How to Keep Sane During Finals Week

A horrible thing is about to happen.

A painful

tragic

beautiful

thing.

Finals week is about to end, meaning that it is officially the time for the big workout.

The hard, going-to-die workout.

The I-haven’t-done-much-this-month regrets finally catch up with you, and now it is time to get real.

You know that it needs to happen. Those long study nights do not add up to great health, physically or mentally.

So here is what you do.

Do not just sleep for an entire day straight, despite the appeal I know that has.

  1. Listen to the Mayo Clinic and work on creating a steady sleep schedule. This may not seem like the first step, but trust me, if you have had a semester anything like mine, this is a key ingredient to a healthy summer.
  2. Hydrate and stretch before, during and after your workouts. This is incredibly important, as I am sure every person in the state of Arizona has heard more times than they can handle.
  3. Find a buddy. “If you can find a workout buddy it can help you keep yourself accountable,” says exercise and wellness major Ben Holko. If you alone will know that you did or did not work out, it is much easier to put it off.
  4. Create a playlist.
    Music is a great counter to stress.

    Music is a great counter to stress.

    I promise, it is necessary. Start with some motivating, high-tempo songs that make you feel fantastic and empowered — I suggest including plenty of Queen Bee. Work your way into some angrier, more intense pieces to push you through the rough patch and end with the most fun song you can find. Here are some must-haves:

    • “You Give Love a Bad Name” – Bon Jovi

      In order for you to be properly psyched for the legendary workout you are about to have, you must include this hit — at least, according to Barney Stinson.

    • “Are You Satisfied” – Marina and the Diamonds

      I have never been more motivated to challenge myself than when listening to some Marina. You are not complacent. You are strong and ready to destroy that treadmill.

    • “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” – Weezer

      This song always makes me feel happy and ready to take on the elliptical.

    • Everything Beyonce has ever touched.

      But seriously. Looking into that big mirror showing all your sweat and jiggle can be very detrimental. The entire purpose of this workout is to feel better inside and no one can make you feel more proud, capable and strong than Queen Bee. You can, and will, take on the world.

    • Wannabe – Spice Girls

      A throwback, but still a great mid-workout song. I recommend filling the middle part of your Get Psyched mix with throwbacks that will make you laugh. Working out can be fun. Painful, maybe, but fun.

    • One Foot – Fun.

      Maybe it is just me, but Fun is the soundtrack to my summer. This song is a great way to finish and get you through that final push.

  5. Create a plan. Stretch, warm up with some cardio and hit the machines. Do not forget to do a cool down. Decide your goal beforehand and give yourself a set amount of time you want to be at the gym or wherever you are.

    “Have a plan with you on paper and have a schedule of your workouts. It’s hard to keep it up, but when you have a journal-type thing, it helps,” Holko suggests.

    Only you can really know all the improvements that you have made, and that concrete proof can be a great motivation. Avoid overdoing it. You may think you can handle it, but this will negatively affect your future workouts.

Head out! Do not forget water, headphones and an optimistic outlook.

It’s going to be legendary.

Be Social — It’s for your Health

As I sit here preparing to write the post, with my bowl of ramen noodles and general lazy attitude, I truly begin to understand how college can change a person’s activity and health level.

Taking a break is the healthiest thing you can do for your body and mind!

Taking a break is the healthiest thing you can do for your body and mind!

One of the most helpful tips is going to be pretty surprising: keep busy.

Now, this seems insane. Of course you are busy. You’re too busy. You can barely even function, always a paper looming on the horizon or a blog post due in a day…

According to Kristen Franquist, a junior health and wellness major, there are different ways to organize your business so that you can make time to work out and eat well.

Most days when I have a million things due and school is really piling up, I stay home and block out hours of time in order to get everything done. Franquist suggests that you give yourself an actual time limit for getting each specific task done. Do not make it some excessive amount with enough padded time for you to scroll through your Tumblr dash four times and watch an episode of Game of Thrones.  Make it a realistic amount of time to get the job done, and then make plans after that.

