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Health Student Life

Mental Health Tips for Neurodiverse College Students

January 8, 2022

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Neurodiversity describes the range of behavioral traits and brain function across the human population. The unique wiring of a neurodiverse person’s brain causes them to think, react, and learn differently. Autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are examples of neurodiverse conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in every 54 kids gets diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The rates of ADD and ADHD are even higher. So, in response to neurodiversity prevalence, the neurodiversity movement sparked to challenge the negative connotation of “learning disabilities.”

Neurodiverse college students can excel, especially with tweaks to teaching methods, daily self-care practices, and innovative academic tools.

Personal Strategies for Better Learning

Whether a student has neurodiverse tendencies or not, acclimating to a college campus can be challenging. For many young adults, a dormitory is the first place they’ve lived away from home.

Without parental guidance and a familiar routine, neurodiverse students may struggle with large lecture halls and the overall “hands-off” approach college professors tend to take. However, there are many tactics neurodiverse students can implement to get ahead of the curve.

A recent article by Affordable Colleges Online shares several apps that can help neurodiverse students manage stimuli, take notes, and more.

●  Task Management: For students with ADD, the iOS app 30/30 timer encourages students to work on one task for 30 minutes, break for 30 minutes, and repeat until complete. Another option is Google Play’s StayOnTask. This app also uses a timer that randomly reminds students to focus on the designated assignment.

●  Overstimulation: Meditating can help autistic college students cultivate calm in hectic environments. The app Headspace offers guided meditations suitable for all levels. Another great tool is The Miracle Modus app, which provides soothing images and sounds that help students recalibrate to the outside world.

●  Note Taking: When students upload a PDF, e-book, Word document, or PowerPoint to the app Natural Reader, it converts the material into audio. This is an excellent tool for those with dyslexia. On the other hand, the app OpenDyslexic incorporates a font style that helps dyslexic students navigate the reading process better.

Educator Influence

Professors and teachers also have a significant impact on the success of neurodiverse college students. By implementing a teaching style and classroom setting accessible to all learning types, students can gain the confidence to reach their full potential.

Universal Design is the official term for these accessible learning environments. Educators can transform their classrooms with the following methods.

●  Provide varied ways for students to showcase knowledge

●  Use more than one method for assessing students’ efforts

●  Make sure students have a clear understanding of expectations

●  Accommodate a range of learning styles

Self-Care

All-nighters before an exam, junk food consumption, and partying on a Tuesday may be typical in a college environment, but that doesn’t mean these behaviors are healthy. Since staying focused can already be a challenge for neurodiverse students, having a daily self-care routine can ensure academic success as well as physical and mental wellness.

The following tips can help neurodiverse college students get the most out of their university years.

●  Be wary of perfectionist tendencies; learn to let go once an assignment is complete

●  Keep track of daily tasks with an electronic calendar

●  Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night

●  Eat nourishing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein

●  Move your body daily

Medical checkups can also fall to the wayside when young adults enroll in college. It can be especially tough to stay consistent with dental appointments. A study found that 9% of kids and adolescents fear the dentist. This negative association is also prevalent in neurodiverse people sensitive to drilling noises and other teeth-cleaning mechanisms. However, bi-annual teeth cleanings are imperative for overall health, so finding a coping mechanism for appointments will pay off in the long run.

The Future Is Bright

Like sociologist Judy Singer said in the 1990s, neurodiverse people are not disabled; their brains work differently than those of neurotypical people. With the right tools, teaching methods, and daily self-care practices, neurodiverse college students can contribute significantly to the world. 

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 Student Life

Medical Appointments College Students Shouldn’t Put Off

December 28, 2021

When you’re in college, making medical appointments for preventative care probably isn’t high on your priority list. You’re young, healthy, and might not yet have health insurance to cover expensive medical bills

But, it’s important to understand that you’re not invincible or immune from certain things – even at your young age. 

Even in college, it’s important to receive regular care to ensure you stay healthy as you continue your journey into adulthood. Whether you’re new to setting a schedule for yourself or you’re just starting to take your health more seriously, let’s cover a few medical appointments you shouldn’t put off. 

