With exam season on the way and the end-of-semester paper crunch coming, students will be turning to caffeine to help them make it through the long days (and nights) of work. It’s important to know that caffeine cannot replace sleep, and that your brain works best when you have time to sleep before taking an exam. So plan ahead, prioritize, and get some sleep! Your GPA will thank you. Also, learn more about caffeine by checking out the cool info-graphic below. Click to enlarge. Happy Studying!
Steady, throbbing pain in your head. Sensitivity to light and sound. Nausea, and maybe vomiting. If these symptoms sound familiar, you’ve probably suffered from a migraine headache. The symptoms can be so miserable, it’s no wonder that doctors and patients refer to them as migraine “attacks.”
Nearly one in five Americans experience migraine headaches, and they are more common in women than in men. The pain of a migraine usually comes on gradually. Some people experience an “aura.” No, that’s not a lovely glow; it’s the changes in vision, tingling limbs, or numbness that comes before a headache. Migraines typically last a few hours, although some people experience them for an excruciatingly long time (up to 72 hours!).
There’s a looooong list of things that can provoke migraines. Some of them are pretty common in college life: chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, changes in sleeping patterns, skipping meals, irregular physical activity, oral contraceptives, and stress. I don’t know about you, but most of my friends are exposed to at least one of those triggers while school is in session.
If you experience symptoms of migraine headaches, read on for a few things you can do to figure out what might be causing your headaches and how to make them feel better. Continue reading
Summer is here! No matter what your plans are hopefully you already have housing arranged. If you are staying in Chapel Hill trying to figure out what’s next or starting an internship or job in another city, your housing situation might involve a roommate. This roommate could be a person you barely know or have never met face-to-face.
Living with a stranger can be convenient and a great way to develop a new circle of friends. However, a summer roommate can be very different from living with someone for an extended period of time. Because the situation is supposed to be temporary, either or both parties may not feel the need to get to know each other and therefore may not vocalize their expectations very well. Most of the time this can be ok because summer schedules are busy and you may not even see each other that much. However, because summer schedules can be lax and sporadic things can go wrong or get annoying. If this happens, a lack of communication from the beginning and an unclear understanding of how the other person handles conflict can make life stressful.
So, here are some tips for living with a summer roommate you don’t know very well or at all:
Before you move in
- Know who else has a key. (Stay updated on this as the summer progresses.)
- Understand how the security deposit works. If there is damage to the property will both or all roommates lose their security deposits or just one person? Will the check be held or cashed?
- Take pictures of everything to document the move-in conditions.
- Contact the property owner directly and make sure they know you are there.
- Get a copy of the original lease.
- Make a copy of everything you sign.
- Understand how parking works.
- Know how you and the roommate(s) will split the cost of utilities.
Within a few days of moving in make an effort to get to know the other person, maybe invite them to dinner. This will make it easier to discuss the following up front:
- Rules about any and all types of guests (Weekends, after 5pm, overnight, long-term)
- How the bathroom will be shared
- When front and back doors will be locked
- How often and who will clean and take out the trash on trash day
- Parties and what will be served at the parties. If you are uncomfortable with what is being planned speak up and offer an alternative that you are comfortable with.
- What you are willing to share (e.g., cleaning supplies, food, and space)
- Expectations regarding cleaning before ALL/BOTH of you move out
Do you have suggestions for living with someone you do not know very well during the summer? Leave a comment below, Tweet us @UNCCampusHealth, or share your thoughts on our Facebook wall!
Have a great summer everyone!
Finals period! Oh what a wonderful time of year!
Sike. Let’s just be blunt. Finals. Period. Sucks. It’s a stressful time of year. End of story. There is really no way that a 2 week period testing your knowledge on ALLLL the things that you learned during the past 14 weeks could be anything but a little stressful. But there are some ways to make it suck less, and maybe to even harness some of that stress for good.
Above all- Don’t Engage in the Stress Competition at all costs!!!
Person 1:“I’m so stressed. I have 2 papers, and 3 finals to go. I’ve been up since, like, 6:30 this morning.”
Person 2: “Uh, me too. I’ve had like 6 cups of coffee today. I only got like 3 hours of sleep.”
Person 1: “Oh yea, I only got like 2.5. I had to finish that take home we had due for biochem.”
How often have you been hanging out with friends during high-stress times like finals period and suddenly found yourself in a similar conversation, wherein, one person’s stressors just feeds off the other’s. BEWARE! While this might seem like simple commiseration, it only serves to perpetuate an atmosphere of stress! In fact, let’s all actively FIGHT the stress competition. When you find yourself beginning to engage in a Stress Competition, immediately say something nice. Something positive. Do jumping jacks. Make a scene. ANYTHING but engage in the stress competition- for serious.
Oh and here are 6 other handy tips for finals times…
1. Make a Schedule: Sound familiar? You’ve probably received this advice on repeated occasions, but it’s a good suggestion, so it bears repeating. Many times, stress stems from trying to squeeze too much into too little time. By setting out a schedule, you help to structure your time, ensuring that you’re not left at the 12th hour with 20+ pages to read/write. (Bonus: By creating a schedule and using your time wisely you have more time for #3 and #4!)