Go hang out with some friends, take a walk or, better yet, head to the gym with your workout buddy to release some stress.

Making more plans can actually motivate you to get your schoolwork done and will lead to a higher physical activity level. I know that I am much more likely to resist clicking on that next episode if I know I have an opportunity to leave my room in the horizon.

The key to this is making concrete plans based on time. Do not say that you come out when this is done, or the usual, “I’ll text you when I need a breather.” Tell your workout buddy that you will meet them on the second floor at 8:45 p.m. and be there. Take the mental break you need and go work on your self-esteem.

An additional benefit to this sort of planning is your health.  If you know you are going to spend the next six hours sitting in your room, you are going to make bad eating choices. I grab the ramen noodles, maybe some chips, definitely caffeine.  Not just the black, unsweetened kind either, which is actually not bad for you, but the syrup-filled deliciousness that will give me a sugar high till the end of time.

We all do it. We basically stock up like winter is coming and we need to get to that iron throne.

But what if you could motivate yourself to continue with plans to see daylight in just two hours? Small study breaks like a jog around campus or a salad with friends will make you feel better about yourself — you popular and healthy little champ.

This comes full circle and remotivates you to finish your work. Normally, three hours into my work, I am convinced that I am not capable of anything, decide I should change my major and feel like taking a nap. A small workout, some food and some socialization can completely change your outlook of the rest of your work, and feeling better about yourself and your capabilities will certainly affect the quality of your work.

Now head out there and make those plans!

Coffee: Healthy or Harmful?

Starbucks. Jobot. Cartel Coffee Lab. Lux. Fair Trade Cafe. One Coffee Co. They’re all downtown coffee shops that a sizable amount of the community frequents regularly. But are we really drinking to our health?

Choose your coffee wisely!

Choose your coffee wisely!

I’m sure you’ve heard arguments that promote and demote the regular consumption of coffee. The question is, which argument is most convincing?

As a regular coffee drinker downtown, I think it’s essential to really understand how to drink coffee in a healthy way — if that’s even possible. Don’t worry, you’ll know by the end of this post.

According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking coffee can help reduce the risk of many illnesses, including but not limited to Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, Type 2 diabetes, liver cancer and even depression.

Harvard’s School of Public Health reports that coffee really doesn’t have any detrimental effects on health, and for people who don’t have high blood pressure or high blood sugar, coffee could actually be a healthy drink option.

But hold on! One thing you must keep in mind when reading the statistics behind how coffee is healthy for you is that when the researcher mentions “coffee,” oftentimes it’s black coffee with no milk and no sugar. Let’s be honest, now, how many of us really drink our daily coffee like this?

Probably not the majority of us.

On the flip side, the Mayo Clinic also reports that drinking high volumes of “unfiltered” coffee (boiled or espresso) can increase unhealthy levels of cholesterol and ultimately induce heart disease.

After referring to the Harvard School of Public Health’s analysis on coffee, it’s apparent that whether your coffee intake is healthy is highly dependent on the individual. Some people can drink six cups of coffee and be just fine. Others might do the same and begin to feel jittery or uneasy. It’s a highly variable substance, because everyone reacts differently to caffeine based on their medical history.

So as you can see, in order to drink coffee the “healthy” way, you have to walk a thin line. But don’t worry — this line isn’t as thin as you think.

Honestly, the most unhealthy way you can drink coffee is to get a drink filled with tons of syrup and fattening milk. Yes, once in a while, splurge! But on your daily grind, try to order a house coffee blend with nonfat milk and a moderate amount of sugar.

Not only will you be doing your heart and liver a favor, you’ll be doing your waistline a favor too.

Read more about what the Mayo Clinic has to say about coffee consumption here.

Read more about what Harvard’s School of Public Health has to say here.

Stay healthy, my friends! Cheers to healthy coffee consumption!

Downtown Dining Decisions

It’s finally April, and New Year’s resolutions of healthier eating have fallen off and been replaced with a greater desire to go out for a delicious meal delivered right to your table. Those vows of “bringing your lunch to school” no longer seem realistic, especially when stopping somewhere near ASU’s Downtown campus is so quick.

