Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Eat Stress, Drink Stress

What you eat is what you are! If you feel stressed maybe you are eating stress! What does that mean?

It is just the simple truth that what you eat will influence your feelings and thoughts for the day. If you have a lot of sugar and caffeine in your diet, your body will be in stress mode which means it interprets a lot of what is going on around you as danger.

When you eat food that is closely connected to your body's own makeup you are more likely to interpret the events going on around you in more neutral and relaxed terms. Do yourself a big favour - Eat relaxation.

Some good basics from the Canadian Dietician Association:

Eating 5-10 servings of vegetables and fruit is easier than you think! Start today by making one small change.

Make a "fruit roll-up" by rolling cut-up fruit in a tortilla shell

Pair sliced bananas or a handful of dried berries with cereal or yogurt

Pack cut-up vegetables and fruit in reusable containers as a tasty snack you can take with you

Peel a banana, dip it in yogurt, roll it in crushed cereal and freeze it for a tasty "fruitsicle"

Have a salad with dark greens like spinach or romaine lettuce, or make a vegetable stir-fry for dinner.

Instead of drinking your serving in the form of juice, choose to eat the whole vegetable or fruit

If possible, eat the skins and peels of vegetables and fruit where most of the fibre is found. Consider that a 125mL glass of orange juice contains the juice of three oranges, but only has one-tenth the fibre of one orange.

One serving is:

1 medium size vegetable or fruit
1/2 cup of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables or fruit
1 cup green leafy salad
1/2 cup of 100% juice
1/4 cup of dried fruit.

At this site, under the Eat Well, Live Well section you will find quizzes, facts and interactive resources. Great tips for quick, easy meals, understanding food labelling, understanding your body’s nutritional needs and lots more.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Finances getting Tight?

Don’t wait until you have no money left to start thinking about budgeting. This is a major stressor for college students so plan ahead to keep your cool. Being prepared means you can maintain your relaxed mind which is going to help you succeed socially and academically.

Maybe you are thinking it is already too late to budget but getting a clear sense of how you will survive this home stretch is well worth some time.

The Loyalist Financial Aid office has a wonderful pamphlet which will help guide you through the necessary steps for good money management.

Emergency food hampers are available to students so be sure you don't go hungry. Students can meet with their Student Success Mentor, Counselling Services, Mind and Wellness Nurse if they are in need of food.

This site offers tips on budgeting your funds.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Emotional Intelligence

Your mind and body react to perceived stress created by our own thoughts just the same as they do if we are being threatened by a saber tooth tiger.

Your body does not know the difference between an actual threat ( a tiger ) and you believing you are threatened (an exam).

The immune system shuts down because we are preparing to run from danger rather than fight any infections. Students tend to get sick around exam time because their stress responses have dampened the immune response.

Our digestion shuts down because again, all energy goes to the big muscles that will help us run to escape rather than to digesting a meal so stress tends to cause stomach problems.

Blood is shunted away from the frontal lobes and is sent rushing to the hind brain which supports reflex reactions. Your body wants you to run, not think! So under stress we are actually less intelligent.

So, it is important to see the importance of teaching our brains new ways of perceiving situations and to teach it the relaxation response.

Fascinating audio on how emotions actually work in our body both chemically and electrically.

More info on emotional intelligence and how it affects success in learning and in life.

Suicide Prevention

Take steps to maintain your mental health through the darker months. Stay active, eat and sleep well and stay connected to friends and fun.

Our culture leads us to believe that youth is the best time of our lives. This is just not true. It is a time when we are growing up emotionally and this is a challenge. If you think you are the only one having trouble, be assured, you are not.

Young people think about suicide. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. If you have concerns about a friend, do not be afraid to talk to them about it – this does not cause them to act on it. Non-judgemental listening can bring relief to someone who is troubled.

Young people can be high risk because of school pressures, major life changes, hormone changes, over use of drugs including alcohol and sexual orientation issues.

Some warning sign can be eating disorders, deliberate self harm,
withdrawal from normal activities, exceptional and extreme
mood swings, perfectionistic behaviour or extreme self
critical behaviour.

Talk about it. See Jodie in the Student Success Hub to make an appointment with counselling or Mind and Wellness Services. You do not have to say why you are making an appointment. Many students seek support for a variety of reasons.

Check in with campus health services. These are free and the staff are wonderful. The campus doctor is available for appointments on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons

Keep in contact with trusted friends.

"Learn to recognize the symptoms of suicide. Don’t be
ashamed. Remember feelings are not facts. Suicidal feelings
are a symptom of your illness. You need help and support to
get through them but you will get through them." (from checkupfrom theneckup)

Suicide is rarely a sudden decision but is part of a process. Check out the listed websites for information on how to deal with these feelings or on how to recognize the signs in yourself or someone else.
These sites offer information on myths about suicide, common warning signs and what you can do to help yourself or someone else.