Build a habit this summer

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

Summer is a great time to develop healthy habits or change poor habits. Recently, I learned about the five stages of the transtheoretical model of behavior change that I can accredit for getting me to engage in exercising consistently.

The five stages in the transtheoretical model of behavior change are: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. This model should work for any type of health behavior- inactivity being one of them.

Before I started exercising consistently, I was at the first stage of this model, characterized by a lack of intention to change and unaware that not engaging in exercise was a problem behavior. I moved into the contemplation stage where I acknowledged that my inactivity was a problem and I wanted to stop.

To get the second stage, contemplation, I developed self-efficacy where I would contemplate the changes I wanted to see (desirable appearance, better mental and physical health) and knew that if I took control of this whole process and believe, I would carry through. For me to get past the contemplation stage, I incorporated processes that would increase my low self-efficacy. I learned that people’s cognitions about their health habits are important in producing behavior change. I wanted to feel like I was in control of the process and any associated consequences, and I reconstructed my cognition. I modified my internal monologues to promote physical activity. To be able to accomplish this, I charted down my negative self-thoughts such as the constant belief that “I cannot do it.” and crossed out the “not.” These positive self-talks slowly turned into affirmations that I would recite during and before my workouts. It was important for me to contemplate the desirable changes before I put my intervention plan into effect. I learned that there are positive mental, physical, and physiological outcomes for this behavioral change. Exercise is known to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression, enhance cognitive function, and improve academic performance. It also increases metabolism, improves sleep, and reduces the risk factors for chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

The next stage was preparation where I intended to make small modifications to my behavior. I bought running shoes, weights, and gym equipment, and saved workout YouTube videos that allowed me to develop an exercise regime. Furthermore, I learned that 2.5-5 hours of moderate-intensity activity is recommended per week. Moderate-intensity activities are suggested to increase heart rate that includes brisk walking, mowing the lawn, and housework/domestic chores such as mopping and vacuuming. I prepared myself for more vigorous physical activity by engaging in household chores, taking up more chores than usual, and going out for a walk once a day. These were slight modifications in my daily life that allowed me to get to the more intensive activities.

Next was the action stage where I intently modified my behavior and adopted this new habit. In this stage, I developed a workout routine, and established contingency contracting (I had friends and family hold me accountable through rewards or punishments. For example, if I went to a fancy dinner but skipped a workout, I would stay in for the weekend). I also took advantage of the fact that some of my family and friends are into fitness. Having a gym buddy made it more likely for me to adhere to my intervention plan. Whenever I could, I would go for a jog with my dad and grandpa. Cardio is known to strengthen the heart and lungs and reduce fatigue. My friend goes to the UML Campus Rec Center at 7 am every morning. I started by joining her every other day before my morning classes that started at 9 am.  She typically works on different areas of her body every day, which worked in my favor as I got an all-encompassing workout regime. I would write down four or five exercises that I liked the most so that I could create my own workout based on my likes and target areas. I also knew pre/post-workout stretches that I learned from doing track in high school and I knew the importance of stretching in preventing injury and maintaining a wide range of motions, so I incorporated those as well.

The last stage is centered around maintenance. It stresses the importance of continuity in healthy habits and the prevention of relapse. I developed a set of coping mechanisms for other risk factors that could potentially bring me back into inactivity. Personally, when I have too many exams and homework, I don’t have the motivation to engage in physical activity and use that time to study instead. I helped myself gain time management skills so I could have time for my workout routine. I needed to block off one-two hours every morning for physical activity and would not budge around that. I reminded myself of the importance of being consistent in working out every day or every other day because it’s hard to get back into it once you take a little break. I would also constantly remind myself of the long-term goals of working out (abs, muscles, endurance, and strength) because results are not instant but rather take months or even years to achieve. It brings me back to the idea of self-efficacy and being in control of the entire process from start to finish. For me to declare it as a healthy habit, I needed to be consistent for at least 6 months. Once I make it past six months, I still need to maintain this habit, so I don’t go back to square one. Currently, I have been working out for 5 months and I am already seeing changes and notice I have so much more energy throughout the day!

I hope this model can help you develop your own healthy habits this summer!

