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Hard Time Sleeping? Here Are a Few Reasons Why

June 11, 2020

Understandably, there will be times in your college career that you have a hard time sleeping – sometimes, you might think pulling an all-nighter is the best way to get ahead with your studying. Other times, you might be consumed with anxiety over a difficult class. Or there could be other reasons you’re chronically having trouble getting quality sleep. Looking at those potential areas of trouble can help you to both improve your health and your concentration, and ultimately help you to do better in school.

Screen Time

As a college student in the digital age, you’re certainly getting a lot of screen time. Maybe you’ve got online homework, carry a smartphone, and you have easy access to other media on streaming services and social platforms. It’s easy to lie in bed at the end of the day and scroll through your phone, but this could be affecting you as you try to fall asleep. Research shows that screen time, especially right before bed, can make it hard for you to fall asleep. In fact, a study shows sleep can be interrupted in direct correlation with how much time you spend with your screen, meaning that 15 minutes of screen time might mean four minutes of less sleep, and so on.

Additionally, if you’re still in your teens or early twenties, your brain is still developing. Research shows your prefrontal cortex – the area in charge of higher reasoning – is still formulating up to age 25. Restorative sleep is vital in promoting a healthy brain, including cognitive function, hormone regulation, and metabolism. Lack of sleep can lead to obesity, depression, and other health issues. Turn off your screens – including your phones, iPads, laptops, desktop computer, and TV – two hours before you go to sleep to help your body understand that it’s time to shut down and get the restorative rest that you need.

Stress

College has its fun and joyful experiences and is a time to make new connections with your peers, and maybe even enjoy a social gathering or two. But there’s also a lot of stress – you may be living away from home for the first time, and there may be stress associated with living in close quarters with people you don’t really know well (and maybe aren’t compatible with). You may have been excited to start your college courses and have added on one too many classes. You may be changing your eating habits, exercise habits, and overall routine. All of it is a disruption, and it’s natural that you may face some disruption in your sleep as well.

A few tips can help you to manage the stress that can lead to sleep disruption. Take an honest look at your class schedule – you may be interested in that 300-level course in philosophy, but do you need to take it this semester? While your university experience is a time to explore different academic areas, work with your advisor to ensure you’re first getting the required courses in and not overloading yourself with classes, especially as you’re adjusting to college life. Make sure you have some healthy time just for you. Look into your college’s extracurricular offerings such as yoga and meditation classes for an extra way to relax– the time spent will pay off in better sleep and, therefore, a clearer mind.

Diet

It’s super easy to rely on pizza deliveries and junk food, especially when you’re stressed and short of time – but a poor diet, even for resilient young people, can actually increase your stress and therefore make it harder to sleep. While you may feel invincible in your twenties, a poor diet can have a long term impact on your health, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Think of it like starting a savings account – you may not have much in there to begin with, but it all adds up the older you get.

Take advantage of your college’s meal plan. Hit the salad bar and take advantage of the healthier offerings like vegetables, whole grain offerings, and fresh fruit. Or, if you’re on your own for meals and short of time, grab the pre-made salads and healthy meals from the grocery store. Additionally, stay away from the Red Bull and caffeine-boosters, to pull those all-nighters (which are terrible sleep interrupters anyway). And while you may have plenty of opportunities to socialize after hours, lay off the alcohol, which despite being a depressant, can actually cause you to lose quality sleep.

Remember, your college also may have free opportunities to see a counselor if your insomnia, stress, or alcohol use become problematic. Remember that you’ve made a major life change by starting your college career, and seeking additional help to adjust may be just the extra hand you need to sleep easier.

Health Other

6 Things You Might Not Know About Mono

May 27, 2020

Mononucleosis, more commonly known as “Mono” is relatively common among college students. It is caused by the spreading of the Epstein-Barr virus through saliva, mucus, and sometimes even tears. Many call Mono “the kissing disease”, because it is notoriously spread through kissing, but here are some facts you might not know about the disease.

