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!

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!

Hot yoga: Is it just a fad?

You’ve probably heard the illusive term “hot yoga.” What comes to mind?

Do you envision a crowded room filled with artificial light and sweaty people simultaneously engaged in poses that stretch convention?

Or do you envision something more private — perhaps a small group that practices in a low-light sauna, each bead of sweat produced a testament to their commitment to health?

Om.

Om.

The truth is, there are many different ways to engage in hot yoga. You can do it in classes with more than 200 people; you can do it with 10 people. The lights can be recessed lighting or candles — the options are endless.

But one fact remains constant: hot yoga is one of the best things you can do for your body.

Doing hot yoga in a room that’s anywhere from 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit increases your pulse and metabolism. This, in turn, allows for better circulation throughout the body.

So when you sweat a lot, that means you lose more weight, right? Not necessarily! Studies have shown that the fact that you sweat more in hot yoga does not mean you will lose more weight than you would at standard room temperature. However, more harmful toxins are released during hot yoga through the greater amount of sweat than with yoga done at standard room temperature.

By far the greatest advantage to doing hot yoga is the fact that your body will surpass the expected level of flexibility that currently defines how you pose. The heat loosens up tight muscles and knots, also lubricating joints that would normally inhibit your body from reaching its full potential.

However, while there are many advantages to doing hot yoga, you still need to take certain precautions. Staying hydrated is essential! It’s recommended that you drink at least 2-3 liters on top of the required eight glasses of water daily if you plan to commit to hot yoga as a fitness routine.

Also, food intake needs to be monitored. It’s recommended that you eat a small snack before doing hot yoga — too empty or too full of a stomach is detrimental to the hot yoga experience.

But, the most important thing is to listen to your body while doing hot yoga, and be careful not to overexert yourself. Oftentimes, you want to ignore the minor things you feel in a workout routine, but with hot yoga, the risk of passing out is higher than normal. It’s vital to take breaks when needed.

But, holistically speaking, hot yoga is a great fitness routine to get into. Not only will you burn calories and increase your flexibility, you will also put your mind at ease and keep your mental health in check! So, the verdict has been passed. Hot yoga is not just a fad. It’s arguably the best way to practice yoga because of all the added benefits. So get out there! Grab a buddy and sign up for a hot yoga class. The experience will be unforgettable, and your body will love you for it!

The Health Behind Spa Days

At this point during the year, a lot of students and professionals yearn for some sort of excuse to just kick back and take a break from the swamp of work piled up around them.

Treat yourself!

Treat yourself at Hotel Palomar’s Repose.

The vision of the spa atmosphere might seem extravagant to some — candles, aromatherapy, oil massages? Who really needs all that?

But the truth is, there are health benefits behind that luxurious visit to the day spa. Everybody needs a break, and a spa day is the ideal way to spend your day off.

So, how exactly do spa treatments benefit your health? Well, the explanation is actually quite predictable.

Many of the massage options at day spas release knots in your back that can worsen your posture and soothe sore muscles and inflamed joints by targeting areas that are tight or swollen. Additionally, services like bath soaks, mani-pedis, facials and other skin services can alleviate a lot of stress and tension that is built up throughout the school or work day.

It ultimately boils down to the “power of touch.” It’s been proven by multiple psychologists that being touched is essential to our sanity! Being touched releases endorphins which ultimately make you feel happy.

The following locations are full-functioning spas that include facials, wax options, makeup application, hair design and mani-pedi stations.

The Roose Parlour and Spa: Nestled in the historic district of downtown Phoenix at 918 N. Sixth St., this location is known for its charming, friendly staff and hip feel.

Repose Spa and Salon: Tucked inside CityScape between Washington and Jefferson streets and First Avenue and First Street, this location is affiliated with the Hotel Palomar and is known for its upscale, unique lay out.

Inner Radiance Spa: Though it’s not downtown, this spa at 4503 N. 32nd St is close to the esteemed Biltmore Hotel. This location is known for using all organic products and specializes in skin care.

Downtown Salon Phoenix: At 101 E. Monroe St., this location mainly caters to hair care but also offers massage, nail, and skin services.

