by: Jayla Galvez, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader

Procrastination gets the best of us and there is no need to be ashamed of it. A conversation I had with a close friend of mine helped me put this into perspective. We were in the car one day and she was talking about a video she watched of top students pulling an all-nighter to work on a paper they had due the next day. She said that this is what a lot of smart people do. We laughed about how the students in the video were crying at some point before continuing their paper. It was all too relatable. This was either before or after she came back from getting her master’s at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. What did I gain from that conversation? Procrastinating does not mean that you’re not smart! It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are lazy either.

Some people may feel like they work better under pressure, but others may not feel that way at all and fall into the category of passive procrastinators. Passive procrastination is when someone puts off completing a task out of fear or intimidation of that task. Sometimes this is a fear of failure, the heavy workload, or the thought that if it isn’t perfect, it isn’t worth turning in. This kind of thought process can be a barrier to success and have people drowning in an endless cycle of procrastination. Sometimes a huge part of getting over procrastination is the mindset that you have.

Here are some personal tips that I use to pull myself out of the vicious cycle of procrastination:

Limit the distractions around you. Go where you feel the most calm and stable minded. Personally, the library doesn’t always work for me, sometimes I need to be in a coffee shop, or the dining hall, and sometimes I need to just switch up my environment. Do what works best for you.

Speak positively to yourself! Remind yourself that you are far more important than the situation and no grade or achievement is greater than your wellbeing. Without you, those accomplishments would mean nothing, and that you are more than capable of doing whatever you set your mind to do.

Notice the early signs of burnout. Is your body trying to warn you that you are overwhelmed? Check in with yourself. Are you eating much less or much more? Are there any noticeable changes in your health or attitude? Are you spending less time with friends than usual this study season? Maybe it is time to reset and take a self-care day. Just like our bodies, our minds need rest sometimes. Taking a day away from the books can help you feel more refreshed and be more productive.

This too shall pass. I would look back on the fast-approaching deadline and be afraid of the time I had to complete assignments, but this was also strangely comforting because I knew that no matter what, the day would come when this would be due, and it wouldn’t be on my mind anymore. The day to drop the pencil, close the books, and walk away from my inbox for a while. It is coming, and whatever happens, you should be proud of yourself for whatever you were able to do, even if it was just getting out of bed this morning and getting a sip of water.

Feel free to check out this article that looks into different reasons for procrastination, types of procrastination (active and passive), and a few methods on how to overcome it.

Change your perspective and don’t take it personally

by: Alejandra Malaga Walters, Francis College of Engineering Well-being Leader

Worrying about what other people think is very common in humans. We cannot undo long-held beliefs overnight, but we can learn to be more objective about situations and slowly stop taking things too personally.

According to Frederick Imbo, an expert in communication and Neuro-Linguistic Programming, there are two strategies to stop taking things personally. The first one is to think whatever people say or do is not about you. Look at the other person’s intention and try to see it from their perspective.

We often tend to think that whatever a person said or did is about us and we get offended and feel the need to defend ourselves. Usually, we take things personally when we make certain assumptions, and many times those assumptions aren’t even true. Try to see things from a different point of view from your own. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to assume the best. Remind yourself that you can’t always change how people perceive you, only how you react.

If the first strategy doesn’t work, you must use the second one. The second strategy focuses on “it is about me”. If in the moment, you can’t realize the other person’s intention and still get hurt, you need to consider why you’re having that reaction and you must work on yourself. Maybe their words hit an insecurity that you have. And when you find the problem that is bothering you, you can work towards improving that insecurity, give yourself empathy and speak up.

Oftentimes, what provokes us is not usually about a specific thing but about our beliefs about the world, beliefs that are based on fear. These beliefs are generally formed in childhood, according to psychotherapist Elayne Savage of Berkeley. She says they arise from rejection experiences that can take many forms, from not feeling supported by a parent to being the blank of bullies. After you realize where the problem is coming from you can learn to be more objective about situations and slowly stop taking things so much to heart. You would be able to own your actions and reactions and gain insight into yourself and those close to you. You can talk with your friends openly and tell them when certain things bother you. When doing this, it is important not to repress your emotions or avoid personal responsibility.

