January 2017

Returning home for the end of term break

A house at night with snowfalling

Now that your exams are almost over you might be thinking about your trip home for the winter holidays. This might be your first extended amount of time back with your family and in your old family home. For many, this is both an exciting, but also confusing, time. We're here to help you navigate it. Here are some things to consider before going home:

Nutrition FAQ: What can I eat to increase my focus?

Sandwich and fruit in lunch container

Around exam time, students commonly look for ways to increase focus and concentration while trying to carve out an extra hour or two of study time. There’s no magic food or drink that can do this for you, however, following the suggestions below can help you to make the most of the time you spend studying.

Eat regularly

Strategies for dealing with stress

Books open on a desk

Whether it is a deadline or an important life event, we all experience stress from time to time.

Tips for stretching your food budget

Salad

Eating well on a budget might seem like an impossible goal while you are at university when you have other expenses like tuition, rent, and utilities. With a little planning and savvy shopping, you can cut down on grocery costs while still including healthy choices. Use these tips to make your food money go farther:

Wellness podcast and app recommendations: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text and Happify

headphones and smartphone

Podcasts and apps can be an excellent complement to your self-care routine. The Campus Wellness blog will be posting recommendations for podcasts and apps that might help you find motivation or cope with stress. These recommendations are made for educational purposes only.

How to incorporate meditation into your life

stack of rocks

Taking some time in your day to do some quiet reflection and deep breathing can be a really beneficial way to lower your stress levels. Meditation and mindfulness exercises are two ways you can help your body relax by focusing your thoughts and slowing your breathing. You might be wondering if you have time to build these kinds of exercises into your already busy schedule, but the good news is that even a small amount of focused mindfulness can help relax your mind and body.

Common questions about our Coping Skills seminars

rainbow pencil crayons

Counselling Services offers four 1-hour Coping Skills seminars all term long. Most every week of term you can find at least one seminar to take. But you might be wondering what a Coping Skills seminar actually is and whether or not taking one is right for you. Our Coping Skills seminars were developed to help you gain insight into your patterns of thinking, feeling, and self-care that can contribute to your overall mood and outlook.

Why should I take a Coping Skills seminar?

By taking the Coping Skills seminars you will cover many of the questions and themes you would cover in your first one or two individual counselling sessions. If you attend a Coping Skills seminar while you are on our waitlist for individual counselling, you might be able to better identify your counselling goals before you are matched with your counsellor for your first appointment.

Using proper hand washing to avoid winter colds and flus

person washing hands

With cold and flu season approaching quickly you might be wondering how to prevent yourself from losing time to sickness this winter. One thing you can do is get your flu shot. Health Services is hosting a Community Flu clinic this week in the SLC where you can get your flu shot to protect yourself from the strains of flu that are predicted to be most virulent this year. Aside from that, practising proper and frequent hand washing can help you to avoid picking up the latest cold and flu. So what does it mean to practice proper hand washing?

Wellness podcast and app recommendations: The Happiness Podcast and the BeSafe App

Podcasts and apps can be an excellent complement to your self-care routine. The Campus Wellness blog will be posting recommendations for podcasts and apps that might help you find motivation or cope with stress. These recommendations are made for educational purposes only. For health and wellness advice, always speak with your doctor or make an appointment with a counsellor.​

FAQs about the flu and the flu shot

Flu virus

With cold and flu season coming up, you might be wondering whether or not to get a flu shot this year. The answer is yes! Health Services provides flu clinics in October and November to help make it easy and convenient to get your flu vaccine and help stop the spread of influenza.

What is Influenza?

Eating healthy during stressful times

blueberries and strawberries in a bowl

When we’re under stress, oftentimes our first inclination is to skip meals or grab something quick but unhealthy. However, research shows that our need for nutrients increases during times of stress and that there is a more rapid turnover of protein, fat and carbohydrates that your body needs to produce energy.

Five ways to practice resiliency

Person writing in a bullet journal

(Picture source: Giphy)

Resiliency is a word you hear a lot these days, but what does it actually mean? According to the American Psychological Association, resilience is: “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress…It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.” Building your resiliency skills can help you face life’s ups and downs more evenly, enabling you to be able to handle change and adversity when they come along.

So what can you do to make yourself more resilient? These five tips can get you started:

Healthy eating basics

Basket of vegetables

Eating nutritious, healthy meals on a regular basis is an important foundation for your self-care routine. Sometimes eating well can seem like a complicated process or a chore. But it doesn’t have to be. Keep these basics in mind to help plan out your weekly meals:

Making friends as an introvert

Students sitting under a tree

While many people look forward to the start of the school term as a time of new beginnings and to meet new people, for an introvert this time can be quite difficult. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, an introvert is a person for whom social situations can be difficult due to their shy nature. The idea of meeting new people, remembering new names, and trying to make new friends can cause stress and anxiety. Here are some ways to help reduce the stress of making new friends:

Wellness podcast and app recommendations: mindyourmind and Headspace

headphones beside a computer

Podcasts and apps can be an excellent complement to your self-care routine. The Campus Wellness blog will be posting recommendations for podcasts and apps that might help you find motivation or cope with stress. These recommendations are made for educational purposes only, for health and wellness advice, always speak with your doctor or make an appointment with a counsellor.

What is self-care and how to practice it

Coffee, notebook, and glasses

You might have heard the term self-care before but you might be unsure of what it means. Self-care activities are things you can do to help yourself achieve a better life balance. Achieving this balance can help you when times get stressful because your system is in a more optimal state before the high-stress time starts.

