Your Guide To A Healthy Fall

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Summer is coming to an end and fall is creeping up on us! As the seasons change it is important to keep up with healthy habits. Here are some helpful tips to a healthy fall:

Embrace the outdoors and keep up with physical activity.
Many find it hard to keep up with going to the gym when the weather gets colder. Setting the clocks back this season can also cause people to “fall behind” in their workout regimen. Take advantage of outdoor chores and use them as a workout, for example raking leaves for half an hour is a way to burn calories. Other fun, healthy fall activities include going apple or pumpkin picking with your family and friends, or going for a hike.f2

Dress in layers.
Be sure to dress in appropriate apparel that will keep you warm! Layers are a great choice for fall because it is often colder in the mornings and nights, but hotter during the day. Keep accessories such as hats, scarves and gloves in mind.

Eat foods that boost your immune system.
Eating the right foods can help you stay healthier this season! For example, Avocados contain essential amino acids, antioxidants and some healthy fats to help balance hormone production. Drinking green tea can help fight bacteria and prevent viruses from multiplying. Adding a drop of sage extract into tea or hot water can also help break up mucus and cure a cough! Some other examples of “foods with benefits” are garlic, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, yogurt, and citrus fruits.

Avoid sport game snacking.
Football season is back, which means sport game snacking is back. Try your best to avoid unconscious eating while you are watching your favorite team play. Instead of eating from a large bowl, pre-measure your snack and place it in a smaller bowl or napkin instead. If you like chips, try baked instead of fried. Try out some healthier options, such as veggies and dip, fruit, or mixed nuts.

 

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Written by Christina Gantt, Peer Educator

Meditation: Be Kind to Your Mind

Adjusting to a new semester can be extremely stressful and it is easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that’s going on. With that being said, it is also easy to help yourself deal with the stress of being a college student.

One word: meditation.

Meditation is a practice that involves breathing and obtaining a positive mentality to focus on relaxation. Studies have shown just how effective meditation is on the human body and mind, specifically with college students.

keep                An example of meditation can involve:
• Taking only 15 minutes out of your busy schedule
• Finding a nice, quiet space
• Counting the number of breathes you inhale and exhale

 By concentrating on the moment and focusing on your breathing, you are able  to let go of negative, stressful thoughts (i.e. papers, presentations, or the fact that you had to wait a half an hour in the Starbucks line).

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So want to know how meditation can help you?

Stress Reduction- According to the National Institutes of Health, meditation is believed to reduce stress in college students because it increases the activity in our minds that allows us to rest.

Concentration Improvement- Meditation can take some work and mental energy, but practicing meditation methods can improve your concentration skills! Improved concentration can help you stay on task and finish your work.

Overall well-being- Meditation can lead to an increase in happiness, creativity, and peace of mind!

So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider putting aside some time to take a deep breathe, meditate, and be kind to your mind.

 

Written by Allie Fonseca, Peer Educator

Condom Sense!

Think you know all there is to know about condoms? Many myths exist when it comes to condom usage, storage, and effectiveness. Read on to find out the real deal.

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MYTH: Condoms protect against all sexually transmitted infections.
FACT: Condoms are very effective in protecting against STIs that are spread through bodily fluid, however they may not protect against some STIs that are spread via skin-to-skin contact. Herpes and HPV are examples of STIs that may be spread through skin-to-skin contact. If you are concerned about more coverage, consider using a female condom which offers more coverage of the genitalia providing additional protection.

MYTH: Condoms are 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.
FACT: This may be the most common myth that exists regarding condoms. Condoms are 98 percent effective when used correctly and every time. If you are concerned about getting pregnant, use birth control or another form of contraception along with the use of condoms. The combination of both birth control and condoms will highly decrease chances of becoming pregnant.

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MYTH: Using more than one condom is safer.
FACT: One condom is the way to go! Using two condoms, or “doubling up,” can cause the condoms to break due to the friction of condoms rubbing together. This stands true for both female and male condoms- one condom is all you need!

MYTH: Condom storage is not important and cannot affect the condom.
FACT: How you store a condom does affect the condom. Storing a condom in a location that is hot, for example in the trunk of a car, or on a window sill, can cause the condom to become extremely weak. Storing condoms in a wallet can cause them to deteriorate due to the bending and folding that takes place. Condoms should be stored in a location that is cool and dry, like in a drawer on a nightstand. The best way to store a condom would be below or at room temperature.

