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student health

Health

Healthcare Financing Resources for Low-Income College Students

September 21, 2020

Let’s face it: learning is its own reward, yes. But you’re in college primarily to build a better life for yourself and your family. You might be getting your education to escape the life of struggle that you have watched your parents endure.

But building a better life ain’t cheap. And, right now, what money you have goes mainly to school and to the essentials of living. Ponying up for private health insurance might feel like a luxury you can’t afford right now. 

Yet without that coverage, you’re also probably tempted to let your regular healthcare fall by the wayside. After all, you’re young and your physical and mental health care just might not feel like a priority right now. That is, not until you really need it. 

This article shows you how to finance your healthcare when you’re a college student living on a budget.

Know Your Options

When you’re looking to finance your healthcare, the first thing you should do is explore your eligibility for coverage under your family’s plan or through your university health system. In many cases, full-time college students can qualify for coverage under a parent’s group health insurance plan up to the age of 26.

If that doesn’t work out, you might be eligible for lower-cost student health insurance coverage through your college, university, or trade school. The chances are especially good if you enroll in a work-study program through your school.

Don’t Forget the Marketplace or Medicaid

If it turns out you are not eligible for coverage under your parents’ or school’s plan, don’t despair. There are still options. For example, depending on your income, you might qualify for Medicaid, which will allow you to enjoy good benefits at a relatively low monthly premium. 

The maximum income cutoffs for Medicaid, however, can be pretty stringent. If you’re above the threshold but still don’t earn enough to bear the often ridiculous costs of private insurance, you might be able to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

With the ACA, the percentage of uninsured Americans dropped from nearly 16% to just over 9%. Through the Marketplace, you can choose the level of coverage you want or need — and the premiums you can afford.

Don’t Forget the “Extras”

Getting good healthcare is about more than funding your medical care. It’s also about taking care of the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.  And that should include everything from mental healthcare to dental care. 

After all, life is stressful, and going to college on a shoestring budget is especially so. But getting care doesn’t have to be expensive. Case in point: you have a lot of options today for accessing low-cost therapy. This includes online therapy apps to help you access immediate, on-demand support from the safety of your own home if you are battling anxiety or depression.

And while you’re taking care of your body and your mind, you mustn’t forget your smile! Living on a budget doesn’t mean you have to put off your dental care. Even if you’re in need of a non-essential or cosmetic procedure, such as a crown or veneer, there are funding options that don’t require you to break the bank.

If you set up a budget and cut out some of the extras you’re spending on unnecessary fees or on little luxuries, like your morning coffee run, you can probably cover the cost of your new smile or your other healthcare services pretty easily.

The Takeaway

Going to college on a shoestring budget is tough. But it doesn’t mean you have to do without the physical, mental, and dental healthcare you deserve. From finding coverage through your school to tapping the resources of the ACA to taking advantage of online therapy apps and dental financing, there are options available to ensure you receive the care you need.

Health Uncategorized

Health Preparedness Tips for On-Campus Life

September 3, 2020

When you’re in college, living on campus can feel like a right of passage. It’s a great time to gain independence, have fun, and develop friendships you’ll have for a lifetime while enjoying the convenience and benefits of living where you go to school. 

Unfortunately, campus life looks a bit different this year. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges across the country have suspended in-person classes and have required students to leave campus. 

Some schools have closed their doors temporarily, while others will be shut down for on-campus living for the remainder of the school year. While the goal of the shutdown and the encouragement for social isolation is to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus spread, it can be a difficult transition. You must head home or go somewhere else for now. 

Whether you return to campus before the school year is over or you’ll be back next semester once things calm down, this is a good time to reflect on your health and wellness and what you can do to keep yourself safe, strong, and healthy. 

Managing Your Mental Health

Mental health is one of the biggest concerns facing college students today. Since many students across the country are being forced to stay home, issues like anxiety and depression are becoming more prevalent. 

Making your mental health a priority is a key factor to get you through this pandemic, but it’s also important when you return to campus. While college is an exciting and fun experience, it can also be overwhelming at times. Learning how to manage your stress levels can prevent you from getting sick. 