Here are four tips for how to practice self-care:

Campus Wellness is here for you

People in the waiting area at Counselling Services

Welcome, new and returning Warriors! Campus Wellness is excited to be here to support you as you come back to campus or are just arriving for the first time. Here’s an overview of some of the Campus Wellness services you can access as a University of Waterloo student:

Optimizing your room for sleep success

Red alarm clock

Sleep has been proven to be a factor in academic success. According to a study from the University of Rome La Sapienza, students who get consistent sleep have a better capacity for learning and consequently better academic performance. As you are moving into your new rooms next week, whether they are on or off-campus, consider the following tips for setting up your room for sleep success:

Wellness podcast and app recommendations: Anxiety Slayer and MindTools

Headphones icon

Wellness podcast and app recommendations

Bug bites and stings

Bee on a lavendar flower

With the summer months upon us, you’ll likely be outside more and consequently, you might end up getting a bug bite or sting. Health Services sees an increase in visitors looking for more information about bites that they’ve received over the summer.

Here’s some frequently asked questions about bug bites and stings:

Healthy snack ideas for when you’re on the go

Apples

Snacking on the right foods can help keep your body and brain well-fuelled during a busy day. You can prevent a mid-day energy crisis or a loss of concentration during that late-night study session by including a power-providing snack to keep you focused. Sugary or starchy foods, like cookies, crackers or candies will give you an immediate energy boost but can leave you feeling drowsy and sluggish after an hour or two. 

Six tips for sleep success

A pink alarm clock

Sleep is an often overlooked aspect of self-care. With so many priorities to juggle in your life like classes, exams, part-time jobs, and socializing, it can be difficult to find time to sleep. Maintaining a regular bedtime and wake-up time is important because waking up early and having good sleep habits are shown to help with information retention and academic averages. Our bodies need between seven to nine hours of sleep for optimal functioning. Follow the tips below for optimal sleep success:

Three things you can do today to calm your mind

Man walking through a field

Studies haven’t concluded yet how many thoughts we have in a day, but different results have found people can have anywhere between 12,000 and 70,000. These numbers can feel overwhelming during times of heightened stress and anxiety, as it can be difficult to stop the constant stream of worry and negativity that floods your mind. So what can you do to slow down the flow of thoughts running through your mind?

FAQs about STIs

 
 

What is an STI?

STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) are infectious diseases that are spread through any type of sexual contact.

Why is it important to get tested?

Being your own advocate

Advisor and student talking

Have you ever spent a long time thinking about how to ask for something from someone, only to have that person not respond or dismiss your concerns? Or have you ever stayed up at night thinking about other ways a recent conversation could have gone?

Wellness podcast and app recommendations: The Anxiety Guy and Calm

Person wearing pink headphones

Podcasts and apps can be an excellent complement to your self-care routine. The Campus Wellness blog will be posting recommendations for podcasts and apps that might help you find motivation or cope with stress. These recommendations are made for educational purposes only.

Five sun protection tips for summer

Two girls lying on a dock wearing sun glasses

With beautiful summer weather happening you’ll be tempted to spend more time outside. Whether you’re hiking, having a picnic, canoeing at Laurel Creek, or studying on the grass on campus, you’ll want to make sure you don’t get too much sun. Getting too much sun can lead to sunburn, dehydration or heat stroke. Here are five ways you can enjoy the summer sun more safely:

Four quick meal ideas

Vegetables in a stir fry pan

Sometimes life can get ahead of you and eating well can fall way down on the priority list. But being short on time, money, or cooking experience doesn’t have to mean falling short on nutrition. With a little imagination, basic cooking equipment, and some simple ingredients, anyone can prepare quick, tasty, and healthy meals.

Wellness podcast and app recommendations

Person walking while listening to smartphone with headphones

Photo courtesy of musicoomph.com

Podcasts and apps can be an excellent complement to your self-care routine. The Campus Wellness blog will be posting recommendations for podcasts and apps that might help you find motivation or cope with stress. These recommendations are made for educational purposes only, for health and wellness advice, always speak with your doctor or make an appointment with a counsellor.

Mindfulness and meditation for stress reduction

Meditation by the lake

You may have seen a recent study from University of Waterloo that found that 10 minutes of meditation can help anxious people focus in stressful situations.

Managing emotions in difficult situations

Person holding tea in front of computer

It’s the night before your exam, and you’ve been studying for longer than you’d care to admit. You can’t focus on the page anymore but you feel like you need to keep going. You feel unprepared, anxious, and afraid of failing. In this situation, your emotions might take over causing you distress. 

Party smart this long weekend

Lake at night with campfire

It’s the first long weekend of the summer and you’ve got plans: Maybe you’re to go to a friend’s cottage, exploring the great outdoors and camping, or even heading to a friend’s for a backyard campfire. If alcoholic drinks are a part of your celebrations, consider the following.

Drinking safely

Wellness podcast and app recommendations

Headphones in flowers

Podcasts and apps can be an excellent complement to your self-care routine. The Campus Wellness blog will be posting recommendations for podcasts and apps that might help you find motivation or cope with stress.

Five tips for self-care

Girl making a heart out of sparklers

Self-care is the practice of taking care of your physical and psychological needs. When you practice self-care consistently you are more able to weather the ups and downs of life. Periods of stress are unavoidable for most, so regularly practicing self-care ensures you are equipped with a toolbox of strategies to help you get through them.

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