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.

5.26.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

5.26.2010
Drinking fads. They come and go just as every other trend has the tendency to do. Some have gained legendary popularity- beer bongs, flip cup, etc - and others have faded to the wayside and are long forgotten. Whether fun or funny, games or strategy, some are just ridiculous, some are reserved for bros, but the majority are just downright dangerous. Consuming mass quantities of alcohol is already hazardous. Consuming mass quantities in a short amount of time puts you in extreme risk. Your liver can process only one standard serving size of alcohol per hour. Forcing too much alcohol on your body overwhelms your liver, brain, heart, and pretty much every other organ system you have. If you choose to drink, slow it down! Think of your drinking as a marathon, not a sprint. Enjoy your drinks, the social setting, your friends. Don't rush yourself into a drunken stupor. Just take it easy, Stop@Buzzed!

Oh, and as for the eyeball vodka shots, just don't do them. Seriously, that's a terrible idea.

Congratulations!

On behalf of the Center for Health Education and Wellness, congratulations to the graduating Class of 2010! You have all worked so hard and we wish you nothing but a healthy, happy, and successful future!

Tip of the Week: Take it outside!

No matter where the summer takes you- back home, still in Baltimore, somewhere new- take advantage of the wonderful weather and get active outside! Every state offers local outdoor activities that allow you to get some sun, bond with friends, beat summer boredom, and get some exercise. Make a list of things you would like to do and start Googling some nearby spots to check out.

Want to enjoy some scenery? Find a hiking trail. Grab your friends and your backpacks and enjoy the view with a picnic from atop a mountain. If you're an animal fan, maybe there are horseback riding trails. Enjoy the water? Many companies offer rafting, kayak, or canoe trips- some even offer water rafting and wine tasting tours! If you have a local reservoir or lake, look into renting your own water equipment. If you're an urbanite, check out local outdoor markets, festivals, or parks. There's biking, skating, swimming, sports leagues, surfing, tons of possibilities! While the cool breeze of AC may be hard to leave, enjoying these outdoor activities not only gets you physically active, but also makes for some great memories!

5.25.2010

In the News: Pay less, Get more

5.25.2010
With the costs of vacations, traveling, and new beach clothes, shelling out any extra money for sun protection is probably the last thing on your shopping list. It might help to know that a study by Consumer Reports found that you can get plenty of sun protection for low costs. In fact, the "Best Buy" for sunscreen was a Target brand for under $10 for a pair of 6oz containers. The Up & Up Sport Continuous brand offered great protection against UVA and UBA rays, while still offered at a reasonable price.

What was interesting to find, was that the most expensive brand of 18 tested ($18/oz) was actually the least protective against sunburn. Fortunately, the majority of the sunscreens tested received good ratings. This means that you don't have to assume that the most protection comes from the most expensive bottles. Instead, you can choose your sunscreen based on price, smell, or feel and still be sun safe.

Be sure that your lotion contains protection against both UVA and UVB rays. The SPF factor relates to the UVB protection only, but UVA rays are also responsible for increased cancer risk as well as wrinkles. No matter which brand you decide to buy, choose an SPF of at least 15 and reapply often. A deep tan may look nice at 20, but your 40-year old skin will appreciate a little protection!

5.24.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday

5.24.2010
SEE Tip: Kick start your day and your metabolism. Exercise in the morning! Exercising in the morning will jump start your metabolism and give you energy for the day. People who exercise in the morning are also more likely to stick to their exercise plans. To learn more, click here.

Quit on Monday from HKB: It's obvious that quitting is hard. Think it would be easier if your environment was smoke-free? Currently, 394 college campuses are just that! In fact, our neighbors at Towson University just recently became smoke-free, and Salisbury University is planning to switch over this summer. Why hasn't Hopkins followed suit? HKB has been working hard to help add JHU to the list of healthy campuses by proposing a smoke-free policy. Check out a summary here.

