Don’t Let Winter Get You Down

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

Since childhood, I remember worriedly watching as we came closer to the end of the year. Winter, sadness, and expecting the cold both outside and inside. Predictably, it’s very common to feel unmotivated, unsatisfied, and unhappy each winter.  

The reasons behind winter sadness are mysterious, the lack of light since the days are shorter, deficiency in Vitamin D3, the start of school again, and a decrease in activity may all play a role. But just because it’s cold doesn’t mean we can’t continue spending time outside. 

Even if it’s bitterly cold, the beauty of nature is incredibly healing and helpful for putting things back into perspective. Try new outside activities that you can only do during winter! If you find an activity you love, maybe you will want every winter to come to do it again. Go skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, or sledding. There are also other indoor activities such as roller skating or bowling. Try to keep yourself active. As long as you continue to move your body, you are taking a big step toward feeling better bonus points if you are outside in the fresh air. The university also offers Outdoor Adventure Programs (OAP) during the winter. You can look through the website and see something you might like:   https://www.uml.edu/campusrecreation/programs/outdoor-adventure/.

If you just want to stay at home and watch some movies or read a book, it’s completely okay to stay in your pajamas all weekend, even more, when you are feeling low. But if you want to change that feeling, it’s helpful to fight that negative mood with simple actions. In this case, taking a long shower and putting on comfortable and attractive clothing can be energizing and reset our moods. It is also extremely helpful for making us feel like productive human beings moving in the right direction.   

Take it easy. If you feel like laying on the couch and binging shows—whatever is going to feel good right now with minimal effort—then just do it. Just don’t let the winter get you down for a long period of time because, remember, it’s not going to last forever.   

“When things get harder, if you still have choices, ideally, you make that harder choice.” says psychologist Vaile Wright, senior director of healthcare innovation at the American Psychological Association

References:  

10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues | Psychology Today

Practicing Self-Love This Valentine’s Day 

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

Valentine’s day isn’t just about lovers expressing their affection by exchanging cards, flowers, and candy, and having romantic meals in restaurants. Nonetheless, it is a day to show extra love and appreciation for those who you care about, and that should include yourself. It all starts with yourself. I really believe that love starts from within and that your capacity to love someone else is largely driven by your capacity to love yourself. What I mean by that is you cannot give something that you are unfamiliar with yourself. Self-love allows you to love others because you know how to care for yourself. I think loving yourself and loving others goes hand in hand. If you develop inner contentment and wellbeing, you can naturally strengthen your relationship with others.  

Practicing self-love offers many benefits for your body and mind. Self-love helps you overcome insecurity. When you practice self-love, you become more forgiving of your flaws and accept your imperfections as something that makes you unique. People who love themselves are more confident and self-assured. Self-love can also encourage personal growth and self-improvement. You are more aware of your flaws and areas of improvements that you can actively work on to better your overall wellbeing. There are 8 dimensions of wellness that you can concentrate your efforts on: emotional, physical, occupational, social, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, and financial. Self-love also allows you to be at peace with yourself as you let go of negative self-talk, self-doubt, and self-criticism, and bring in positivity and happiness.  

I like to schedule “me time” at least once a week where I have one commitment, which is to myself. My self-care routine typically consists of putting on some relaxing music, doing a face mask, doing my eyebrows, and finishing it off by applying some oils and moisturizer. I also have days where I feel lonely and would enjoy the company of others, so I typically travel to Boston and catch up with some friends or go for a stroll around the seaport area.  

This February 14th, pamper and treat yourself to your own curated self-care routine. If you have nowhere to start, you can start by using positive affirmations, which are statements and phrases that replace negative self-talk with positive thoughts. Below are some powerful self-love affirmations you can use on Valentine’s Day. You can repeat these statements out loud or write them down in a journal. Personally, I like to make sticky notes of some of my favorite affirmations and stick them on my dressing table mirror, so they serve as constant reminders to think positively while I’m getting ready.  

  1. I am perfect, just the way I am. 
  1. I am constantly growing, evolving, and becoming my best self. 
  1. I am a constant work in progress. 
  1. I am proud of who I am becoming. 
  1. I am learning to love myself more every day. 
  1. I accept my failures, but they do not define me. 
  1. I am not less for making mistakes. I am more because I learn from them. 
  1. My goal is progress, not perfection. 
  1. I am worthy of love, with my flaws and all. 
  1. I will treat myself with the kindness of a friend. 
  1. My imperfections make me unique. 
  1. I will not apologize for being me. 
  1. I will set my boundaries and reinforce them. 
  1. My body does not determine my worth. 
  1. I will accept my body the way it is today. 
  1. I care for my health, not for my body to look a certain way. 
  1. I am grateful for this mind, body and soul. 
  1. One bad day does not make me a bad person. 
  1. I will send love to my worries and doubts. 
  1. I will let go of things that no longer serve me. 