There are simple, everyday habits you can start to reduce stress: 

  • Get more sleep
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • Talk to someone about your stress
  • Manage your time
  • Meditation/Yoga
  • Keep a journal

You can keep up with those habits as you get back to school and use them for the rest of your life to manage stress..

If your current stressor is being stuck at home, online learning might feel like your biggest hurdle. If you’re trying to adjust to online learning and having a difficult time, there are a few tips to make the experience less stressful: 

  • Create a designated learning space
  • Stick to specific hours of the day to study
  • Avoid distractions
  • Set personal goals

Give yourself permission to stumble. This is a learning experience for everyone and a time of great uncertainty. Don’t put pressure on yourself, and eventually, things will begin to fall into place and feel less stressful. 

Developing Healthy Habits Now

Exercising is a great way to stay healthy when stuck at home. Thankfully, there are no rules or regulations in place about going for a run outside or working out at home. 

Exercise can give you more energy, boost your mood, and reduce stress. Get into a daily routine that you can keep doing once you get back to campus. Adding a workout to your day has many benefits and can keep you focused when you’re back in school. 

It’s also a good idea to watch your diet while away from campus. It’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits when convenience food is so easy to come by, and apps like GrubHub and Postmates will deliver food right to your door. Making healthy nutritional choices will improve your mood and energy levels and lower your risk of illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. 

Being stuck at home means it’s the perfect time to brush up on your cooking skills! Practice making healthy meals for yourself that could be made in a dorm room or communal kitchen. Making quick, easy meals that are also good for you will keep you motivated when it comes to making healthier food choices on campus. 

Reducing Your Risks

The Coronavirus can impact anyone, but it’s most deadly among those with pre-existing conditions or with lung and respiratory issues like those who regularly smoke or vape. Vaping has become hugely popular across the country, but the chemicals in many vape solutions can cause serious lung problems. 

Smoking has also been a health concern for years. It can contribute to lung cancer and heart disease. With the spread of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to quit cigarettes and vape pens. Keeping your lungs healthy and clear will reduce your risk of being seriously impacted by Coronavirus if you happen to contract it. 

Developing healthy habits and staying away from vaping and cigarettes will help you build a  strong immune system, which, in turn, will help you combat the disease. This is why it’s so important to keep these tips for general health and wellness in mind. Now is the time to start taking your health seriously so you can make better choices for your mind and body. Starting these habits now will make them easier for you to stick with once you’re back on campus. 

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

Managing Your Mental Health in College

July 22, 2020

Mental health is becoming an increasingly big issue on college campuses. Many students struggle with the change and stress of college life. It can be valuable to investigate what you can do for your mental wellbeing. If you are struggling with your mental health, it is important to seek out resources available to you.

Here are some ways that you can better manage your mental health in college:

  • Visit your school’s counseling center

If you are having mental health concerns, you can always contact your school’s counseling services. Many schools provide free counseling or counseling at a reasonable rate. They can help you talk through whatever is troubling you or refer you to psychiatric services if needed. 

  • Utilize online resources

There are many resources available online to help you learn more about mental health and obtain support. U Lifeline, a project of the JED Foundation provides valuable support tailored to college students. Their website offers both resources and a helpline. Their website also provides a screener for students to evaluate their mental health and access their school’s resources. 

  • Practice meditation and exercise regularly

Meditation is a great way to center yourself and improve your mental health. It can be helpful to have tools that you can implement when you feel overwhelmed such as taking a few minutes to breathe or going for a quick run. 

  • Reach out to your loved ones

If you are struggling, take time to reach out to your support network. This can be Facetime with your family at home or even talking with new friends from college. Staying connected with others and communicating your feelings can relieve stress and prevent loneliness. 

  • Take time for yourself

When your calendar is filled with schoolwork and social events, it can be hard to find time to be by yourself. Set aside some time to be alone and recharge. You can go for a walk or go to a coffee shop and just take time to relax and reflect.