Minimize Maximize Monday: We usually suggest things you can do to minimize your impact but today we want you to maximize your impact on the local economy and your taste buds! Local Maryland agriculture is sprouting all over starting with those delicious strawberries. And what could be more fun than a day on the farm picking your own? Check out PickYourOwn.org to find a farm near you. Support your local farms so they don’t become strip malls

5.21.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

5.21.2010
We've all heard the adage "Beer before liquor, never been sicker." Some people may even swear by the saying. But where do malt drinks fall into the equation? Or wine, or hard ciders? The fact is, it doesn't really matter what you drink, or in which order you drink it. The only thing that affects your level of intoxication is how much you drink in what amount of time. You can stick strictly to beer, but three beer bongs in ten minutes might make you sick regardless. It is possible that certain combinations upset your stomach more than others, or that different ingredients may make you feel a bit queasy. If you choose to drink, stick to what you know, and stick to it for the night. Keeping with one type of drink better allows you to keep track of how much you consume. Pace yourself and you may find that instead of "never been sicker", you're just never sick. Keep your drinks in check, and keep your dinner down. Stop@Buzzed!

Tip of the Week: Keep It Cool

School’s out and summer is here! After all those days spent cramped up in the library we all long to head outside and spend our summer days enjoying the sunny weather. While the season brings the promise of freedom and fun, it also brings heat and humidity. The risk for heat-related deaths and illness is accordingly highest during the next few months. During times of extreme heat the body is unable to cool itself properly and may lead to rapid increase in body temperature, damaging the brain and other organs. Certain factors increase one’s risk for heat-induced illness: obesity, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, sunburn and alcohol use. Prolonged sun exposure can lead to severe burns, exhaustion and even stroke.

It is important to remember that heat-related illnesses are preventable! Of course you want to enjoy the season but summertime activities need to be balanced with measures that help cool the body and avoid heat-illnesses. Taking some of these simple precautions against the harmful effects of the sun can keep you having a safe and enjoyable summer season!

Tips To Protect Your Health During The Heat:
  • Drink Plenty of Fluids: Increase your fluid intake regardless of your activity level, don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink
  • Wear Sunscreen: Sunburn inhibits your body’s cooling processes, slap on broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 protection 30 minutes before heading out
  • Schedule Outdoor Activities: Plan exercise and activities to the morning and evening hours when the sun is not at full strength
  • Pace Yourself: Start all activities slowly and build up your pace gradually, if you find yourself becoming faint, weak or gasping for breath stop activity and get into a cool area
  • Use a Buddy System: When outdoors in extreme monitor those around you for heat-related warning signs and have your friends do the same for you

For more information, click here.

Submitted by Ashley White, PEEPs member

5.20.2010

In the News: What's in Your Genes?

5.20.2010
As the incoming class of freshmen enter University of California, Berkeley, they are invited to take a new type of entrance test: a DNA test. Instead of the usual summer reading program, freshmen and transfer students at UC-Berkeley are being asked to submit cheek swab samples to test for three different genes. These genes help to regulate the body's ability to metabolize alcohol, lactose, and folates. These particular genes were targeted as college behaviors can have a direct impact on the well-being of students with these markers.

If a student is unable to properly metabolize alcohol, they may find that they are more easily intoxicated, or have more negative reactions to alcohol. An inability to metabolize lactose leads to lactose intolerance or sensitivity. A folate deficiency has been linked to depression, as well as heart disease and cancers. Folate is particularly important to women in their childbearing years. By understanding any defiencies within the body, students have the knowledge and ability to make healthier decisions. They can choose to drink less, avoid dairy, or eat more green leafy vegetables. UC-Berkeley hopes that by providing students with their results and educational information, they will be able to make deicisons that better their own personal health throughout their college career.

While controversy has risen among students, scientists, and bioethicist over the risks and rewards of such testing, UC-Berkeley stands behind its decision. This sort of testing is the first of its kind within a university setting. It may mark the beginning of personalized genetic testing for universities nationwide. To learn more, click here.

5.17.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday!

5.17.2010
SEE Tip: Fresh foods are packed with healthy fiber, vitamins, and nutrients that are good for both your body and mind. What may be more important, is what they are not packed with. Packaged and processed foods are often extremely high in sodium. In fact, roughly 77% of excess dietary salt comes from processed foods. By purchasing fresh, you are receiving a purer product without all the unnecessary extras. Instead of going the boxed route, make your own meal with local, fresh ingredients. Check out these surprisingly salty foods and the next time you go grocery shopping, think fresh!