Bowl of Greens is a great option!

Bowl of Greens is a great option!

Going out to eat near campus doesn’t have to put an end to your resolution of eating healthier. Most restaurants Downtown include just-as-good, healthy options in addition to some of the less nutritious items on the menu.

Here are some students’ favorite spots downtown and their healthier options:

Corner Bakery Cafe – Arizona Center
Many students on the Downtown campus rave about Corner Bakery, and with good reason! Their fresh, comforting food and relaxed environment make it ideal for studying or hanging out with friends. A few food swaps also make it a healthy choice.

  • Egg whites: There are lots of breakfast scramblers and sandwiches that can be high in calories. Asking for only egg whites instead of the whole egg can drop the calorie count by almost 200 on some dishes! It hardly tastes different and still offers plenty of protein and flavor.
  • Combos: Staying healthy is all about portion control. Corner Bakery makes that easy by offering sandwich and salad combos. You can still have half of a sandwich or soup, but you can also pair it with a low-calorie salad. My favorite is the California Grille Panini paired with a garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette, which is a filling 410 calories.
  • Pastries: If you can’t walk by their pastries without giving in, indulge in the oatmeal raisin cookie — the healthiest option — and enjoy it!

Jimmy John’s – CityScape
Sub sandwiches delivered right to your door might be the greatest invention of all time, especially with Jimmy John’s’ unbelievable French bread (which has fewer calories than their seven-grain wheat bread option — even though the wheat sounds healthier). It’s my go-to for when I’m looking for something super quick and just have that craving that can only be satisfied by Jimmy John’s.

  • Turkey Tom: I’ve tried a few other sandwiches, but I always go back to the classic Turkey Tom. Order it with extra veggies and light mayo, and you have yourself a well-rounded, healthy meal!
  • Unwich: If you’re really trying to cut carbs or gluten, try the unwich –sandwich fillings in a lettuce wrap. I recommend ordering extra meat so you’re not sacrificing too much flavor or filling protein.

Matt’s Big Breakfast – 825 N. First St.
Matt’s Big Breakfast is classic breakfast served in a classic diner and perfect for a weekend brunch!

  • Classic Breakfast: It can be hard to sacrifice a plate of waffles for a bowl of fruit, so I encourage you to get both. Just fill up a little on the fruit first, then dig into the less-healthy dish. Still enjoy it … just take some home for tomorrow’s breakfast.
  • Oats: Oatmeal is one of those healthy carbs that is necessary for optimal health and should be integrated into your diet. Ask for the toppings, such as milk, raisins and brown sugar, on the side and sweeten it as you go, so you don’t overdo it and save some calories. Still feel like you’re missing out? Get a side of bacon, hash browns or eggs so you still get a taste of the good stuff.

Starbucks Coffee – Taylor Place
Starbucks always has picturesque pastries on display that can easily lure a hungry college student in. If you look just below the sugary treats, you’ll see many delicious options that have significantly more nutritional value.

  • Protein Bistro Box: It’s the perfect combination of protein, healthy carbs and healthy fats in a portable box. There is plenty of flavor and it will keep you full for hours.
  • Evolution Products: Evolution, the relatively new brand that Starbucks is carrying, has some great granola bars, drinks and bags of nuts that fit perfectly in a “clean” eating plan.
  • Fruit: If there isn’t fresh fruit, there are dried fruit and bottled smoothies that offer a wide range of fruits to sip on. It’s still sweet, but not 500 calories per treat like the iced lemon pound cake is.

Bowl Of Greens – Walter Cronkite Building
Almost any choice you make at Bowl Of Greens will be healthier than other restaurants. There are a few choices that provide the most nutrition and plenty of flavor.

  • Vinaigrette: With whichever salad you create or order, get a vinaigrette dressing. It will likely be olive oil-based, which provides all of the omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies need. It helps us absorb all the other nutrients being consumed from the salad.
  • Protein: If you’re building your own salad, make sure you include beans in the four included toppings. If you’re willing to pay a little extra for premium toppings, get seeds/nuts, meat or a hard-boiled egg. Protein helps keep you full so you’re not snacking an hour later.

