Disclaimer: The information, articles, and tips portrayed on this blog, while based on research, do not constitute medical advice. The opinions expressed are meant to educate and inform, but not to dictate lifestyle choices or personal beliefs. These articles are meant to provoke thought on issues surrounding college health and to inform the Hopkins community of healthy information and resources.




SEE Tip: Closing your eyes after a long day and all you want to do is sleep, but your brain has other plans.  You just want to shut it off, drown out the thoughts, but all you do is toss and turn, right?  Stress might be keeping you from getting that desired shut eye.  So, instead of focusing on the desired outcome (sleep), focus on ways to reduce your stress.

1. Yoga poses: Try one or all three of these poses from this Buzzfeed article!

2. Music: Embrace the power of listening to music.  Researchers found that people who listen to music (versus no music) were more likely experience reduced anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure. 

3. Progressive Relaxation: Tense and release each area of the body, working your way from the toes to the top of the head

4. Get a massage: Hello, Stressbusters! Get a Free 5-7 minute back rub from Stressbusters tonight at the MSE on Q level from 8-10pm.  You can also stop by Mudd Atrium on Wednesdays for Wind Down Wednesdays. Don't miss a chance for a free back rub which can only help in your quest for more ZZZ's.

5. Write: The thoughts swirling around your head need a place to go. Try writing them out in a journal or day planner. Sometimes the thoughts are things to remember for the next day-- instead of worrying about remembering something, instead, write it down so you can let your mind relax and wake up to the written reminder in the morning.  If it is other thoughts keeping you from rest, write those thoughts down.  Writing it out will allow you to process it better, or come back to it another time (when you actually have time to think about it).


Blue Zone tip from PEEPs


Ever wake up feeling like you just got hit by a bus after a long night of drinking? You are likely very dehydrated and are craving a coffee or a greasy breakfast. Though this might sound great, it won’t “cure” your hangover. In fact, the only thing that will help is time. Give yourself time to rest and make sure to drink water or drinks with electrolytes, such as sodium or potassium, to nourish your body.

Although drinking might seem fun after a stressful week, it’s usually not worth it when you wake up late on a Sunday with a massive headache and feeling like you can’t study. Not only does alcohol cause these, but alcohol contributes to a host of health problems, such as liver disease, academic problems, sexual assault, and many other types of harmful biological conditions. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 25% of college students report academic problems from drinking, such as class absence, poor exam grades, and generally lower grades. Additionally, 599,000 students between 18 and 14 experience unintentional injuries from harmful drinking behavior.

Drinking in moderate amounts can make you feel less stressed or happier, but there are better ways to reduce stress than drinking copious amount of alcohol. For example, you can talk to a friend, go for a run, or get off campus to experience Baltimore. Keep in mind that drinking isn’t necessarily a sustainable way to reduce stress or have fun! It’s extremely important to be careful and know when to stop drinking, or know when you are in the “blue zone.” 



SEE: Beyond laughing at salads

SEE Tip: Women's History Month and CHEW present "Women Laughing with Salads", an event that pokes fun at the ridiculous stock photos you might have seen, while also providing a place to create your own deliciously nutritious salad, and to discuss how women, eating, and nutrition are connected in our lives.  Join us in the Glass Pav from 12-2pm today!


Massage Therapy on campus: A note from our campus massage therapist!


Some of you know me, as I have been a massage therapist on campus for 10 years along with helping Jordan to teach Stressbusters, a student organization, which teaches students back rubs to  help de-stress students.  

Also, now available for massage is our new therapist, Nathan Nevius.  I have received several massages from him and highly recommend him to anyone needing to de-stress and regain focus for their studies.  Also,  he studied in Viet Nam and has a wonderful way of releasing problem areas in your body, which give you pain or decreased range of motion.  I went to him limping and in just two sessions I was walking in balance.  

Nathan, Debora and I are located in the health center on 31st and Charles.  You can call 410-516-8270 for appointments.   Visit us on the SHWC website, which has a description of our services, what to expect and information about how we work.  

Good luck with your studies and please reach out if you need any help, as JHU has many supporting services and people who care,                      Emily LaBathe, B.S., LMT


SEE Tip: Sleep Routine


SEE Tip: Did you have a restful and relaxing Spring Break?  Perhaps that reminded you of how nice it is to sleep more than 4-6 hours a night and how much better you function when you get a somewhere between 7-9 hours!  

Don't lose the momentum from Spring Break!  Plan your schedule to include sleep.  You know your schedule for the semester and what you need to accomplish.  Better sleep will make it possible for you to accomplish those goals!

Stop by the SEE table on the Breezeway starting at 11am today to tell us how you'll sleep better this semester, and get some sleep tools to help you along the way!

HKB News: This week is Kick Butts Week!  Join HKB in the fight to prevent new smokers and help current smokers become ex-smokers.  Hopkins Kicks Butts members will be around campus doing a variety of activities starting this morning!

