian, but breads and snacks became my life blood. Because I knew that I was only doing this for a week, my body still has the craving to consume meat by the end of the week and it got pretty bad.

2. What were minor changes/effects that occurred throughout the week?

Throughout the week, I noticed that my skin did look a little better and I rarely got stomach aches unless I had a junk food binge. I had to eat a lot more vegetables to be full at a meal rather than eating a couple of chicken breasts. I naturally gravitated towards peanuts, cashew, and almonds as well as a healthy mix of vegetables, but also just a lot of carbs. I did have more energy in the mornings, but looking back, that was probably just my body in a panic seeking out the morning eggs it was deprived of.

3. Was this health habit enjoyable?

This was okay. Just okay. I wouldn’t do it again because I genuinely enjoy meat and I have no urge to give it up. My mom made a delicious roast that I had to turn down for the sake of this experiment which mad me sad.

4. How can this health habit sustainable in the long term?

I will not pretend to be an expert on this after one week. I know there are plenty of other people that could much better information to sustain this habit if you are interested. One source that is worth checking out is No Meat Athlete linked below.

I am probably never going to do this habit again because it just isn’t the right fit for me. I have nothing against it, but I like meat a little too much. I think it is worth a try for anyone trying to change things up and maybe explore the health benefits a little more. It is always good to look out for your health because ready or not…

Life Willkomm

The Sweet Side of Life

Welcome back for another week of trying something new.

 This week: No added sugar.

Ever since we were little, we are conditioned to love sugar. Movies, books, advertisements about candy are geared towards children. The sugar becomes more and ‘refined’ as we get older to be delicious desserts and delicacies, but sugar has become more and more mainstreamed into our diets rather than desserts. It is genuinely amazing to see how much added sugar is in food. If you read food labels anytime soon, it can be shocking. We know that we are not supposed to eat A LOT of sugar, but it can sometimes feel like we don’t have a choice. Sugar is in everything. I have heard that it can be good to cut added sugars out, so this week I tried it. Here were the results:

1. What was the biggest change/effects I noticed?

First and foremost, cutting out added sugar was much easier than I thought it would be. What was completely bizarre was the cutting of weight. I dropped 3 pounds eating my normal diet, doing my regular exercise, but I just cut out foods that had added sugar. I felt more focused when I woke up and more consistent in my energy level throughout the day rather than having spikes after I ate.

2. What were minor changes/effects that occurred throughout the week?

In the quarantine life where food is not as abundant as it once was, I noticed I just ate what was available. I found that whenever I craved something sweet at night, I was able to substitute that for something like bread and butter and I was fine. After a few days. vegetables had so much more flavor to them because my sweetness threshold got so much lower. I love food and I love to cook/bake, but I noticed more flavors in food when sugar was cut out of the normal diet.

3. Was this health habit enjoyable?

This was a totally fine habit. It was easier in quarantine because I’m not going out. I’m not having any mixed drinks with soda at the bar or going to grab some late night ice cream or desserts. It was enjoyable when I look back at how much consistency in energy I had.

4. How can this health habit sustainable in the long term?

This is completely sustainable to an extent. I would never want to become that killjoy who won’t go out or eat somewhere because they are doing “no added sugar.” I’m not going to avoid treats of life because of this habit, but I would like to continue to cut out sugar as much as I can in my normal diet because I think it was more beneficial than it was a burden. If you are interested, I would just say to not tempt yourself and buy snacks that are sugary. You can’t eat what you don’t have.

I really liked this habit and it gave me recipes to research other than just researching for school work. I think everyone should try it at least 1 week in their life. I know for some people, it really helps their skin, superhero celebrities do it for their diets, and it has made me enjoy food so much more. For me, I was the consistency in energy so I can be prepared for anything the day throws at me because ready or not,

Life Willkomm

Lemon Water: Nothing to Pucker At

This article is from Health & Fitness by Sheza.

Celebrities and social media influencers have promoted the advantages of drinking lemon water for years. Some naturopaths even follow it. They do not start their day without a drinking glass of warm water with lemon juice. They claim drinking lemon water in the morning will give your mood, gut, and energy a big boost. It also helps with weight loss. However, are there any scientifically proven health benefits of it?