Quit on Monday from HKB: Quit now, work later! With the state of the economy, recent graduates have found it increasingly difficult to find work. Want to get a leg up on some competition? Be a non-smoker. More employers are beginning to show preference to or even requiring non-smokers for their company. Just think about it; non-smokers take fewer breaks, take less sick days, and are generally healthier than their smoking counterparts. Commit to quit now and you may find a healthier and weathlier life ahead!

Minimize Monday: During summer months, one air conditioner can account for up to 60-70% of the total electricity used in a home. As the weather heats up, resist the urge to crank the AC all the way down. While giving up AC is not a viable option for many, consider setting the AC to a higher temperature. For every degree you raise your thermostat setting above 72 degrees F, you'll save 5-7% on your cooling costs. You will save money and minimize your environmental impact.

5.14.2010

Don't forget to Wear Sunscreen!

5.14.2010

5.13.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

5.13.2010
Congratulations! You made it through finals week and have finally reached the finish line. With the end of the semester, you may find yourself in a new financial situation. Whether ending work, starting work, or working on your savings, keep in mind the high costs of drinking. What may be a few weekly happy hours could easily add up over a month. Curious to know how it may add up over a year? Check out this Bar Tab Calculator to find out. To spend less, leave the debit and credit cards at home and only bring out the cash you want to spend. It not only limits your spending, but also the amount that you drink. You may find that spending less and drinking less can mean more fun! Cash in and Stop@Buzzed!

5.12.2010

Test Yourself: Relax!

5.12.2010
Many of you may have completed all your finals and papers; others may just be winding down. Either way, you all have worked exceptionally hard for the entire year and now is your time to finally relax. In lieu of offering yet another quiz, we instead offer a challenge. We challenge you to spend the next week ignoring any stressors and focus only on relaxing.

Your body just underwent an enormous amount of pressure. Some of you may be sleep deprived, others sore and achy, and many so delirious that you don't even know how you feel. Most likely, your immune system is less defensive, your brain a bit fried, your muscles tense, and your body tired. Keep those things in mind as you plan ways to release that pent up stress.

For some, your first thought may be to reach for a beer (or more) and celebrate wildly, but recognize that your body is not in it's top form. A tired, tense body responds to alcohol much more quickly than usual. What you may usually be able to handle could hit you much harder, much faster. Plus, after a week of all-nighters, do you really need another late night?

Take this time to get your body back into it's healthy state. Catch up on sleep (it takes at least 2 days to get back into normal patterns), catch up with friends, exercise, go out for your favorite meal, get outside in the sun, get a massage, or lay around and watch some of your favorite movies and enjoy your time without stress. Challenge yourself to just relax- you deserve it! Congratulations on your year!

Stress and Your Body

You know how stress makes you feel. Anxious, jittery, nervous, scared, panicked, worried; the list could go on and on. But did you ever realize that stress may be the cause of a whole lot more of your health and wellness problems? Just take a look at this:In the final stretch of your week, don't let stress ruin your health. Just remember to organize, prioritize, exercise, and most importantly, take a break to do something just for you.

Tip of the Week: Study Smart

Finals Week. The name alone can spark fear in the hearts of even the brightest college students. Suddenly everything you've spent months learning has been crammed into one short little exam that often weighs heavily on your final grade. It's very easy to get caught up in the stress of exam week. All-nighters, cramming, and marathon study groups may seem like the only way to survive. But there are ways to succeed without wearing yourself out. Here are some helpful study hints:
  • Don't cram: it is usually associated with lower academic achievement and higher stress. It also does not promote long term memory. Instead, keep a steady schedule of studying and take breaks to allow your brain to process what you have learned.

  • Organize: keeping facts in logical patterns as you study makes retrieval easier when it comes time to answer test questions.
  • Repeat: repetition increases learning and retention. Review your material at regular intervals, not just all at once. Flash cards are an excellent tool that allow you to review your material regularly in an organized manner.
  • Vary your techniques: utilizing different learning styles (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) strengthens learning because the information is received in different ways. Try reading your notes, saying your notes, and copying your notes as you study.
  • Follow a pattern: pre-read, make notes, review your notes, and self-test. These techniques have been found to not only increase learning, but also long-term retention of the material.
  • Breathe: an estimated 15-20% of college students experience lower grades due to text anxiety. Instead of spending the 15 minutes before an exam to cram in information you will most likely forget, spend it mentally preparing for the exam. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and tell yourself some encouraging words. You CAN do this!
As finals week comes to a close, be sure to rest, eat healthfully, and get some exercise to keep your mind and body healthy. It will all be over soon. Come Friday, you are free to enjoy your summer vacation and prepare for your next academic adventure. Best of luck!