2. Prioritize: Much like making a schedule, prioritizing helps you to avoid that last minute cram.
3. Avoid Productive Procrastination (Or Procrastination At all): Personally, I often try to do smaller easier tasks, while ignoring my looming larger assignments, something a friend of mine calls productive procrastination. While this might seem like at least I’m getting something done, it really just causes me extra stress when I have to scrabble to finish the BIG assignments in the end. Those little assignments aren’t going anywhere, and they’ll be just as easy when you’re done with the big one. Same thing for procrastination at all. It’s only going to sneak up on you in the end. Facebook, Twitter, that trip to Taco Bell will still be there when you’re done (and can even serve as a pleasant reward for finishing!)
4. Take Care of Yourself: I CANNOT repeat this enough. If your body is not well, your mind is not well. Deprive it of the essentials– sleep, nutrients from good food– it’s just not going to perform the way you want it to, and you’re not going to perform the way that you want to. So treat your body right. Take care of yourself.
5. Don’t Forget Balance: Staying balanced during finals period can be hard. But don’t forget to intersperse some of the activities that really make you happy in between papers and study sessions.
6. Set Realistic Goals: Know what you can and cannot do. Finishing an X page paper in X amount of time might be realistic for some, but not for you. Use this knowledge to help guide you in #1 and #2.
Any other great suggestions on avoiding finals time stress?
Even Facebook and Google+ know there is a difference between “close friends” and everyone else: acquaintances, frenemies, and someone you interned with last summer. During your time at Carolina you’ll probably have every type of “friend” imaginable.
Healthy friendships can make you happier and feel supported as you make your way through life. In healthy friendships both parties support each other during difficult times, look out for each other, listen, do not pass judgment, and make each other laugh.
Sometimes it may seem like your relationships with others are healthy when they really are not. Therefore, sometimes it is important to assess the relationships in your life.
Here are a few types of “friendships” you may encounter that could potentially be unhealthy and some tips on dealing with them:
The Party Foul: This is a friend that you go out with, but who actually doesn’t have your best interests in mind. For example, this person doesn’t step up and watch your drink or step in when someone starts to harass you. This person may also have a tendency to encourage you to drink more or more often than you planned to. While this person may be the life of the party, if they exhibit any of these behaviors, then they are actually jeopardizing your safety when you need someone you can trust by your side.
How to deal: If this type of person is in your life, try talking to them about their behavior at parties and any changes you think they could make to help you feel safer going out with them. If their behavior does not change or they are not willing to listen, consider finding new people to party with. Go here for more about having a safe and healthy social life or participate in a One Act training session (and take your party buddy with you!).
The Stresser: Everyone stresses about grades, papers, and due dates because doing your best academically is important. However, when a person says that they want to study with you, but then just overshares their stress rather than reviewing the course material, they are probably just increasing your stress level and distracting you.
How to deal: If The Stresser does not tone it down after you tell them that they are stressing you out; think about distancing yourself from them in academic contexts. For example, if they approach you in Davis tell them that you are sorry they are stressed but you have a big deadline looming and you need to get back to work, but that you would be happy to meet up with them after you turn in your paper or take your test.
The Competitor: This person gets competitive with you regarding everything from leadership positions to physical fitness to Twitter follower numbers. Being around this type of person could be motivating, but is often just stressful.
How to deal: Just be happy for this person and tell them that you are. Also, share your successes with them, don’t be shy! Hopefully they will be happy for you. If this person is making you feel bad for not being what they think is a superstar, make a list of all the things YOU HAVE accomplished. If these accomplishments align with YOUR goals, then there is no need to worry about what they are doing.
The Friend With Benefits: This is a person with whom you are having causal sexual encounters. You think to yourself any variation of the following: “It is not serious, but it could be. I’m just not sure right now. It is just fun, no big deal.” While having a FWB can be fun and your emotions about it may in flux, the relationship may carry some unwanted health consequences.
How to deal: To make sure that the situation does not get out of control, get tested regularly for STDs and have safer sex by using barrier protection methods correctly with each encounter (more info on the many aspects of safer sex here). Also, talk with your FWB about your limits. Just because you did something with them once does not mean you have to do it with them again or go any further. Your consent is needed every time. Testing, protection, and confidential advice on sexual health are available at Campus Health.
You don’t need to aggressively delete people from your life if a few aspects of the relationship are not perfect. However, if you identify a relationship that is consistently unhealthy take the time to talk with that person. Friendships can look different to different people, and your friend may not realize the negative effect they are having on you. A quick talk and a few changes may drastically improve the friendship.
If you think you need help navigating friendship choices or relationships with others make an appointment with a CWS counselor by calling (919) 966-3658 or just walk in anytime Monday through Friday between 9:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 4:00pm.
As always, comment below, Tweet us @UNCCampusHealth, or post on our FB page!
