Category: Health and Wellness

Don’t stress about being stressed!

By , November 18, 2014 11:15 am

relaxingThe first thing I’ll say, just to get it out of the way:  there are, essentially, three weeks left of classes.  There’s the rest of this week, then Thanksgiving break (which isn’t really a break, right?), then two weeks before finals start.

Second thing I’ll say, just to remind you: everyone stresses a little.  It’s normal.  It happens.  But, as they say, a little stress can go a long way.  So, third thing—and most important—it’s possible, even easy, to deal with it before it becomes a major hassle.

Don’t ignore it, though.  When I ignore what’s stressing me, I start doing anything but what I should be doing—and that’s tackling it [the project that’s causing me to stress] head-on.  So I vacuum.  I rearrange furniture or the kitchen cabinets.  On the plus side, my apartment is super-clean around this time of year.  But, knowing that I’m just delaying the inevitable actually makes me more stressed.

Being able to manage my own outlook on stress is probably the most important thing I can do.  Once I figure out what it is I’m ignoring (I mean, I don’t even like to vacuum, so why am I doing it all the time?) I can get down to figuring out why I’m stressed about it and what to do next.

I first make a quick plan for each project looming ahead of me.  Start with the end result—the due date—and work backwards from there.  Hopefully, I’ve been keeping up with the assignments and readings, so all that I really need to do is to get energized and back on track.  Sometimes working on a project for so long leads to apathy or, yes, even loathing towards that project and I just want it to go away.  I have to remember that the only way to get it off my back is to make a focused plan to finish it.

My quick plan turns into a handy outline that I can check-off each step, which is very satisfying.  If I haven’t been keeping up or if I just need more time to finish some of the readings, at least I know my timeframe and can better plan my approach.  Again, keeping the to-do steps small and manageable is immensely helpful when faced with something that looks daunting—that way the long list shrinks quickly!

In addition to getting myself back on track with an outline, I start each day with a workout at Swinney Recreation Center.  The 45 minutes all to myself either in the pool or on the elliptical is invigorating and allows me to think about the day ahead—or I can just not think at all, which is also helpful!  But be sure to schedule these types of breaks throughout your day.  Too often, I start out with a great swim but forget to take a break later, which makes for a long, tiring day.  And the more tired I am, the less I want to work on my projects—you know the cycle!  So take breaks and get plenty of sleep to recharge your body and your mind.  College is all about balance, and that includes making time to take care of yourself and your mental health.

Other quick ways to recharge are easy to do and surprisingly cheap.  Take a walk (bundle up, though!), catch your favorite TV show, enjoy a mid-afternoon fruit smoothie, meditate for a half-hour, meet up with friends for appetizers.  If you need more ideas (I know, not everyone can vacuum as much as I do!), check out some of the online resources available on the Counseling Center’s website.  The MindBody Connection in the Student Success Center can also help you work in some balance and stress relief.  The mission of the MindBody Connection is to help students learn skills to manage academic and personal stressors.  Some of the services they provide include the relaxation station (with massage chair!), eWave by HeartMath, and Wii Hours of the Day.  Playtime is very important to managing stress!

But the key message here is that you, too, can reduce your stress level!   By taking care of yourself–mentally and physically–and looking at all projects and papers as smaller parts of a puzzle, these next few weeks will breeze by and you will be well-rested and focused for those final papers, presentations, and exams.

Know what the Flu is and how to prevent it

By , November 18, 2014 11:15 am

SHWWhat Is the Flu?

Influenza, commonly known as the “Flu”, is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by Influenza A or B Viruses.  Flu appears most frequently in winter and early spring.  The Flu Virus attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract.

How Is Flu Spread?

The Flu Virus is spread from person to person through respiratory secretions and typically sweeps through groups of people who spend time in close contact with each other, such as in classrooms, college dorms, and offices.  The Flu is spread when you inhale droplets in the air that contain the Flu Virus, make direct contact with respiratory secretions through sharing drinks or utensils, or handle items contaminated by an infected person.  The Flu Virus on your skin can infect you when you touch or rub your eyes, nose, or mouth.  That’s why frequent and thorough hand washing is a key way to limit the spread of Influenza.  Flu symptoms start to develop from one to four days after infection with the virus.

