Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"I'm so stressed!": Coping with Stress During Finals


April can be one of the most stressful months of the academic year. As students, we have multiple papers, quizzes, group projects, jobs, preparing for finals, and other responsibilities. We have a lot of things to do, and it seems like there is such little time. This is when we start to feel stressed, anxious, and sometimes overwhelmed. 

Many aspects of life cause stress and can impact your physical and emotional health. Stress impacts everyone in a unique way and everyone deals with stress differently. One may experience a range of consequences from stress, from mild to severe. How stress impacts one person may not affect another. Some examples of stress impacts include:

  • Lower levels of self-esteem
  • Practice of unhealthy behaviors, including poor nutrition, drugs, and alcohol
  • General irritability
  • Anxiety/anxious feelings for no specific reason
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion
  • Weight issues/ Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Body aches/pains, especially in the neck and/or lower back

There are various ways to cope with stress. Depending on your life situation, there are different tactics to controlling stress and channeling in ways that help you become a more productive person. The more proactive we are with stress in our lives, the better chance we have  of keeping a sense of balance and making sure the stress doesn't turn into over-stress.

Tips & Tricks to Cope With Stress:
  • Create a schedule and prioritize
    • Plan your activities and be sure to allow yourself the time you need to get work done. It is best to over-estimate than having to stay up all night and rushing to finish a project or assignment.
  • Tackle the biggest task first
    • By starting with the biggest task, you are likely to have more energy (usually at the start of the day) which will increase your chance of success. Do the task early and you will also create momentum to continue accomplishing other tasks.
  • Regularly exercise
    • Walking when you can, taking workout classes, or exercising for at least 10 minutes a day can elevate your mood, release tension, and keep you healthy.
  • Reduce alcohol and drug use
    • These substances may add to headaches, decrease coping mechanisms, and add to depression. Avoiding alcohol and drugs can also increase stress levels as they can cause health issues and legal problems.
  • Take care of your body
    • Staying up late, eating fast food frequently, and drinking energy drinks may make you feel more productive for a while, but can ultimately cause more problems in the long-run. Eating right and getting adequate rest can keep stress away.
  • Integrate life activities
    • Maybe you get inspired watching late night television and feel the urge to send out emails to friends you've been meaning to contact. Whatever the activity, do it when you are able and willing. By doing things this way, you allow for the ebb and flow of life to run its course.
  • Talk to someone
    • Talk to a trusted friend, family member, colleague or a counselor to express your feelings and explain your stressors. Just talking may help you gain perspective and provide the outlet to start prioritizing tasks and reducing stress.

Leading a More Relaxed Life

Coping with stress is important for having a more relaxed life. A sense of relaxation can be diminished when there are too many "to do" lists running through your head. To help relax, try sitting by yourself for a few minutes and planning out your day before it begins. Planning ahead and prioritizing can help you relax and decreases the chance of sending your body back into stress mode. Getting regular exercise, gentle stretching, meditation and massages can all help you lead a more relaxed life.
Don't Stress Ace That Test

The HERC will be hosting Don’t Stress Ace that Test Monday April 25 through Thursday April 28th from 11am-1pm in Taylor and Thomas dining halls. We will provide information and activities on stress, sleep, and nutrition.
Questions & Contact Information

For more information on stress, please contact Brittany at the Health Education Resource Center by calling (217) 581-7786, or email herc-hlthpromo@eiu.edu.  If you are feeling overwhelmed and would like to speak to medical professional, please call the Health Service clinic at (217) 581-3013. You may also call the Counseling Center at (217) 581-3413 to speak with a counselor.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

EIU Collegiate Recovery Community

According to the Betty Ford Institute (2007), substance abuse recovery is defined as “A voluntarily maintained lifestyle characterized by sobriety, personal health and citizenship. With approximately 21% of the young adult population between 18 and 21 meeting the criteria for substance abuse disorders (SAMHSA), the collegiate community is a fertile ground for supporting students in recovery and positively impacting the stigma associated with addiction (ARHE, 2015).

EIU Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC)
The Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) of Eastern Illinois University provides an empowering environment where students living in, or seeking, long-term recovery from substance use disorders, mental health illness, and other quality of life concerns can successfully realize their goals of academic success and an improved quality of life. The CRC's mission is to help students maintain a sober and health lifestyle in order to fully engage in their academic, social, and personal pursuits.  In the service of this mission, the aim of the organization is to:
  • Provide a safe, supportive space for students with alcohol and drug issues to engage in sober activities with other recovering students
  • Raise awareness about long-term recovery as a viable goal for students who struggle with addiction, as well as combat the stigma associated with alcoholism and drug addiction
  • Foster supportive relationships with the friends, allies, and family members of those who struggle with addiction
Contact
If you have any questions or would like to participate in building our community contact Mike Tozer, Alcohol Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Specialist, at mtozer@eiu.edu or (217) 581-7786.