Benefits of physical activity. Benefits of Physical Activity | Health Promotion | Michigan State University. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://healthpromotion.msu.edu/fitness/benefitsofphysicalactivity.html 

Examples of moderate and vigorous physical activity. Obesity Prevention Source. (2017, May 8). Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/moderate-and-vigorous-physical-activity/ 

https://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/mph-modules/sb/behavioralchangetheories/behavioralchangetheories6.html

Watermelon as a Summer Staple

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

What is the first memory that comes to mind when someone says the word watermelon? Did you ever have watermelon by the beach or poolside as a child? When someone says watermelon, I usually imagine a warm sunny day on the beach. I have a very distinct memory of enjoying watermelon on the beach with my family. Because of that, watermelon is a nostalgic fruit for me.

Watermelon is one of the fruits that correlates closely to the warm weather of summer as it brings a vibrant color accompanied by fresh flavors, in addition to immaculate hydration. However, eating watermelon alone can be boring, so pairing it in dishes can allow for a variation in the summer. One of my personal favorites is watermelon and feta salad. The fresh flavor of watermelon cubes can be paired perfectly with the salty crumbled feta cheese, some finely chopped mint leaves, and a drizzle of lemon. The watermelon and feta salad can be consumed as a snack or appetizer as it is light in volume, but also is dense with fresh flavors from the mint and watermelon, with hints of sourness and saltiness from lemon and feta cheese. The watermelon cubes and feta crumbles can also be enjoyed by simply drizzling some balsamic glaze, or some honey on the skewers.

Another variation of watermelon that really tops the summer recipes is watermelon as a dessert. My personal favorite is watermelon sorbet. Scooping the watermelon sorbet out of a cone shaped container often brings back nostalgic emotions from my childhood. For me, enjoying watermelon sorbet is a fun summer treat that makes me feel like a child all over again. The recipe for the watermelon sorbet is simple, but versatile, as it can be customized based on preferences. I enjoy sweet and sour combinations for my sorbet, so I use watermelon, sugar, lemon juice, and strawberries. The volume of each ingredient can be curated based on your taste preferences. Then, you blend it all together and freeze it for a few hours. Honey or other sugar substitutes can also be used as a healthier alternative for sugar.

For times that I am in rush, my favorite way to utilize watermelon is to make a watermelon drink. Personally, I enjoy the combination of lemonade and watermelon together, so I often lean towards watermelon lemonade. The recipe for the watermelon lemonade calls for watermelon and lemon juice blended with few mint leaves and about a spoon full of sugar or any other sugar substitutes.

Regardless of how you consume it, watermelon is packed with hydration, versatile, and its flavor often brings back nostalgic memories. I hope these recipes help you enjoy more watermelon this summer!


Incorporating Exercise into a Busy College Schedule

By: Medi Woldemichael, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader

College life can be incredibly busy and stressful, leaving little time for exercise. However, regular exercise is crucial for both our physical and mental well-being, so it’s important to find ways to incorporate it into your busy schedule. Here are some tips to help you make time for exercise and staying healthy in college.

Make a Schedule

The first step to incorporating exercise into your college schedule is to make a plan. Look at your class schedule and other commitments and find times when you can fit in a workout. It could be early in the morning before class, during a break between classes, or in the evening after your classes are finished

Find a Workout Buddy

Working out with a friend can be motivating and help keep you accountable. Find a workout buddy with similar fitness goals and schedule and plan regular workouts together. It can be a great way to stay motivated and have fun while exercising

Use the Campus Rec Center

The Campus Recreation Center here at UMass Lowell is free for students. Take advantage of this resource and make use of the gym equipment and fitness classes offered. It can be convenient to fit in a workout between classes, or even during a study break.

Join an Intramural or Club Sports Team

The campus recreation center offers intramural sports leagues for students, which can be a fun way to exercise and socialize with friends. You don’t have to be a skilled athlete to participate, and there are often a variety of sports to choose from.

Make Use of Outdoor Spaces

If you’re not a fan of the gym, there are plenty of ways to exercise outdoors. Take a jog or bike ride around campus by using the free wheelers resource or explore nearby parks and trails. Doing so can be a great way to clear your mind and get some fresh air.

Keep It Simple

Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming to be effective. Incorporate simple exercises like push-ups, squats, or planks into your daily routine. These exercises can be done anywhere and require minimal equipment.

