FLASHBACK FRIDAY: 8 Dimensions of Wellness Portrayed by Animals!

UNC Student Wellness believes that student and community health choices involve the integration of eight dimensions of wellness. To illustrate these dimensions, the staff at Student Wellness looked to our pets to bring you examples of how they embody each dimension of wellness.

 

  1. Cultural wellness. Pictured: Mary’s cats Buffy and Giles helping to create a safe, inclusive space for LGBTQ beings of all species.
    Cultural Wellness
  2. Emotional wellness. Pictured: Diana’s dog Bea liking (and licking) what she sees in the mirror, demonstrating her fabulous body image and self-acceptance.
    Emotional Wellness
  3. Physical wellness. Pictured: Kate’s dog CJ getting her jump/fly/swim on at Uwharrie National Forest. Pictured: two litters of puppies napping together for their physical wellness.
    Physical Wellness Physical Wellness 2
  4. Environmental wellness. Pictured: Diana’s dog Bea out for a fun day of sailing on Jordan Lake. Here, she’s taking in the splendor of the lake and thinking very thoughtfully about air quality. Pictured: Kelli’s former foster dog Kori rolling around in the grass to scratch her back.
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  5. Intellectual wellness. Pictured: Kate’s dog CJ demonstrating an important part of intellectual wellness: sometimes you need a study break! Pictured: Mary’s cat Giles learning how to play a new game and demonstrating that intellectual wellness can be fun and social!  Pictured: Kate’s dog CJ catching up on this week’s biggest news stories.
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  6. Financial wellness. Pictured: Diana’s dog Bea managing her personal finances; setting finance goals for the upcoming year.
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  7. Social wellness. Pictured: Part of social wellness is also knowing when not to be social by finding time for yourself. Here is Brittany’s cat Noble in a box, finding some time and space to be alone. Or nap. Both are important for maintaining social wellness. Pictured: Mary’s cats Buffy and Giles spending time together and bonding over looking at some birds outside. Pictured: Natalie’s adopted kittens demonstrating some solid peer support — an essential component of social wellness.
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  8. Spiritual wellness. Pictured: This is Brittany’s cat Barnes. He like to take time for self reflection every day.  Usually while using his tail as a pillow.  Pictured: Pedro, a recently adopted dog with Triangle Beagle Rescue, looks up at the heavens and smiles.
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This blog was originally posted on November 18, 2014, and was written by the Student Wellness staff! 

 

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: 10 Day Challenge – It’s Time to UNPLUG!

This blog post was originally published on November 22, 2013 and was written by Jani Radhakrishnan.

A 2013 Mobile Consumer Habit survey reported that 72% of U.S. adults that own smartphones keep it within five feet of them the majority of the time. [Mine is currently about 8 inches away from my computer!] That same study reported that out of 1102 respondents, 55% USED their smartphone while driving, 33% while on a date, 12% in the shower, and 20% of adults ages 18-34….during sex. O2 released a study that indicated that the ‘phone’ function on a smartphone is the fifth most frequently used function. In fact, the study reports that smartphones now replace alarm clocks, cameras, televisions, and physical books.

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Image from cdn.physorg.com

Have you seen this creative video representing our addiction to phones?

Or read this news article about a San Francisco train shooting where “passengers were too distracted by phones to notice the shooter’s gun in plain sight”? With all this new ‘connectivity,’ we are not actually connecting to the world and the people around us. In fact, surveys indicate that 13% of cell phone owners pretend to use their phone to avoid interacting with people around them.

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Image from teamsugar.com

The other day, my phone died while waiting for the bus [It was horrible!]. So, rather than staring mindlessly in to space, I made some small-talk with a guy heading to Carrboro and told him he could take the J and not wait 45 minutes for the CW. It felt good. It got me thinking….

It’s time to UNPLUG! I have come up with a 10 day challenge, and I invite you to try it with me. Since we all have work, school, and social lives, I have fairly realistic expectations. Still, I think we can semi-unplug from the world more often than we think. So, here it is:

