Category: Health and Wellness

Stress Tips for the end of semester

By , April 22, 2014 8:43 am

calm[Guest post by Kathleen Ramo, Bachelor of Health Sciences student in the School of Nursing]

As the final weeks of the semester creep up on us and we start realizing the many homework assignments, quizzes, papers, and projects that are left to do we realize the deadlines are right around the corner and stress induces. One of the most important things to remember while facing a heavy load of work is to keep our stress to a minimum. I personally have a few things I like to do to reduce stress and clear my mind so I can get through my work with ease. My stress reducing techniques include:

  • Getting plenty of rest. Even though we sometimes find ourselves cramming until the wee hours of the night, studies show that a restful night’s sleep helps us perform better.
  • Take a power nap. If you find yourself dozing off while studying take a 20-30 minute nap to help recharge your batteries.
  • Go for a walk. Fresh air does more for us than we will ever know. Plus, getting some exercise helps stimulate your body.
  • Listen to music. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed I put in my headphones and enjoy. Sometimes music helps get your mind off of whatever you’re thinking about so whenever you take your headphones out you have a clear mind to get back into whatever work you have.
  • Take a relaxing bath.
  • Find something that makes you laugh whether it be television, a movie, or calling up a hilarious friend.
  • One of the most effective things I do to keep my stress levels low is to prepare for exams, papers, and projects in advance. If you know you have assignments due the week before finals the time to start preparing is now!
  • Lastly, reward yourself. Set up something fun to do after you’ve finished your stressful week to unwind.

I hope these ideas helped, because I know we are all starting to feel the effects of stress as the semester comes to an end. Remember, there are three weeks until finals: the time to start preparing for those big projects and papers was yesterday. Stay relaxed and good luck!

Group Smoking Cessation Program For Students

By , March 11, 2014 9:44 am

smoking cessation promotionThe Student Health and Wellness will sponsor a six-week group smoking cessation program on Mondays starting March 31 through May 5.  The group will meet 2-3 p.m. at the UMKC MindBody Connection, located in the Atterbury Student Success Center, room 112.

Free nicotine replacement therapy will be provided with participation in the program.  Spots are limited.

RSVP to to reserve your spot.

Remember–UMKC will be a Tobacco-Free campus starting this Fall!

Critical Need–Sign Up for the UMKC Blood Drive

By , February 24, 2014 3:51 pm

Community-Blood-Center_300x300There is a critical shortage of blood in the Kansas City area due to the fact that many drives were cancelled due to recent inclement weather.

Urgent calls for blood donations are going out across our KC community. The unit of blood each donor provides usually saves two lives.

The blood drive will run from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 26, in room 557 of Flarsheim Hall on the Volker Campus.

Sign up for an appointment by:

  1. emailing Jane Vogl,, site coordinator, the time you would like to donate – slots are open every 15 minutes from 9 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
  2. signing up online at , click on schedule an appointment and enter the code: SCE and then click on search to access the link to this drive’s appointment page.

Resources Available on Counseling Center Website

By , February 17, 2014 5:56 pm

CounselingDid you know that the Counseling Center website is full of helpful information you can access even if you never walk through our doors? 

You may want to know how to handle stress, how to help a friend, or how to cope with a loss.  Or you may want to know if your problems are severe enough to warrant coming in for help.  You can do a mental health screening for depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, or an eating disorder.  Need some help with relaxation?  Want to track your mood to find out when you are feeling well and when you are struggling?  Our website can direct you to helpful apps and other online resources to help you with these concerns and many others. 

Check it out today at and click on “Self-Help Resources” on the left side of the page.

EveryBody is Beautiful Week 2014

By , February 17, 2014 5:55 pm

EveryBodyUMKC’s annual EveryBody Is Beautiful Week will take place February 24-28.  Stop by informational tables to get information on body image and eating disorders and “trash your fat talk”.  Take part all week in Operation Beautiful by posting sticky notes with positive messages around campus.  Supplies are available at the tables and all week at the Women’s Center, Counseling Center, Multicultural Student Affairs, Swinney Recreation, MindBody Connection, and Student Health & Wellness.

Join us on Wednesday, February 26 from 5–7pm in the MindBody Connection (ASSC 112) for a Love Your Body Party, with creative and relaxing activities designed to celebrate all our bodies do for us and fight back against unhealthy messages about weight and eating!