Using condoms correctly can help protect yourself and your partner. Stop by the Office of Wellness Promotion, located in Commonwealth Hall, or the Women’s Center in Lawrence for FREE condoms and more information

 

 

Written by Christina Gantt, Peer Educator

Come to Commonwealth for Your Physical and Emotional Health

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Student Health Services has moved to a brand new location! Its new home is Commonwealth Hall, located at 715 South New Street. The entrance is separate from the residence hall and can be found on the side of the building facing Lawrence Dining Hall. In the same location you can now find the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services.

Hours and Appointments

Appointments for the Health Center may be scheduled in person or by phone at 610-436-2509.
Health Centers Hours:
• Monday-Friday: 8am-6pm
• Saturday: 10am-6pm (nursing care only)
Counseling Center Hours:
• Monday-Friday: 8am-4:30pm (ongoing clients)
• Monday-Friday: 1pm to 3pm (walk-in triage appointments)

Payment Options

During your appointment you will need to provide both your student ID and health insurance card, although services can be utilized without insurance. For full time students there is a $12 visit fee, and for part time or graduate students there is a $20 visit fee. Additional fees may be included for items such as crutches, vaccines, and lab tests.
Payment for the Health Center services are made at the Bursar’s Office. They accept cash, checks, and credit or debit cards.
The Counseling Center has no charge for counseling or triage assessments with a Psychologist.

Services and Staff

The Health Center is staffed by registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians. The Health Center staff is equipped to handle almost any medical problem that could arise on a college campus. Services include immunizations, allergy shots, TB testing, STI testing, wellness education, and more.
The Counseling Center has psychologists and doctoral trainees on staff. They offer both individual and group counseling, and all services are confidential. Psychiatric services are also available.

Visit http://www.wcupa.edu/health for more information on Student Health Services,

and http://www.wcupa.edu/counselingcenter for more information on the Counseling Center.

Written by Dave Parsons, Peer Educator

Keep Calm, We’re Back in School!

Summer is coming to an end and it’s time to get back to the grind. Starting another semester of work and play can be both stressful and exciting. Read on for tips to develop a plan that will make the process as easy as can be!

Get into a Routine

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Start your semester off right by adopting a healthy routine. Practice going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day. This type of sleep training will help you get a better night’s sleep, and have more energy during the day. Make breakfast part of your routine as well. Eating a good breakfast is also a great way to make sure you are physically prepared for the day ahead of you. Homework, studying, and physical activity are other important things to add to your routine.

Buy Your Books

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Let’s be honest, buying books is no one’s favorite “back to school” activity. Textbooks can be expensive, and lines to get books can be long. If you still need to buy books consider looking online. If you still need to figure out what books you need for the semester visit the Bookstore website. There are also many places online to buy books such as Chegg and DealOz.

Get Involved

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West Chester University is home to 260+ clubs and organizations, so there is always something to do here! Be sure to visit the Involvement Fair on Wednesday, September 3rd, in the Academic Quad. This is a great way to meet new people and leave your contact information with groups that interest you so they can send you important information, such as meeting times and locations, as well as upcoming events.

Use a Calendar

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What good does it do to create a routine and get involved in different organizations if you forget what time you need to be where? Using a calendar may save you from forgetting important tasks, like studying for that big exam. Using your Outlook calendar on your WCU email or your phone calendar are two easy and free options. There’s a reason your “smart” phone is called this- let it do its job, so you can do yours!

 

Written by DeVonna Smith, Peer Educator

 

 

 

Summer Playing and Fun: Sun Safety for the Summer Enthusiast

beach3While the summer can be one of the most fun times of the year, it’s important to remember the real meaning behind the acronym SPF when on the beach or out in the sun all day: sun protection factor.

When choosing a sunscreen product, be sure to read the label. Sunscreens with broad spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher are recommended. By applying an SPF 30 sunscreen correctly, we get the equivalent of 1 minute of UVB rays for each 30 minutes we spend in the sun – 30 times the protection we would have without wearing any sunscreen.