With smart choices and smarter eating, you can cut down on calories and still enjoy a great meal out!

Bike Month!

April is Bike Month in the lovely Valley of the Sun, and you know what this means!

There will be tons of biking events and bike enthusiasts everywhere. Now is the perfect time to become active in the community and at the same time become active physically!

Happy Bike Month, Phoenix!

Happy Bike Month, Phoenix!

So what do you need to know for Bike Month? Well, a lot.

You already know the health benefits behind biking, as discussed in a previous post. But, to recap, biking is one of the best ways to promote health. Not only does it tone muscles and burn fat, it makes you a happier person with a better sleep cycle. Haha. Cycle.

There are a lot of events throughout the month of April that you should become aware of. That way, you can plan ahead and hopefully attend them!

Some of the events that you should mark on your calendar are the following events happening in downtown Phoenix:

April 12 – Co+Hoots Grid Bike Share demo and Phoenix Spokes People neighborhood bike ride
This event is essentially a neighborhood bike ride off of Washington Street that goes from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be a free Grid Bike Share demonstration and test rides as well.

April 18 – Official Bike to School/Work Day
Be sure to bike to school or work on April 18 in tribute to this Valley-wide bike day! Skip your cardio workout and get out in the fresh air.

April 22 – Phoenix/Maricopa County Bike to Work Day
Phoenix City Council is putting on a cool event where the police will escort a 3-mile ride to CityScape. Everyone will meet at Central Avenue and Earll Drive at 7 a.m., and T-shirts, prizes and more will be available — including free breakfast for the first 300 registered participants! Sign up soon!

More information on biking events that are going on around the Valley can be found here.

I urge all of you to take advantage of these great events that will be happening in the next 28 days! A lot of the events are free and there are lots of giveaways. But the most important thing you’ll gain from going to any of these events is a greater sense of community and a healthier you!

Stay healthy, my friends.

Urban Health Care

Good health oftentimes dictates quality of life. If you’re healthy, generally speaking, you’re happy. People strive to be healthy and have health care at the tips of their fingers. Therefore, health care accessibility is arguably one of the most important aspects of a city’s infrastructure.

Accessible healthcare is essential to the health of downtown Phoenix.

Accessible health care is essential to the health of downtown Phoenix.

Given this, where does downtown Phoenix stand in terms of health care accessibility?

Unfortunately, health care accessibility isn’t really where it should be in downtown Phoenix. It’s not the biggest metropolis in the country, but compared to other urban areas, downtown Phoenix has limited health care options for its residents.

Even though health care accessibility isn’t a strong point for downtown Phoenix, there are venues that serve the downtown community, and do it quite well.

Cigna Medical Group CareToday clinics are a great alternative to the traditional doctor’s office visit. Located conveniently off of Central and Adams in downtown Phoenix, CMG CareToday never requires an appointment or insurance to receive medical attention. With shorter wait times and cheaper cost than a traditional clinic, one would think that the range of care would be limited — but it’s not. CMG CareToday can see children as young as six months old and has a highly trained staff of medical professionals.

Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) is located off of 12th Avenue and Madison and is a place where the homeless community of downtown Phoenix can go to receive the health care they need. They offer primary care, mental health services, substance abuse services, case management and nutrition services and serve residents of all major shelters in the downtown Phoenix area.

Our very own nursing building, ASU Health Services Downtown NP Healthcare, offers quite an array of medical services for downtown Phoenix residents and ASU students alike. They offer a discount to uninsured individuals who aren’t students. If you are an uninsured student, the ASU Bridge Program and Aetna student health insurance are options the clinic can provide. Service areas include physical exam rooms, a procedure room, mental health consultation rooms and research/student education spaces.

So why is urban health care so important? I mean, is health care accessibility in urban areas really that important?

Daniella Campas, a pre-med student at the ASU Downtown campus, thinks urban health care is vital to the success of the downtown Phoenix community.