Regular Dental Cleanings

It’s easy to ignore your oral health, even after college. But, now is the time to make it a priority and create a habit of seeing a dentist at least once a year. Regular cleanings typically don’t break the bank, and seeing your dentist annually can help you to avoid more expensive and painful procedures, like: 

  • Root canals
  • Extractions
  • Fillings
  • Gingivitis treatment

Your oral health is more linked to other areas of your overall wellness than you might realize. It’s not enough to brush your teeth twice a day anymore. Make a dental appointment as soon as possible, and your whole body will be better off because of it. 

Annual Checkups

Now is the time to establish a relationship with a primary care provider. By seeing a doctor annually, you can talk about any health concerns you might have. A doctor can also give you advice on how to take care of yourself properly, especially once they have an understanding of your family medical history. 

Many primary care providers will also regularly do blood work to monitor your health and stay on top of any changes that might occur from year to year. Things like blood pressure and cholesterol levels can be seen in lab results, and knowing where you might need to make changes to stay healthy is important. 

Wellness exams are designed to keep you healthy and reduce your risk of developing a serious medical condition. If you do end up having some kind of condition or illness, yearly checkups will make it easier to manage. A primary care provider will work with you on a treatment plan to keep you as healthy as possible. 

A good rule of thumb is to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider every year before school starts. It’s a great way to start the year out on the right foot, knowing you’re healthy. 

Additionally, women should make annual appointments with a gynecologist. College-aged women aren’t immune from certain types of cancer, including: 

  • Breast cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Cervical cancer

Yearly appointments with an OBGYN can screen for these and other potential issues, and ensure that your reproductive system is healthy. 

If you’ve been putting off medical appointments or simply haven’t been giving them much thought, now is the time to start. By scheduling regular check-ups now, you’re taking charge of your health at a young age, which will make it easier to stay strong and healthy as you get older. 

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Student Life

10 Must Watch Family Holiday Movies

December 21, 2021

It is nearing the end of December and with that comes the end of the holiday season… This close to the season calls for a comprehensive round up of some of the most nostalgic, iconic holiday classics. Watching holiday movies is such a fun activity that families can do together to spend time with one another while students are home on break. As kids grow up and become teenagers, the desire to spend time as a family becomes less appealing, so thinking of ways that sound fun to do as a family is so important.  

Here is a list of ten must-watch holiday movies:

The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

This movie is about a heartless creature (The Grinch) who has no holiday cheer and decides he is going to ruin Christmas for the citizens of Whoville. With the help of his ill-fated dog, Max, the Grinch descends from his house upon the mountain top to snipe all Christmas related items and decor from the town. There is a slight obstacle that gets in the way of his plan to ruin Christmas when he meets a sweet girl named Cindy Lou Who. This movie is available to be watched on Hulu, Peacock, Youtube, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime. 

Elf (2003)

This movie is about Buddy, a human who was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a baby and was raised by elves there. When he becomes an adult, he realizes that he does not fit in with the other elves and journeys to New York in an attempt to find out where he really comes from. It is there that he meets his real father, causing a series of chaotic events that unfold in the city. This movie is available to be watched on Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, and Youtube. 

The Polar Express (2004)

This movie is about a doubting young boy who embarks on an extraordinary train ride that ventures him to the North Pole, where he encounters some interesting people and friends that help him realize that the spirit of Christmas lives on in the people who choose to believe. This movie is available on many different streaming platforms, which include HBO Max, Youtube, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime. 

Home Alone (1990)

This first movie in the Home Alone Series is about a young boy who gets left alone at his family home in Chicago when his family reluctantly forgets him there on the way to the airport for their family trip to Paris. When Kevin wakes up the next day, he realizes his family is nowhere to be found and is happy to believe that his wish for his family to leave him alone has come true, until his excitement turns to concern as two con men begin attacks of robbery on his family home. He is left alone to try and ward off these thieves and protect the house himself. This movie is available on Disney+, Youtube, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV. 