Exercise should be a priority in your college schedule for both physical and mental health. It’s important to find ways to incorporate exercise into your busy life, whether it’s through a gym membership, intramural sports, or simple exercises done at home or outside. Making time for exercise will help you feel better, perform better in your classes, and ultimately lead a healthier, happier life.

http://studentcaffe.com/thrive/health-and-wellness/getting-enough-exercise

https://healthyheels.org/2013/09/03/busy-college-students-you-

The Significance of Fitness

By: Pre’Yelle Grinkley, Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Well-being Leader 

Fitness is an important part of overall well-being. Integrating regular physical activity and exercise into your daily routine may have a wide range of positive effects on your health and well-being, as well as help you live a better life. Whether it’s going for a daily walk, taking a fitness class, or engaging in a team sport, finding ways to be physically active every day can have a positive impact on your physical, mental, and emotional health. When we talk about wellness, we refer to the state of being in good health, both physically and mentally. Fitness, on the other hand, refers to the ability to perform physical activity or exercise. Regular exercise and physical activity have been shown to have numerous health benefits, including:  

1. Improved cardiovascular health: Exercise helps to strengthen the heart and improve blood flow throughout the body.  

2. Better respiratory function: Regular physical activity can increase lung capacity and improve respiratory function.  

3. Increased strength and endurance: Exercise can improve muscle strength and endurance, making it easier to perform daily activities.  

4. Improved mental health: Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and boost cognitive function.  

5. Better sleep: Regular physical activity can help to improve the quality and duration of sleep.  

Incorporating fitness into your daily routine can help you to maintain and improve your overall wellness. By staying physically active, you can reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, and improve your overall quality of life.  

Beginners should start with low-impact, non-strengthening activities before progressing to more rigorous workouts. Walking and yoga are two low-impact activities that may be done anywhere. Both burn calories, decrease stress, and enhance cardiovascular health. Additional forms of exercise include cycling, swimming, and bodyweight workouts such as push-ups, squats, and lunges. If you don’t think you can do it alone, you can always join forces with a supportive buddy or consult with a skilled personal trainer or exercise specialist who can help build a program that is safe and effective for your specific goals and fitness level. The idea is to pick an activity that you love and that fits into your schedule so that it becomes a habit that you can stick with. If you are new to exercising or have any health problems, it is important to begin carefully and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your physical activity for a better experience at life. Whether you are on campus or not, you can take advantage of the activities and services offered at the Campus Recreation Center for physical health.  

Sources:  

Benefits of Physical Activity | Physical Activity | CDC  

Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity – Mayo Clinic 

Ramadan and the Benefits of Fasting

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

Ramadan is the holy month for Muslims (the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar) where Muslims fast, no eating or drinking (no, no even water!), each day from sunrise to sunset. This year, Ramadan starts on March 22nd with the first day of fasting being March 23rd. Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan as a major act of worship. It is one of the five foundational pillars of Islam (the religion). By restricting the body’s appetites during daylight hours, Muslims renew their spirituality, repair their religious conscience, and improve their devotion to God. Another reason Muslims fast is to practice mindfulness and be grateful to Allah (SWT) (Also known as God, the same God as the other two Abrahamic religions) for all that they have. Fasting all day makes people grateful for all that they have, especially food and water, which many people in other countries do not have. Ramadan, the holy month of worship, also encourages Muslims to make changes for the better by switching their habits for a month. They are more likely to keep the good habits after the holy month is done. For example, lying and backbiting are sins but they are still commonly done. By practicing not to do these during the holy month, good behavior is encouraged to not be done at all.  

Fasting is not just a religious thing only limited to Islam. Many people fast for other reasons such as for their religion, health-related reasons, to increase their spirituality, and more.

Fasting has both physical and spiritual benefits. When fasting, by denying the body of its physical basic need for food, the individual instead focuses not on their body but their faith and spirituality. Spiritual benefits include: purifying the soul, inspiring self-reflection, increasing empathy and good deeds, and being better attuned to the world around you. 

There is growing research that supports fasting being healthy and having many health benefits:

1. Fasting promotes blood sugar control by decreasing blood sugar levels and reducing insulin resistance. 

2. Fasting promotes better health by fighting inflammation. Some studies have found that fasting may reduce multiple markers of inflammation and be useful in treating inflammatory conditions.