Schedule of tables:

  • Monday, February 24, 11 am – 1 pm in the Health Sciences Building Lobby
  • Tuesday, February 25, 11 am – 1 pm in the Atterbury Student Success Center
  • Wednesday, February 26, 11 am – 1 pm in Royall Hall

EveryBody Is Beautiful Week is offered by the UMKC Women’s Center and Counseling Center, with co-sponsorship from MSA, Swinney Rec, OSI, Student Health, UMKC Athletics and MindBody Connection.  Contact Rachel Pierce at 235-5186 or the Women’s Center at 235-1638 with questions.

Wintertime Tips for Taking Care of Your Body and Mind

By , February 3, 2014 4:52 pm

snowy stairsWintertime Tips for Taking Care of Your Body and Mind

By Kate Melton, Student Health & Wellness/ MindBody Connection and Rachel Pierce, Counseling Center/MindBody Connection

While the start of a new school year often brings fresh excitement and energy, the second semester sometimes lacks that same allure.  The bright sunshine and warmer temperatures of spring can seem very far away, and the shorter days and cold weather can impact our health, both physically and emotionally.  Here are 10 tips for taking care of your holistic health this winter.

1.  Take a Deep Breath

Deep breathing exercises can reduce stress and supercharge your brain.  A little stress is okay, but too much stress can be bad news.  Stress hormones can interfere with thinking, learning, and memory.  In addition, research has shown that too much stress can make you sick.  Deep breathing increases the circulation of blood and oxygen to the brain which can help you think more clearly.

2.  Take the Steps to Keep Yourself Well

Getting sick can make it difficult for you to stay up on your academics.  Take the necessary steps to keep yourself well by washing your hands often with soap and water, clean and disinfect surfaces, and take the time to get a flu vaccine.  You can get your flu vaccine on campus at Student Health and Wellness.

3.  Talk with a Friend

Even your brain needs a friend.  Social support is important for coping with stress.  In fact, research has shown that loneliness can make you sick.  In addition to the healthful benefits of socializing, some people find they learn better while interacting with others (collaborative learning).

4.  Keep Your Brain Fed

Studies have shown that skipping meals can make you slower and less accurate in solving problems.  Good nutrition helps keep your body healthy which helps you ward off stress and illness.  Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water every day.

5.  Get Good ZZZZs

A sleep-deprived brain doesn’t work at its full potential.  Sleep is restorative and important for health and learning.  Research has shown that “sleep is critical for firming up the learning that took place during the day – a process known as memory consolidation” (American Psychological Association Monitor, 2001, vol. 32, #9).  Don’t short yourself the 6-8 hours a night that almost everyone needs, but don’t rely on naps to catch up, either.  Naps tend to disrupt healthy sleep patterns and can become a vicious cycle.

6.  Stay Home When You Are Sick

If you are sick, especially when running a fever, stay home from work, school, and other errands if possible.  If you are around others, make sure you cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and/or sneezing.  Don’t have a tissue?  Sneeze or cough into the bend of your arm to prevent germs from spreading.  These steps will not only help others from getting sick but will also help you to get healthier faster.

7.  Get Organized

De-clutter your space and your mind.  Take time clear out clutter in your living spaces to help clear your mind and allow you to focus on what’s important.  Take a realistic look at what you have to do and develop a plan to get it done.  Prioritize projects and start on the tasks that will require the most time and effort.  Make a to-do list and cross things off as you get them accomplished.

8.  Stay Clean

Don’t dope up your brain with caffeine, nicotine, or recreational drugs.  Caffeine and diet pills can make you jittery and distractible.  It can take several days for the effects of alcohol on your brain to wear off.  Research has shown that marijuana’s impact on memory and learning can last for days or weeks and THC can be detected in your system for up to a month.  In addition, all of these drugs interfere with the REM sleep your brain needs to rejuvenate itself.

9.  Maintain a Positive Attitude

Your brain controls your behavior so negative thinking can hurt your performance.  If you believe you will fail, you may not try as hard or you may be so nervous that you can’t think straight.  Fear is contagious so surround yourself with positive people.

10. Get Moving and Go Toward the Light

Exercise is good for your brain.  Vigorous exercise releases endorphins which can increase feelings of wellbeing, decrease pain, and enhance the immune system.  Endorphins also reduce the impact of stress.  Even taking a brisk walk can have calming and invigorating effects.  By finding an activity you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.  The shorter winter days and staying inside in cold weather can limit sun exposure, which is important for mood and sleep regulation.  Try to spend some time every day outside or need a window to fend off the winter blues.

By making small adjustments in your normal routine, you can stay healthy and happy this winter.  If you need further help or information, visit the MindBody Connection in the Atterbury Student Success Center or Student Health & Wellness or the Counseling Center.



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