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Health Other

How More Music, Theater, and Dance Boosts Students’ Writing Scores: Top Secret Tricks

April 17, 2020

Writing assignments are an inevitable part of education, but they prove to be too stressful for many students. Multiple factors influence the writing scores including stress levels, understanding of the subject, creativity, the level of critical thinking, among other things. If you are looking to improve writing scores then music, theater, and dance could help you out. How? Let’s see.

Visible results

Students measure their results and success by things they see and although this seems obvious, writing doesn’t provide that. How? Writing assignments involve developing an argument or composing a paper on a given subject. Then, the student submits the paper to the teacher and waits for the results. For students who struggle with writing it can be difficult to assess their success and the level of progression until they get the score. Dancing, singing, and performing arts are different. The student can immediately see how well she or he is doing. How does this translate to writing you wonder? Well, doing well in performing arts gives confidence boost they need to express their thoughts, opinions, and emotions in the paper and develop or improve writing skills. 

Self-evaluation 

Performance of any kind calls for a great deal of self-evaluation. Whether it’s music, dance, theater, or something else the student will always assess the strengths and weaknesses looking for something to improve. The habit of self-evaluation can also serve in the improvement of writing scores. It teaches a student to take a look at the paper from a different angle and identify parts where improvement is necessary. Habits developed with performing arts can easily apply to the writing skills and their development and better scores ensue. 

Stress relief through conquered challenges

One of the biggest advantages of theater, dance, and music is their ability to manage stress and anxiety. Academic life is stressful and, as you already know, stress harms overall performance. When engaging in performing arts students learn how to manage and relieve stress levels which can help them feel calmer when writing and composing their assignments.

Enhanced cognitive abilities

Performing arts such as music lessons, dancing, theater, and others can boost cognitive skills in students. For example, studies show that music lessons can enhance language-based reasoning, short-term memory, planning, and inhibition in students. Stronger cognitive function improves how students express themselves, sharpens critical thinking, and makes them overall more creative. All these factors are necessary for great writing scores. 

Conquering fear

Students tend to worry a lot about their teacher’s reaction to the paper. They are scared to express themselves out of fear it might lead to negative remarks. However, writing scores don’t work that way. Engaging in dancing, music, or joining drama group helps students conquer the fear and focus on themselves and their performance only. You learn how to be the best you can be without constantly thinking about someone else’s reactions. The freedom you experience when performing arts can help you conquer fears in writing assignments as well. 

Better writing scores is what most students want, but aren’t sure how to achieve it. The answer is simple; join a drama group, sing, play an instrument, and perform arts in some other way. Confidence boost, stress management, enhanced cognitive functions are some of many reasons why performing arts can help improve writing skills and contribute to better scores. They teach us how to feel free to express ourselves and evaluate the performance to keep doing better and better each time.

BIO: Kathrin Garner is an enthusiastic journalist and writes articles on social issues. As an activist, she takes part in the FV KASA program, which is a discussion platform on relevant cannabis topics. She searches for current issues and writes about it to a wide range of readers.

Health Other

Online Games to Play with Your Friends

March 16, 2020

In the midst of recent events, many college students are advised to stay inside and keep to themselves. Now, this can be great for introverts who have been waiting for this kind of thing to be socially acceptable their whole lives, but for those who will start to miss human interaction, here are a few games you can play online with your friends to pass the time!

Crash Team Racing

One of the best on the market, obviously. A revamp from the late 90’s, this is a great racing game to play with a friend or seven.

Dead By Daylight

If you are interested in survival games with a strategic twist, go for this one! You can get it on Steam, Nintendo Switch, and just about anything else! Play with 3-4 extra other friends for the best experience. Though this one is not for the faint of heart. You’ll see what I mean.

World of Warcraft

I know, I know. This can be a trigger for some, but this is a great one to play with a friend or two, PLUS it takes a long time. It can be easy to get sucked into the world of Orcs and magic, so give it a shot! Best played on Steam.

League of Legends

Let’s ignore the salt factor of the community and focus on the fact that it is a fun MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game to play with up to 9 other friends! If you get that many you are able to start a party and play against each other. It’s a PC game that is usually downloaded from their website.