The truth is that it is a matter of perspective. Many times, we assume the worst, and in the end, is not what we originally thought. We put ourselves in complex situations and thoughts for no reason. Bringing those thoughts to our minds will only make our pain last longer, and no one likes or deserves to suffer. For this reason, we need to focus on “us” instead of “them”. Question yourself: “Is thinking this way worth it?” Assuming the best, instead of the worst, may set you free of overthinking and pain.


by: Doa Jamal, Francis College of Engineering Well-being Leader

Many of us consider music to be a coping mechanism or a way to temporarily escape reality. We may use music as a way to relax, and we find this to be a natural response. When you ask several people what they do to relax, many of them will say “listen to music”. It turns out, there is a scientific reason for why this is so. Music has positive effects on our health and wellbeing. According to John Hopkins Medicine, “Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory (1)”.

Music can positively affect mental health. Research has found that listening to music can reduce stress by triggering biochemical stress reducers, as well as decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increase serotonin, endorphin, and dopamine levels (chemicals that make you happy) in the blood (2). Music can help with depression in that listening to certain songs, such as upbeat songs or encouraging songs, can make you feel better. In general, listening to music that you like will make you feel happier. 

It has been discovered that music can affect the heart, blood pressure, and even breathing. Research found that when music is played, blood flows easier, blood pressure is lower, and the heart rate is reduced (2). Scientists traced music-induced physical/physiological changes to a part in the brain which is responsible for the unconscious regulation of body functions. Music therapy has become more common over the years. One study looked at the effects of music interventions on coronary heart disease patients. It found that “listening to relaxing music not only reduced heart and respiration rates but also oxygen demand of the heart in patients who have had a heart attack.” This also helps to reduce preoperative anxiety, reduce postoperative stress, and improve surgery outcomes for cardiac patients (3). 

Another way that music therapy is used is to reduce and manage pain. The Northshore University Health system states that “music can meaningfully reduce the perceived intensity of pain,  especially in geriatric care, intensive care or palliative medicine” (2). This is partially explained by the fact that music decreases stress levels and higher levels of stress increase pain. Additionally, music signals enter the brain and compete with the pain signals and so the brain focuses less on the pain (a positive form of using music as a distraction).

Overall, music has many beneficial health effects. It reduces stress and sadness, it relaxes your body which slows down your heart and lowers your blood pressure, and it can relieve and help manage pain. These, of course, are only some of the positive effects that music has. As mentioned in the John Hopkins Medicine article, music also affects sleep quality, mental alertness, memory, and more! It’s starting to make more sense why everyone always has earbuds in or headphones on.



How to Not Let the Winter Blues Get to You!

By: Ashley Asuncion, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader

It is the time of year where the days get shorter, and the nights get longer. It is when the weather gets colder, and people prepare for the last few months of the year.  For most people, it is cheers to the jolly season of the end of the year. But for college students, it is when the Fall semester gets more challenging. Classes pick up speed along with extracurricular activities, social life, work, and everything else that comes with life as a college student.

Some of you may start experiencing a lack of energy, motivation, or difficulty focusing on school. These are common symptoms of seasonal changes on psychological feelings like mood and behavior. According to Penn State, in “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Winter Blues”, many individuals suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that causes feelings of distress in all aspects of physical and emotional well-being. This is due to increased production of melatonin that affects the biological clock in the brain that controls energy. Symptoms of SAD can include (PennState, n.d.):

  • Depression
  • Fatigue/loss of energy
  • Overeating
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Anxiety/irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating/processing information
  • Craving sugary/starchy food

Unfortunately, first-year college students are most at risk for these symptoms due to being the first time going through a big adjustment like attending college. The severity in which these symptoms occur depends on coping mechanisms, self-discipline, schedule and physical demands. Therefore, let me help tell you some ways to combat those potentially Winter Blues!

1. Adjust your environment: Surround yourself with more light, plants, brighter colors, and decorations to make the environment comfortable.

2. Maintain warmth, whether drinking a warm drink or bundling up.

3. Exercise! Exercising is most efficient if working out in a manner that is enjoyable to help you maintain the habit.

  • There are numerous programs on campus to participate in: workout classes, active clubs, tournaments/competitions, facilitates, trainer programs, etc. Learn more on the UML Campus Recreation website.  