A Christmas Story (1983)

This movie is about a young boy who attempts to convince his parents of this importance 

of him receiving his dream Christmas present, which is a “Red Ryder Air Rifle.” The other half of the time, he spends dodging a bully. It is up to him to maintain both his hopes and self preservation. This movie is available to watch on Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Youtube, TBS, and TNT. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

This movie is about Jack Skellington, the friendly neighborhood Pumpkin King who becomes bored of his annual routine of scaring the town this year. He stumbles upon a beautiful, joyful, brightly colored Christmas town and decides that he will take over the role of Santa Claus in order to experience a new life. This movie is available on Disney+, Youtube, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV. 

The Santa Claus (1994)

This movie is about a divorced dad, Scott, who has custody of his son on Christmas Eve. Scott is very reluctant to believe this, but he has killed Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and is magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf tells him that he now must take Santa’s place and do so before next Christmas. Scott believes that this has to be a dream, but soon comes to the conclusion that this must be real as, over the course of the year, he grows a white beard and starts to fill out. This movie is available on Disney+, Youtube, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV.

Unaccompanied Minors (2006)

This movie is about a group of five minors who get trapped at an airport when a blizzard hits on Christmas Eve. The kids have a chance to run wild and get to experience some fun at the airport by sliding down baggage chutes and driving golf carts. The kids present an unmatched level of stress and irritation for the airport official and his assistant. This movie is available to watch on Netflix, Youtube, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime. 

Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (2004)

Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas is a selection of short stories, rather than a film. There are 5 stories and each story is about 10 minutes long. Stories include Belles On Ice, Christmas Impossible, Christmas Maximus, Donald’s Gift, and Mickey’s Dog-Gone Christmas.This movie is available on Disney+, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime. 

Arthur Christmas (2011)

This movie is about the behind the scenes work that goes on to accomplish the success that encompasses Christmas. One year, when Santa Claus forgets to deliver a present to one child, out of a hundred million, it becomes Santa’s youngest who is tasked with saving the day. Arthur, Santa’s youngest son, sets out on his mission to deliver this young boy’s present before the new day, Christmas day, dawns. This movie is available on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Youtube, and Apple. 

Spend some time together this holiday season before heading back to work or returning to campus in January. Happy watching!

Other

Student Health Insurance Review by the Wall Street Journal

December 17, 2021

The September 26th edition of the Wall Street Journal published an article titled  “How College Health Plans Are Failing Students”. The article written by Jessical Silver-Greenberg and Mary Pilon, is comprehensive in its discussion of the limits of many school sponsored student health plans. However, it failed to address just how few affordable choices students have if the school plan does not meet their needs.

Unlike permanent health insurance, these Student Health Plans are designed for students and often times schools are trying to balance affordability with coverage needed at that particular life stage.   Schools and insurers alike should be creating more choice for students so they can find the right plan to meet their needs while making certain all options provide acceptable standards of coverage.

GradGuard shares the goal of colleges that seek to mitigate the risks that could interfere with a students goal of completing an education.     Health coverage is fundamental to this goal and is addressed through GradGuard’s Student Health Plan. In addition to GradGuard’s Student Health Plan, GradGuard also offers tuition insurance, college renters insurance and the Student Protection Plan.

Please read the entire article on WSJ.com or to see some of the highlights included here:

Changing Regulations:

The new health care legislation has immediate and potentially long term consequences for college students.

“On Thursday, (blog note – September 23rd) the first big pieces of the new health-care overhaul took effect. Among other things, the rules mandate that insurance companies offer coverage to adult children until the age of 26 and devote at least 80% of their revenue to health-care costs.   But one major player was notably absent from these new rule changes: colleges. They have managed to sidestep, at least for now, the regulatory clampdown that has sent hospitals, insurers and corporations scrambling.   How’d they pull it off? Since student plans for the school year were negotiated before Sept. 23, they aren’t subject to the regulations this year.

The health-care overhaul has major implications for young adults and their parents. For the first time, parents will have the choice of keeping their graduate-student children on their corporate insurance plans or opting for cheaper college plans.

There is broad consensus that, as a group, college health-insurance plans rank among the worst in the nation for consumers. Many college plans come with remarkably low benefit ceilings—in some cases as little as $2,500.    Others limit areas of coverage, such as preventative services and chemotherapy.

