Health Matters Newsletter

May 2015

New Opportunities to De-Stress for Success!

By Eddie Brown, Staff Counselor, Student Counseling Services

The month of May heralds the end of another school, with summer break just a couple weeks away, there is just one obstacle standing between now and three months of vacation: finals. With finals, we see not just exams, but final projects, final papers, and capstone projects, among other things—it can be a very stressful time for many students!

This semester, as in past semesters, students can participate in De-Stress for Success programs. Student Counseling Services is partnering with Reed Library, Student Affairs, Student Health Center, Residence Life, Campus Life, and Spectrum to provide activities, events, and areas on campus to give students a chance to De-Stress for Success during finals week. Students are invited to pet certified Therapy Dogs in Reed Library; stop by the McEwan lobby for Freeze Pops & Frisbees or Reed Library for Relaxation Kits; change pace and work out in a free Zumba or Yoga class; or find an activity in the Stress Free Zone to help ease the pressure.

New this semester, is the expansion of De-Stress for Success to include programs during dead-week! The Stress Free Zone and Student Health Center’s healthy bites will be available to students starting on May 4, 2015. Students will also be able to attend a free, evening time Zumba Class (in Nixon Hall) and Yoga Class (in Alumni Hall). For more crafty students (or those students with left over supplies from their art projects), Disney Hall will have evening hours available for students to do open crafting, painting, coloring, or bring-your-own crafts (Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri.: 6:00 PM-9:00 PM; Wed.: 7:00 PM-9:00 PM)—just enter through the back loading-dock door! During finals week, students can ease some tension with the introduction of a new event: free 5-minute chair massages by a licensed massage therapist.

For a full list of events, details for events, and information on quiet study areas, visit and click on the De-Stress for Success logo to view the pdf.

7 Habits of Highly Healthy People

If you could do things that would make your life longer and healthier, would you do them? Here are seven lifestyle factors that have been associated with better health and longevity.

1) Avoid excessive alcohol

2) Sleep seven to eight hours a night

3) Exercise regularly

4) Don't eat between meals

5) Make sure to eat breakfast

6) Don't smoke

7) Stay lean

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Stressed Out ???? Here is what you can do to help.....

By: Debbie Dibble, NP

College can be one of the most exciting times in your life, and it can be one of the most stressful, especially around exam time. Stress is a fact of life, and the demands of college can leave you with feelings of being overwhelmed.

What are symptoms of stress?

Besides the obvious complaints of tenseness, anxiety and

nervousness, our bodies can exhibit stress in fatigue, nail biting, hair twirling, a rise in blood pressure, an upset stomach, diarrhea or constipation. You might have difficulty sleeping or feel restless as well.

What you can do about stress?

Change your attitude:

  • Get perspective! Ask yourself, "How important will this seem in a week, month, year or twenty years. " Remember that it is not the event itself that is stressful, but the way in which your perception of the event is and what you do about it.
  • Be positive and don't put yourself down. Remember, nobody is perfect and luckily, you don't have to be.
  • Be flexible. Real life situations involve unexpected interruptions.

Take care of yourself:

  • Balance physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs.
  • Be sure to get enough sleep
  • Build a support system. Friends and family can be your strongest allies.
  • Take routine breaks from schoolwork. It will keep you more alert and productive.
  • Don't skip meals. Food provides energy to tackle stress
  • Live within your means. Overspending can be very stressful.
  • Listen to peaceful music to unwind
  • Meditation and relaxation exercises.
  • Relaxation Techniques can combat the stress response by helping the body return to a balanced state and reverse some of the psychological effects of stress response ( i.e.: elevated blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate. Examples include and are not limited to breathing exercises, body awareness, meditation, visualization and guided relaxation.
  • Laugh! Go see a funny movie, a comedy show, or call up a silly friend.
  • Be here now. The single task (or pleasure!) before you is all that you need to focus on now.
  • Pamper yourself
  • Exercise. Daily exercise, including stretching, breathing and aerobic exercises is important lifestyle habits to develop for relief of anxiety and stress.