4. Try a healthier diet, eating smaller amounts more frequently

  • Learn more about dining options on campus using the UML Dining Website, as well as explore the amazing food options around the city of Lowell. Learn new techniques to manage stress: Talk to others and do some research on healthy ways to relieve stress.

5. Ask for help! From a friend, faculty member, online or in-person. UML has numerous resources that can assist to find what best works for you.

I hope these tips can help you combat the Winter Blues. Feel free to reach out to the Office of Student Life and Well-being if you need any help or want to learn more of what is available to you. counseling/student-resources/seasonal-affective-disorder

Maintaining and Deepening Friendships

By: Fahad Alden, Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Well-being Leader

In our busy lives, friendships frequently take the back burner to our many other commitments and priorities.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the best indicator for long-term happiness is not money or marriage, it is deep friendships. Having healthy friendships increases your sense of belonging, allows you to navigate challenges, and encourages healthy lifestyles. We all have friends we may say hello to when we run into them or grab lunch here and there, but how do we deepen those friendships? The recipe for deepening a friendship is built on three foundations, positivity, consistency, and vulnerability. 

The first foundation is positivity, or being a cheerleader for your friends. Everyday encouragement, such as complementing them on winning their recent tennis game or getting an A on a physics exam. Cheering them on and helping uplift them, for part of the beauty of reaching a milestone is the beauty of sharing it with others.  As well, sometimes people have amazing qualities in that they’re nurturing or have great fashion or are kind, but they need that other person to echo that to them. At times, this can be tricky as we may naturally feel envious, but it is important to show how much you care for your friend. 

The second foundation is vulnerability, which can be a complicated one to dissect since people often shy away from being too vulnerable [removed or not enough]. However, unless you know someone well, you must be wary with whom you share information; take the time to fully know and understand someone before making a choice to open up. I suggest that once you have been friends with someone for a while and they are shown to be mature, loyal, and kind, it is best to open up to them. You also do not want to sway to another extreme by holding everything in- many of us can be guilty of doing this, including me. 

People often assume that I have it together because I am in leadership positions or because I tend to have an upbeat personality. While this skill is great at work or school, it can be hard to have in terms of friendship. When I held back on sharing my insecurities or if I was going through a rough patch, it made people feel like they could not confide in me.  People began to share more with me and supported me until I started sharing. Vulnerability is the most significant sign that a person is strong, despite the assumption otherwise. 

The third foundation is consistency in seeing or being in touch with friends. This can be hard for students who are juggling sports, school, and jobs, but it is helpful to see that spending time with friends is a form of investing in yourself. When we neglect time spent with our friends, we may see ourselves being irritable, venting our stress to anyone [removed with fear], or burning out at school or work. But, I think about this summer and my great friendship with James. We were both very busy with work, volunteering, sports, and other things, and usually didn’t get home until 7:00, or even later.  We had to get creative to find time to hang out; we would go to the gym together, garden, or take nighttime walks. Even on days when we were exhausted and stressed, hanging out with each other even for 30 minutes could turn it around. It’s important to remember that no matter how busy you are, you can always make time for friendships. If you have time to watch Netflix, scroll through Instagram, or go for a run, you have time to call that friend for 10 minutes or grab lunch with them. It’s always worth it.

Four Ways to Bring Self-Care into Your Schedule

by: Casey Tiernan, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader

Self-care is the process of taking care of oneself with behaviors that promote health. In this post, I am going to give you four ways you can implement self-care into your daily life.

The first way to improve your health is to unplug. How you start and end your day can make a big difference in your stress levels. When I first wake up, I make sure not to check my phone.

The brain needs time to wake up before responding to texts, emails, etc. It also affects the brain’s ability to prioritize tasks. Checking your phone when you wake up disrupts the chances of starting your day with a calm mind. This is very important on school or workdays because your brain will be working hard all day.

The next way to implement self-care is to try and get outside. It is always good to connect to nature whether you find a spot to sit, or exercise at, or even a small walk. Some ideas include a park, garden, or a field. Natural environments can help reduce stress in your daily life. It doesn’t have to be an everyday thing, but just spending a few minutes with nature every week can go a long way.