The Spa at Pilgrim: Again, a bit outside downtown, but right off Jefferson Street, this spa at 1401 E. Jefferson St. focuses on massages, including Swedish and hot stone massages. But for “total indulgence,” the Caribbean Therapy Total Indulgence package is a must. It’s comprised of a bath soak, body scrub and body cleanser all done in flower water with candles.

As you can see, there are some pretty nifty places downtown or nearby where you can really treat yourself after a long day. So do it! The next time you’re extremely stressed out or just need a breather from whatever is going on, go to the spa! You won’t regret it.

Not only will you have the ability to completely unwind, you’ll also benefit your physical and mental health through various spa treatments. It really is a win-win situation. An investment in your comfort is an investment in your health. Don’t delay!

Sleep it off: Fighting stress

With finals looming around the corner, we all try to find ways to keep the stress at bay. Whether it’s eating, exercising, music, meditation, yoga or cooking, everyone tries to find a way to keep stress levels low and stay sane in these last few days. To all the seniors graduating in a couple weeks, kudos! You’re almost there.

Although this might seem counterintuitive, my best recommendation for keeping stress at a manageable level is sleep. Sleeping is the best way to reduce the effect stress has on our body. Of course, eating healthy and being as active as possible help immensely too!

First off, stress. What really is it, and how does it affect me? In reality, a certain amount of stress is actually healthy — it keeps us alert and ready to avoid danger. However, experiencing continuous stress without enough relaxation or rest can be extremely harmful to the body.

Image via www.today.ttu.edu

Image via www.today.ttu.edu

Stress can cause headaches, upset stomach, fatigue, chest pains, skin conditions, high blood pressure and sleeping problems. Apart from effects on the body, stress can also affect a person’s mood and behavior. Anxiety, restlessness, lack of focus, irritability and even sadness are common effects of stress.

This is why sleep during these last couple of weeks is imperative to anyone’s health if they’re experiencing higher levels of stress. There are a multitude of benefits that come from sleep. Sleeping can help improve memory, reduce inflammation across the body by reducing inflammatory proteins in the blood, spike creativity, help stamina, sharpen attention and improve your mood.

A couple interesting facts about stress, according to WebMD:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a workplace hazard. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

When going to the doctor, many people think they are treating the cause — but in reality, it’s only the symptoms they’re curing. It’s a never-ending cycle!

Being smart about your sleep has so many benefits, it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t do it. Napping and getting your eight hours of sleep during finals will help you tackle these last days successfully.

Don’t forget, stress can be dangerous if it goes unchecked. Make sure you’re sleeping, drinking plenty of water and being as active as possible to ensure you make it to graduation — or simply just summer break — in one piece!

Fight the stress and stay healthy, Devils!

There’s a time for everything: Mindfulness

As a college student, the majority of all assignments are a race against the clock; every second counts. The phrase, “timing is everything” really does apply to every aspect of life, and during this time in life, it matters even more.

Photo via MegWorden.com

Which brings us to the question: What is time? It’s something we’ve invented, but how does it apply to your health? Think about the amount time you spend exercising. What about the number of hours you slept last night? The more time you spend doing both, the better, right? Did you know that your life-span is positively impacted by getting a college degree? Although the late nights spent studying and the copious amounts of coffee to recover the next morning may not make it seem that way, college graduates on average live two years longer than people who do not have a degree. While this isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card, this is where mindfulness comes into play.

Mindfulness

There are many definitions for the term mindfulness, but all encompass a theory of raised awareness. Being mindful in life means being aware of your time, activities, feelings and emotions; all are important to your mental and physical well being. By focusing on being mindful of the time in your life, you can apply a better sense of knowledge and awareness to help you find balance.

  • Past: Everyone has met that person who cannot seem to get out of the past. They focus their attention on memories and previous moments and don’t let go. Be mindful of the past but do not dwell on it. You are not defined by who you used to be, the experiences you had or the choices you have made. Be mindful, but move forward and look to the past for motivation.
  • Present: Live in the moment. Be mindful of the present and live your life with a veracity for each new day and every new experience. If there is something you’d like to try, do it. If there’s something you’re afraid to say, say it. If there is somewhere you’d like to be, go. Enjoy the present while it is yours.
  • Future: Have goals. Make plans and then laugh when they don’t work out the way you intended. Be mindful of the future and do not fear it. Embrace something new and enjoy the path you take to get there. Take steps toward your goals and always have something you’re working toward.