“I think it should be more accessible for the individuals who don’t have the capability of acquiring the right medical attention they need. Especially in the downtown Phoenix area, there are a lot of citizens who need medical attention and need to be able to access it. Making it so that in urban areas people can get the right attention needed. This could help countless lives and benefit them greatly.”

Sara Perry, a pre-med student at the Downtown campus as well, agrees that urban health care is a necessary component to a metropolis like downtown Phoenix.

“Urban health care is very important. There aren’t a lot of places people can go to receive help if they don’t have insurance. So health clinics really help out when people need medical attention.”

It’s encouraging to know that the future providers of health care, like these pre-med students, believe that urban health care is a cornerstone to building a vibrant downtown community. Maybe with this kind of initiative, urban health care will find a larger home in downtown Phoenix.

Well, folks, as you can see, the demand for urban health care is definitely there — it’s just a matter of figuring out how to make it more readily available.

Cheers to a healthier downtown Phoenix community! Stay healthy, my friends.

When is the best time to work out?

It’s the second to last week of March, which puts us a little bit past the Ides of March. No worries, though, nobody’s getting assassinated any time soon — unless they’re an inefficient workout routine!

Find the perfect medium between your internal clock and an external clock.

Find the perfect medium between your internal clock and an external clock.

ASU’s spring break recently ended, and some students might be feeling like they had a little bit too much fun. Well, now’s the time to get back on track with that workout routine!

Now is the perfect time to start evaluating if you’re exercising efficiently. You still have a few more months before summer and plenty of time to be in shape prior to beach season!

So, with all the workout hype out there, I’m sure you’ve come across a few sources that tell you to work out at a certain time of day.

While these articles might not present blatant errors, the way these articles go about suggesting when you should work out is definitely wrong.

These articles assume that everyone’s the same and that everyone has the same metabolism and circadian rhythm. Well, this isn’t the case.

After you commit to making exercise part of your daily routine, it’s best to create a workout schedule that fits in your life and, more importantly, with your body.

Some questions to answer before crafting a workout routine are:

  • Are you a morning person or a night person?
  • How well do you sleep at night?
  • Are you trying to lose weight or tone up muscles? (both might apply but if you had to choose one which would it be).

Addressing the first question: if you’re a morning person, you’re naturally going to be more energetic in the morning, and therefore, morning workouts will be the more efficient route for you. If you’re a night person, a workout session after work or before you go to bed might be better for you. It’s all about knowing your body and when it works the best.

When it comes to the second question, sleep pattern is essential to take into account. If you struggle to get to sleep at night, it’s probably a better idea for you to work out in the morning. Studies have shown that people who work out in the morning sleep better at night.

As for the third question, some studies have shown that working out in the morning before breakfast lends to higher burn of fat reserves, instead of burning calories that you’ve consumed throughout the day if you work out in the evening. But, honestly, all of these are theories.

Another thing to consider is where you live. Do you live in an urban hotspot such as downtown Phoenix, where people are out and about at 4-6 a.m.? Or do you live in the middle of nowhere where people start crawling out of bed at about 10 a.m.? It’s important to make sure you’ll be safe and around people when you work out, just in case there’s a medical emergency or dangerous encounter.

At the end of the day, you have to figure out what’s right for your body! Despite what any article or doctor tells you, you’ve got to consider what’s appropriate for your needs, because you know yourself best! So, the verdict is: there is no “perfect” or “optimal” time to work out that will burn the most calories. You’ve just got to figure out a time that suits your body best.

Stay healthy, my friends!

Biking in Downtown Phoenix

Have you ever considered reducing your travel time if you walk between two places, toning the muscles you have without any extra effort or increasing your stamina and, in turn, making your heart healthier?

Urban biking has a bright future in downtown Phoenix.

Urban biking has a bright future in downtown Phoenix.

If not, you should consider taking to two wheels as your source of urban transportation. Biking is an activity that enhances your health and the health of your community!

Urban biking is especially something downtown Phoenix residents should consider. Commuting by car or by foot in downtown can sometimes be a challenge. That’s where biking can make your life so much easier.