Resources: 

https://blog.journey.cloud/valentines-self-love-affirmations/

3 Daily Wins

By: Mia Andrade, Kennedy College of Sciences Well-being Leader

Want to be a winner? I know just the thing! As college students, our days become busier and busier, but it is important to prioritize yourself and your well-being in order to perform your best in all you do. With that being said, there are many benefits to having a holistic approach to maintaining your well-being. Here are three daily wins to help you take care of yourself:

1.) A Physical Win: Having physical exercise is key to maintaining your well-being. Some key examples of a physical win are walking, running, lifting, or joining an intramural or club sport on campus. UMass Lowell’s recreational facilities are great resources to achieve this physical win. Taking a walk to class rather than the shuttle is another great example, as you can get some fresh air and maybe listen to some music on the way. Prioritizing time to care for your body is just as important as taking care of your mind so that you can perform your best all around. Resources to achieve a physical win include:

2.) A Mental Win: Sometimes we need a break from schoolwork to shift our attention to our mental health. Some key examples for a mental win involve reading, writing, creating, learning, or whatever you put your mind to! Stimulating your brain in different ways is essential to your well-being. Explore new things, learn what you love to do, and stay curious! 

3.) A Spiritual Win: Keep yourself grounded. A spiritual win is key to seeking harmony and balance for yourself. Some key examples are praying, meditating, studying, and focusing on self-growth! It’s important to take a step back and reflect. Whether that’s studying in the library or using the serenity center to pray or nap, there are many options available! There are a variety of resources on campus that may help you seek a spiritual win as well 

As Well-being leaders, we are here to support you in all areas of wellness. Never hesitate to reach out and get the support you need by booking an appointment with any of us. 

Book an appointment here: https://www.uml.edu/wellbeing/well-being-leaders.aspx

Be a complete winner!

Don’t Sleep on Trivia Night 3/22/22

On March 22nd, 2022, The Office of Student Life and Well-being hosted their first event, Don’t Sleep on Trivia. Students are constantly reporting that they don’t get enough sleep, and March is Sleep Awareness Month, which made it the perfect time for an event related to sleep.

Students were able to attend both in person and virtually. The event was also a “Destination UML” event, meaning that prospective students considering attending UML were able to attend as well.

The room filled up with students eager to learn about healthy sleep habits, so much so that we ran out of chairs! Students enjoyed whole wheat zucchini muffins and yogurt parfaits, which both contain a healthy balance of carbohydrates and dairy, making them the perfect snack for a good night’s sleep.

The event kicked off with a presentation about the science of sleep by Diana Walker-Moyer, Director of Health Services. She explained that sleep is a time for the body to restore, and not the brain. She spoke of the hormones that affect our sleep, emphasizing the importance of getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night and waking up at the same time each day. She explained that healthy sleep improves our physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being.

After Diana’s great presentation, Assistant Director of Student Life and Well-being, Hannah Monbleau hosted Round 1 of Trivia. Students answered questions about the science of sleep [which were informed by Professor Zhang from the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences] from their phones (how convenient!). The top 3 winners were announced on the leader board and a sleep mask, essential oil diffuser, and Tempurpedic pillow were claimed by the winners!

Up next, University Dining’s Dietitian provided nutrition tips for healthy sleep. She broke them into her “Sleep Do’s” and “Sleep Don’ts”

According to Melissa, to achieve healthy sleep you should:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet such as the Mediterranean diet
  • Limit highly processed foods
  • Have a carbohydrate containing snack 1 hour before bed combined with a dairy product

To achieve healthy sleep, you should NOT:

  • Deprive yourself of sleep- you will be hungrier and prefer high fat and high sugar foods
  • Have caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime
  • Eat highlight processed foods before bed, and avoid being energy depleted, as it will be harder to fall asleep.

Next, the Office of Student Life and Well-being shared some tips from Jon Bragg, Associate Director of Residential Education, including respecting quiet and courtesy hours, and requesting support from an RA if someone is being too loud, making your room as comfortable as possible, having a blanket for the winter and a fan for the summer, creating a sleep schedule for your roommate and always using headphones when watching TV or listening to music.

After Melissa and Res Life’s great tips, Hannah Monbleau hosted a 2nd round of trivia. This time, the 10 questions were related to sleep dos and don’ts. Students answered on their phones and the top 3 winners won! The prizes were a lavender sleep spray, a sound machine, and a weighted blanket.

The event concluded with Diana Walker-Moyer providing attendees with the following take-aways:

  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep at night
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment
  • If you lose sleep, catch up by going to bed 1-2 hours earlier the next night
  • Avoid daytime naps if you can, but if you must nap, limit it to 20-30 minutes
  • Put the lid on the caffeine, the nicotine, and the alcohol too close to bedtime
  • Use your bed for sleep and sex only.
  • Exercise to move your body! But don’t exercise 3-4 hours before bedtime.
  • Finish regular meals 2-3 hours before bed, but don’t go to sleep hungry! Have a healthy bedtime snack such as yogurt with granola or cheese and crackers.

Students and staff that attended hopefully left feeling full of both yummy food and great sleep knowledge and were ready to have the best night’s sleep of their lives!