Super Smash Bros

This one doesn’t even need a description. Use it to get all that anger and frustration out! Mainly played on Nintendo systems.

Fortnite

Another survival meets combat game that most of us know about. I know that things can be a little iffy when it comes to these well-known games (you either love them or you hate them), but take this time to try out something you might not usually go for!

Man of Medan

Not much should be said about this one because it’s more fun to work and play on your own. It’s a game that is solely based on the idea of the butterfly effect and you choose the direction your characters go down. It can be played with up to 4 friends.

You can also go for classic games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Left4Dead as they are always options to play with your friends. Regardless of the game you choose, be sure you get Discord and a good headset to chat with your friends on! You can even use it just to talk to each other instead of just doing the regular group text.

There you have it. Staying inside and keeping healthy is key over the next few weeks, but it doesn’t mean you have to eliminate communication with people! Try out some of these online games to play with your college friends and stay safe.

Health Other

The Doctor is Out: Non-Medical Career Paths in Healthcare

March 9, 2020

Maybe you’ve always thought about a career in medicine, but blood isn’t really your thing. Or maybe you’ve actually embarked on a career as a healthcare provider, but the road is long, and you’ve got to make ends meet while you chase your dreams. The good news is you have a lot of options for pursuing a career in the healthcare industry outside of the practice of medicine itself.

Think About What You Want

As you explore your options in the healthcare industry, you’ll want to consider not only what kind of work you want to do, but also what you need from your job. Before you accept a job, you need to ensure they offer a benefits package that serves you today as well as tomorrow, especially if you’re considering staying for the long haul. Ensuring that your prospective employers offer benefits, such as retirement and medical, dental, and vision insurance, can help protect you now and well into the future.

The Good Enough Job

If you’re not yet ready to settle into your forever job, you can still find great ways to make a solid living while you work toward your ultimate career goals. For example, if you’re a medical student looking to earn some income and garner some experience in the healthcare industry, there are a lot of great sites you can turn to. Major job boards like Indeed and Monster can help you tailor your job search to your particular requirements, while other sites like College Recruiter are dedicated specifically to helping undergraduate and graduate students connect with prospective employers.

Turning a Job into a Career

If you’re ready to start your career now instead of waiting on that advanced degree or those years of clinical training, you don’t have to abandon the healthcare industry to do it. There are endless options for stable, well-paying, and richly rewarding jobs in the healthcare industry. For instance, if computers, as well as healthcare, are at the top of your interests, then why not combine them by pursuing a career in Big Data and healthcare AI?

Or you may want to be a bit more hands-on while sparing yourself the rigors of med school. Studies show that careers in home health are among the most in-demand and fastest-growing in the US. Or, if you’re ready to commit yourself to a bit more time in school, you can build an exciting and very lucrative career with a Masters’s degree in health law and policy!

The Takeaway

Even if you feel a career in medicine isn’t for you, that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your interest in the healthcare field. Whether you’re looking for a temporary job in the industry to make ends meet while you cultivate vital professional experience, or you’re hoping to launch your professional career, your options are virtually endless. The healthcare industry has something in it for just about everyone, from health AI and Big Data to home healthcare to health law. So do a little exploring to find the career path that’s tailor-made for you!

Health Other

Tips for Eating Healthy in College

January 21, 2020

When you are in college, especially if you are living on-campus away from home, it may be overwhelming to figure out how to eat. From the plethora of on-campus food choices to dining halls, it is easy to eat too many calories or go overboard during your first year at university. Here are some ways that you can ensure that you are eating well but still enjoying what your campus has to offer. 

Make Health Conscious Dining Hall Choices

One of the biggest advantages of living on campus is that you will have access to the dining halls, which more often than not are buffet or all-you-can-eat style. These can be to your benefit or detriment, depending on what you choose to indulge in when you decide that you want to have unlimited food options. If you are eating breakfast before heading to class in the morning, try opting for whole-grain alternatives rather than greasy bacon or a calorie-laden omelet. You should also be conscious of everything you choose to put on your plate. 