If you bike, you don’t have to worry about long commutes or traffic jams. On a healthier note, biking is good for you in many ways.

Biking helps burn fat, promotes healthy sleeping habits, encourages healthy digestion and even increases the endorphins in your brain, which makes you a happier, more confident person.

ASU exercise physiologist Christopher Berger is an avid biker and takes a personal interest in biking issues.

“Of course biking is healthy. We’ve got pretty dry air and nice sunshine, so it’s nice to be outside. Our roads are pretty well-kept, you know, there are no potholes or anything like that … and they’re flat, so biking isn’t very strenuous. Logistically, biking is a good idea — it saves you so much time. Health- and fitness-wise, it’s a good idea. It’s just nice to be outside.”

Berger said he thinks biking has more of a future in downtown Phoenix compared to Tempe simply because enforcement is a little bit different.

“People would be more proactive about putting bike lanes in around downtown Phoenix. There are already colored biking lanes on some downtown streets, so I’m pretty optimistic.”

So what exactly makes biking so healthy, and how do you ensure to make the most of your biking experience?

Berger said it’s a combination of things.

“Depending on how you set your gears up, biking can be a very aerobic exercise. If you set your gears really high, it become anaerobic for a little while, because you have to increase the amount of force you generate to move the bike. If you have a lightweight bike, you can bike for a long period of time. I think there’s a lot to be said for a really strong-frame mountain bike because in urban biking you have to have something that’s pretty durable.”

Another source that really promotes urban biking is the organization BikeForce.

BikeForce Phoenix is a collaboration of courier cyclists in downtown Phoenix who serve the business community.

BikeForce aims to help businesses reduce the operating costs of sending packages, documents and parcels all while promoting green energy, environmental awareness and physical fitness.

Could this get any better?

Thomas Johnston, office manager of BikeForce Phoenix, explained why biking is so beneficial to the downtown community.

“We deliver packages from business to business via bike. We are all for urban cycling here at BikeForce. I’m a big believer in biking — the more bikes on the road, the better. It’s healthier and better for the economy. Studies have shown that when there’s more biking, the economy’s better, because people don’t have to worry about parking. I bike almost 100 miles a week. I’ve been a courier for 16 years, and it’s just how I move around.”

Now that you’ve heard testimonials from two passionate sources about the benefits of urban biking, it’s up to you to broaden those horizons and perhaps try breaking biking into your schedule.

Not only will it help the environment, it will help keep you healthier! So get out there and cycle away toward a healthier you.

Stay healthy, my friends!

Allergens: Your Pets and You

The itchy and watery eyes, the red and inflamed nose, the congestion and the dull headache at the top of your head — a lot of us have been there, and one thing is unanimously known: allergies are not fun.

Don't let your allergies keep you from spending time with a furry friend you love.

Don’t let your allergies keep you from spending time with a furry friend you love.

According to WebMD, 55 percent of Americans are allergic to something, whether it’s a food, a plant, or an animal. About 10 percent of the population is allergic to animals. So what does this mean for our lovely pet owners who happen to have allergies?

Two professors at the Downtown campus shed some light on the issue.

“Children who are outside a fair amount are exposed more to allergens and might develop more of a tolerance than other children,” ASU exercise and wellness professor Kathy Campbell says.

“Studying allergies is an inexact science. Anti-histamines aren’t a permanent solution, and studies show that allergies are increasing with each new generation. There’s not really one thing that triggers allergens in people,” ASU biology professor John Olson says.

Both professors agree that keeping children in too sterile of an environment with little, if any, interaction with the outdoors and a little bit of dirt could be a potential cause of pet allergies in our community. Sometimes being too clean can be an issue! This is not to say that you should overcompensate and get too dirty. But, like Olson mentioned, it’s about striking a balance or maintaining a golden mean.

Now that you have some background on the dimensional issue of allergies, you might be wondering how to help relieve symptoms you experience. There are solutions to alleviating the misery you may be in due to pet allergies without taking medication. By all means, if you need medication, please take it — but I’ve highlighted a few ways you can help your allergies without popping pills.