3. Fasting is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease and could help lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels.  

4. Fasting could boost brain function and prevent neurodegenerative disorders. Animal studies have shown that fasting could improve brain function, increase nerve cell synthesis, and protect against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. 

5. Fasting can help weight loss by limiting calorie intake and increasing metabolism. 

6. Fasting increases growth hormone secretion, which is important for growth, metabolism, weight loss, and muscle strength. 

7. Fasting may extend longevity. Animal studies have found that fasting could delay aging and increase longevity, however, there is a lack of human research on this topic so far.

8. Fasting could help in cancer prevention and treatment. Some animal and test-tube studies reveal that fasting may block tumor development and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

Other health benefits can include: increasing cognitive performance, protecting from obesity and associated chronic diseases, improving overall fitness, and decreasing the risk of metabolic diseases.

Since fasting has a major impact on an individual’s health, certain populations should avoid fasting. Individuals who are underweight, struggling with weight gain, at risk for an eating disorder, pregnant, or breastfeeding should avoid fasting. People, especially the elderly, with health conditions such as diabetes, kidney problems, or heart disease are not recommended to fast. It is not recommended to fast if you have necessary medication to take. If you’re considering fasting, talk with your health care provider first. 

In Islam, all healthy, able-bodied, and of-age Muslims must observe the holy month and fast the entire month of Ramadan. Children who haven’t reached puberty, pregnant women, nursing mothers, women experiencing their menstruation cycle, individuals who are traveling, and people with health conditions are exempt from fasting during the month but must make it later if they are able to. 

Now that you know a little about Ramadan, you can celebrate and exchange greetings with your Muslim friends by saying “Ramadan Kareem,” which translates into “Have a generous Ramadan,” or “Ramadan Mubarak,” which roughly translates into “Happy Ramadan.” After the holy month is done, the next day is the Islamic holiday, Eid-al-Fitr. The greeting changes to “Eid Mubarak!” to celebrate the efforts made throughout the holy month.

Ramadan Mubarak everyone!

Sources:

  1. https://yaqeeninstitute.org/what-islam-says-about/ramadan 
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fasting-benefits 
  3. https://www.bouldermedicalcenter.com/intermittent-fasting-and-health/ 
  4. https://www.healthyhildegard.com/spiritual-fasting/#:~:text=The%20practice%20of%20spiritual%20fasting%20builds%20focus%20and%20awareness.,want%20or%20think%20you%20need
  5. https://centerfordiscovery.com/blog/the-dangers-of-intermittent-fasting/#:~:text=Individuals%20who%20are%20underweight%2C%20struggling,daily%20basis%20for%20proper%20development
  6. https://zerolongevity.com/blog/should-you-avoid-fasting/#:~:text=Fasting%20is%20not%20recommended%20in,properly%20taking%20their%20medication%3B%20who

Hair care- Is your hair damaged? This is how you can repair it.

By: Angel Molekunnel, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader

Many people dream of having beautiful, flowy hair. However, for many of us, that is not the case. According to the Head & Shoulders poll, more than half (57%) of women in the United States feel their hair is damaged.

There are several reasons why your hair may be damaged. Chemical treatments such as hair color, relaxers, and perms can weaken the hair and make it brittle. Sunlight, wind and pollution may harm all hair over time. Excessive hair washing or the use of strong shampoos can strip the hair of its natural oils, causing dryness and damage. A diet deficient in key elements such as protein, vitamins, and minerals can result in weak and damaged hair. Some people are inclined to have weaker or more brittle hair due to genetics. Hair can become brittle and fragile due to medical problems such as hypothyroidism.

The best part of haircare is that hair damage can always be reversed.: To do this, select products that are appropriate for your hair type and needs. Look for shampoos, conditioners, and styling products that are free of harsh chemicals and sulfates, as these can strip your hair of its natural oils.

Split ends can be removed to protect the hair and encourage healthy development. Seek products designed particularly for damaged hair and avoid ones that include harsh chemicals such as sulfates and parabens. Heat may make damaged hair worse. Use a heat protectant spray if you must use heat-styling instruments such as flat irons or curling wands. A weekly deep conditioning treatment can assist in the repair and restoration of damaged hair. To protect your hair from UV rays, wear a hat or use a UV-protected leave-in conditioner. To avoid tangling or breaking hair, use a wide-tooth comb or a brush with soft bristles. Consider seeing a hair stylist for a professional treatment or trim if your hair is severely damaged.