Use Dense Nutrition and Supplements

Even if you are trying to eat as healthy as possible, it may not be enough to be nutritionally sufficient so that your body can operate at its best. To combat this, it may be best to try supplements or condensed nutrition, which you can take in capsule form or add into smoothies and shakes. For instance, green or red superfood powder is often packed with fruits and vegetables that will give you energy and a myriad of health benefits. 

Find Easy Dorm Recipes

Living in the dorm rooms, you may think that you do not have any ways in which to cook on your own. However, there are many simple recipes that you can utilize if you want something to eat with only microwave access. Make a board on Pinterest or a simple list of microwave alternatives to some of your favorite foods, such as macaroni and cheese, the classic Top Ramen, and even desserts in mugs, like chocolate cakes or brownies. This way, you can eat from the comfort of your dorm, save money, and avoid going to the dining hall. 

Pack Filling Snacks

When you are on the go during the day, it can be all too tempting to stop for a slice of pizza or other indulgences in between classes. However, these snacks are often processed foods that contain calories your body will burn through quickly. Instead, try keeping some snacks in your backpack so that you can combat hunger without spending unnecessary money on calorie-laden options. Some great snacks that are nonperishable include whole wheat crackers, banana chips, trail mix, or whole-grain pretzels. Be sure to pack more than you think you need before you leave your dorm room for the day. 

You do not have to worry about gaining weight when you experience university life for the first time. With these tips, you are sure to be able to eat healthily and make the most out of living on-campus.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Health Other

Campus Care: Sickness and Strength at School

January 2, 2020

Going to college and living on campus is a new and exciting experience. Less exciting, however, is being sick and far away from home. Trying to overcome an illness and meet deadlines simultaneously can feel like trying to achieve mission impossible. 

The winter months are a prime time for people to come down sick, and this is especially the case for sleep-deprived students cramming for exams. If you’ve recently gotten sick, or are prone to doing so, here are a few ways that you can quickly recover and get back on your feet this winter. 

Beef Up Your Immune System 

When you’re sick, it’s sometimes instinctive to want to curl up in bed all day and binge on your favorite shows. Although this is a valid way to recover, you should also look for ways to strengthen your immune system by giving your body the nutrients it needs to fight off the illness and germs. 

WebMD recommends you eat enough fruits and vegetables, as studies show that people who do this don’t get sick as often. Consider vegetable soup or fresh fruit juices. Drinking enough water is also important, as it will flush out illness from your system and keep you hydrated.

Be sure you are practicing proper hygiene, as well, to avoid getting yourself and others sick. Do this by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, or the duration of a rendition of “Happy Birthday” or the ABCs, and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Disinfecting your room and hands will also help keep the germs away. 

Look for Helpful Resources 

Most college campuses have health and medical services on campus or in the surrounding area. Find out where yours is located, what hours they’re open, and if they have walk-in services. This would be helpful if you’re experiencing symptoms like a temperature above 102, abdominal pain, vomiting, severe headaches or any other worrying symptoms.  

Although a common cold or flu is something you can typically get through on your own, you should still reach out for support. Tell your family and friends that you aren’t feeling well so they can help you with things like picking up medications, bringing meals, and tidying up if you’re too weak to do it. 

If you’re feeling mentally and emotionally overwhelmed, make the best use of resources student care offers, whether it be a counselor or other mental health services, as your mental health has a profound effect on your physical health. Efforts are being made to make mental, emotional, and physical care more accessible to students. Seeing if they can help you in any way could mean you’re opening yourself up to receive collective and community support. This will, hopefully, help you get back to feeling better holistically and improve your performance long-term.

Get Enough Rest 

Sleeping is a critical part of recovery when you’re under the weather. However, college students often struggle to sleep because they’re pulling all-nighters, working part-time, or dealing with stress. In light of this, try your best to get enough sleep and not feel guilty about it. Getting into the routine habit of sleeping enough is not only good for you when you’re ill, but it can improve your academic performance. You’ll feel well-rested, less stressed, and be able to more easily concentrate. 

