Mental Wellness

Spring Term Reset

With each new term at Drexel, I have the same feeling I do at the start of each new calendar year. It is fitting then, that I like to make resolutions or goals for the upcoming few months. These goals are in a wide range of categories from academic, to career, to health goals, to political engagement and environmental conservation. By breaking up my goals per term, they are a lot easier chip away at than when made on New Year’s Eve or Day. Often, those goals—made with the hindsight of the year before and the hope of the year to come—feel insurmountable a few days later. However, if i take those goals and break them up into more achievable pieces that I can tackle each term, it allows me to feel like I have made significant process and that motivates me to continue. That doesn’t mean that I achieve all of them or that they are easy, but approaching them is a bit less daunting. This process also provides me with a space to reflect on the past term, while actively planning for the one ahead of me. As important as planning is, reflection is an often neglected part of our growing process that is so important! This reflection can be on the last term, the last 6 months, or my last co-op as I prepare to start a new one. I have included some examples below.

Reflections:

  1. During the past 6 months, I have seriously struggled to get sufficient sleep due to a number of factors, including an inconsistent sleep schedule.
  2. I tended to stop running during stressful weeks of the term in the Winter, which didn’t make me feel less stressed, but rather, more stressed.
  3. Last co-op, I felt fairly isolated from people as I was not used to being in an office rather than a social, college campus.

Goals for Spring Term:

  1. Establish a more consistent sleep schedule. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep.
  2. Aim to Run 3x per week until field hockey ends and then reevaluate exercise schedule.
  3. Find ways to easily socialize with people over co-op.

How Will I Work to Achieve This?:

  1. I will turn my phone on Do Not Disturb at 10pm. I will alter my sleep schedule in my FitBit so that it reminds me to go to sleep earlier.
  2. I will plan what days I am running at the beginning of each week. I will have my running clothes and equipment out and ready to be used when I get home from work or for when I wake up in the morning.  
  3. I will sit with people at lunch at work. I will establish certain nights of the week that I come home from work and see friends.

These are just some examples of the process that I like to go through. Your process may look different—everyone needs to find what works for them! If you have a method for your goal making process, please comment it below! If you have goals you’d like to share, please also comment them below!

 

Meal Prep & Nutrition, Uncategorized

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

This recipe comes to us from Drexel SWE Alumni, Jane Maurer, and receives rave reviews by other SWEeties who have tried it. I can’t wait to test it out myself! The original link to the recipe can be found here, but I have also included it below for convenience. It yields 4 servings and should only take about an hour to cook (or if you have an Instant Pot, one commenter said that you can cook it in 6-10 minutes on soup mode)!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, more to taste
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
  3. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  4. Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
  5. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

 

Extra bonus: This recipe is vegan as long as you use vegetable broth!

 

 

Podcasts/TEDtalks

“The Power of Believing That You Can Improve”

Professor Carol Dweck discusses the “growth mindset” and the concept of “not yet” in this TEDtalk, which was recommended to us by our wellness chair, Nisat!

Carol talks about a study she conducted with 10 year olds and how they reacted when facing a problem that was hard for them. Some students wanted to run from the challenge, while others took it as an opportunity to express their willingness to learn.

Looking at the inability to solve a problem as, “I am not able to solve this yet” versus looking at your difficulty as a failure is applicable to everyone in many aspects of their lives. You could not yet know how to solve a school or work related problem, or a problem with a family member, or a physical challenge that you are working to overcome.

This talk comes at a fitting time for me actually. I have found myself underperforming in one of my classes this term and it has been really frustrating. While processing my errors, it was easy to look at them as failures and feel unmotivated. However, when listening to this talk, I began to think about how my motivation might change if I thought about the class as “I do not know everything yet”. Carol emphasizes praising the process and not necessarily the outcome, which will help to change your mindset. I’m going to work on applying these concepts in the coming weeks so that I can process my errors, learn from them, and correct them (hopefully!).

Thanks, Carol Dweck for the insightful information and thank you Nisat for the recommendation!

 

 

Mental Wellness, Physical Wellness

The 7 Dimensions of Wellness

Listen to the first podcast of Wellness Revolutionaries that addresses the 7 dimensions of wellness with host, Blake Beltram, and guest, Alessandro Giannetti. Blake Beltram is a co-founder and evangelist at MINDBODY and Alessandro Giannetti is a healer and the founder of Guided Light Healing. Check it out here!