Additional ResourcesStudents may find additional resources by visiting the following links:


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sexual Health Services at EIU's Health Service Medical Clinic

Did you know that theEIU Health Service offers many sexual health related services and products to those on the student insurance health plan?

Some procedures available on-site include:

  • Sexually transmitted infection testing includes: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis
  • HIV testing
  • Pregnancy Testing($10 for urine test)
  • Urinalysis
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) testing and treatment
  •  Yeast and GardnerellaVaginalis tests (Bacterial Vaginosis)
  • Pap Exams
  • Breast Exams
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) / external genital wart treatment
Please visit www.eiu.edu/health for a complete list of charges and co-pays.

The EIU Health Service also offers many forms of preventative medicines and  products to keep you sexually healthy:

  • Birth control pills
  • Depo Provera
  • 3 different varieties of condoms including Trojan-ENZ, Trojan Magnums, and Durex PleasureMax
Rubber Lovers members can present their card to receive discounts on safer sex products at the EIU Pharmacy

For women specifically, the Health Service offers many educational resources and counseling:


  • The completion of an online contraceptive class discussing pelvic exams, contraceptives, Sexually Transmitted Infections and breast examinations is required prior to a women's health exam and contraceptive prescription
    • Click here to access the online contraceptive class
  • Contraceptive counseling: options for birth control methods best for you
  • Sexually Transmitted Infection prevention, screening, and information
  • Counseling regarding pap smear results
  • Positive pregnancy test packet

Other resources regarding sexual health can be found at the Health Education Resource Center by calling (217) 581-7786 or visiting our website at http://www.eiu.edu/herc/.


For more information regarding Health Service resources or to make an appointment, call (217) 581-3013, visit www.eiu.edu/health, login to the MyHealth Portal on PAWS, or stop by the Human Services Building.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Safe Zone Training at EIU

Created to address the concerns of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and ally community at Eastern Illinois University and the surrounding area, the Safe Zone Project is a way to reach out to these students and welcome them in all areas of the EIU community. Safe Zones are areas on and around campus where supportive people provide information and work toward the elimination of myths, misconceptions, and stereotypes.
 
Safe Zone Mission Statement
By participating in the Safe Zone Program, one pledges that his/her Safe Zone is a place where lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and allies can:
  • feel comfortable and safe in a confidential environment.
  • express any issues and concerns in an atmosphere of acceptance and support.
  • access informational and educational resources including: organizations, phone numbers, web sites, and books.
Phase 1 Training Safe Zone: Phase 1 training is open to any student, staff, or faculty member who is interested in becoming an ally for the LGBTQA+ community and learning more about LGBTQA+-related issues. Topics that will be addressed include: LGBTQA+ terminology, the coming out process, heterosexual privilege, facts and myths about the LGBTQ community, the Riddle Homophobia Scale, and ways to engage in quiet activism.

Phase 2 Training Safe Zone: Phase 2 training is a case study-based, application-focused session. Participants will gain the tools they need to not only provide resources, but to become an active participant in making EIU's campus a more supportive, inclusive, and affirming place for LBGTQA+ people. Completion of Phase 2 will result in becoming an identified Safe Zone Ally.       
     
Phase 3 Training Safe Zone: Phase 3, Transgender 101, gives participants a 101 session on terminology, microagression, privilege, and how to serve as better allies to transgender individuals and students.
 
If you have questions or would like more information regarding the programs and resources offered by the LGBTQA Resource Center, please call 217-581-7117 or e-mail lgbtqa@eiu.edu.
 
Information regarding Safe Zone Training at EIU from http://castle.eiu.edu/lgbtqa/safezone.php

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Relaxation & You: A More Relaxed Life


College is a stressful time. The combination of homework, tests, extracurricular activities, and maintaining a social life can be overwhelming. It’s important for both your mental and physical well being that you take some time out of your busy schedule to relax! So, what is relaxation exactly? It is defined as “a feeling of calm in body and mind.” Relaxation is a learned technique which can be used in stressful situations and everyday life to reduce tension and increase control.

Relaxation Tips

Relaxation can be diminished when there are too many “to do’s” running through your mind. Thinking about everything you still need to accomplish can cause pressure headaches, among other physical symptoms. To relieve these headaches, consider the following tips:

  1. Regular daily exercise
  2. Gentle stretching (especially neck and back)
  3. Write out your to-do list
  4. Get a massage
Also, sitting by yourself for a few moments and planning out your day ahead of time is another positive de-stressing activity to engage in. When your day is intimately planned out there are no surprises that can send your mind and body back into stress mode.

