Self-Care Sunday: How to meditate (tips and tricks)

We’re all about taking a few minutes to center our minds and start the new week full of positive vibes. Today, we’ll go over some tips and tricks for meditating on your own.

how to meditate, meditation tips and tricks

The good thing about meditation is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home (it works out since we’re all stuck at home right now and campus is closed). Anyone can meditate, and you only need a few minutes a day to benefit.

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Self-Care Sunday: Coloring across UML’s campus

color the uml campus

Taking up new and relaxing hobbies is great for self-care. With everything going on right now, lowkey activities like baking, coloring and cross-stitch are having moments.

Unable to get your hands on a coloring book? No worries. I created a handful of coloring pages of major campus landmarks. All you need to color your way across the UMass Lowell campus is a printer and some coloring supplies.

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Self-Care Sunday: Staying active and healthy with household items

staying active and healthy diy gym household items

Staying active at this time is a big ask for most of us. But it’s probably the highest-ranking self-care task you can do for yourself. Some good news: UML’s Campus Recreation Center (a.k.a. CRC or the Campus Rec Center) has you covered.

Certified Functional Strength Coach and CRC Fitness Instructor, Rebecca Olivieri (who is also working on Ph.D. in Physical Therapy at UML), recorded herself doing a fitness routine with everyday household items.

Don’t have a full gym in your house? No problem.

Rebecca’s DIY gym is fantastic. You’ll be able to get your heart rate going—easy-peasy—with these five exercises that target your core, legs and arms.

Our videographer, Alfonso, spruced up the video so you could follow along.

Staying active with household items: The Routine

There are five exercises in this routine. Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one.

Once you finish 12 reps of all five exercises, rest for 60 seconds. This should be an active rest for recovery—don’t come to a complete stop. You don’t need to do anything intense—light movement will work (walk around a bit, step side to side, etc.).

You should work through the routine three times all together. Obviously, only workout within your comfort range and ability—don’t feel bad about doing less reps or taking a longer break after you finish the five exercises.

1. Single Arm Swings

What you’ll need: A jug of laundry detergent

How many reps: 12

2. Backpack Squats

What you’ll need: Your backpack filled with some textbooks

How many reps: 12

3. Backpack Good Mornings

What you’ll need: Your backpack filled with some textbooks

How many reps: 12

4. Canned Food High Plank Stacking

What you’ll need: Two cans of food

How many reps: 12

5. Basketball Russian Twists

What you’ll need: A basketball, soccer ball, volleyball or something similar

How many reps: 12

Check out more of Alfonso’s videos.

Good luck. You got this. See you next week!

Miss last week’s Self-Care Sunday? Catch up here.

Self-Care Sunday: Get some fresh air at these local outdoor recreation spots

self-care sunday: get some fresh air at these local outdoor recreation spots
Photo by Ed Brennen

Spring isn’t on hold just because we’re all practicing social distancing. The daffodils are in bloom and trees are starting to bud. I’m sure if you look outside your window, you’ll see signs of spring and pops of color.  

This week, take some time to go outdoors. Walk a trail, sit on your stoop, smell some flowers—just spend time outside. It’s a literal breath of fresh air and can do wonders for your mental well-being. 

And if you’re local, you’re in luck. Not only has the Campus Recreation Center gone virtual, they’ve also updated their list of local outdoor recreation places to visit.

Local outdoor recreation spots

In this list, you’ll find information about local nature trails, bike paths, river walks and rock climbing spots you can visit. Most of it is within walking distance of the UMass Lowell campus. There are also places you can visit that are within 10 miles of campus as well.

*Check that the parks are open before you go— some places may have limited facilities operational. For example, a quick peak at the Nashua River Rail Trail’s website tells you that they’ve closed their restrooms, visitor center, playgrounds, etc.

The list includes outdoor spots in the following towns and cities:

  • Lowell, MA
  • Dracut, MA
  • Chelmsford, MA
  • Westford, MA
  • Tyngsboro, MA
  • Andover, MA
  • Carlisle, MA
  • Acton, MA
  • Billerica, MA
  • Lawrence, MA
  • Littleton, MA
  • Windham, NH

We’re fortunate in New England that spring came early this year. Take some time to enjoy the nice weather this weekend at these local spots or in your own backyard!

Want to see more Self-Care Sunday? Check out all the posts.

See you next Sunday!

Self-Care Sunday: Advice from one UML student to you

self-care sunday: advice from one uml student to you

Today (it’s Sunday btw), we’re one week closer to the end of this.