Find HKB on the Breezeway today starting at 8:45am for hot beverages on your way to class and pick up some tricks to help a friend who may want to quit the habit for good.

Mellow Out Monday Tip: In a study on sleep and pain management, researchers found that patients who were assigned extra sleep in the week prior to a surgical procedure were associated with using less pain relievers than those patients who did not try the extra sleep.  This association shows how making sleep a priority can make a difference on how people deal with pain.

Imagine if you made sleep a priority each week, could that lessen the pain associated with exam time?  It might not be exactly physical, but it's a pain for sure.  And with increased amount of sleep comes a likely decrease in stress, as well as, an increase in memory and cognition leading to a greater chance for positive grade potential.

If you are experiencing pain, stress, or just need to relax and aren't sure how to start- try stopping by the Stressbusters on Q-level tonight starting at 8pm in the MSE!  Let Stressbusters work their magic and help take away your stress!

Source: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/254727049_Pre-surgical_sleep_as_a_predictor_of_post-surgical_pain 


Hump day: National Nutrition Month Edition


Perhaps you've seen this scene from Sex and the City before?  It brings up what many are wondering, "what affects the taste of semen?"  Unfortunately, the research does not seem to exist on the topic, but there are a good number of subjective ideas floating around.

These are the most agreed upon thoughts:

The better one takes care of his body, the better the taste will be.  For example, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with limited red meats will (likely) produce a better tasting ejaculate.  On the other side, things like caffeine, cigarettes, strong tasting foods (onions/garlic), and alcohol could play a role in making one's semen taste unpleasant.

So, to summarize, having a healthy, nutrient rich diet isn't just good for the heart, but for the whole body (plus a potential partner's taste buds).


SEE Tip: Breakfast for Extra Credit!


SEE Tip:  Forget asking about extra credit (and not just because your professor will look at you sideways for it), try eating well for better grades. Sound too good to be true?  Turns out the studies support it (1).  Those who eat breakfast, particularly a breakfast with a healthy balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates will tend to have higher functioning brains, which allows for better memory retention, cognition, and concentration (2).  All of these areas are keys to improving your GPA.

Start today with eating breakfast and see what just a week of eating well can do for you.  If you like how it helps, consider continuing for another week and so on!  If you're near the FFC, why not run in and grab something?  If you're on your own, try some instant oatmeal with fruit (like a banana) in it.  Very simple and can be made in a short amount of time-- so why not give it a try?

Bonus for Charles Commons Residents!  If you're leaving for class between 8:45am-10:30am, the PEEPs will be handing out FREE breakfast at the security kiosk- so feel free to grab some on your way to class and start your week on the right foot.

HKB Myth Busting: Hookahs are often thought of as a safe and fun way to socialize.  However, hookah smoking is just as dangerous to one's health as cigarettes.  Often people are confused by the water component and think that the dangers are being filtered out, but in fact, hookah smokers are exposed to the same diseases as cigarette users, including oral cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the esophagus, and even fertility issues (3).

Mellow Out Monday:  Having a rough week?  It seems to be going around...  Instead of letting the stress overwhelm, consider tackling small problems one at a time.  You'll need to eat throughout this hectic week, right?  Try getting some snacks prepared so you avoid the effects of hanger, and you can power through the week of studying and writing with healthy food options.  Be sure to start your day with breakfast so you can be fully energized for the day ahead, as well.  Simple foods like toast with nut butter and sliced bananas can go a long way!

If you are still feeling stressed, consider taking a break.  Walk away for a minute to get some fresh air and a new perspective on whatever is stressing you out.  Sometimes taking a break is what our brain needs to help power through the tough moments.  And if that's still not working, or you could really use a back rub after your hard work (and being hunched over for 7 hours) be sure to stop by Stressbusters on Q Level in the MSE for a free 5-7 minute back rub!

1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666312002541
2. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-eating-breakfast-students-7697.html 
3. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/tobacco_industry/hookahs/


Feeling Comfortable with Ourselves- a note from PEEPs

Do you know that body image remains a key factor of self-esteem to American women? One study found that 63% of female participants identified weight as a higher factor in determining how they felt about themselves, over family, school, or career. Results from other research reveal that 86% of all women are dissatisfied with their bodies and want to lose weight.[1] Body image is not only what women care about, men too, have ideal body images that they desire and constantly compare themselves to. Every day we may wonder: why don’t I look like those people in the movies and TV shows. The answer may seem easier than you think: because “we” are not “them.”

Here are a few things to consider for helping you feel more comfortable about the how we look the way we are:

  • Appreciate yourself in the mirror: Your body maintains and nourishes your life, with which you are able to experience the world.  Know that human bodies come in different shapes and sizes naturally. [2]
  • Treat your body with love and respect: Find your favorite method of exercise and do it regularly. Be mindful about each meal and choose nutritious food that you enjoy.
  • Understand that emotions are skin deep: Recognize that emotions and feelings underlie a negative body image and a positive body image. Knowing how you feel emotionally at the moment may help identify what actually causes negative experiences.
  • Media is powerful, but our mind can be even more powerful: acknowledge the fact that images portrayed in the media are not the most common body shapes in the population, and it would be mistaken to put such expectations on the majority who are just not that way naturally.