1. Lemon Water is Good for the Liver

There are certain compounds in Lemon that can help a liver to function well. It helps a liver in filtering toxins out of a body. A study suggests that certain citrus flavonoids in lemon protect the liver against a liver disease that is caused by toxins. It also helps in protecting a liver against fatty liver disease by reducing fat in the liver. With the help of lemon water, a person’s body cleanses itself naturally.

2. It is  Heart Healthy

Lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C. One lemon provides an average of 31 mg of vitamin C that is 51% RDI daily intake. As per the research, consuming fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C reduces the risk of heart diseases and stroke. Only vitamin C that is present in Lemon is not good for the heart, but it has plant and fiber compounds. That can considerably lower some risk factors for heart diseases.

3. It helps in Controlling Weight

If a person eats a whole lemon, pectin fiber from it can help fight hunger and cravings. Study shows that there are some polyphenol antioxidants in lemons. It can help in reducing weight gain. These antioxidants can also balance the adverse effects on blood glucose levels and improved insulin resistance.  In short, a lemon is a best friend of a dieter. When a person drinks a glass of lemon-flavored water or regular water before a meal, it helps to fill his/her stomach.

Lemon Water Improves Digestive Health

Some people love to drink lemon water every day in the morning. Lemon is a laxative that can help prevent constipation. It has powerful effects on digestive health. It can promote regular bowel movements.  Therefore, it aids digestion. If a person wants to drink warm or hot lemon water when he/she wakes up in the morning, it can help get the digestive system moving. Lemon water allows a person’s body to digest food more easily and help prevent the accumulation of toxins.

It Acts as a Detoxifying Agent

Lemon is full of vitamin C. It improves skin quality by reducing skin wrinkles, dry skin from ageing, and damage from the sun. The vitamin C in warm lemon water clears skin by decreasing blemishes. It removes toxins from the blood that ultimately keeps skin crystal clear. Besides drinking, one can even apply lemon water directly to scars that can help reduces their appearance. The nutrients found in lemon nourish a person’s skin from the inside out and the outside in. Therefore, he/she can have beautiful and glowing skin in no time. As per the study, the citrus-based drink helps in preventing the development of wrinkles in hairless mice.

It Prevents Kidney Stones

Lemon is rich in Vitamin C – citric acid. This citric acid in lemons helps prevent kidney stones. In lemon, there is a citric acid compound called citrate. It remarkably makes urine less acidic and may even break up small stones. Drinking lemon water not only makes a person citrate but also it provides the water that a person needs to prevent or flush out stones. Therefore, if a person is prone to kidney stones, then lemon water is his/her best friend.

Lemon Water Freshens Breath

Rubbing Lemon on hands can help a person to get rid of the strong smell of garlic or other odors. The same folk remedy one can apply to bad breath that is caused by eating foods with garlic, onions, or fish. One might avoid bad breath by drinking a glass of lemon water after meals and the first thing in the morning. Besides, a glass of warm lemon water can help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. It stimulates saliva and prevents a dry mouth that is one of the main reasons for bad breath.

Wrapping Up

Briefly, lemon contains a high amount of vitamin C, soluble fiber, and plant compound. Therefore, it can offer several health benefits. Lemons are a very healthy fruit, and besides that, they have a different, pleasing smell and taste that makes them a great addition to foods and drinks. It makes a person hydrated, which is critical to good health. Therefore, drinking lemon water is pretty much a win-win.

You Snooze, You Lose

Week 3:

This week, I decided to become an early riser and start each day with an alarm set at 6 a.m. Yes, you read that right. I don’t have work in the morning or any reason to be up that early other than the sake of trying something new. Every day this week, that stupid alarm went off and I ripped off the covers and began my day. As someone who identifies as a night owl, this was the most challenging habit to try yet. But…. perseverance won the day and I can say that I successfully woke up every morning and these were the effects I saw happen.

1. What was the biggest change/effects I noticed?

The biggest shift in my behavior was productivity. When I woke up in the morning, if I could get out of my bed within 5 minutes of the alarm going off, I was insanely productive for that whole morning. On the flip side of productivity, I was a slug in the afternoon for the whole first half of the week. I was completely drained, but thankfully, I got most of my work done in the morning.

