Welcoming Winter Wellness

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

As winter blankets UMass-Lowell in a layer of snow, it brings with it a unique set of challenges for our physical and mental well-being. The colder temperatures, shorter days, and reduced sunlight can often take a toll on our health. However, with a mindful approach to self-care, we can not only endure but thrive during the winter months. 

Here are some tips to ensure your well-being remains a priority during this cold season:

Nourish Your Body:

  • The winter season often invites cravings for comfort foods, but it’s essential to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet. Opt for warming, nutrient-rich meals that include a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, herbal teas, and broths to support your immune system and overall health.

Stay Active Indoors:

  • Colder weather can discourage outdoor activities, but staying active is crucial for both physical and mental health. Consider trying indoor exercises like yoga, pilates, or home workouts. Regular movement boosts circulation, increases energy levels, and helps combat seasonal depression.

Boost Your Immune System:

  • Cold and flu season often peaks during winter, so taking extra measures to support your immune system is crucial. Include immune-boosting foods in your diet, such as citrus fruits, garlic, ginger, and probiotics. Consider taking supplements like vitamin D, which is often deficient during the winter months due to reduced sunlight exposure.

Take Care of Your Skin:

  • Cold and dry air can be harsh on the skin, leading to dryness and irritation. Use a good moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated, and don’t forget to protect your lips with a nourishing lip balm. Consider adding a humidifier to your living space to combat the dry indoor air.

Cultivate Coziness:

  • Winter is the perfect time to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere in your home. Surround yourself with warm blankets, soft lighting, and comforting scents. Engage in indoor activities that bring you joy, such as reading a good book, watching movies, playing board games or spending quality time with loved ones.



Tips to Combat Overthinking

By: Fajr Zahid, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader

Overthinking is something that most of us have probably experienced at some point in time, whether it has been related to our personal lives or professional lives. While it is normal to reflect on and revise certain negative situations, experiences, or feelings from time to time, constantly engaging in negative thought cycles can be detrimental to your well-being. Mental health challenges, such as depression and anxiety, may especially be perpetuated by dwelling on distressing emotions and events. Therefore, it is important that you try your best to keep yourself and your negative thoughts in check.

If you consider yourself to be an “overthinker,” remember, there are plenty of strategies and techniques that you can incorporate into your life to prevent yourself from getting engulfed into uncontrollable negative thoughts. Here are a few:

1) Distract yourself – shift your focus from any negative thoughts you are having to engaging in an activity that you find joy and relaxation in. This is a great way to get your mind off whatever is bothering you, and instead helps to create a positive atmosphere for yourself and your mind.

2) Take deep breaths – while this may be hard to believe for some, practicing breathing exercises, or even just taking deep breaths during challenging moments, can be very beneficial in calming your mind down. By relaxing your breathing, you are calming your nervous system down, and bringing your mind and body to a state of relaxation, which can help relieve you of any distressing thoughts.

3) Learn to prioritize your thoughts – ask yourself if what you are overthinking about is worth the time, effort, and struggle that your mind is putting into it (the answer is usually no!) and focus your energy into other, more productive thoughts that will benefit your overall well-being.

4) Acknowledge the positive – while it is easy to focus only on the seemingly negative parts of your life, or yourself, doing so only draws you further into the cycle of negative thinking. When you find yourself overthinking about the things that you believe have gone wrong in your life, remind yourself of all the positive experiences in your life, as well as your successes and accomplishments.

5) Ask for help – don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend, family member, or a mental health professional if you need help with managing your thoughts. It can feel very relieving to have someone to listen to you express your thoughts, and to even help you rationalize these thoughts. If you’re looking for someone to talk to on campus, you can make an appointment with Counseling Services.

I hope you found these tips to be helpful, and that you can incorporate them into your own life if you ever find yourself overthinking in a negative way. Remember, your thoughts do not define you, and you are more than capable of overcoming any mental struggles you may experience 🙂

Thrive Through Change: How to Nurture Personal Growth by Conquering Life’s Hurdles

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

Behind all the beauty of evolving and changing, buying cars and homes, finding romantic partners, and earning a nice career paycheck, all these great things come with a challenging concept—CHANGE. 

It was only when I began therapy and daily journaling that I realized why I feared change so much. This realization hit like a bolt from the blue. My fear was connected to losing control and safety. But more than that, I realized my anxiety held me back from discovering who I was as a person outside of the labels I, and everyone else, attached to me.

Instead of running away from change this year, I started experimenting with changes I have always wanted to make. I switched up my hair and style. I took new courses at school. I made many new decisions this year to see if I could test myself and do it. 

Facing the Fire

One big change I made this year was my job. At first, choosing to step into the role of assistant theatre student felt daunting. It was outside the normal scope of my media work and work with kids. 

Uncertainty bred mistakes as I struggled with technical set measurements. Professor Kathleen assured me to take a deep breath and take it step by step. She also began drawing me visual cues and hacks to understand the concept better. This helped me immensely when we did flats and built the door for the play. Just remembering to breathe and let go of rigid self-judgment helped me to uplevel my competencies. Progress began with extending grace to myself.

Another big learning moment was understanding the importance of an organized workflow. As a slightly messy person, I discovered satisfaction in using spreadsheets to track costumes and props. While the work took a while at the start, it saved me ample time in the long term. Now, when I need to find something, instead of having to wage a mental war to locate it, my labels and sheets save me time. This became a habit that I incorporated into my personal life, too. 

I also learned the value of tiny details. Sometimes, we  get so preoccupied with the bigger picture that we forget to kill our darlings, meaning focusing on the small details when it comes to a project. One wrong measurement, one terrible shade of paint, or an improperly implemented light can throw off the whole play or, worse yet, hurt someone. It’s these seemingly insignificant details that can make or break a performance.

My favorite “a-ha” moment occurred while programming stage lighting for an intense murder mystery scene. Playing with shadows, silhouettes, and color palettes made me feel like a magician of moods.  

Tempering Resilience

Taking classes outside of my major connected me to people of myriad personalities. I found that experience so true when we arrived at the painting section of lab hours. Painting requires a great amount of time. You have to ensure you get the right amount of paint, that it doesn’t get on your clothes, and that you are painting the right areas. But there was beauty in that limitation that I enjoyed exploring. I found a connection with other lab members, and we exchanged pointers, cracked jokes, and connected personally. 

Owning My Transformation

This role allowed me to grow outside the expectations I had of myself. I learned organization skills, creativity, and tenacity while meeting some amazing people. We all have the potential agency to change our identity—no permission slip is needed. 


Let me say that I do not have anything figured out. I am still figuring out where I misplaced my last three pairs of headphones. However, I enjoy tasting the sweet nectar of change as I move away from past and old narratives to explore who I am. 

Courses you could take in the theatre department if you’re interested:

World Theatre II: A survey of theater in its historical and social contexts from the 19th century to the present, focusing on innovations in design and technology, the advent of the director, the emergence of modern schools of acting, and the creation of new forms of theater to suit the changing needs of a modern world.

Shakespeare II: A study of selected histories, comedies, and tragedies not covered in 42.243. Shakespeare I is not a prerequisite.