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While sunburns can really hurt, there are more serious and harmful effects that come with over-exposure to UV rays. UV radiation can cause premature aging, eye damage, and even skin cancer. So when it comes to the sunscreen, don’t skimp! In addition to putting on sunscreen, take other measures to limit UV exposure:

• Slip on a shirt
• Slap on a hat
• Wrap on sunglasses to protect
the eyes and skin around them
• Seek shade
• Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps

sunscreen-sunglassesWe all know too much sunlight can be harmful, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay inside all summer. Quite the contrary actually! When exposed to the sun, our bodies naturally produce vitamin D which is important for bone health and has even been proven to reduce stress. Maybe that’s why we love going to the beach so much? So summer enthusiasts, I call on you to soak in the sun this summer – just don’t forget about your SPF!

Written by Stephen Clark, Peer Educator

The Finals Week Survival Guide

This has been such a crazy semester! With all of the snow days, it does not feel like it should be over. But it’s here- the end of the semester. Now before we can break out our flip-flops and head to the beach, we have to get through FINALS WEEK! This week is by far the most stressful week of the semester, and it can be very easy to get caught up in the frenzy. Here are some helpful tips to help survive this semester’s finals week.

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Use good study techniques. Try creating note cards with important terms and information you need to know for your exams. This will make it much easier to memorize and remember important information. Rewriting your notes can also be very helpful. It helps you remember the information if you see it multiple times. Don’t forget to take a break every hour or two of studying.

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Get some sleep. While you may think it is a good idea to stay up all night to study for an exam, it is essential to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep will help you recall the material, and you will be able to stay awake during your exam- improving your chances for success.

Try to schedule in some “me” time. It is important to take breaks from studying. Try to do something for yourself like exercising or some other stress relieving activity like listening to music, reading, or hanging out with a friend.

Try to eliminate distractions. Now if you are like me, once you start browsing the web or checking social media it is very hard to stop, and during finals week this can suck up a lot of precious time. Don’t get sucked in! Deactivate your social media accounts until you are done with finals, or have someone you trust change your passwords and keep it from you until you are done.

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Try to limit your cell phone use. I know that I always have my cell phone on me because it is my only form of communication with my friends and family. Did you know that there is a way to eliminate your phone as a distraction without turning it off? You can turn on the “do not disturb” function on your cell phone that can be found in your settings. This will stop your phone from going off when it receives incoming calls, text messages, and notifications. It also allows you to choose if you want to receive messages from your emergency contacts. This way it eliminates distractions, but certain people can get a hold of you if need be.

Here is what some of the Peer Educators do to get through finals week:

Stephen: I make sure to exercise and relieve as much stress as possible during finals week.

Matt: I am a huge fan of note cards and camping out in the library.

Sam: I make tons of note cards and like to rewrite my notes to better remember them.

Jordan: I grab some hot tea and head to my couch to hit the books; this way I am relaxed and comfortable!

Now that you are equipped with these strategies for surviving finals week, hopefully they can help you be more successful. Good luck and have a good rest of the semester!

By Andrew Ramirez, Peer Educator

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Don’t Cram, Catch Z’s

Studies show that sleep deprivation leads to a decrease in academic performance for students of all ages. According to a survey done by the Better Sleep Council, nearly 8 in 10 Americans admit they would feel better and more prepared for the day if they had an extra hour of sleep. As college students, we sometimes cram and even pull “all-nighters” to study for exams. Making time for sleep is just as important as studying.

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Get those Z’s so you can get those A’s : Memory recall and the ability to maintain concentration are much improved when an individual is rested – two things that seem pretty important when it comes to taking your exams, am I right? In order for our bodies to become fully rested, we should strive to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

“But I don’t have time for sleep!” If this sounds like you, you may really want to reevaluate your schedule. Any prolonged sleep deprivation will affect your mood, energy level, ability to focus, concentration and ability to learn, which directly affect your academic performance. The solution: create a study schedule! Studying a little bit each night is better than pulling an all-nighter.

Make your sleep work for you!