Jani’s 10 day Challenge of Unplugging

  • Day 1 Friday: When you’re out with a partner or friend, make a deal to keep your phones in your pockets, bags, etc.
  • Day 2 Saturday: It’s the weekend! Do not check your work or school email accounts. Not even once.
  • Day 3 Sunday: Invest in a watch! Since it is Sunday, maybe you have some time to go find one. This way, you can check your watch for the time instead of your phone.
  • Day 4 Monday: Read the DTH or a hardcopy of some magazine or newspaper to check out any local events happening this week.
  • Day 5 Tuesday: Do not spend all day at a computer. Time yourself so that every hour, you get up and walk around for about 5 minutes. During that time, say hi to a colleague, another student, or a friend. Whatever you do, do not take your phone with you.
  • Day 6 Wednesday: While eating meals, keep your phone in a separate room, on silent.
  • Day 7 Thursday: At work, your room, or the library, open your email only twice per hour. [Coming from someone who permanently keeps the email tab open while on my computer, I know this will be my biggest challenge]
  • Day 8 Friday: When you are watching television, and a commercial comes on, do anything other than pulling out your phone.  Maybe even jumping jacks!
  • Day 9 Saturday: If the weather is nice, enjoy the outdoors! Go for a hike or to the park, and leave your phone at home or in the car. [If you do not feel safe, keep your phone with you but do not look at it!] If it is rainy or cold outside, enjoy a hot beverage of your choice and a movie in the comfort of your own home, and turn your phone completely off during this time.
  • Day 10 Sunday: It is the last day of the challenge and I am hoping that tomorrow we can return to work or school feeling completely rejuvenated and ready to take on the world. What are we going to do to celebrate? Find a moment to answer a text with a phone call or Skype date instead of another text.

[TIPS for Success: Hey iPhone users, did you know there is a function on your phone called “Do Not Disturb” that will save incoming calls, messages, and alerts for later until you unlock your phone?]

My hope is that together, we can all unplug from this world and be in the moment for at least 10 days and continue some of these habits for our minds’ sake. You will be happier, your friends will be happier, and your mental health and boss or professor may be happier, too!

~JR

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Baby Steps to Finding a JOB!

This post was originally published on April 24, 2014 and was written by Natalie Rich.

The semester is winding down, and suddenly you are faced with the prospect of finding the perfect resume-boosting summer job or internship….or perhaps you are graduating–GASP!–and you are looking for your first post-college full time position to launch your super-duper-fabulous career.

No matter what type of job you are looking for, here are some quick tips to get you started:

1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. 354_1all_the_eggs_in_one_basket

There is no such thing as the PERFECT job, and wedding yourself to one job as the be-all-and-end-all of jobs or /internships can set you up for disappointment, not to mention the fact that focusing on just one opportunity may mean missing out on other cool opportunities. Remember that this next job, whether a summer internship or post-college position, is just a stepping stone; it does not have to be the job you work for the rest of your life or even the career you end up with.

2. Know what you want.

Ok, so you don’t want to focus on just one opportunity, but you do want to have SOME focus in your search. When someone asks “what kind of job are you looking for?”, have an answer ready (hint: “a job that pays” is NOT enough!). Are you looking for a social media internship with a tech company? Trying to land a research assistant position to help prepare you to apply for a grad program in chemistry? Have clear idea of what field you want to work in and how this fits into your overall career goals. This not only helps narrow your search, it also makes you look more appealing to recruiters or potential employers, who want candidates that demonstrate passion and drive.

3. Have an elevator pitch.

Once you know generally what kind of job or internship you want, find a way to articulate along with your skills in an “elevator pitch.” This is a short speech that you can tailor for networking events or job interviews that summarizes what you are looking for and/or what you have to offer. Different situations and different jobs will require a different pitch, but there is a common thread: keep it short. Check out resources for creating your own elevator pitch here and here.

Also, consider writing a quick pitch at the beginning of your resume too. This is slightly different from an objective, which some experts now discourage in favor of the elevator pitch or list of keys skills.

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4. Work your connections.

Notice how I didn’t say “network” because this word tends to drum up visions of awkward meet-and-greets full of scary people in suits. Networking goes way beyond this. It means talking with professors, TAs, friends, mentors, family, and UNC alums. Put the word out that you are looking for a job and the kind of job you want (cue: elevator pitch!). Other ways to network include arranging informational interviews with companies or organizations you are interested in to get an idea of what jobs they are offering and what they look for, and reaching out to supervisors from previous internships or volunteer positions.

5. Check out Career Services!

I could have included tips on drafting the ideal resume or cover letter, prepping for an interview, or conducting an efficient job search, but UNC Career Services has all the resources to help you with those things. They can give you individualized feedback on your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills as well as a wealth of resources to help guide you through the process of searching, applying, and securing an ideal job for you.

Finding a job can be overwhelming, especially when you have end-of-semester papers and exams to worry about. Keep in mind that this next job will not make or break your career. So, give yourself a break and be flexible. This next job is just a step, and it may be one of many steps you take in your career. Maybe it’s a side step or a baby step…maybe it’s a leap. You’ve made it to Carolina, which already proves you have what it takes to succeed, so let your talents shine and you may be surprised at the opportunities that await you.