The upshot: Students are often much less insured than they think they are. In extreme cases high-school seniors with health issues might be advised to consider a college’s health plan before attending.

The college health-care system is a hodgepodge of school plans and private insurance. According to the Government Accountability Office, more than half of the nation’s colleges offer school-sponsored plans. All told, about 80% of college students, nearly 7 million people, are covered by private or public health insurance.…

Most schools aim to provide the best care for the lowest cost. Students tend to be healthier than the general population, so school plans don’t need the safety nets found in adult plans. “

Change in Status of Group Plans?

The WSJ article goes on to discuss the debate surrounding how the new health care legislation applies to college sponsored plans.

“The American College Health Association “is supporting regulatory clarification that would allow student plans to preserve the grouplike status that is vital to providing lower cost coverage to students,” says Jake Baggott, ACHA’s advocacy coalition chair. Dr. Turner, ACHA’s president until June, says the spirit of his conversation with the White House was that “they would be happy to include in the regulations the necessary language to assure preservation of the plans.”

Insurers seem to be confident they will get their way. According to three people familiar with the matter, Aetna has told colleges that they have nothing to worry about because their plans will be exempted. Aetna says it never conveyed that message to its members. “We expect that all student plans that wish to be credible will comply with minimum coverage requirements as soon as possible,” says Ethan Slavin, a spokesman for the insurer.  Good insurance plans are marked by a few elements, among them benefit ceilings of at least $250,000, generous prescription drug plans and emergency room coverage. According to the GAO, more than half of all school plans have ceilings of less than $30,000.

Parents and students can get the most for their money by carefully examining school plans before signing up. Health-care planning should come long before enrollment, says James A. Boyle, president of the College Parents of America, a Virginia-based nonprofit.”

Questions to Ask?

“Anyone considering a school plan should ask a number of questions, say experts:

• What is the maximum benefit for the policy?

• Are prescriptions and mental health services included?

• What happens to coverage if you leave school, go abroad or graduate?

• What is the loss ratio?

• Do any on-campus services, such as checkups or flu shots, overlap with existing coverage?

Parents who are considering keeping their child on their personal insurance should ask their benefits representative or insurer about how coverage will be carried over on campus and off—especially at schools far from home. (This also applies to graduate students and to adult children under age 26.) They should also be ready to sign a waiver with the school so they’re not charged for automatic enrollment in a campus policy.

If, after getting all these answers, both the employer and school insurance options seem unappealing, parents should consider using a site like eHealthInsurance.com, which allows for comparison browsing among 10,000 plans from 180 carriers.  (Blog Note – eHealth provides the GradGuard Student Health Plan as its national alternative for students.)

 

Health

5 Tips for a Healthy School Year

October 15, 2021

Schools are centers of learning, but when so many students are in one space for the majority of the day, the student body’s health and wellness can take a dip. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to ensure the healthiest, happiest school year possible. 

Stick with Healthy Meal Habits

Significant strides have been made to ensure students receive a healthy and nutritious lunch while at school, and there are more nourishing, healthy meal options than ever. Still, students may fall victim to unhealthy snacking habits, skipping meals or swapping healthful side options for sugary or processed snacks. Organizations with wellness initiatives, such as USANA Refer a Friend, support students in eating a full, healthy breakfast and packing a lunch that focuses on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and very few unhealthy snacks. 

Practice Good Hygiene

Hand washing, sneezing in your elbow and regular cleaning of high-contact areas are invaluable habits to maintain while at school, especially during cold and flu season. Consider packing a small bottle of hand sanitizer and a pack of tissues along for the day. As well, students should avoid sharing food and drinks to avoid the spread of germs that could lead to more than a few sick days at home in bed. Nobody wants to get behind on homework, so prevention is the best practice to avoid getting a cold as well as a stack of incomplete history packets.

Take Physical Exercise Seriously

No matter the age group, it’s important for students to be regularly active during the school day. Everyone from a preschooler to a senior in college needs regular exercise to maintain a good bill of health, and all the hours spent seated at a desk school slow the movement momentum. 