If you’re worried about how you’ll meet your deadlines, remember being down and out with the flu doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything else. Organize your workload while you’re in bed resting and do less strenuous but urgent tasks. Don’t overexert yourself! The rest can be done once you’re feeling better. 

If you’re ever sick on campus, know that it isn’t something you have to endure alone. Surrounding yourself with a loving support system and practicing self-care is the best way to get well soon.

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Health Other

How to Keep from Being Overwhelmed Your First Semester

December 6, 2019

College is an exciting time, and it can really open your eyes to a variety of new experiences and ideas. It’s a time to really figure out who you are and what you want to do with the rest of your life. 

But when you first arrive, it can feel a little overwhelming. That initial jump from high school to college can be so jarring. About 30% of college freshmen drop out after their first year. While a variety of reasons contribute to this dropout, it’s safe to assume that many students withdraw because college isn’t what they were expecting or they felt overwhelmed by the pressures, schedules, and responsibilities. 

So what can you do to avoid feeling so overwhelmed during your first year of college? Finding ways to manage your stress can make the experience easier for you. Let’s look at a few ways you can enjoy your college experience as soon as it starts, rather than letting it completely overwhelm you. 

Plan Ahead to Avoid Surprises

If you’ve never been much of a planner, college is the perfect time to start. You’re likely going to have a busier schedule than ever before, and it’s your responsibility to stay on top of it. Organizing your schedule and writing it down is a great way to avoid unnecessary stress and to make sure you’re never “surprised” by anything that comes of. 

Of course, it’s also important to plan ahead when it comes to taking time for yourself. Schedule in some time with friends, plan a trip to go home to your family or go one step further by planning ahead for a great Spring Break trip to de-stress. Heading to the tropical beaches of Punta Cana or skiing the slopes in Aspen can be a great way to unwind with your new college buddies. 

Simply put, staying organized and efficient will make it harder for things to “sneak” up on you. You’ll feel less overwhelmed when you know what’s coming. 

Blow Off Some Steam With Sports

If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, one of the best ways to blow off some steam is to stay active. Many colleges across the country have on-campus gyms or athletic facilities where you can work out almost any time of the day. Exercise is a natural mood-booster and can help to combat stress. 

In addition to exercising on your own, you can choose to join an intramural sports team on campus. These teams are usually a lot of fun and can get you involved in unique activities like flag football, volleyball, or even ping pong! 

A survey of 850 students found that those who participated in sports had better overall mental health than those who did not. Making your mental health a priority in college can mean the difference between whether or not you stick with it. You don’t have to be a star athlete to have fun and get active. 

Form Healthy Relationships

One of the best ways to make college easier on yourself is to form solid relationships. The friendships you develop in college will be the ones that last a lifetime! Whether you find common ground by playing sports, joining clubs, or becoming best friends with your roommate, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to find people you can connect with. 

Finding your “community” in college will make you feel like you’re a part of something bigger. You’ll also have a built-in support system, so when things do start to feel overwhelming, you can turn to that support for help. 

It’s true that the initial shock of the college experience can feel a little bit overwhelming. But, by staying organized, getting involved in things, and finding people to connect with, you can live out that experience to the fullest and enjoy the next few years of your collegiate career. 

Health Other

Why College Students Can’t Sleep

October 25, 2019

It seems that sleeping and college life just do not go together since sleeping is something that almost every student fails to do at some point. When did sleeping regularly become harder than studying? Are students studying so hard that they do not have enough time to sleep? Sleep problems in college students are not a surprise, but students should not neglect them, because lack of sleep during college can leave consequences that will affect their life even when their college days are over.

What Is Keeping Students up All Night?

When we hear that college students are not sleeping well, we immediately assume that that is the case because they are partying too much. And sometimes that is true, parties are a part of their lifestyle, but we cannot blame it all on partying every time. Many students are facing some other challenges that are not letting them sleep well. Some of them have to work part-time, some take a packed load course, others are dealing with stress or an eventful social life, etc. 