The 7 Dimensions of Wellness:

  1. Physical [Discussed at minute 13:49]
  2. Spiritual [15:58]
  3. Occupational/Vocational [21:00]
  4. Environmental [24:55]
  5. Emotional [28:13]
  6. Intellectual [36:22]
  7. Social [38:28]

    woman wearing black sleeveless dress holding white headphone at daytime
    Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com
Meal Prep & Nutrition

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

From Guest Contributor: Elvira-Marie Mikhael

I really liked this recipe because it was easy to make and healthy too! Definitely a good option if you’re vegetarian, thinking about transitioning to a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, or just looking to incorporate more veggies into your diet. I made these for the super bowl with some ranch dressing. The original recipe listed below makes 8 servings. I put the leftovers over some rice, seasoned chickpeas, and spinach and had that for lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white, whole wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup FRANK’S RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce (I imagine that you could substitute another type of hot sauce as desired/needed.)
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted

Directions:

  1. PREHEAT oven to 450°F.
  2. COMBINE flour, water, salt, and garlic powder in a large bowl and stir until smooth. Add cauliflower and stir gently until florets are evenly coated with batter.
  3. ARRANGE cauliflower in a single layer on lightly oiled, large baking sheet (preferably nonstick). Bake 20 minutes or until golden.
  4. COMBINE Cayenne Pepper Sauce and melted butter and pour evenly over cauliflower. Toss gently until cauliflower is evenly coated.
  5. BAKE 10 minutes or until cauliflower begins to crisp, rearranging florets occasionally if needed. Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing.

 

cauliflower cooking pot delicious food
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Physical Wellness

Active Office Lifestyle

This past weekend at We Local, I went to a workshop titled, “Adopt an Active Office Lifestyle”, which addressed the harm sedentary jobs pose against our health and suggested ways in which to stay active while at work. I was surprised to learn that 80% of US jobs are sedentary and these sedentary habits are linked to obesity and diabetes. Throughout the whole talk, the presenters stressed that too little exercise is not the same as too much sitting. This talk was focused on the too much sitting aspect, while acknowledging that too little exercise is also a problem that many Americans face.

In order to combat the negative effects of sedentary jobs, they recommended low intensity, short duration muscular movements that happen frequently throughout the day. They suggested that every 20 minutes, you should do approximately 2 minutes of standing or movement so your body is stimulated. Some of their (and my) recommendations are below:

  1. Change positions regularly
  2. Hold meetings standing up
  3. Take the stairs
  4. Hold walking meetings (walk around the office or block)
  5. Stand up and pace during phone calls
  6. Walk to a colleagues office/cubicle instead of calling or messaging
  7. Set calendar reminders for posture check and movement
  8. Add an office exercise break to your day (lunch is a great time to do this)
  9. Relocate commonly used items to force you to get up to retrieve them
  10. Park farther from the office
  11. Do small exercises while heating up your lunch
  12. Stretch as you walk through the office
  13. Download movement reminder/suggestion apps
  14. Walk briskly
  15. Walk to the farther bathroom/printer
  16. Do squats in the bathroom
  17. Walk or bike to work
  18. Deskercises!

Some common deskercises are:

  1. Stretching
  2. Arm circles
  3. Squats
  4. Wall sits
  5. Lunges
  6. Desk/wall push ups
  7. Standing leg extensions
  8. Balancing
  9. Squeeze knees together
  10. Engage core
  11. Straighten and bend leg when seated
  12. Raise bent leg when seated
  13. Leg circles
  14. Glute clench
  15. Seated calf raise

I’m excited to try and incorporate some of these tips on my next co-op. I am also going to try some this term during my long hours at the library. Let us know some of your favorite active office tips below in the comments!!

Meal Prep & Nutrition

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars

If you ask me what 2 of my favorite foods in the entire world are, I’ll probably answer “bananas and natural peanut butter”. Although my reliance on peanut butter has dwindled from being one of my main food groups freshman year of college, it is a rare day that I don’t eat a banana. I am particular about my bananas and peanut butter though! My bananas must be slightly green to just turned yellow and if they have brown spots, they will be put in my freezer to be used later for baking. I always buy natural peanut butter with a sole ingredient, peanuts. I try to avoid peanut butters that adds salt or sugar and if it has hydrogenated oil in it, it is a no go as hydrogenated oil has trans fats in it, which never leave your body. Therefore, when I found this recipe for banana peanut butter oatmeal bars by Fit Foodie Finds, I was so excited! The recipe below yields 4 servings and it can be found originally here:

Ingredients:

  • 1 very ripe banana, medium
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, creamy (I recommend using natural!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (or any kind of flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. First, preheat oven to 375ºF and spray a medium-size baking dish or cake pan with coconut oil cooking spray (I’m sure that PAM would work too).
  2. In a large bowl, mash 1 very ripe banana until liquid. Then, add in eggs, peanut butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and almond milk and mix until smooth.
  3. Add rolled oats, flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until everything is thoroughly combined.
  4. Transfer batter into baking dish and slice a few bananas on top (I’m probably going to skip the bananas on top, but that is personal preference).
  5. Bake at 375º for about 30-40 minutes (it will depend on the size and depth of your baking dish) or until firm.

I can’t wait to try out these bars! I think I will make them on Sundays and then I can eat them for breakfast throughout the week. I’m sure they would also be good as a dessert with chocolate chips in them 🙂