Manage your time:

  • Use a daytimer to schedule all of your commitments and social events.
  • Make a daily "to do " list
  • Prioritize your duties
  • Be selective. You can't do everything. Quality is more important than quantity
  • Learn to take power naps. A 20 minute nap can reenergize you for hours.
  • Budget your time. Study while on the bus, review between classes, read while eating.
  • Don't be overcommitted. Learn to say "no"
  • Set aside some time to have fun.
  • Know your peak energy times and prioritize your activities when you know your energy is at its highest.
  • Focus on one thing at a time.
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Sleep Matters

By: Debbie Dibble, NP

As we get closer to crunch time with the end of the school year approaching fast, sleep is at times a commodity that is surely missed. With all the studying, partying and classes, sleep deprivation and college students go hand in hand. We have learned that the consequences of continuous sleep deprivation and undiagnosed sleep disorders are collectively one of our nation's biggest and most serious problems. Falling asleep at the wheel and in other hazardous situations is a leading cause of death and disability.

How much sleep do I need?

Each of us has a specific daily sleep requirement. Some people need ten to twelve hours of sleep each day, while others can get away with six. Everyone's "biological clock" is different. The "biological clock " is a term applied to the brain process which causes us to have 24 hour fluctuations in body temperature, hormone secretion and a host of other bodily activities. Its most important function is to foster the daily cycle of sleep and wakefulness. If this "clock" is persistently put to the test with forces such as all-nighters, excessive partying, alcohol, caffeine and stress, it too can falter causing irritability, exhaustion, and possibly serious health problems.

Frequently , when students enter college, they are given plenty of information on good nutrition and physical fitness. Unfortunately, sleep is never discussed on the forefront. We must realize that we cannot be healthy unless our sleep is healthy.

NASA's Fatigue Countermeasure program developed the dangers of sleep deprivation which indicates the less sleep you get, the greater the health risk.

8 hours -- Refreshed mood, alert, peak physical performance

7 hours -- Moody, occasional trouble concentrating, reduced short-term memory, some

drowsiness while driving

6 hours -- Testy, irritable, poor decision-making, weight gain, reduced immunity, impaired motor skills

5 hours-- Depressed mood, 50% slower reaction time, stressed out, great chance of heart and stomach ailments, physical performance similar to someone legally drunk

4 hours-- Extremely irritable, exhaustion, higher risk for ulcers, diabetes, heart attacks and obesity, dangerous to self and others on the job and while driving

Seven Secrets For Sound Sleep

  1. Make sleep a priority. Spend at least eight hours in bed each night to determine how much sleep you really need. Most people will sleep eight hours.
  2. Establish a regular sleeping routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same hour (even on weekends). This keeps your internal clock on schedule.
  3. Develop sleep cues. Sleep in a quiet, dark room that is between 60-65 degrees . Do something that you find relaxing prior to bed. You might read, listen to music or take a warm bath.
  4. Avoid caffeine and cigarettes. They are stimulants. If you must drink caffeine, do so at least four hours prior to bedtime. Avoid alcohol as well. Although a night cap may make you fall asleep, alcohol can cause your sleep to be light, and fitful.
  5. When snacking at night, try foods rich in tryptophan (an amino acid that aids in sleep). This is found in dairy products, bananas, and turkey.
  6. Nap for twenty minutes or less during the day. This will refresh you as much as an hour of sleep.
  7. Be wary of sleeping pills. Sleeping pills can become additive, and should only be used for very short periods of time. Never use them for more then three nights in a row. If not used properly, sleeping pills can lead to further sleep disruption and daytime fatigue. If you must use them, try for a low dose pill that works for a short period to avoid drowsiness the next day.

The Power of a Laugh

" Laugh and the world laughs with you, " the saying goes, but that's not the only thing that

happens when you laugh. When you laugh... blood pressure drops, heart rate slows down, the production of the hormone cortisol, which is associated with stress is reduced.

Walking Off the Stress & Get Healthy Doing it!

By: Debbie Dibble, NP

As we look forward to some nicer weather coming our way, most of us are unpacking those sneakers, shorts and t-shirts, and are ready to hit the pavement. Studies show that physical activity is essential for healthy living. A minimum of 30 minutes of activity per day to reduce disease risk, and 60 to 90 minutes per day to lose weight. People who are usually inactive can improve their health and well-being by becoming even moderately active on a regular basis.

Walking for fitness:

How to trim your waistline, boost your spirits and improve your health-Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health. It's one of your body's most natural forms of exercise. It's safe, simple and doesn't require a lot of practice, and the health benefits are many. Here's what you need to know to get started.