Social distancing and COVID-19 is impacting us in ways we couldn’t have expected. We’re all living with this weird blend of stress and hopefulness, anxiety and generosity, uncertainty and togetherness.

But we won’t explode.

We will get through this together because we’re in this together. That’s why, every Sunday until this is over, I’m going to share a Self-Care Sunday post on this blog. I’ll share things happening in the UML community that will boost your spirits and simple and actionable steps to help you thrive while staying socially distanced.

Self-Care Sunday Tip No. 1

One of our business administration students, David Seybert, is writing a book called “One Student to Another: 200 Tips to Ensure College Success.” He shared seven simple ways to stay positive and focused while transitioning to online classes.

As always, know that we’re here to help you. Even though many of us from the university are working from home, we are available to chat and answer any questions you have. Our admissions counselors are as excited as ever to help you figure out if UMass Lowell is the place for you. You can schedule a personal, one-on-one virtual meeting with us through Zoom, Skype or by phone at any time.

See you next Sunday! You got this.

Check this out: You don’t have to fake it ’til you make it

Doctor’s orders: Pat more dogs

pat more dogs uml stress relief fair

When I was a sweet, summer child—young and carefree and with zero stress—this is how I’d rank my top-five, favorite holidays:

  1. My birthday
  2. The last day of school
  3. 4th of July
  4. Halloween
  5. Christmas

Now, since stress is a big part of my life and I don’t have the last day of school to look forward to, I just live for these holidays:

  1. 4th of July
  2. Thanksgiving1
  3.  Christmas

1Since it’s socially unacceptable for adults to trick-or-treat unless they have a child or something, Thanksgiving has taken the place of Halloween on the list. (Confession: I held on to trick-or-treating for an embarrassingly long time.)

BUT!! As of two weeks ago, I have a new favorite holiday!

STRESS RELIEF DAY

At the end of every semester, UML pulls out all the stops to help students decompress and take a step back from the stress of upcoming finals and the stress from college life in general.

Why is it the best holiday? Two reasons…

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You don’t have to fake it ‘til you make it

you don't have to fake it 'til you make it

There’s truth (and science!) behind people saying that positive thinking makes you feel better when you’re stressed out or in a slump. But sometimes the advice that “you should be more positive” doesn’t help when you’re already stuck in your head and feeling alone.

These feelings are what graphic design students, Sundilynn, Cathy, Ivanna, Alecia and Emily, tackled this spring semester in an interactive art piece. Their mission? Shining a light on students’ emotional health. They wanted their classmates to know that they didn’t have to fake being happy because they weren’t the only ones with negative feelings, and that they wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) be alone in working through them.

Supportive and positive thinking is the heart of UML’s culture

It all started with an assignment for the class, Form and Content (ARTS.2010) with Prof. Jennifer Houle. The students were tasked with creating a public art piece, and they decided to install the art in the gazebo on South Campus.

They wanted to draw attention to everything college students go through on a daily basis and to help spread positivity around campus.

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I’m in a glass case of emotion

college-decisions-glass-case-of-emotion

Even though I have no part in reading applications or making decisions about the future of students accepted to UMass Lowell, I write a lot of the content that goes out to UML hopefuls.

A few weeks ago, I looked over the accepted/denied/waitlisted emails, and I had *feelings*.

Checking over those decision emails for grammar mistakes pretty much destroyed me. I got in my head about how important these decisions are and how someone (an actual human with actual human feelings and hopes and dreams) will read their decision email and feel things.

And then I kind of spiraled and forgot how to spell and use words that were more than a single syllable. I can’t help but wonder if my co-workers felt this weird blend of overwhelm and empathy with prospective students the first time they went through this side of the college acceptance process.

Sign up for a behind the scenes look at UML.

The Point.

The college admissions process is stressful for everyone involved. You’re not alone in whatever heavy stuff you’re working through. You may feel like you are, but if you take a minute to look around you, on YouTube or Twitter, you’ll find that there are a lot of other people going through the same thing. I promise, you’re not alone, and you’re awesome for working through this.

Where ever you are today and no matter how many college decision letters you’ve read, you deserve happiness. You are more than the decision that a university makes about you.Click To Tweet

It’s easy to get stressed out about college decisions and caught up in what’s going to happen next year. So, take a minute to breathe and acknowledge your stress. It’s normal to feel stressed about this. And then let it go.

It’s finally spring.

Go outside and enjoy it. It was 54 degrees in Lowell on the first day of spring. Take a walk. Hang out with your friends. Do the things that you love just for the fun of it. It’s your last year of high school, and your biggest goal now should be to enjoy every minute of it.