Here are some hair care products I recommend for bleached, oily hair (my hair type) that I incorporate into my hair care routine.

Shampoo- Redken Bonding Shampoo (Damaged hair with split ends)

Fanola No-Yellow Purple Shampoo (To tone brassy blonde hair)

Conditioner– Paul Mitchell Condition (makes hair so soft)

Hair serum– Moroccanoil Treatment, Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil]

Hair oil– Amla Indian Hair oil, Castor oil, Rosemary oil

Heat protector- Fantasia High Potency IC Heat Protector Straightening Serum

Citations-

Damaged hair epidemic: Head & shoulders® answers the S.O.S. call. Damaged Hair Epidemic: Head& Shoulders® Answers the S.O.S. Call | Procter & Gamble News. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2023 from https://news.pg.com/news-releases/news-details/2013/Damaged-Hair-Epidemic-Head–Shoulders-Answers-the-S.O.S.-Call/default.aspx#:~:text=The%20Head%20%26%20Shoulders%20survey%20found,into%20a%20ponytail%20(45%25)

● Ferreira, M. (2019, March 8). How to repair damaged hair: Common causes and treatments. Healthline. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/how-to-repair-damaged-hair#hair-dye

● Tips for healthy hair. American Academy of Dermatology. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2023

Balance your Mornings with a Balanced Meal

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

As a college student, we are typically in a rush and finding the most accessible food
items available. From experience, I remember buying coffee every day and thinking that was
enough for my breakfast or eating sugary food such as donuts or munchkins as a meal. The
main reason that I would do this is because I thought it was good enough to give me energy, or
even just to check off the ‘criteria’ as ‘I had a meal’. Since Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and
Einstein’s are on the North campus, it was just convenient for me to stop by these locations to
pick up the food on the way to class. Moreover, it was a medium for me to spare few extra
minutes to myself to sleep in, instead of spending that time to prepare myself lunch. Overall, I
had noticed that I would often have a crash in my energy after a bit because of rapid glucose
spikes and drops, which would lead to more craving, and excessive use of energy drinks and
caffeine. Other than the health concerns, these habits also contributed to my inability to have
control of my financial decisions.

Once I learned how the food I consume affects my day-to-day tasks, and its effects on
my output for my academics, my physical energy, and being mentally motivated, I was inspired
to consume the meals that will fuel me in a manner that is more beneficial. I learned to
incorporate nutritional foods in my meals that satisfied my soul and health.

I learned some simple meals that can be incorporated in the mornings to start off the
day on the right foot. This meal provides healthy fats and good amount of protein from peanut
butter, good fiber and nutrients from the bananas. The honey or maple syrup adds a bit of
sweetness for the sweet tooth people.

Rice Cake Toast:
• Flavored rice cake
• Peanut (or any other nut)
butter
• Banana or any other fruit slices
• Drizzle of honey or maple syrup
• Sprinkle of Cinnamon, or
chocolate chips

Another balanced meal is overnight oats: This recipe is my personal favorite because not
only does it save me time in the morning for the food prep, but also, it can be customized in
many variations such as Chocolatey, fruity, add some vanilla essence for that vanilla flavor, or
peanut butter. The overnight oats provide great complex carbohydrates that keeps you full for
a longer period of time. Additionally, you can also add some nut butter or raw nuts and soaked
chia seeds to add on the vital minerals and nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids, cholesterol
and many more. The fats from the nuts and the nut butter also helps to regulate the glucose
spikes, while also providing nutritional benefits. Recently, my friend started to incorporate
flavored protein powders in her overnight oats for that extra protein.

Overnight Oats:
• Soaked overnight Oats (and chia seeds) incorporated with:
o Vanilla essence
o Dash of salt
o Any nut butter of your choice
o Raw or toasted nuts of choice
o Fruits of your choice
o Chocolate protein powder (if you choose to)

Lastly, you can make the morning a little extra nutritious by making a smoothie of your
choice. The smoothies will most likely take maximum of about five minutes, and it is packed
with fruits, vegetables, and nuts of your choice to satisfy your soul in the morning, but also start
off the day with vital nutrients for your health.