These are just a few suggestions on how to manage your mental health in college. You can find what works best for you and your experience. Find out what resources are available to you through your school and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Health Uncategorized

How To Incorporate Meditation Into Your Routine

July 2, 2020

Meditation is a great tool that allows students to destress and integrate moments of stillness into their everyday routines. It may feel intimidating to start a meditation practice, but you do not need to meditate for long periods of time or have a completely blank mind to be meditating correctly. Meditation can become a part of your day in subtle ways that will make a big difference. Here are some examples of ways you can integrate meditation into your daily routine. 

  1. Meditation Apps

If you have an interest in meditation you have likely heard of apps such as Headspace and Calm. These apps provide both short and longer meditations that will meet you where you are comfortable. Guided meditation is used by both new and seasoned meditators. It can be helpful to be guided through the process of meditation to maximize the time you are setting aside. 

  1. Enjoy your food

Mediation is not all about breathing. You are able to find mindfulness when setting aside time to be present and engage your senses. The time you spend eating can be utilized to create a moment of stillness in your routine. If you set aside a moment to eat one of your meals alone without any distractions you can more fully focus on the taste of what you are eating. 

  1. Take time to breathe during your chores

As a busy student, you may not have time to set aside time for meditation. A lack of time does not have to stop you from starting a meditation practice. You can meditate in simple ways like when you are walking to your next class, when you are doing the dishes, or even brushing your teeth. As long as you are being mindful of your task, there are so many possibilities for moments of meditation.

  1. Listen to music

Music can have a great impact on your state of mind. It can be valuable to take time to listen to soothing music and calm yourself. If you are feeling anxious over an upcoming exam or any other troubles, listening to music can quickly help to regulate your mood. 

  1. Mindful exercise 

Exercise is a great way to put aside time to center yourself and get in touch with your body and mind. Yoga is one form of exercise that emphasizes focusing on breath and stillness. Other forms of exercise such as strength training and cardio also include a focus on the breath and your body’s movement. You can also see what fitness resources are available at your school. There are also many virtual workouts available for free on apps such as Nike Training Club and on youtube. 

Meditation does not need to feel unattainable. You do not need to go all-in and meditate for 30 minutes away in total silence. Small moments of mindfulness add up and can improve your overall well being. Life as a student can be overwhelming so it is important to know the best ways for you to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. 

Health Uncategorized

These four common medical conditions affect thousands of college students

June 26, 2020
Student medical conditions on the rise

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of college students across the country to adjust to online-only learning. Although the virus has disrupted classroom instruction, the reality is that every year, ordinary medical conditions lead to students leaving school and losing money. And we’re not talking about having the common cold, or making a trip to the on-campus health clinic. These medical conditions are proving to have a major impact on students nationwide.

The 2019 National Student Health Assessment from the American College Health Association data reveals some of the risks that college students and their families face today. As we all adjust in the time of COVID-19, you can see the common illnesses that have a big impact on students. The assessment surveyed more than 30,000 students across 58 different schools.

Common illnesses have a big impact on college completion

The most commonly reported illnesses that had an impact on completing a degree include concussion, mononucleosis (mono), pneumonia, and flu or flu-like illnesses.

student health conditions and academic progress

During a normal semester, most schools provide a pro-rated refund through the fifth week of classes, according to a national study from Dec. 2019. This same study reports that 70 percent of schools have reported a growth in student medical withdrawals.

The ACHA assessment confirms the scale and impact of health conditions on college completion is real. The calculations are based on a total of 8.16 million full-time undergraduate students attending four-year non-profit institutions. 

These four conditions that students report delayed their academic progress are estimated to have cost students and schools more than $1 billion annually! And that’s from preventable financial losses.

Health conditions may lead to an unexpected withdrawal

The ACHA data reveals other student health conditions that may also disrupt an academic term or lead to an unexpected student withdrawal. Nearly a quarter of students reported experiencing anxiety, followed by just under 20 percent reporting depression. Celiac disease, PTSD, eating disorders and bipolar disorder followed. 