Common Symptoms of Seasonal Flu

  • Temperature >100.4 F
  • Body Aches
  • Dry Cough
  • Headache
  • Body Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Sore Throat
  • Possible Diarrhea or Vomiting

What to Do If You Think You Have the Flu

  • GO TO BED!
  • Call UMKC Student Health and Wellness, or another healthcare provider.
  • Stay away from people (self-isolate) until you are 24 hours fever-free (without fever-reducing medication), or 7 days after onset, whichever is shorter.
  • Call a friend to bring you food or medicine as needed.
  • Treat any fever, pain, or headaches with ibuprofen or acetaminophen.  Ibuprofen 200 to 400 mg every 4 to 6 hours as needed (up to 1200 mg/day), or Acetaminophen 325 to 650 mg every 4 to 6 hours as needed (up to 3000 mg/day).
  • Drink 8 to 16 oz. of water, juice, broth, etc., each hour while you’re awake.
  • Take your temperature every few hours to monitor your fever.

I Don’t Have the Flu, But What Can I Do To Prevent It?

  • Stay away from sick people!!!
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Get the yearly Flu Vaccine to decrease your chances of getting the seasonal flu.
  • Protect your immune system by…
  • eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • getting plenty of sleep (7-10 hours per night).
  • not smoking!!  It weakens your lungs against infections.
  • not drinking alcohol!!

Contact UMKC Student Health & Wellness at (816) 235-6133

or check out www.cdc.gov for more information!

Health Care and Big Data–implications for the future

By , November 11, 2014 10:15 am

Mark Hoffman“Health Care and Big Data” a talk by Mark Hoffman Ph.D.
Tuesday, November 18th at 5:30pm on Hospital Hill: Theater B

Electronic health records, genomics and large-scale population level data are all becoming increasingly important in informing health care research and delivery, and each involves the generation and analysis of massive amounts of information.  Dr. Hoffman will share an overview of “Big Data” and some examples of the connection between big data and new technology-based innovations that have the potential to transform health care.

Dr. Mark Hoffman is Director of the Center for Health Insights at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC), where he also serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics and the Department of Pediatrics. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and performed post-doctoral research at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames Iowa. Before joining UMKC, he spent 16 years leading genomics, public health and research initiatives at Cerner Corporation, where he was a Vice President. In addition to his peer-reviewed publications, Mark is an inventor on 16 issued patents.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Library portFOLio Series.

Time change and winter weather — be aware, stay safe!

By , November 4, 2014 8:55 am

SafetyTime change brings colder weather and shorter days–you may start the day driving to school in the dark and then end up driving home in the dark.  With only weeks left of the semester and holidays coming up, you will likely be distracted and stressed trying to get everything done.  Please don’t get so distracted by texting or scrolling through your phone while walking that you forget to watch for cars when crossing the street.

When walking across campus, try not to walk alone.  However, if you find you must do so, be aware of your surroundings and stay on lighted sidewalks.  Know what is going on around you at all times, the location of emergency blue-light call boxes, and the number for the UMKC police department (235-1515).  Also, keep in mind the UMKC police department offers a personal escort service.  If you feel the need to be escorted to your car or your residence hall, call the police department at 235-1515.  For more information on campus safety, visit the campus safety website.

Colder weather also seems to bring on car troubles.  Take your vehicle for a regular service now before the weather really turns–there’s nothing worse than having a breakdown when it’s snowing!  With colder weather, it’s always a good idea to keep your gas tank above half-full.  Keep emergency numbers in your car as well as an emergency kit, including blankets, snacks, flashlight, jumper cables, de-icer, scraper, and a phone charger.

UMKC’s crime statistics are very low with most crimes reported being burglaries. Prevention is key — so remember to keep track of your belongings and don’t leave them unattended or in plain view in your vehicle (put bags and packages in your trunk or under a blanket out of sight).