• Get 7-9 hours of sleep nightly (especially before final exams)
• Try to study during periods of optimal brain function – whether you’re a morning person or a night owl doesn’t matter, everybody’s different!
• Don’t overuse caffeinated drinks. If you do drink something caffeinated, make sure it’s not right before you go to sleep.
• Nap – Contrary to popular belief, napping won’t always negatively affect your nighttime sleep. When it comes to naps, a 20-30 minute nap is best. Anything longer can lead to post-sleep grogginess.
• Recognize that chronic sleep deprivation may contribute to development of long-term diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease

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So what are you waiting for? Start sleeping! And I mean really sleeping – get your 8 hours of sleep every night. Sleep is an amazing thing and once you start actually getting enough of it you’ll see that more than just your grades have improved 

Written by Stephen Clark, Peer Educator

Stress Less!

The end of the semester can be a really stressful time, especially with group projects, final exams and possibly graduation right around the corner. Read on for some tips on how to conquer stress and finish the school year strong!

Slow down. Be present in each individual thing you do throughout your day, rather than rushing through them, and try not to do more than one thing at a time.

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Take a break. Do something you enjoy, like reading, painting, listening to music, hanging out with friends or watching a movie.

Reach out. Talk to family or friends for advice, or simply to vent. A good support system is important when dealing with stress.

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 Exercise. Exercise regularly- your body can fight stress better when it is fit and exercising is a great stress-reliever too.

       

Seek out social support. There are so many resources available on campus. You can make an appointment with the Counseling Center , get set up with a tutor at the LARC , or participate in a wellness consultation!

Say no. Don’t feel pressured to spread yourself too thin or feel guilty for saying “no.” You’re only one person. Commit to a reasonable amount of tasks rather than everything that comes your way.

Listen to your body. If you’re feeling sick, sore, run-down, or tired, don’t push yourself! Rest up and get yourself feeling healthy again.

Eat healthy. Make smart choices when it comes to food, rather than going straight to comfort food when you’re stressed.

Sleep. Make sure you are getting between 7 and 9 hours a sleep per night.

Smile. Smiling (and laughter) can actually make you feel better. Smiling transmits nerve impulses to the limbic system, a key emotional center in the brain, and this can cause you to feel more calm and happy.

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Written by Sam Tatulli, Peer Educator

Anger Management

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Has the stress of the spring semester got you fuming with anger? Anger is a normal emotion that everyone feels and deals with. Anger becomes unhealthy when emotional outbursts are out of control, explosive, or frequent.
Lashing out with anger can hurt you or others in a variety of ways including: your physical and mental health, relationships with others, or even your job.

Managing your anger is the healthiest way to express and deal with it. Check out some of these great tips for cooling down and handling your frustration!

 
1. Take a deep breath: Take a minute to walk away and just breathe! Inhale through the nose, hold for 3-5 seconds and exhale out the mouth. It’s an easy way to step back and calm down.

2. Exercise: Exercising or doing physical activity releases tension and gets you away from the source of your anger. It’s a great healthy way to express and release that negative energy!

3. Count to 10: It may sound simple, but counting to 10 or even 100 can help clear your head. It causes you to stop and look at the situation with less anger and emotion.

anger management 24. Laugh: Allow yourself to laugh. Humor will help to diffuse the anger bomb, and leave you feeling happier.

5. Think before you act: Make sure to take a step back and think about what is causing you to be angry. It’s important to reflect on what is the root of your anger! Talking about it right away without internalizing and reflecting could lead to an argument!

6. Express in a healthy way: After calming down and reflecting, address the cause of your anger in a calmer way. Express what it is you’re angry about and why. Just stay calm and assertive.stress ball

7. Rate your anger: Write down what is making you angry and rate the intensity of your anger on a scale of 1 to 10. This will allow you to refocus and manage your anger to better understand what is causing your outbursts.

8. Relieve your anger: Find an outlet to relive stress and anger. It’s just as important to relieve your anger mentally as it is to relieve it physically. Use a stress ball or do something creative and enjoyable like doodling, writing, or playing a game!

9. Get help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Excessive or unhealthy outbursts of anger can lead to health issues including heart problems, depression, high blood pressure, and anxiety. There are lots of online resources to use to learn how to control anger so use them! If you need additional help or support, visit the Counseling Center on the second floor of Lawrence Hall.

For more information:

http://www.wcupa.edu/_SERVICES/stu.cou/

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anger_management_control_tips_techniques.htm

Written by Matt Keller, Peer Educator