What is common is that a lot of students like to pull an all-nighter, trying to learn as much as possible in the last few hours before the exam. However, this usually turns against them. Because when students are sleep deprived, they are more prone to mistakes. They have issues concentrating or thinking clearly, which is why getting at least 7 hours of sleep before an exam is always important.

College life is challenging and stressful in so many ways, and some students just can’t take the pressure. Due to that, many of them are suffering from mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety; those conditions often tend to trigger sleep disorders such as insomnia. But the relationship between sleep and mental health disorders goes in both ways, so students should not ignore any symptoms.

Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

It all starts with skipping classes occasionally because you’re unable to wake up on time in the morning. Then comes the poor grades on exams, and eventually, some people even drop out of college because they can’t keep up anymore. Lack of sleep is seriously jeopardizing the performance of college students. But if you get used to it, and it becomes a part of your lifestyle, you will be stuck in that vicious circle for a long time. 

Besides poor academic performance, sleep deprivation leaves more permanent marks on our health. You can develop numerous sleep disorders, and your immune system will weaken, you are at risk of diabetes, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. There is life after college, and students need to think about their future and take care of their health.

Learning How to Sleep

If you can prepare for an exam in less than a week, you can surely learn how to sleep. If you are used to staying up late, falling asleep at a proper time will be hard in the beginning, harder than staying up all night. But, you can do it, everyone can. Once you notice the benefits, such as fresh look on your face, alertness, improved memory, and academic performance, you will never wish to skip sleeping again.

Author’s Bio:

Selena Thomas is a content writer who loves sharing tips on healthy lifestyles. A writer by day and a reader by night, she’s fond of writing articles that can help people in improving both physical and mental health. Also, she loves traveling and inspires people on her blogs.

Health Other

Ways Students Can Manage Their Mental Health

October 15, 2019

Back to school means change, which brings opportunities or maybe anxiety. Mental health is important to living your best life. College life prepares you for the future in many ways. Here are some tips to help manage your mental health for back to school. 

Set some personal goals for yourself

It’s important to have short term and long term goals. They can range from wanting to read a new book by the end of the month to putting yourself out there by joining more clubs or maintaining a certain percentage in a class. How can this be helpful? Making more friends in college can grow your network, helping you get a job after graduation. Or reading that new book may help you write that paper or give you inspiration for a class project. 

Organize your calendar and manage your time 

Staying organized and sticking to a schedule for outside your classes will help keep you grounded. You know you best, so be honest with yourself when scheduling study blocks, friend time and relaxing time. Check out our blog post on 4 Ways to Improve Your Time Management and Increase Productivity. Remember: you can study, work out and eat with friends – you don’t have to sacrifice your social life. 

Find the outlet that works best for you

Having an outlet can help you sort out your thoughts and feelings. Some great options include journaling and meditating to creating artwork or working out. Outlets and hobbies can help manage your mental health for many reasons both physically and mentally. 

Seek out on-campus resources to manage your stress and mental health

Many of your university’s resources are included in your tuition which is a no brainer but can be easy to forget. If you feel like your anxiety and stress levels are becoming too much to handle academically, be sure to talk to your academic advisor and let them know how you are feeling about classes and workload. They will be able to recommend and help with finding a solution that works best for you. Tutors are an amazing resource as well. Peer tutors can help you with tips and tricks for class materials and share helpful insights on some professors’ teaching styles. Be sure to check with your university or RA about all the available resources for students.

Pets

Leaving Fluffy and Fido at home can be the hardest part of leaving for college. Since college housing will not allow them, there are solutions! One option is to volunteer at the local shelter. Shelters can often use the help and the animal’s benefit need and want your love and attention as much as you. Pet sitting is also a great way to get some love as well as making some cash. You can find different ways to get your pet fix on campus if you know where to go.

When all is said and done, there are so many things that can help with your mental health in college. Don’t disregard it and do what you can to keep your spirits lifted! Overall, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Be sure to locate your school resources if you ever need them.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health and needs some support, visit jedfoundation.org/help for resources.