Finally, if it does snow enough that classes are cancelled, this information will be posted by 6am with the local media channels and posted on the UMKC homepage.  Emergency notifications will also be sent out via UMKC Alert to the phone number and email address you specified when you opted in before registering for classes.

Will a little planning now, this winter season can be fun AND safe!

Communiversity Wholistic Health Fair (Nov 9)

By , November 4, 2014 8:51 am

communiversityThe UMKC Communiversity’s Wholistic Health Fair, a bi-annual event since 1999, will take place from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9 at the UMKC Student Union, fourth floor. The fair will host 60 exhibitors and 20 workshops, a silent auction and psychics. You can experience an array of innovative health concepts where alternative-health practitioners share their knowledge, experience and philosophies with the public.

The fair is free-of-charge. Workshops include: Hatha Yoga, Dream Building, the 21 Day Love Challenge, Living Drinking Water and the Missing Link in Modern Medicine. The workshops offer participants a chance to enhance their knowledge and ask questions. You can take three workshops for only $7.

A Silent Auction is included in the fair, featuring hundreds of items, such as coupons for a listing in Evolving Magazine, meditation and yoga sessions. It is open from 11 a.m. – 3:55 p.m.  Items are donated to Communiversity, and all proceeds support the Communiversity program.

For more information call 816-235-1407 or visit the Communiversity website. Remember to pick up a catalog of upcoming classes and the show guide at a local public library.

Stay healthy and manage stress

By , October 21, 2014 8:40 am

Library BooksIt is getting to be that time of semester when everything seems to hit at once, and the worst part is that things won’t slow down again until after finals are over!  Throw in the fact that flu season is starting, and what we have is a dangerous mix!

Try to keep a healthy balance of stress (yes, it can be motivating!) but plan now so it won’t overwhelm you.  You’re finished with mid-terms by now, but it’s not too early to start getting ready for final exams and projects.  Part of planning for your classes includes planning to keep yourself healthy–both mentally and physically.  Luckily, it’s easy to add these tips to your daily routine.

Taking care of your mental health and well-being can be difficult when school and life get really stressful.  However, there are things you can do to help:

  • If you haven’t already, review your day-to-day schedule.  You should know by now how much time you need to study for each class, so you can adjust your schedule as needed.  Don’t forget to schedule some down time to relax:  hang out with friends, go for a walk, attend a concert at the Conservatory, or visit a museum.
  • There are many apps available specifically for relaxation.  Using an app like “Breathe to Relax” can help you get rid of unnecessary tension and clear your head, allowing you to focus and get more done when studying and working on projects.
  • Visit the MindBody Connection for more ideas and tips.  If you need more focused assistance or to talk with a professional confidentially, visit the UMKC Counseling Center.

It is also important to keep yourself physically healthy.

  • Be sure you are eating right… this means try to avoid living off of junk food!  When you are up late, try to make your snacks healthy.  If you want something to crunch on, try carrots or almonds instead of chips. These will help fill you up and leave you more satisfied.
  • Also be sure you are getting enough exercise.  At the end of the semester, it is easy to go weeks without lifting anything heavier than your bookbag or have your only running be from class to class and to work.  Stop by the Swinney Recreation Center at least a few times a week–a morning workout is a great way to start the day or you can burn off tension after a stressful day.  If you can’t give up the time studying, hit the treadmill or stationary bike while you read your textbook or practice with flashcards.  A yoga class can help you get fit and relax–a winning combination!
  • Maintain your sleep schedule as much as you can.  There may be a few late nights, but try to be sure you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night.  This will add to productivity during the day because you won’t be as tired and groggy!  Besides, all-nighters don’t really help you retain information and can actually be more detrimental in the long run.
  • Get a flu shot sooner, rather than later; shots are offered through the Student Health and Wellness.  Cover your coughs and sneezes, wash your hands often in warm soapy water, and use sanitizer to stop the sread of germs.  If you do happen to get sick, don’t try to power through it.  Know your limits, and know when you just need to spend some quality time in bed resting.

 

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