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!

Yoga in Downtown Phoenix

Have you ever felt like you’re in a slump? Is your energy level on a constant decrease as your workload increases? After all the coffee and energy drinks you consume, do you still find yourself feeling tired or really just dead? Well I have a solution for you.

Inchworms. You'll learn to love them. Photo via Evie Carpenter

Inchworms. You’ll learn to love them. (Photo by Evie Carpenter)

Exercise!

Now, don’t get all hot and bothered. If traditional exercise like getting on the treadmill or elliptical just isn’t your scene, yoga might be your best bet.

As you’ve probably heard before, yoga is not only beneficial to your body in terms of muscle toning, it also helps release toxins that can be harmful to your health if built up in less-than-proportional terms.

So, what are you waiting for? If you want to rejuvenate your schedule and throw a fun, healthy activity into your routine, try yoga!

There are several downtown or near-downtown options that can cater to your yoga needs! Refer to the list below.

Urban Yoga: This yoga option is the most versatile in price variation and yoga type offered. They offer student and other categorical discounts, which is really great! All classes are done in rooms that are 80-85 degrees to promote better muscle mobility. It also does good for the community by donating select proceeds to local charities.

Sutra Midtown: Sutra Midtown is honestly one of my favorite places. Its motto involves mixing the traditional parts of yoga with a modern flair, and that’s what really sets it apart. They offer eight different flow yoga options: vinyasa, power, core, basic, slow, candlelight, power hour and yin.

Yoga Phoenix: The main type of yoga practiced at Yoga Phoenix is Kundalini Yoga, which is a combination of yoga poses, chants, and breathing exercises. Focus is placed on the spiritual part of yoga as equally as the physical benefits of yoga. Partaking in yoga at this nonprofit yoga option is sure to pay off.

Desert Song Yoga: This yoga option places a lot of emphasis on the body and soul healing combination and also stresses community health. Essentially, a lot of the classes offered at Desert Song Yoga are structured to build bonds between classmates and really take the spiritual part of yoga to the next level.

Yoga Pura: With two Valley locations, this might be a great option for those of us who commute between two places often like a dorm and your parents’ house. The structure of Yoga Pura’s classes has three categories: fundamental, active and gentle. They cater to all levels of yoga knowledge.

As you can see there are tons of yoga places near downtown Phoenix! So get out there and experience something new. Seriously, yoga is really a great option for stressful lifestyles.

Stay healthy, my friends!

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!

Keeping holiday stress at bay

Christmas trees are lit, semi-cooler weather is upon us and stress levels are so high we feel like quitting. Happy Holidays, right? This time of year is supposed to be merry and bright, but with finals, group projects and traveling home, the holidays can be a bit gloomy. Stop stressing about what you need to do before Winter Break and take some time to enjoy the days leading up to it.

Photo via Active.com

Follow these tips to help you stay stress-free

  • Take a minute to breathe. This is one of the most important things you can do for your body and mental health. When the world around you is in disarray, take Rumi’s advice and “Sit, be still and listen.”
  • Go holiday shopping. Make a list of what you need and where you can find it. Simplify your life with online shopping from sites like Amazon where you can get free shipping and customize the order for a gift. When buying for your friends, get creative and make something unique they’ll love. Check out websites like Etsy or Pinterest for some good ideas.
  • Budget your time and your wallet. It’s easy to overspend this time of year whether it’s through time commitments or with shopping for gifts. Plan out how much you can afford to give in both scenarios and stay strict with it!
  • Start a new tradition. It’s easy to get hung up on perfecting and maintaining traditions and forget why you’re doing them in the first place. Simplify traditions and start something new.
  • Keep exercising and eating well. When stress levels rise, your body goes into the “fight or flight” mode which means your body is working overtime to compensate for your high stress levels. When you keep up with your regular exercise and diet routines, your body realizes it doesn’t need to enter the fight or flight stage because it’s just a normal day.
  • Spend time with the people you love. The Holidays are here only once a year and now is the time to enjoy it. Be thankful for the people in your life and share some quality time with them. Watch a holiday movie, bake some holiday cookies and celebrate the wonderful life you’re living.

Stop stressing, Devils. Enjoy the holidays instead!