Regular exercise is likely a part of the school day already, but fresh air and physical activities after school are great ways to further boost students’ physical health and wellbeing. After-school movement also helps to reverse some of the detrimental effects of sitting down and reading for most of the day, such as eye strain, posture issues, neck and back strain and muscle weakness.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

Sometimes, homework can keep older students up late at night. While it’s crucial that students get their work done, lost sleep guarantees that it will be tougher to focus and maintain high levels of energy and a positive mood the following day at school. An exhausted student is a less involved, concentrated and enthusiastic student. A good night’s rest is crucial for a great performance at school, and can improve immune function and help to fight off any bugs or illnesses that travel around the classroom. 

Minimize Stress

Because school is essentially a student’s job, it’s no less stressful than any other career. Deadlines, presentations, social engagements, peer influences, grades and extracurricular activities all come with a great deal of pressure. It’s important for students to make time to do things they enjoy outside of their schoolwork, and to talk openly about how they’re feeling about their course load and various school responsibilities. Things like deep-breathing, regular play, journaling, conversations over shared meals and dedicated down time can do a lot to relieve school-related stress, and when students feel healthy and happy, they’re more likely to achieve academic success. 

Health Student Life

Why College Students Should Exercise Regularly

October 14, 2021

College can be daunting and exhausting. For some, managing their time well has become a part of their daily routine. But for some students who can’t handle college life well, focusing on several activities at once could be an overwhelming process.

As a college student with more than one stressor, keeping a healthy routine that includes regular exercise is essential. It’s not only great for physical benefits, but it can also rewire your brain.

Here are seven crucial reasons college students should incorporate exercise in their daily life.

Improves Concentration and Focus

You may not know it now, but a workout can help improve your concentration and focus.

When you exercise, you allow your brain to stimulate new cells. This can help boost your overall well-being, including concentration and keeping the mind focused. Such activity can result in being more productive in your school work and could help you ace that exam you’ve dreaded since the start of the semester.

Relieves Stress

Stress is one reason some college students fail to get a passing mark. We’re not generalizing the scenario, but we all know how stress could affect students’ study habits.

While stress can do that to people, exercise can counter the decline in neurotransmitters. As such, your brain will produce endorphins that could generally make you feel happier or relaxed. It could even lessen your chances of experiencing heart attacks or stomach problems.

Enhances Memory

The brain cells found in our hippocampus are responsible for the formation of memories. It’s also where you dig up and recall memories that are in the past.

So when you study for a quiz, you use the cells in your hippocampus to store and form memories that could help you remember what you’ve read. It’s a helpful tool when you sit down on your chair and start taking the quiz.

But like every cell in our body, they tend to diminish. To avoid losing your brain’s power, use exercise to help build a better block for your memory. It boosts the creation of these important cells that could make an impact on your college life.

Stimulates Brain Cell Development

Our brain is a beautiful machine. It’s what keeps our bodily functions moving and fighting against external stressors.

However, the most exciting part of the brain is cell development that could help us improve our lifestyle.

Treat your brain as your physical body. To be able to function well, you have to feed it with essential nutrients. That includes maintaining a healthy exercise routine.

It’s essential to stimulate brain cell development at this stage in your life. That’s because it’s where you juggle school activities and the troubles of being an adult.

Builds Immune System Strength

At this point in your life, you’d want to avoid getting sick at all because missing one school activity can drastically affect your class standing. Building your immune system should be a top priority, especially because stress can attack your body in ways that you don’t expect.

Regular exercise is one way to boost your immune system. It will allow your body to fight off the common cold, flu, and sometimes even severe health conditions.

Improves Physical Health

Of course, the first thing you’ll notice when you start exercising is developing your physical health. You could quickly feel your muscles being pumped and improving your strength and endurance.

Exercising can include visiting the gym, doing home workouts, yoga, pilates, or even joining your school’s hiking club. Remember that you should pick a flexible regimen that could fit your schedule and match your physical capacity to move around.

We recommend making an outdoor trip once in a while to keep you inspired and to avoid the effects of burnout. You may not have the whole outdoor adventure gear, but to keep walking sticks for hiking in your college dorm is enough to last you an hour or two out in the wild.