Benefits of walking-Walking for fitness can help you achieve a number of important health benefits. For example you can:

  • Reduce your risk for heart attack. Walking keeps your heart healthy by lowering low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol). A regular walking program also reduces your risk of developing high blood pressure, a factor that contributes to heart disease.
  • Manage your blood pressure. If you already have a high blood pressure, walking can help reduce it.
  • Reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise reduces your risk ofdeveloping type 2 diabetes. If you're female, overweight and at a high risk of diabetes, walking can improve your body's ability to process sugar (glucose intolerance)
  • Manage your diabetes. If you already have type 2 diabetes, taking part in a regular waking program can improve your body's ability to process sugar, lower your blood sugar, reduce your risk of heart disease and help you live longer.
  • Manage your weight. Walking burns calories, which can help you manage your weight. For example, middle-aged women who walk more then 10, 000 steps a day, have lower levels of body fat than do women who are less active.
  • Manage stress and boost your spirits. Going for a brisk walk is a great way to reduce stress. Regular walking also can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.

Prepare yourself before each walking session

  • Take time to prepare yourself to prevent injuries, such as blisters on your feet or muscle pain.
  • Wear walking shoes and comfortable, protective clothing. Before you set out, be sure to select comfortable footwear. Also dress in loose-fitting comfortable clothing and in layers if you need to adjust to the temperature. If you walk outside, choose clothes appropriate for the weather. Avoid rubberized materials, as they don't allow perspiration to evaporate. Wear bright colors or reflective tape after dark so that motorists can see you.
  • Warm Up. Spend about five minutes walking slowly to warm your muscles. You can walk in place if you want. Increase your pace until you feel warm. Warming up your muscles reduces your risk of injury.
  • Stretch. After warming up, stretch your muscles for about five minutes before walking. Include the calf stretch, quadriceps stretch, hamstring stretch, lower back flexion stretch and chest stretch.

Tips for Pedestrians

  • Only cross the street at a crosswalk
  • Pay careful attention to road signs and cars around you. Don't assume that cars will stop when they should .
  • Follow traffic signals, and don't cross the street unless the sign says "walk".
  • If walking at night, wear bright, reflective clothing, and be sure not to walk alone.

Getting started: Design a program that works for you

  • Start slow and easy. If you're a seasoned walker, keep doing what you're doing. If you've been inactive and tire easily, it's best to start slow and easy. At first, walk only as far as or as fast as you comfortably can. If you can walk for only a few minutes, let that be your starting point. For example, you might try short daily sessions of three to five minutes slowly build up to 15 minutes twice a week. Then, over several weeks' time, you can gradually work your way up to 20 minutes of walking five days each week.
  • Use proper technique to avoid injury and setback. Walking is a great exercise because it's so simple to do. But if your posture is poor or your movements exaggerated, you increase your risk of injury.
  • Measure the intensity of your workout. As you walk, measure the intensity of your workout. Knowing the level allows you to increase the intensity to maximize your workout or slow down to avoid overdoing it. You have these options:

  1. Talk test: If you are so out of breath that you can't carry on a conversation with the person you are walking with , you are probably working too hard and should slow down.
  2. Borg Scale: This method is a self-assessment of your perceived exertion. You rate how hard you think you are working on a scale that ranges from six (no exertion) to 20 (maximal effort). Aim for at least moderate intensity (12 to 14) as you walk.
  3. Calculate your heart rate (pulse): To find out if you're exercising within the range of your target heart rate, stop exercising to check your pulse manually at your wrist (radial artery) or your neck (carotid artery). Another option is to wear an electronic device that displays your heart rate.
  • Keep track of your progress. Keeping a record of how many steps you take, the distance you walk and how long it takes can help you see where you started from and serve as a source of inspiration. Just think how good you will feel when you see how many miles you have walked each week, month or year.
  • Cool down after each walking session. To reduce stress on your heart and muscles, end each walking session by walking slowly for about five minutes. Then, repeat your stretches.

Stay Motivated: Set goals, have fun and stay in the game. Starting a walking program takes initiative. Sticking with it takes commitment. But when you think of the potential health benefits, it's well worth the effort. Over time, you'll likely feel more invigorated.

To stay motivated:

  • Set performance goals. People who can stick with a new behavior for six months usually make it a habit.
  • Make it fun. If you don't like walking alone, invite your spouse, partner, friend or neighbor to join you. You might also join a health club and use a treadmill.
  • Vary your routine. Plan several different walking routes for variety. But if you're walking alone, be sure to tell someone which route you're taking. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car a few blocks from the office or store and walk the rest of the way. If you take public transportation, get off a stop or two early and walk the remaining few blocks.

Student Health Center

Hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

The student Health Center is open to all Fredonia students. Those who have paid the mandatory health fee are seen at no charge. Students are seen on a walk-in basis , and then are triaged by our Registered Nursing staff into an appointment with a physician or nurse practitioner if needed.