Photo via imgfave.com

Be mindful of your time, Devils. And enjoy every minute!

Surviving the midterms mayhem

College midterms have arrived! Do you have what it takes to survive the mayhem of midterms? Your teachers are reassuring you that you’re in good hands, despite the fact that they didn’t provide a study guide, and you want to make the Dean’s List. It’s a recipe for disaster. Stay focused and strong by avoiding the mayhem of a failing grade before it happens with these healthy study tips.

Photo via The New York Times


Study smart

When you’ve procrastinated beyond the point of no return, these study tips will help you make it through the test.

  • Go offline. Get off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and that other addicting website you tell all your friends about. You’re not studying when you’re having 30 conversations at once. Unplug for a while and give all your attention to your work.
  • Play catch-up. If your teacher posts PowerPoints from lectures, review them! You probably didn’t take notes on them while you were in class (obviously you wouldn’t waste your time on them because they’re online) but they are still a helpful tool. Download each one and take notes on the basics of each of them. A quick overview can help you identify they key points of what will be on the exam in record timing.
  • Do your research. Talk to a student who has taken the course before you. Every professor has a different method of teaching and testing, and it’s your job to find out what that is BEFORE you subject yourself to an “E”. Former students can help give you tips on how to study for testing style. For instance, your professor is big on vocabulary in lectures. Knowing beforehand if you’ll be writing out each definition or filling in multiple choice bubbles can make a world of difference in the way you need to study. Help others help you to focus your time on what’s most important.
  • Try the decaf. Limit the caffeine or any kind of productivity-enhancing tricks you might have to a minimum. Most of the time you’ll be more productive doing something entirely irrelevant than you will studying. (Yes, I did just make up that statistic) As a coffee and chai tea lover, I can assure you my apartment is immaculate after a late night caffeine run and there always seems to be more laundry, sweeping and dish washing going on and less studying than any other time.
  • Get some Z’s. Don’t pull an all-nighter. If you can’t operate heavy machinery, you probably won’t be able to remember anything you tried to cram for. You need to know that your sleep and sanity is just as important as getting a good grade. Despite what you may have heard, an all-nighter studying for a class you’ve never bothered to open a book for isn’t doing your brain or your body any good.
  • Healthy body, healthy grades. Fit some exercise into your cram session. Instead of taking that Facebook break, go for a quick run or get a 20-minute workout. Exercise is proven to help retain information because it increases blood flow to your brain.
  • Get a little TLC. Call your Mom, brother, sister, roommate or whoever you would normally vent to for a quick conversation. Their job is to make you feel better and their kind words will make you feel smarter. Keeping a level head and not getting overwhelmed will help you perform better than a student with severe test anxiety.
  • Have fun with it. Attend a study session or hold your own. Freshman year I created a Jeopardy game for my group of friends to help us study for a midterm. Sure, it was a little juvenile and something our teachers would make us do in elementary school, but I did really well on the test and I was able to remember the content. Taking studying out of its normal format will help trigger your memory differently than if you studied straight from the text.
  • Communication is key. Call your TA. Visit your professor. Ask for help. These people are paid to teach you and help you learn and succeed. Unless you’ve told them you don’t understand what’s going on or you need help, they automatically assume things are fine and you feel great about the material. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Soothing sounds. Listen to music — not heavy metal or anything too catchy, but something quiet and peaceful that can easily fall into the background and help you focus.
  • There’s safety in numbers. Tell your roommate when your midterms are. This way, you both know when you need to tip-toe around and be a little kinder than normal. Also, you have the ability to save them from themselves and protect them from oversleeping.
  • Find a book nook. Create a safe study space and think of it as your studying sanctuary. You don’t want to be around anything too distracting, so move away from all hangout spots, party rooms and the obnoxiously loud video gamers. The library is a good alternative if all else fails.
  • Have a food fix. Remember to eat something before your test. When you’re starving, your mind doesn’t function properly (remember, calories are energy). No one wants to hear your stomach growling as they’re racking their brain for correct answers.

Photo via Quickmeme.com

Good luck on those midterms, Devils!