Boosts Your Mood

We’ve mentioned earlier the effects of endorphins in our bodies. It’s essential to keep a positive vibe for most of the days during your college years. It’s a basic weapon to survive the most grueling tasks of beating deadlines, maintaining a grade, and learning from all your subjects.

You can improve your mood by doing light to moderate exercises at least three times a week. You may think that squeezing in a 30-minute exercise into your already busy day is hard. But you can achieve this without sweat with proper time management!

Health Safety Student Life

How to Stay Healthy When Heading Back to Campus

June 9, 2021

The thought of returning to campus after spending the last year learning from home is exciting, but might also seem a little overwhelming. It’s easy for flu and cold viruses to spread in school environments. How can you stay healthy when making your return?

Go Back Prepared

Travel-sized hand sanitizer can be beneficial. Hand sanitizer is great to have around if you use a bathroom that is out of soap or touch something in a heavily trafficked space and there’s no sink nearby. Also stay vigilant about washing your hands. Staying in this practice will keep you from spreading germs and keep you healthier overall.

Take Your Vitamins

Vitamins and supplements can do a lot to help you maintain good health year round.  USANA Health Sciences offers supplements that include important antioxidants and immune-boosting vitamin D and core minerals that your body needs for cell health. Antioxidants give your body the ability to protect against free radicals, which build up when your body breaks down food or takes in tobacco smoke. 

Develop an Exercise Routine

Exercise plays a huge role in keeping you healthy and your immune system strong. Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells that affects the immune system in a positive way. Exercising regularly also helps keep you at a healthy weight which can fight disease. 

Plus, being active keeps you outside in fresh air, where viruses don’t spread as easily. To reap the benefits of exercise, you should workout three to five times a week for 30 minutes a day. This might seem tough when you’re busy with classes and extracurriculars, but it’s important to make exercise a priority. 

Make an Effort to Eat Healthy

It’s no surprise that in addition to adding exercise to your regime, a healthy and balanced diet will help keep you well as you head back to campus. You should eat a variety of foods and avoid processed foods. Processed foods are more likely to be high in saturated fats. Research shows that diets high in saturated fats may contribute to a less healthy immune system. 

Also eat plenty of veggies and fruits of all different colors. Eating greens like spinach have huge benefits to your health and wellness. Spinach is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, so you get double the effect in giving your body the nutrients you need. Foods like bell peppers, garlic and broccoli also have positive effects on health. 

Sometimes you’ll have to eat fast food or eat out. Try and look for healthy options on menus and make a point to add in greens. Green smoothies are a great way to incorporate a quick, healthy meal on the go.

As you head back to campus, there are many habits you can incorporate into your daily life to support your health. Being mindful of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. It’s smart to protect yourself from an unexpected medical withdrawal with tuition insurance. Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for the fall!

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 Student Life

5 Alternatives to Reset Your Mind, Body And Career After Pandemic Inactivity

May 10, 2021

The pandemic caused substantial changes to our lifestyles. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing generally made us more sedentary and unhealthy, from many points of view. The average person probably put on a few pounds. More so, many people’s mental happiness may have declined due to a lack of socialization. Thankfully, we’re starting to see the end of lockdowns, and we can begin rebuilding our minds, body, and career. Combine physical exercise, healthy food, and meditation, and you’ll feel better, stronger, and more capable of advancing your career.

Let’s explore five alternatives to reset our system:

1. Combating occupational disease

Deskbound jobs are dangerous if left unchecked. And if office jobs were problematic before, nowadays, the issue is greater. The combination between the static nature of desk jobs and the pandemic’s general inactivity is highly detrimental to our health. Sedentarism, or lack of activity, can cause many health problems. Too much sitting can lead to chronic pain, cardiovascular problems, and metabolic issues. That’s why it’s vital to contrast it with regular breaks. As a general rule, you should take a 5-minute break every half an hour. This might be taking a few steps around your room, or even grabbing a cup of water or coffee.

Alternatively, people that spend too much time on their feet are also at risk. Standing too much can strain leg muscles, ligaments, and veins. Just as you would take a break from sitting down all day, take a few breaks from standing to sit for a few minutes.