I just took down my Christmas tree last Thursday. It was February 16th. It only took 1 hour and 10 minutes. I have been stressing out since I got back from break because despite the amount of free time I have on my hands, I could not bring myself to take down that tree. I got the box set of Sex and the City for Christmas and just finished the first DVD of Season 5 – I certainly had a free 70 minutes at least 30 times over in the past month and a half. So, if it was stressing me out and if I had the time, then why couldn’t I buckle down and do it?
I wish I knew the answer to this question but it seems as I go through life, questions of this variety pop up much more often than the answers. Continue reading
It’s a New Year! A new semester! The crisp white pages of your 2012 planner lay open to a world of possibilities. Your Google calendar is filled with vast swaths of free time. Are you free next Wednesday to volunteer for your sorority’s social? Of course! Wanna help your friend distribute flyers for a project next month? Sure! Some people are going to a hockey game in Raleigh this weekend—you in? YES!
I hate being cold. I also hate that when it’s cold outside, I don’t exercise as much.
So, I’ve found ways to exercise in the warmth of home, without exercise equipment. Here are some ideas I’d like to share. You can make a full cardio workout out of these by combining activities and exercising at moderate intensity for 45-60 minutes.
- Jumping Jacks: This classic exercise from your kindergarten class never grows old, and will definitely get your heart pumping.
- Jump Rope: Find your little brother or sister’s jump rope and see how fast you can do it. See if you can crisscross or double hop. Or, set a timer and jump for 10 minutes straight. Make sure to wear good shoes to protect your feet and legs.
- Burpees (or Squat Thrusts): These are classic whole-body exercises which involve quickly lowering into the push up position, pulling the feet in and then jumping up with arms raised. You can see an example here. These are pretty challenging, so do them at a pace that works for you.
- Mountain climbers: In the push up position with chest directly above hands, arms shoulder width apart, and back flat, run with your feet as if climbing a mountain. You can see an example here.
- Steps: Exercise up and down the stairs in your house by stepping up with one foot, then bringing the other up onto the same step. You may want to use just a few of the steps. Repeat leading with the other leg.
- Wii or Kinect games: Many of these video games involve active participation. Kinect Adventures has a great obstacle course game that really gets your heart pumping, or you can try some of the sports games on the Wii.
- Dancing: Dancing is a great way to exercise. You can go out with friends for a night on the town, or slip in Dance Central or Just Dance on the Wii or Kinect.
Physical activity will not only help you maintain a healthy weight during this season, it will also give you extra energy and relieve stress as your holiday to-do list grows. Don’t let the cold, ice or snow stop you from staying active. Give these in-home cardio exercises a try!
I will keep this short so you can go back to studying.
As you know, finals are here. Having a significant other during finals can provide critical social and emotional support during this stressful time.
Here are some things you can do to support your partner during finals:
- Support them in their efforts to refrain from Facebook, Twitter, and texting.
- Make them study food (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, trail mix , or egg and cheese on a biscuit!) to help them stay focused. Not eating enough during stressful times can increase fatigue, and being hungry can be a distraction from studying.
- Save their favorite study spot while they are taking a break or an exam.
- Offer up your place to study if they have loud roommates.
- Do their laundry so they can sleep a little longer.
- If you are stressed, find a constructive way to share that stress with them without stressing them out too.
- Take care of their pet while they study in Davis all day so they do not have to worry.
- Make them a care package with healthy snacks, batteries for their calculator, and highlighters. This may brighten their week
- Try not to share germs if you have the flu or a cold. Tips on handwashing can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/
- Give them a hand, neck, or back massage to relieve tension from all that typing.
- Encourage them to take study breaks, get exercise, and plenty of sleep. All of these things are critical for remembering facts and doing well in stressful situations.
You can also relieve finals related stress by watching a movie, taking a walk, playing video games, or taking a nap together. Yes, sex is a stress reliever too – but be sure you talk about it first and are using a form of contraception, or it could be a bigger stressor than stress reliever !
If you have additional suggestions Tweet, Facebook, or comment below.
Happy Finals! You can do it!
The Thanksgiving Break Break Up is also called a Turkey Drop (1, 2, 3). Turkey Drops happen around Thanksgiving when students return home and find that they are no longer interested in their high school sweetheart, or when people in a budding romance realize that it will never reach full bloom by the end of the year.
Breaking up can be stressful. So here is some advice about what to do if you are part of a Turkey Drop.
- If you are ending the relationship, consider the other person’s feelings. You do not have to remain best friends, but try to part on good terms to reduce the stress.
- Consider that if geographical distance has been a problem in the relationship, the other person may feel the same way you do.
- Finals will be around the corner when you return to campus, and you may experience a variety of emotions as a result of the break-up. Contact Counseling and Wellness to gain perspective and learn coping mechanisms to prevent break-up related emotions from interfering with finals.
- Consider any follow-up steps you need to take to end the relationship. Do you want to erase the former significant other from all aspects of Facebook? Do they have things at your place that need to be returned or vice versa? Considering these factors and taking action may help you move forward.
- Make time for friends and doing things that you enjoy. This will relieve some stress and provide a pleasant distraction.
Additional information about dealing with break-ups can be found here.
Do you have ideas about how to move on from a Turkey Drop? If so, tweet at us, post on our Facebook wall, or comment below!