Stay Well During Finals Week

It’s been a long semester and you’ve studied hard.  Now it’s time to cap off the semester by doing well on final exams and projects.  A lot of students associate finals week with all-nighters, constant studying, and plenty of coffee.  These behaviors can actually be detrimental to your academic performance.  Here are ways to take care of your mind and body so that you can do your best on finals.

  1. Sleep

Sleep deprivation affects not only your energy level and mood, but also your ability to concentrate, learn, and focus.  As finals week approaches, maintain a regular sleep pattern and aim for 7-9 hours per night.  For more restful sleep, avoid alcohol and stop drinking caffeine at least six hours prior to your typical bed time.

  1. Get your nutrients

Antioxidants from fruits and vegetables help keep your brain healthy.  Throw an apple or a banana in your backpack before you head out to study or have a salad with your next slice of pizza.  Most importantly, do not skip meals.

  1. Be active

Physical activity is not just good for your body, but also for your brain.  Endorphins released in the brain during physical activity can reduce tension, improve mood, and increase brainpower.  Take a walk, turn your music on and dance, or take some time to stretch.  If you exercise regularly, keep it up!  You’ll reap the benefits more than ever this week.

Take the Lead

The 2018 Take the Lead Campaign is in full swing! Check out Penn State student leaders by clicking here. Featured student, Meghan Field, shares with peers how she takes the lead on campus. Her message to students is “You may think that drinking will help you fit in and gain respect. In reality, drinking can keep you from having meaningful experiences. Don’t let drinking be the focus of your time at Penn State.” Penn State offers many free services for students concerned about their alcohol use: Self-Help Resources.

Wellness Activities

All students are welcome to join Health Promotion and Wellness in 20 IM Building for wellness activities. The wellness suite is a great space for students to unwind and relax. Enjoy Yoga, coloring, meditation and much more. Bring a friend and let’s de-stress, Thursday’s 5:15-6:15 p.m.

Here’s what coming up:

October 4 – Yoga 5:15-6:15 p.m.

October 11 – Art as Meditation 5:15-6:15 p.m.

October 18 – Learn to Meditate 5:15-6:15 p.m.

November 1 – Game night, coloring and Puzzles 5:15-6:15 p.m.

November 15 – Knitting and Overnight Oats 5:15-6:16 p.m.

November 29 – Pilates 5:15-6:16 p.m.

Wellness Retreats

It’s important to take care of yourself. This semester make your well-being a priority and treat yourself to a day of relaxation and healthy activities! Spaces are filling up for the next Wellness Retreat. Email promotinghealth@psu.edu or call 814.863.0461 to reserve your spot for the October 20th retreat.  To learn more about free wellness activities, visit http://sites.psu.edu/healthypennstate/fall-2018-wellness-activities/

Creating a Positive Nutrition Space

Your social network and schedule play a big role in the choices you make when it comes to nutrition. These choices can look different for everyone.  Do your friends and family prefer to dine out or cook?  Do you add meal times to your schedule or do you hope to get a meal in between other activities?

Dining out can be a great way to catch up with friends and family.  However, the dining environment doesn’t always lend itself to healthy choices.  Restaurants are notorious for serving large portions, heavily salted foods and high saturated fat content (1). Cooking at home can be a healthier alternative because you can control the ingredients including seasoning foods with spices other than salt and utilizing healthy fats such as olive oil or avocado oil.  Plus, cooking for yourself is less expensive than dining out.  Having friends and family support these choices can create a positive wellness environment.

Just as you schedule time for classes and meetings, scheduling time for meals is important to creating healthy living strategies.  Food fuels your body and more specifically your brain.  Taking the time to eat balanced and consistent meals and snacks can benefit your overall well-being.  One study showed a significant association between happiness and consuming breakfast (2).

Creating a space to make healthy nutrition choices is important for overall wellness.  Take a moment to think about whether your environment supports eating healthy.  If you feel that it doesn’t and need help making changes schedule an appointment with a dietitian in Health Promotion and Wellness.  Appointments are free and can be made on myUHS or by calling 814-863-0461.

  1. American Heart Association. Eat Fast Food. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/DiningOut/Eating-Fast-Food_UCM_301473_Article.jsp#.W3W7iIWcGUk. Accessed August 16, 2018.
  2. Lesani, A., Mohammadpoorasl, A., Javadi, M., Esfeh, J., Fakhari, A. Eating and Weight Disorders – Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity. Dec. 2016: 21(4) 645-651.

Meditation Series 

Mark Agrusti of the Dharma Lions at Penn State, will lead four meditation sessions to help students learn stress management strategies. The sessions are independent of each other and students are not required to attend all four sessions. Sessions will be held from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. in the Wellness Suite, 20 Intramural Building. Dates and topics include:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 11 – Mindfulness and Stress Reduction Techniques
  • Thursday, Oct. 8 – Learn to Meditate
  • Tuesday, Nov. 6 – Calming the Mind with Meditation
  • Tuesday, Dec. 4 – Relaxation Meditation