2. What were minor changes/effects that occurred throughout the week?

Some minor things I noticed was that when I ate earlier in the day, my appetite was satiated much faster and I didn’t feel like I had to snack in the afternoon. I also noticed that in the afternoon, I really wanted a nap. It was a constant battle to fight through that craving of sleep, but when I did, falling asleep at night was much easier than it has been in the past.

3. Was this health habit enjoyable?

 I hated this habit. Flat out hated waking up early, but again, I prefer to be up at night. The only enjoyable thing was getting my homework done in the more to create a much more relaxing afternoon where I could chill out more. When I would look at my clock at midnight, I only felt dread knowing that I was going to get a maximum of 6 hours of sleep.

4. How can this health habit sustainable in the long term?

This health habit is definitely sustainable, but it requires much longer than a week to form the habit of being a morning person. I was dependent on coffee to accomplish the task, but I’m sure that when I get out of school, waking up that early for a job will become normal.

I worked a maintenance for 3 years and I had to be awake at 5:45 every day to be at work on time, so you think jumping back into this habit would be easy. This was like ripping off a band aid and it hurt big time. I think people are either born morning or night people and I was born for the night. As pretty as the sunrise is, I prefer to howl at the moon. When I face the reality of a job I’m just gonna have to suck it up and stop hitting snooze, because ready or not….

Life Willkomm

Also, if you enjoy last week’s guest author, check out her blog here in the link below

I Cannot Stress This Enough

This week, we have guest blogger Morgan Meade giving tips on how to relieve stress. 

Stress Relief!!!

Hello everybody! Stress is something that can impact your life negatively if you don’t manage it correctly! Being students, we have a lot on our plate with our classes, friends, families, jobs, and more! It is crucial that we take time for ourselves to relax and “treat” ourselves. There are different steps you can take to manage stress and to take time for yourself. 

One great way to relieve stress is by exercising! Exercise helps boost endorphins in your body and is proven to also reduce stress and tension. I have realized this a lot in my life and how if I am having a bad day or very stressed out that after I work out, I always feel so much better than before.  

Another great way is just by unwinding after a long day. Do something that will make you feel at peace. My recommendation for this method is just to light a candle, maybe get a bubble bath going, put your phone away, and really relax. Being on your phone too much can just remind you of the stressful things going on in your life. That is why I think it is the best idea to put it away while trying to relax! Taking bubble baths has always been something that has really helped me to relax and feel at peace so I also recommend those who are very stressed to give this a try. If you get some good smelling soap for the bath, that can help too!! 

Another idea that I have done is by journaling and making sure to write down things. Journaling is beneficial because it can help you get feelings you have had bottled up out of your head so much. It is nice to be able to share these without really sharing information that might be private and personal to you! Another way that writing things down can be beneficial is by making lists of what tasks you need to get done so that you know what is all on your plate!!

Lastly, the best and my favorite way to relieve stress is by laughing and taking the time to spend with those who mean the most to you. Laughing is so important and a good laugh can really turn your mood around! Make sure to focus on those in your life who make you laugh and who help to take your stress away!

Did this Habit Sink or Swim?

Week 2:

This week, I have gulp down the challenge of drinking a gallon of water a day. We have learned in every health we have ever taken that we should drink 12 glasses of water a day, but how many people actually do that? Upon my brief research into why this is a trend, or a health goal, I learned that on average 4 out of 5 Americans are dehydrated.

That is scary to think about.

The benefits of drinking water flows from more energy, quicker metabolism, better sleep, improved joint health, healthier organs, and clearer skin just to name a few, so why doesn’t everyone do this?

I myself never carried a wattle bottle around till I went to college and even then, I carried around a dinky little water bottle that I would drink maybe once or twice a day. Now I carry a pretty large water bottle to force me to drink more, but to drink a gallon of water meant having to refill and drink it 4 times a day. To do this, I made a schedule to guzzle a full bottle every 3 hours. After doing this for a week, here is what I noticed.