Smoothies:
• Oat milk (or any other variation of milk or coconut water)
• Ice
• Spinach
• Any fruit of your choice
• Hemp seeds or chia seeds
• Protein powder (if you choose to)

Overall, the food you consume in the morning makes a big impact on how your say
starts, and further reflects onto your rest of the day. Hence, starting off the morning with meals
that satisfy your heart but also your body in terms of health can have a lasting impact on your
day and your ability to take over the day. The morning meals does not have to be complicated
by any means to have them be balanced. They can be as simple as rice cakes with nut butter
and some fruits, or a quick smoothie, or overnight oats to save you time in the morning. These
recopies are simple and packed with nutrition to help you throughout your day.

Skin Care- A Crucial Self-Care Tool

By: Angel Molekunnel, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader

For a variety of reasons, a skincare program may be an effective self-care strategy. It can assist you in developing a feeling of regularity and stability in your daily life, which can be both soothing and grounding. By devoting a few minutes each day to skincare, you’re also devoting time to yourself, which may be a significant act of self-care. Skincare may also be used to develop mindfulness and stay in the present moment. When you apply skincare products, your attention is drawn to the sensations on your skin, the fragrances and textures of the products, and the act of self-care. This might help you feel more at ease and in control.

When you care for your skin, you are also caring for your body. Skincare regimens may assist in keeping your skin healthy, moisturized, and protected from environmental stresses such as pollution and UV radiation. This can make you feel more confident and at ease in your own skin, which can improve your general well-being.

Furthermore, taking care of your skin may be a source of self-expression and creativity. There are several products and procedures to explore, and experimenting with various skincare routines may be a pleasant and exciting way to care for yourself. Overall, establishing a skincare regimen may be a simple yet effective method to exercise self-care and prioritize your health.

Follow these general steps to develop a strong skincare routine:

Identify your skin type: Your skincare regimen will be determined by your skin type, which can range from oily to dry to combination to sensitive. Determine your skin type and seek items that are targeted to your individual requirements.

Cleanse your skin to eliminate dirt, oil, and makeup before beginning your regimen. Use a mild cleanser that will not deplete your skin’s natural oils, and rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Exfoliating once or twice a week can aid in the removal of dead skin cells and the unclogging of pores. Choose a mild exfoliation that will not bother your skin. To treat specific skin conditions, such as acne, dark spots, or fine wrinkles, you may want to use serum, spot treatment, or other specialized products.

Moisturize: Keeping your skin hydrated is essential for keeping it healthy and young. Choose a moisturizer that is suited for your skin type and use it on a regular basis. Finally, remember to protect your skin from the sun by applying broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

Because everyone’s skin is different, you may need to experiment with different products and procedures to find what works best for you. Also, keep any allergies or sensitivities in mind, and avoid using items that aggravate your skin.

Once you try it out, you may find that skincare influences your life in a variety of ways. Taking care of your skin might help you feel more confident in your looks. When your skin is healthy, clean, and shining, you may feel more confident and eager to put yourself out there.

Citations:

Is skin care actually necessary? what is the purpose of skin care products? Bella Reina | Spa

Beauty Products. (2021, August 20). Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://bellareinaspa.com/is-skin-care-actually-necessary/

Reese, B. M., & Reese, M. (2022, July 29). What is the importance of skin care? Colorescience. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.colorescience.com/blogs/blog/importance-skin-care

The New York Times. (n.d.). How to build a skin care routine. The New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.nytimes.com/guides/tmagazine/skincare-routine

Wassef, D. (2023, January 30). The importance of skin care: It’s time to take care of Your skin. MyDCSI. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.mydcsi.com/2020/08/19/time-to-take-care-of-skin/

Handling the Winter in College

By: Medi Woldemichael, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader

Keeping warm during the winter is important for us college students for health, productivity, safety, and comfort reasons. Taking steps to stay warm and prepared for the weather can help you stay healthy, productive, and happy throughout the winter. Here are some tips on how to keep up with the cold weather:

  1. Keep your living space warm: Check that your living space is well-insulated and has a good heating system. Close your windows to allow the heater to function. If you’re still cold, think about getting a space heater or a heated blanket. Keeping your living place warm will help you in avoiding cold-related health issues. If you live on campus, be sure to connect with your RA if there are any heating-related issues in your residence hall.
  2. Stay active: Winter weather can be challenging for college students who are used to a more active lifestyle. Try to stay active by going to the gym or walking to class on warmer days to avoid cabin fever. This can help you feel better physically and mentally and have more energy.
  3. Take care of yourself: Cold weather can affect your mental and physical health. To keep yourself feeling well, make sure that you’re eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough sleep. Stay organized and reduce 

Taking care of yourself and being proactive about winter weather can help you avoid potential problems and stay healthy and happy throughout the colder months. I hope these tips can help you keep up with the cold weather and stay warm!

https://www.cappex.com/articles/college-life/how-to-handle-your-first-college-winter#:~:text=Invest%20in%20long%20underwear%2C%20wool,flannel%20or%20a%20thick%20sweater.

Coffee: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

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

Sometimes it feels like life or death: must drink coffee or die. Coffee is the number one drink for college students and many have an unhealthy addiction. Throughout the years there has been much research done on coffee and there have been mixed findings. Coffee has been found to have many benefits as well as several drawbacks. 

A moderate coffee intake—about 2–5 cups per day has several benefits (1):

1. Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant. Caffeine increases energy levels by blocking the receptors of a neurotransmitter which therefore increases levels of other neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate energy levels. 

2. Some research suggests that regular coffee consumption could be associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

3. Some studies have found that drinking coffee could be associated with a lower risk of depression and a lower risk of death by suicide.

4. There is research that suggests that coffee could support liver health and protect against liver disease (2).

Coffee can, however, be harmful to specific populations. In addition, a high intake of coffee is harmful to everyone:

1. The biggest danger of coffee is becoming addicted to it. Having a coffee addiction makes it really difficult to rely on the body’s natural energy source. Often people replace healthy good meals with coffee because it is more convenient. The body becomes dependent on coffee for energy and the person gets withdrawal symptoms if they do not get their daily caffeine. This reduces the person’s quality of life.

2. Coffee can be harmful to pregnant women and their babies. One study suggested that preconception caffeine consumption could be a risk to pregnancy, with pre-pregnancy consumption of >400 mg of caffeine/day increasing the risk of spontaneous abortion by 11%. Additionally, caffeine can cause developmental damage to the fetus.

3. Coffee and caffeine can be dangerous for those with mental illnesses. For other mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, caffeine may increase psychotic symptoms (3). Also, too much caffeine can induce anxiety in people with panic or anxiety disorders (1) 

4. Caffeine increases catecholamines, cortisol, and insulin which elicits stress hormones. 

5. The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion, heartburn, GERD, and dysbiosis.

6. Lastly, increased urinary excretion of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium has been observed in coffee drinkers. Electrolyte imbalance can lead to serious systemic complications and health issues (4). 

In conclusion, although coffee has a negative reputation, it also has many benefits which are not widely known. These benefits only exist if coffee is consumed in moderation, and a high intake of coffee is still harmful. However, even a moderate amount of coffee can be detrimental for some and it is always best to discuss with a doctor if you think coffee is affecting you in any way. Coffee should not feel like life or death, it should be a pleasant treat that occasionally gives you a temporary burst of energy. Everyone, especially college students, should be aware of their coffee consumption and the effects of coffee on their bodies and well-being.

References:

1.  Is coffee good or bad for your health? (2021, April 9). News. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/is-coffee-good-or-bad-for-your-health/

2.   Link, M. R. S. (2022, January 11). 9 Unique Benefits of Coffee. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee

3.  Temple, J. L., Bernard, C., Lipshultz, S. E., Czachor, J. D., Westphal, J. A., & Mestre, M. A. (2017). The Safety of Ingested Caffeine: A Comprehensive Review. Frontiers in psychiatry, 8, 80. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00080

4. 10 Reasons To Quit Coffee (Plus Healthy Alternatives) | HUNGRY FOR CHANGE. (n.d.). Hungry for Change. https://www.hungryforchange.tv/article/10-reasons-to-quit-coffee-plus-healthy-alternatives