If you’re experiencing one of these health conditions while in college, you should know that that there are resources to help you get back on track to complete your education. GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance can provide refunds for tuition and academic fees if you unexpectedly need to leave school for a covered reason.

Health Uncategorized

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.

Career Uncategorized

Self-Management Tools To Boost Your Personal Growth

June 5, 2020

The world around you cannot enhance your personal growth; only you can. The person who has the most to do with your personal growth is you. Self-management is the focus of personal growth coaching, and the application of these strategies has deep implications in the achievement of your goals. If you are interested in self-managing all the aspects of yourself, here is a guide to self-management for personal growth.

Attendance Tracking for Personal Growth

The best thing about the technological revolution we experience today is the app market that offers a full range of solutions for personal growth. A simple search on the app store reveals a host of the to-do list, reminder, file storage apps, and more that will help you manage the most valuable commodity on earth, time. For students, business owners, and managers, there is a wide range of apps that are developed with all new and cool features that make work easier. With the right app, you can improve your daily performance and that of your employees.

There’s an app for everything nowadays. For example, the employee attendance tracker app is good because it allows you to get everything done faster. 

Self-Management Skills for your Personal Growth

It is easy to underestimate the little decision you make in a day and the implications they have in your personal growth. Everyone seems to be consumed with studying, household chores, and work-related tasks. By applying these self-management skills and proper use of your time, you’ll be able to perform tasks with the highest efficiency.

  1. Practice positivity every day

The benefits of thinking positive thoughts daily are well established. Whether you want to achieve something you haven’t done before or you are working on your new year resolutions, a positive mindset will keep you going when things get tough. Unfortunately, the real obstacle to practicing positivity is the fact that the human brain is hard-wired to focus on threats and negativity. So how can you tap into the power of positivity? Here are some tips:

  • Learn to identify negative talk
  • Train your brain to focus on the positive
  • Remember to take time to appreciate what you are grateful for
  1. Cultivate self-awareness

Are you using the limited time you have to work on your personal growth and development, or are you running around in circles? Are you confident and aware of who you are? Self-awareness is a skill that allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, your triggers, and motivators.  It places a deep emphasis on your inner world, thoughts, and emotions. Here is what you can do to enjoy the tremendous benefits of self-awareness:

  • Create a personal space to connect with your inner self
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Pay attention
  • Process your thoughts into a journal
  • Ask for feedback and gain different perspectives
  1. Stress management

How do you react to stress? It is important to practice stress management techniques. Stress management techniques can increase the happiness and satisfaction you feel in your life. You should not wait until stress damages your mental, physical, and psychological health, as well as the relationship, productivity, and quality of life. Try these simple techniques to relieve stress:

  • Identify the cause
  • Positive self-talk
  • Try stress-busting activities like reading, art, socializing and more
  • Review your lifestyle and eat healthily
  1. Responsibility

Do you take ownership of the success and failure in your personal life? Taking responsibility allows you to choose how you respond to the challenges you face in life. It is a step closer to become self-managed. The problem is that many people will never master the skill of taking responsibility for their actions. Here are some of the strategies to take responsibility:

  • Ask for feedback
  • Re-engage people
  • Stop blaming
  • Take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings
  1. Be productive

It might seem easy to grow yourself on a personal level. But it is not. It doesn’t matter what you read or the technique you use, the only way to boost personal growth is to become more productive. What do highly productive and successful people have in common? Here are tips to become more productive:

  • Focus on the important task
  • Cultivate deep work
  • Avoid distractions
  • Take breaks
  • Eliminate efficiencies

Your Turn

Everyone wants to grow on a personal level. Whether that means adding a degree or becoming a better father, there’s a lot you can do when you master self-management. That’s how people manage to get things done.

Author’s BIO: Lori Wade is a journalist from Louisville. She is a content writer who has experience in small editions, Lori is now engaged in news and conceptual articles on the topic of business. If you are interested in an entrepreneur or lifestyle, you can find her on Twitter & LinkedIn. She has good experience and knowledge in the field.  

Health Uncategorized

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.

Continue Reading

Health Uncategorized

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 Uncategorized

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.