Another way to provide self-care would be doing something you love. This can include watching your favorite movie, reading a book, taking a bath, etc. It is important to nurture our bodies such as a massage, bath, or whatever appeals to you. When I feel myself getting burned out and stressed beyond belief, I like to take a bath and bring a book to disconnect from my phone and take time for myself. It is my favorite part of my daily night routine.

One last self-care activity you can implement is support from others. Having the support of a friend, spouse, professor, etc., can be valuable nourishment in reducing stress. It is important that we can talk to our support people to express our feelings and feel understood. When I feel overwhelmed with life, I love being able to talk about how I am feeling to my boyfriend, and it just helps so much having someone listen and support you. The best thing about self-care is todo what works for you.

Study Tips to Relieve Stress

by: Yashvi Patel, Kennedy College of Sciences Well-being Leader

In this post, I will give you some tips on how to study effectively that I have learned and practiced throughout my time in college. Being a pre-dental student who has to fulfill classes for my degree pathway as well as take prerequisites for dental school, I can assure you it is not easy. I hope these study tips I learned in one of my wonderful cognitive psychology classes can alleviate exam-induced stress.

 The first study tip is to participate in class even if you don’t get credit for it. There were two studies performed to back up the effectiveness of this study tip. Intro-psych students came into a lab and sat down in front of a computer screen. They were presented with pairs of items, in which they read pairs and had pairs for which they had to generate the second word. It was found that if you generated the second word over reading the pair, you were more likely to remember the pair (the generation effect). In another study, the effect of generation is magnified if words were read aloud compared to silently (production effect). That being said, you should participate in class. I used to be afraid of saying the wrong answer, but I’ve noticed most professors at UML help guide you in the right direction without outrightly telling you are wrong, which is why some people don’t speak up.

The next tip would be to take notes by hand instead of the laptop. A study was conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of note taking. Participants watched videos and were asked to either take notes on laptops or notebooks, take a distractor task, and a test, thereafter. The test consisted of factual and application questions. It was found that for factual questions, the recall performance was consistent. However, handwritten notes were better for conceptual memory. I know a lot of people take notes on their laptop because its faster, but I suggest transitioning to handwritten notes because the bulk of evidence leads to the advantages of taking notes by hand. I started taking handwritten notes on my iPad this semester and I can attest to these claims as I feel like I understand and remember the content better. This might have also impacted my grades, which are better so far than the semester before.  

Another tip is to study often and as early as possible, so you are able to space study. There was a study performed to test the two types of learning: massed and distributed. A group of people were learning a second language. Half the participants performed massed study, while the other half spaced studied. Both groups were tested a day later or a week later. It was found that massed studying was effective for memory performance if the test was a day later. However, distributed studying was better if they had to remember information a week later. This is called the spacing effect. Essentially, if you want to remember something for the long run, do distributed study.

The next tip is to study before sleep or rest. There were pairs of words that were studied, either unrelated or related to each other. Half the group studied at 9 am and were awake the rest of the day, whereas the other half studied at 9 pm and then slept. The study found that when you study at night, sleep, and take the test the next morning, you recall more information for unrelated and related content. The benefit of studying at night is especially prominent for unrelated content. The likely reason for the finding was that if you sleep, your memory processing system consolidates the information and there’s no interference when you sleep.

All in all, studying effectively can save a lot of time that can be expended towards other things like relaxation or career-oriented endeavors. It is also beneficial in reducing stress as effective study habits allow one to manage time better and score higher.


Geraci, Lisa, D. (2022, May 2). Learning Tips [PowerPoint slides]. Psychology Department, University of Lowell Massachusetts. 

Maintaining Balance as a College Student

by: Haiya Patel, Kennedy College of Sciences Well-being Leader

How many of you were excited about starting college but also, anxious and stressed about the changes? Mostly everyone! When you first start college, it is easy to get distracted, as college students have various new factors to explore such as: independence and freedom, academics, career, making new connections and being able to get socially involved, extra curriculars and campus life in a new location. As a college student, it is easy to get distracted and overwhelmed when multiple factors are on your radar. However, some solutions can be to make a schedule and set realistic goals, and balance the activities for each week based on priorities.