Mission Impossible: Sleep and the College Student

“Sleep, social life, or good grades,” my buddy said with a grin, “pick two.”

College sleep

By now, you may have heard that statement about how busy life in college can get. With all kinds of student organizations to join, social events to attend, new people to meet, languages to learn, papers to write, and projects/problems sets/lab reports to complete, every college student wishes for more hours in a day. Sometimes, they get those extra hours by forgoing sleep.

Especially at a competitive school like UNC, people fall into the dangerous trap of taking pride in sacrificing sleep for academics. I’ve heard many UNC students brag about pulling an all-nighter in Davis Library. People even say things like “I can sleep when I’m dead.” or “Sleep is for sissies.” (That last one is advice a professor gave me my senior year at UNC).

Given the culture surrounding sleep on a competitive college campus, I know that getting people to prioritize sleep is going to be hard. But the research is clear: getting enough sleep has wide-ranging benefits in areas that are especially important to college students, like memory, focus, and stress.

Benefits of Sleep

Truthfully, researchers don’t really know why we sleep.

However, we do know that when sleep-deprived, our attention, focus, motivation to learn, creativity, ability to think abstractly, and vigilance are all decreased. This makes it harder to receive and properly process incoming information, and makes it more likely that we make sloppy errors in our work.  In addition, our neurons don’t function properly, and we are less able to recall previously learned information. Can’t learn new things? Can’t remember old things? Lack of sleep takes its toll on the student’s brain.

In addition to negatively affecting memory both before and after learning, inadequate sleep impairs judgment, mood, motivation, and how we perceive events. Over time, poor sleep has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and depression.  Lack of sleep can also lead to weight gain.

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New research has even suggested that not getting enough sleep makes us appear unattractive and sad.

If you don’t get enough sleep over time, you build up a sleep debt.

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So to be happier, sharper, smarter, and better at making decisions, get enough sleep every night!

Sleep is good. I get it. Now what?

                Getting good sleep is about developing good habits, or “Sleep Hygiene”. Harvard Medical School has a Division of Sleep Medicine website which I highly recommend if you are interested in learning more about sleep. They have listed 12 tips for improving sleep which are amazingRead them nowSeriously.

Below is the abbreviated version. For full explanations, hit the links above!

  1. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep (especially 4-6 hours before bedtime).
  2. Turn your bedroom into a sleep-inducing environment. Keep work, TV, and bright lights out of the bedroom.
  3. Establish a soothing pre-sleep routine.
  4. Only go to sleep when you are truly tired.
  5. Don’t be a nighttime clock-watcher.
  6. Use natural light to your advantage: to stay on a natural awake-sleep schedule.
  7. Keep your internal clock set with a consistent sleep schedule.
  8. Nap early, before 5pm, or not at all.
  9. Lighten up on evening meals.
  10. Balance fluid intake.
  11. Exercise. And do it early in the day, and at least 3 hours before bedtime.
  12. Stick with your new sleep routine!

In addition, check out greatist.com’s list of 27 ways to sleep better tonight. And, the NY Times has some great info on sleeping better in their wellness section, like steps for more, and better, sleep and how exercise can help us sleep better.

It’s easy to let your school work slip into sleepy time, but that isn’t what’s best for your brain. So instead of pulling an all-nighter, plan ahead and break up studying into multiple smaller sessions. Sleeping between bouts of studying will help consolidate your memories and help you do better on your test. And when it comes to your social life, make sure you are taking into account how much sleep you have been getting before deciding to hang out with friends late at night.

If you are still having issues with sleep, feel free to walk in to UNC Counseling and Psychological Services in the Campus Health building. They are a great resource for helping students get better sleep, and they are familiar with meeting students with sleep issues as they are common amongst college students.

Happy Sleeping!

Getting organized: paper or plastic?

I love organization, possibly to a fault. My planner has every single task and appointment in it by hour, my desk is covered thoughtfully studded in to-do lists, and I have a spreadsheet for almost everything in my life (dream projects, class grades for each semester, budgets, you name it).

Every year, I go through the same dilemma: should I change the way I organize? It takes just one task that doesn’t get addressed, one appointment missed, or confronting a huge pile of paper to-do lists. For me, it usually happens in the middle of a busy semester. I feel a little guilty using a paper planner and paper to-do lists to organize my days, reasoning that it’s a waste of paper when other electronic resources are available. Every year I ask myself: should I switch over to electronic?

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