2.   Sport, self-massage, and stretching

Apart from small work breaks, you should work out a few times a week and stretch daily. Physical activity is one of the best ways to replenish health, according to research. Workouts don’t have to be complex or take up a big part of your day. You can use your own bodyweight or opt for weights. Search the internet for beginner home workouts and get right into it. Put on some music and make a party out of it! 

Also, don’t forget to include heart exercises. Even in tight spaces, you can still perform jumping jacks, burpees, and similar cardio drills that will do wonders for your whole body.

Don’t forget how important it is to stretch and massage your muscles after a work out! Take 5 to 15 minutes to do a few stretches. For muscle soreness, using a foam roller will help with this.

3.   Plant-based nutrition, hydration, and sleep

The general eating trend of the pandemic is delivery food. We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, fast food damages our physical health and keeps us from being happy with ourselves. If you want to improve yourself beyond recognition, start integrating plant-based meals into your diet; this means little to no animal products. It may seem challenging, but the rewards are well worth it. Don’t know where to start? Here are the basics:

  • Fruits in a large variety. Incorporate a piece of fruit in meals or swap them out for an afternoon snack.
  • Vegetables should be your foundation. Eat them raw, boiled, and cooked.
  • Tubers like potatoes, beets, carrots will give your body energy for longer periods.
  • Whole grains like rice, grains, oats, barley help with digestion and balances your system.
  • Legumes such as beans, lentils, pulses are fantastic sources of protein without inflammatory components. 

Sleeping and drinking enough water are also fundamental. Generally, you want eight hours of quality rest. Furthermore, the “8 by 8 rule” is a terrific way of keeping count of your water intake: drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.    

4.   Meditation and yoga

Just about everybody knows about meditation and yoga, but very few practice it. There’s a reason why similar disciplines became so popular even in the Western world – it’s because they work. For instance, Hatha yoga and Tai chi are excellent practices for newbies. Search online for a few simple routines, try them for a little bit, and see how you feel.     

5.   Mindfulness techniques

The last point of our list regards stress management. In this mind technique, the individual tries to rationalize the negative feelings as soon as possible. Becoming aware of harmful emotions can cancel the consequences of said sentiments. It takes a little practice, but the method can save you a ton of headaches.

For example, suppose you’ve received some bad news at work regarding hour reduction. Instead of feeling dreadful, try to become aware of your emotions and control them from the get-go. Sure, fewer hours mean less pay, but nothing fatal happened in the grand scheme of things. You’re not in control of the hour management, so why go crazy over it? Breathe in deep a couple of times and go on with your day stress-free!      

            The pandemic situation is harsh on everyone’s mind, body, and career. However, by eating clean, sleeping well, and drinking enough water, you’ve made the first step to a healthier lifestyle. Add in physical activity, stretching, and self-massage, and you’ll reinforce yourself with golden armor. Lastly, adding mindfulness techniques and frequent meditation/yoga will make sure your mind is ready for any challenge.    

BIO: Charlie Svensson is an experienced writer and content creator on topics such as education, marketing, and self-growth.

Health

Tips for Staying Active in the Winter

March 19, 2021

With gym closures and concerns for health during the pandemic, many students have been unable to exercise at their student fitness center or local gym. This has caused a lot of students to take up running and other outdoor activities. Cold weather can make it difficult to run outside and can decrease motivation for staying active.

Here are a few tips for staying active in the winter:

Turn to YouTube

There are many free exercise resources available on YouTube, from yoga to HIIT, you have many options to explore. Channels such as ​Yoga with Adriene​ and N​atacha Océane​ provide quality exercise videos. You can also check out apps like Peloton, Nike Training Club, and ClassPass that offer free training programs, or at least a free trial for one.

Invest in some equipment

It can be worthwhile to invest in some equipment such as resistance bands, a jump rope, and dumbbells. It can be expensive to buy certain items new, but you can always find second-hand equipment on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and eBay. If you don’t want to buy online, check out discount stores or look for sales at major retailers.