As the year begins, it can be easy to get ambitious and make unrealistic or vague goals at times, without any solid plan. Often the major outcome difference between realistic and unrealistic goals is disappointment, which leads to the thoughts of failure when you’re not successful in achieving the goal. Rather than having big goals, breaking down your goals into mini goals with timelines makes the much more achievable. Often, we as students will write big goals in our to-do lists and then feel like we did not achieve any part of the goal if we cannot cross it off. However, when the goals are broken down, and we can check off the mini goals more often, we will feel relieved and can also observe the progress that we have achieved so far.

One major aspect of success is balance. It can be easy to get caught up focusing on only one aspect of your life if you go in hyper-focus mode with the goal, but it is crucial to maintain the other aspects of your life as well. To create a balance, you can separate your goals into categories: academic/ career and social/ personal which gives you a sense of balance with social interactions as well as career.

One method to having balance is to have a schedule. For example: if you know you have an important personal event coming up next week, make sure you factor some extra hours into the alternate weeks to keep up your academics. Perusing further with the goals, having too many ongoing activities and experiences can cause burnout. Rather than having multiple activities, prioritize the activities and have depth in your extracurriculars with the few activities you choose. Reflecting on my personal experiences, I became too ambitious and joined many more extracurriculars than I could balance. Having felt a sense of commitment to the extracurriculars, (similar to performing chores), I felt I had to do it. I would be disappointed in myself when I could not attend the events or meetings because I was double booked. Eventually, I had to take a step back and pick few activities. I picked one extracurricular that correlates with my cultural background as I want to stay connected to my culture, one activity that aligns with my career goal, and one volunteering activity that helps me give back to the community. I genuinely resonated with my goals by participating in these limited activities, which allowed me to have a depth of connection with my goals, as well as truly able to invest my energy and time.

Starting a new chapter can be overwhelming with a variety of emotions rushing through, and it is easy to be distracted. However, having an end goal which is broken down into multiple sub goals can prevent you from getting distracted. Additionally having a schedule for your priorities will allow you to maintain a sense of balance in your life.

Take a Break and Hear about Fall Fest!

By: Ashley Asuncion, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader

Every year on campus, there are a tremendous amount of events hosted  at different times, which are open to all students, faculty, and staff to attend; some are even open to even the public. I’m here to tell you the inside scoop of how the annual South Campus Fall Fest 2022 was an afternoon to remember. On September 29, from 12pm to 3pm, South Campus hosted their annual Fall Fest where food, lawn games, giveaways, live entertainment, and school clubs were there to provide a good time!

The Office of Student Life and Well-being did not hold back to bring out the “Well” in well-being, if you know what I mean. Well-being leader Casey Tiernan and I had a table in front of Durgin Hall welcoming students, giving away positive appreciation cards, postcards with information of our office and events being hosted and last but not least, a weighted blanket that was a part of a giveaway. To participate in this giveaway, students were asked to follow @zuckerberg.wbl and @umlwellbeing. By the end of the fest, our mason jar was full of tickets. Luckily, we had our last visitor fellow student, Felix J.  pick out the winner of the giveaway. To see how it all went down feel free to visit our Instagram page, @zuckerberg.wbl

It was a great turnout for the Fall Fest, as an opportunity for students to really engage with each other, making long lasting memories and indulging in the nice weather and appreciating the experience of being a UML college student. It was truly a pleasure to be able to meet so many students and do something fun like enjoying a fest.

As a student and a well-being leader, I recommend all who have the time to step back from all the hard work of being a college student and indulge in the joy of being educated. It is always important to allow yourself to have a break once and while. There are plenty of studies that can support the fact that breaks are healthy. According to The Wellbeing Thesis, “The Importance of Taking Breaks” (n.d.): “A relaxing break can help to facilitate recovery, by returning your mental and physical functional systems to their baseline…. Social breaks, such as chatting with your peers, have also been found to be beneficial. …. Taking breaks has been shown to be important in recovering from stress [7], which can, in turn, improve your performance”

So, whether you decide to take a break for a few seconds, minutes, hours or days it will never do you harm! I mean it says it in science- when it comes to the facts best to weigh out the options. But always remember to maintain your health above all, because the work will always be there but your wellbeing is crucial to your quality of life. Therefore, do what you must but don’t forget to cut yourself some slack and take a break. We hope to see you at next year’s fall fest!