Believe it or not, giving your pet a bath and brushing its fur can make all the difference. Oftentimes, when done once a week, it greatly cuts down the amount of suffering allergic people endure simply because airborne allergens are then not at an all-time high.

Not allowing the pet to go into certain areas of the house is also a good way to combat allergies. This way, your body can become immune to the allergens without being overwhelmed as you are able to go into your “safe zone” where the animal isn’t allowed.

Vacuuming is probably a more obvious option to help keep allergens at bay, but it’s still important to follow through with. All the excess fur that collects along with dust will just irritate your nasal passages if left unvacuumed.

Make sure to keep your pet supplies away from any sort of air conditioner/heater. The last thing you want is for these allergens to be spread throughout the house via recirculation. This applies to anything the animal uses regularly, such as litter boxes, chew toys, beds and other items in direct contact with the animal.

Allergies are such a multifaceted issue with so many different causes. They really show that no two human beings are exactly alike when it comes to what can trigger allergies, how to successfully treat allergies when they arise and how to maintain an allergy-free lifestyle.

The downtown Phoenix community especially needs to be aware of how to maintain an allergy-free lifestyle just because many of us live in small areas, and if we do, in fact, have the pet/allergy combo, we need to be aware of ways to deal with this very widespread issue.

Stay healthy, my friends!

Love 101

As we all know, Friday was the day when lovebirds all over the world supposedly bonded even more and the single folk celebrated their independence or maybe wished for some company — oh, Valentine’s Day.

Healthy love is the best love.

Healthy love is the best love.

So many mixed emotions! But let’s be real. A lot of us don’t just have these emotions on Valentine’s Day. They’re definitely a constant in our everyday lives, whether they’re getting annoyed because some couple is just too lovey-dovey or actually enjoying a romantic dinner with your lover.

This brings up the topic of healthy relationships. It’s vital to every aspect of your health to foster healthy relationships in your lifetime! And I’m going to give you a quick checklist of five aspects that are important when evaluating the relationships you’re in right now or might be in for the future.

  1. Trust: Trust is by far the most important aspect to foster in a relationship. It’s the one thing that can completely break a relationship if broken, and it’s really the one thing that, if broken, is very difficult to gain back. So, ladies and gentlemen, make sure you trust your partner 100 percent in all aspects of his or her life! It’s vital for a successful relationship.
  2. Fidelity: Fidelity goes hand-in-hand with trust. However, too often, partners forgive each other for cheating, and I think that’s really damaging to a relationship. If someone feels inclined to cheat, the relationship obviously isn’t meeting their expectations, and to fix this is next to impossible. Taking a break is probably the best option if you’re considering forgiving your partner for cheating.
  3. Secrecy: We all have secrets. That’s a given. But I’m a strong proponent of transparency in relationships and believe that really, if you’re with the right person, you shouldn’t have to keep any secrets from them.
  4. Intimacy: Some people believe a relationship isn’t “real” until you get intimate with your partner. To each their own! The most important part of this aspect is to ensure that both parties in the relationship are on board for intimacy. Never feel pressured to do something just because you want to please someone else.
  5. Compatibility: Compatibility is something that can grow over time. It’s probably one of the least concrete parts of a relationship, just because human beings are so quirky, and different things drive their capacity to love. But when it comes down to it, make sure that you feel like you’re not wasting your time just to be in a relationship. Make sure you’re actually invested in the relationship and committed to loving the other person because of who they actually are, not who you want them to be.

Honestly, relationships are beautiful experiences. I encourage everyone to love someone and love them with every fiber of your being. Not only is it physically good for you, it’s beneficial for your emotional health too.

Relationships are a normal part of life that make us human. Through happiness or heartbreak, they make us stronger and more well-rounded people. I’m not saying they define who you are and by no means should a relationship take over your life.

The key is to find that ideal balance between your love life, social life and academic/work life. Once you do that, you’re golden. So until then, refer to the key points I highlighted above so you can be one step closer to finding this balance that’s essential to your success as a healthy person.

Stay healthy, my friends!