Bundle up and embrace the outdoors

If conditions are safe, you can still run outside. Make sure to bundle up and be aware of ice. Here are some​ tips ​for running in the cold such as keeping yourself well lit with limited sunlight. Layers are crucial!

Be mindful of your movement

If you are busy with school work and feel that you don’t have enough time to dedicate to workouts, try to incorporate more movement into your daily routine. This can mean a few jumping jacks between virtual classes or a bit of stretching before going to bed. Try to remain aware of how long you have been sedentary and stand frequently. If you’re running errands, park farther away or opt for the stairs over the elevator or escalator as much as possible.

Repurpose household items

If you don’t have access to workout equipment be creative and repurpose items around your house. This can mean using some textbooks, water jugs, wine bottles or cans of food as weights. Try running up and down your stairs, or using a chair to do some step-ups or tricep dips.

Don’t let gym closures and a loss of your former routine keep you from sticking to your fitness goals. There’s a lot of creative ways to stay active. For more tips on college life make sure to follow us on social media @gradguard.

Health Student Life

Returning to Campus Without Regrets

March 5, 2021

After a surge in early winter, COVID-19 cases have begun to decline. Seasonal factors, an increase in mask wearing and social distancing, partial immunity, and the vaccine rollout have combined to stem the tide — at least for now. With more variants popping up, however, nothing is certain. 

Despite ongoing uncertainty, more colleges and universities are reopening, or preparing to reopen. What does that mean for you as a college student? How can you return to campus with confidence? Here are some ideas on getting back to class without regrets. 

Don’t let up on healthy habits

Even with vaccines becoming available and new case numbers dropping, the Center for Disease Control says it’s essential to stay vigilant. Keep taking the standard precautions:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
  • Use hand sanitizer.
  • Disinfect shared surfaces — like desks, countertops, appliance knobs, light switches, etc. — with antibacterial wipes.
  • Wear face masks. Double-masking is even more effective.
  • Maintain social distance of at least six feet between yourself and others. In classrooms, this may mean keeping an empty desk between yourself and your nearest classmate.

Be aware of the externals

As you return to the classroom, be aware of external risk factors that can affect your safety.

  • Time — How much time are you spending around people? The less, the better.
  • Space — The more space you can keep between yourself and others, the safer you’ll be.
  • People — Large numbers of people in small spaces increase the risk of transmission.
  • Place — Outdoors is best. But if your classes are indoors (as most are), classrooms should have adequate ventilation and room for social distancing.

Take precautions on the road

With more people returning to school and work, more vehicles will be on the road. Be aware of how this affects you as you return to school.

  • Stay vigilant. People who haven’t been driving might take a while to get their skills back up to speed.
  • Leave enough time for your commute. Don’t put yourself in a position of rushing to get to class.
  • Check the weather and drive cautiously. This winter has produced some of the craziest weather in memory, resulting in icy roads and lots of wrecks. 
  • Know what to do in case you’re in an accident.
  • Be sure you have the proper auto and injury insurance.

Take charge of your finances

  • Set a budget that allows you to remain free of financial worry as you focus on your classes.
  • Begin building your credit. Consider a card that’s secured by an account deposit so you don’t charge more than you can afford.
  • Cut back where you can. If you get a job just so you can afford a video game system, you’ll have less time to focus on your studies: You’ll either be at work or playing.

Don’t be afraid to request safety measures

  • Ask your instructor to be sure your classroom is properly ventilated.
  • If you’re uncomfortable in class, see whether lectures will be available online.
  • Request that personal protective equipment (PPE) be available in class. Bring your own anyway, just in case.
  • Most schools have long since pivoted to turning in assignments online. Make sure it’s an option for you.

Resuming classes is stressful enough without the added anxiety of dealing with health risks. Fortunately, if you take these precautions, you’ll be more likely to return to campus with confidence that you’ll be safe. Then you can focus on your studies, rather than worrying about things that can get in the way. 

BIO: My name is Jessica Larson. I’m a married Midwestern mom and a solopreneur. I create online courses for students, and I’ve started and run several other businesses through the years. My goals are to support my family while still actually spending time with them, to act as an entrepreneurial role model for my two daughters, and to share what I’ve learned through The Solopreneur Journal.