Staying Mentally & Emotionally Healthy

Staying mentally and emotionally healthy is both difficult and complex. By learning and practicing healthy behaviors, you have a better chance of increasing your mental and emotional health. Some positive behaviors include:

  • Proper rest
  • Maintain good nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Go outside for some fresh air
  • Limit alcohol, drug, and tobacco use

Keeping your body in shape helps your mental and emotional fitness, too! So, how do you ensure that your body is healthy? Consider the following suggestions:

  • Make leisure time a priority
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a proper diet
  • Limit alcohol, drug, and tobacco use
  • Go to the doctor for regular check-ups
The Power of Massage
Who doesn’t love getting a massage? Not only to they feel good physically, but they are also a powerful tool to help you relax. Some of the benefits of massages include:

  • Enhanced immunity
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced pain, stress, and anxiety
  • Greater energy
  • Alleviate physical pain
  • Improved concentration 

Massages are also beneficial as they reduce anxiety, alcohol and tobacco withdrawals, and increase the body’s natural pain killers. While a massage can be an excellent tool for relaxation and stress reduction, you should always check with your doctor before engaging in alternative or holistic medicine approaches.

Are you in need of a massage? Stop by the massage chairs in Bridge Lounge or the 24 Hour Lounge in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Union for a few minutes of relaxation. They are available to students and faculty and staff!

Stressors

Many aspects of college life cause stress and can affect students both physically and mentally. College students experience a range of mild to severe consequences as a result of stress. Stress impacts everyone in a unique way and everyone deals with it differently.

In order to overcome your feelings of stress and to ensure your mental and physical health, as well as your academic well being, it is important to identify and overcome your stressors. Some common stressors are:

  • Tight deadlines or too many deadlines
  • Pressure from superiors
  • Lack of acknowledgement for good performance
  • Inability to work with colleagues
  • Oral presentations
  • Trouble managing priorities
  • Accountability for budgets
  • Long hours
  • Thinking about how much needs to be accomplished
  • Inability to adapt to change
  • Exhausting physical labor
  • Changes in work schedules
  • Balancing home/family/school and work priorities

For more information about relaxation and/or stress, please call the Health Education Resource Center at 217-581-7786, visit www.eiu.edu/herc, or stop by the Booth House on 4th Street, located directly behind Jerry’s Pizza.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Safer Spring Break 2016

As a college student, spring break can provide opportunities to travel, make memories, and have a lot of fun. It is perfectly okay to go out and celebrate making it halfway through the spring semester, but doing so responsibly is important. We want you to enjoy your spring break, but we also want you to return to EIU safely and healthy!
Please take the safety tips below into consideration while on spring break:

Keep your drink with you at all times.

  • If you accidently wander away from your drink, simply throw it away and get a new one. Yes, drinks are expensive, but your life and well-being are priceless.
Do not wander away from your group.

  • Have an established plan and make sure everyone sticks together. This is important for your own safety, but also for the safety of your friends.You wouldn’t want to tell your friend’s parents that “she/he was trashed and we haven’t seen him/her in 2 days.”

Use the buddy system.

  • If you need to excuse yourself to use the restroom or go to the ATM, have someone accompany you.

If you encounter a problem situation, step up and do the right thing.  Report all suspicious activity to the authorities.

  • You could be the only thing stopping someone from being seriously injured or harmed. If you have a bad feeling about a situation, step in and take charge. If you do not feel comfortable stepping in call 911 or report information to an appropriate authority. However, you should dever assume that someone else is going to do something about it. Ask yourself “if that was me, would I want someone to step in.”

There’s an app for that?


Circle of 6  Circleof6 allows users to create a group (circle) of six contacts of their choice. If you lose track of your friends, are traveling alone, or want to alert someone that you are in a dangerous situation, this app will send a message with a map and GPS location of where you are to your circle and the local emergency units.

GuardlyGuardly provides real-time emergency incident monitoring and communication. It acts as an instant two-way communication with safety groups, local authorities and nearby security. One special feature that this student app offers is that it allows you to set up specific types of emergency situations such as allergy emergencies or traveling alone situations as well as accompanying contacts to be notified for each type of incident.

bSafe Bsafe is a mobile-based safety alarm. Upon downloading the app, a red button will appear on the phone screen. When the red button is pressed, a siren will go off, a video recording will start, and the emergency contacts that you chose (which can include 911), will be alerted with a message of your GPS location and the recorded video.

My Force MyForce acts as a personal safety service that connects you to a live security team that instantly starts communicating with you, recording and tracking your activity, and contacting local emergency services.
Remember: Your safety is the most important! Have a wonderful and safe spring break, Panthers!