1. What was the biggest change/effects I noticed?

            The number one thing I saw was improved mood. I felt like a stream of happiness when I was well hydrated for multiple reasons, but I’ll get into that later. The second biggest effect was having to pee. ALL. THE. TIME. Seriously, that got annoying real quick. I would be counting down the minutes in classes just so I could book it to the bathroom as soon as they wrapped up the lecture.

2. What were minor changes/effects that occurred throughout the week?

            I noticed that my diet got significantly better. I couldn’t each junk food because the a junk food would absorb the large amounts of water and make me feel bloating. Therefor, I felt full and unable to eat copious amount of bad food. I also felt so much more refreshed in the morning rather than dreading the 8:30 alarm. I felt like my sleep was more refreshing than it had been in the past. Ultimately, I felt like a well oil machine rather than a creaking slug that got dragged through the day.

3. Was this health habit enjoyable?

            This habit was very enjoyable just to see the effects it had. It was comparable to the first time I put on a pair of glasses and the euphoria of seeing the detail that has always existed, but you had never known about. It didn’t completely change my life, but it definitely made it more enjoyable.

4. How can this health habit sustainable in the long term?

            This is a sustainable habit, but it takes determination. It is not unrealistic, but there is a large margin of making it a daily habit. I’ll admit, on Saturday I fell short of my goal. Being less active on Saturday as opposed to downpour of business on weekdays made it harder to be intentional. Because I slacked on Saturday, I felt pretty bad on Sunday, like a drug had worn off, but I was able to soak in some water Sunday and go into the week strong. Like all the health habits, I’m finding it takes a few things to be successful:

a plan

proper setup


For me, accountability came from my body telling me, “WATER ME! I’M DYING!” but accountability can look different for everyone. Sometimes it means making a reminder in your phone or just always having a water bottle in your line of sight to saturate your mind in building the habit. For me, this habit helped to build up a reservoir of energy and I plan on continuing drinking a gallon of water a day to have energy to spare because….

Ready or not,

Life Willkomm

My Time in the Iron Paradise

Week one:

This week, I decide to tackle the health trend of working out. Obviously, working out is recommended by nearly every health professional as a beneficial way to take care of the human body on a physical and mental level. I am one to hit the gym every now and then, but this week, I decided to work out on an extreme level for a total of six times this week. I decided that I should hit the weights for four of the sessions and then just cardio, like running or stairs, for the other two.  

1. What was the biggest change/effects I noticed?

            The biggest change I saw was the fatigue. I normally work out a few times a week, but to only have one rest day in the week…..ew. I found myself having less energy to do homework or get out of bed in the mornings, but it did make my sleep so much more restful. This fatigue came into full swing at towards the end of the week, but I noticed that after my day off, I was looking forward to going back to the gym.

2. What were minor changes/effects that occurred throughout the week?

            I gotta say, my favorite minor change was the increase in appetite. I made sure to weigh-in before workouts to track any change in weight. I found that I was able to eat slightly more, especially on a day I was doing cardio, with no weight change. When I would fall asleep at night, I woke up feeling so much more refreshed than I normally would. My body would crave rest, use it better, value it more.

3. Was this health habit enjoyable?

            I personally thought this habit was enjoyable to do. There is a community at the gym that is not as intimidating as people think. Many times, people feel like the “big guys” at the gym are really mean, but many times, they are some of the nicest people who are just enjoying a hobby. The release of endorphins that comes along with working out was the best part.

4. How can this health habit sustainable in the long term?

            This is definitely a sustainable habit for the determined, but it requires time management. Making time to walk to the gym, work out, walk back, and then shower is normally taking an hour and a half minimum. Taking six days a week to dedicate to working out is definitively not sustainable for everyone. I would say the number one thing for working out, other than eating something that will sustain you, is to have the right attitude or a goal in mind. Working out for the sake of being active does not work for most people. Like many things in life, there has to be something to strive for. I believe this is why most people fail at continually going to the gym. They don’t choose a goal that is:

            A. not right for them   


            B. unrealistic

I did enjoy my time exploring this habit more and this is one I think I will continue a little while longer. It requires a bit of discipline, but adding in a workout buddy can help tremendously. Although I don’t think I was fully prepared to take this challenge on, sometimes you have to just grit your teeth, suck it up, and power through.


Ready or not,

Life Willkomm