Check out this cute little video – Comfortable: 50 People 1 Question
“If there is one thing you could change about your body, what would you change?”

[1] Nicole Hawkins, PhD, Ways to Overcome a Negative Body Image, http://www.byui.edu/counseling-center/self-help/eating-disorders/negative-body-image
[2] UT Dallas, Self-Help: Body-Image, Counseling Center Resources. http://www.utdallas.edu/counseling/bodyimage/


SEE Tip: Get Motivated for the day!


SEE Tip: Some days it can be really difficult to get out of bed in the morning.  Maybe you were up until 2am working on a paper, or the weekend was full of fun, but that made it pretty tough to get to bed at a decent hour on Sunday night.  Whatever your reason- waking up for some people can be pretty unpleasant.

Instead of hitting the snooze option for eternity, try some motivators to get yourself out of bed.  Before going to bed, write a list of the things you are going to do the next day.  When you wake up, you can glance at the list and start thinking of all the ways you are going to tackle that to do list.  Your brain will start functioning and eventually your body will give in, too.  Soon, you'll be up and moving - ready to take on the day.  

Another tip to get yourself up for the day is to set an alarm that will put you in the mood to start your day.  Avoid obnoxious alarms that might irritate you or ones that have soothing tones that will only make you want to sleep longer.  Instead, try something different- maybe choose a song to set the tone you hope to have for your day: 

Or one last motivator could simply be the idea of more sleep to come later.  Promise yourself a nap sometime between 11-2pm and use that as motivation to get your morning tasks accomplished and get you to that nap time.  Ideally, you'd want your nap to be between 10-20 minutes to get an energy boost and reduce chances of sleep issues later; however, it may depend on your schedule as to what is really best for you.

If you want to try napping as a motivator, stop by the Sherwood Room in Levering Hall today for a quick nap!  We'll have our Nap Zone set up with yoga mats, eye masks, SEE blankets, calm music, and more!!  Stop by between 11am-1:30pm for a nap today!

HKB Quit Tip: Motivation is an essential component to any behavior change.  For tobacco users, being motivated to quit and stay quit takes continuous motivation.  What motivates you to be tobacco free?  Some people are motivated by the cost-savings (about $400 in annual savings for a pack/week smoker).  Others are motivated by the increased ability to breathe better and therefore perform better for athletic related tasks.  So what is your motivation to be (or stay) tobacco free?  Tell us here!

Mellow Out Monday Tip:  Using stress as a motivator can change how we react to stressful situations.  Instead of shutting down or feeling frustrated, the stress can drive us to achieve beyond what we thought possible.  However, we need to be careful and listen to our bodies when using this motivation tactic. We must understand what our bodies need to react properly and safely.  At times, people who are stressed will sacrifice sleep.  This sleep deprivation can actually work against the positive side of stress, as the body is not well equipped and will not function as well as it good.  The lack of sleep can also be deceiving-- letting a person think that they have done something amazing, when really they could have done better had they been fully rested. For example, re-read a paper you wrote that seemed really good at the time, but was produced in a sleep-reduced state.  You'll likely see some areas that you'd change now, right?

Do yourself a favor and get your rest.  This way when stressful times come into play, you can handle them like a well-rested, highly functioning champ!

Need help getting into a sleepy, more restful state?  Try stopping by Stressbusters tonight in Q Level from 8-10pm in MSE for a FREE back rub.  


Sip Tip: Don't believe the hype

There has been a lot of hype touting the benefits of alcohol, but before people run to happy hour, we have to look for the evidence.

As it turns out, the evidence is a bit harder to prove that alcohol can be beneficial.  In fact, there isn't a health agency that currently advocates or recommends the use of alcohol as a health aid.  This is likely do to the abundance of other options for the same benefits.  For example, red wine has been noted for it's antioxidants.  However, it's unlikely that a doctor would begin to recommend that patients start drinking wine.  Often, these same benefits are available in other ways, such as, the foods we consume like fruits and vegetables.  Instead of believing the media hype, consider investigating what's recommended and what's necessary for your individual health.

Lastly, be mindful of the details.  If someone is a wine drinker already, they may be able to claim some benefits from the alcohol.  However, if they go over board, they lose the health benefits and can quickly be at risk for more health concerns.  When it comes to alcohol, going overboard can happen within a sip or two-- for women, the potential benefits are found within one (5oz) glass of wine or less, and for men they can find those benefits in up to two glasses of red.  If moderation isn't something that comes easy for a person, particularly around indulgences like alcohol, they are less likely to get those health benefits, and instead will find themselves at higher risk for the unpleasant/unhealthy side effects of alcohol use.