Dating in college: The good, the bad and the ugly

You did it! You survived high school and have made it into the college dating pool. Dating in college is so very different from any other type of relationship you’ll experience in life. In no way, shape or form am I a relationship expert, but I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the good, the bad and the ugly in college relationships. Whether you’ve got a significant other or are out and about exploring your options, follow these tips for a healthy relationship in college.

Image via thecollegecrush.com

  • Set expectations. Expectations for your significant other are just as important as expectations for yourself. What are your goals in life? Are you trying to make it out of college alive, with a degree and hopefully find a job one day? (The answer should be yes!!!) Hold each other accountable for your relationship. It’s easy to fall into a comfortable state and stay there. When that happens, one or both of you will be unhappy. With expectations, you both know what it is you have to do or be for the other person.
  • These are the best years of your life. At least that’s what older people tell us. If you want to experience something, do it now. Don’t let relationships or dating hold you back from something you want to accomplish. You know the saying “life gets in the way,” right? Don’t let life be someone who will hold you back.
  • Be single for a while. We’ve all got that friend who can’t stay out of a relationship. Dating can be great, but when you move from person to person, you start to lose sight of yourself. Get to know you and focus on what you want and what you need. Later in life, the person you’ll end up with will thank you.
  • If your heart’s not in it, get out. Don’t stay with someone who doesn’t make you happy. Let me repeat that: DON’T BE WITH SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T MAKE YOU HAPPY. It seems so simple, but why would you settle for something your heart isn’t fully in? You deserve more than that. Know that there is someone out there who will be able to give you that.
  • Don’t doubt it. If you have misgivings about your significant other, chances are there’s a reason. Trust issues don’t just appear randomly. Have they been dishonest in the past? Did they cheat on you? Are they flirting with someone else in front of you? You can’t be happy with someone if you’re going to spend all your time worrying about what they’re doing when they’re not with you.
  • What do you have in common? Really think about this one. Do you have anything in common aside from liking Sun Devil football and drinking on the weekends? I certainly hope so! If not, take a walk and you can probably find someone more compatible.
  • Consider the pros and cons. Logic is a funny thing, isn’t it? There will be good things and bad things about every relationship, but the good better outweigh the bad. “I love him” should not be the only good thing.
  • Safety is a two way street. Chances are this isn’t your first relationship, and probably not your significant other’s either. Be honest, both with yourself and with each other. Care about your health and theirs. Safety first.
  • Honesty is the best policy. Trust and honesty are the foundation of every relationship. The sooner you realize this, the happier you will both be.
  • Define your relationship. I don’t mean you have to be Facebook official. Just know what you are to the other person and what they are to you. There are a lot of options; avoid the grey areas so that one person isn’t more invested in the relationship than the other.
  • Timing is everything. College will only last for so long; the majority of us are in and out within four years. If you can’t picture yourself staying with the person you’re dating, chances are things won’t work after you graduate. Moving on is a part of life, and sometimes the person we’re with doesn’t get to move with us.
  • Manage your time. With classes, internships and most likely a job on the side, making time for another person is difficult. Don’t spend all your free time with your significant other. You need time for you. So many relationships fail because individuals spent too much time with each other and not enough time on themselves. You should both be able to function separately and happily.
  • Know when to stop. Alcohol is a funny thing, my friends. It can change a person. It can take someone head-over-heels with their significant other and leave them asking, “What happened last night and who is this?” Be aware of your surroundings and know who you’re spending your time with. Stay within your limits and know what they are. And be respectful of yourself, and of others and their limits as well.
  • Exercise your boundaries. You’ve got a roommate. They’ve got a significant other who is constantly over, eating your food, polluting your living space, spiking your utility bills and, of course, living rent-free. Worst. Situation. Ever. Just because you or your roommate is in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to settle for a third roommate. Tell your roommate when So-and-So will be over, and be honest about when they are leaving. Having a discussion beforehand will save you from fights and headaches afterward.
  • Everyone else is getting married and having babies. The number of high school friends who have gotten married and had babies is alarming. Don’t feel like you’re behind. You’ve made the decision to go to school, and marriage and families can come later … much, much later.

When you follow these tips, a happily ever after isn’t too far off. And you can avoid all the heartache while you’re at it. Feel like I missed one? Comment with your own relationship tip!