Tips referenced from Study Without Stress: Mastering Medical Sciences by Eugenia G. Kelman and Kathleen C. Straker

5.11.2010

In the News: The Hangover, The Molecule

5.11.2010
No, this is not the title of the sequel to The Hangover, but this news may give the Wolf Pack another reason to celebrate. A breaking discovery in the world of intoxication has emerged. Neuroscientists from the University of Southampton's School of Biological Sciences have discovered the molecule in the brain that leads to hangovers.

The study utilized C. elegans worms to test their brain response (similar to that of a human) to alcohol intoxication and dependence. Findings showed that when the worms experienced extended alcohol exposure, their brains grew accustomed to those levels. Once the alcohol consumption halted, the brain responded with hangover-like withdrawal symptoms. According to University of Southampton professor Lindy Holden-Dye, "This research showed the worms displaying effects of the withdrawal of alcohol and enables us to define how alcohol affects signaling in nerve circuits which leads to changes in behavior". While the 'hair of the dog' approach of providing small doses of alcohol to the worms did alleviate some symptoms, it also increased likelihood for alcohol dependency. While the exact name of this molecule has not yet been released, scientists hope to use these findings to research methods of treatment for alcoholism. Click here to learn more.

With the announcement of this discovery we have to ask: if the molecule has been identified, how long before a hangover cure is developed? Until that day, avoid the hangover and Stop@Buzzed!

In the News: The Pill... for Men?

Ironically, this past Mother's Day marked the 50th anniversary of the FDA's approval of the pill that has helped to prevent motherhood among millions of women. After half a century, the Pill is currently taken by over 12 million women, making it the most popular form of contraception in America. But what if the Pill was not only available to women, but also to men?

Science is getting close to developing a hormonal form of birth control specifically designed for men. While scientists were able to develop a medicine designed to halt the release of one egg in women, there has been greater difficulty in developing a way to prevent males from producing millions of sperm. Researchers have recently found promising results for this breakthrough during clinical trials of hormonal treatments. In fact, research is so promising that both the WHO and NIH are supporting additional trials. While it appears that the first potential form of male hormonal contraception will not be in pill form, but rather injections or gels, further studies are being done to develop a pill to control testosterone levels. It seems that before long, both men and women will have hormonal options available for their reproductive health. To learn more, click here.

It's important to remember that even though birth control is available, it is up to the user to utilize contraception properly. A recent study by the Guttermacher Institute found that nearly half of all unplanned pregnancies are due to lapses in birth control use. Ladies, check out these potential problems to ensure that you are protecting yourself properly.

5.10.2010

A Note from the Health and Wellness Center

5.10.2010
Dear Students:

Pay close attention to this message. It could help you stay healthy during exam week, when you need to be at your best.

Over the last week, the Student Health and Wellness Center has seen a significant number of students with fever, painful sore throats and enlarged tonsils.

Since lab tests can take up to 48 hours, we have given students antibiotics before the results came back in an effort to get them well for their exams. In most instances, however, the antibiotics have not helped. Tests for strep and infectious mononucleosis have for the most part turned out negative.

These facts, together with what we know about how sore throats spread in college students, strongly suggest that the cause of these illnesses is a virus. There are no effective antiviral medications for this condition.

So what can you do? Prevention is the key.

-Practice good, frequent hand washing.
-Do not share anything that could transmit saliva from one person to another (glasses, bottles, cans, spoons, forks, hookahs, etc).

This week, be selfish. Don’t share food, drink, eating or drinking utensils with anyone else.

All of us at the Student Health and Wellness Center wish you the best of luck in all your finals.

Sincerely,
Alain Joffe, MD, MPH, FAAP
Director, Student Health and Wellness Center

And the winners are...

Over a 4 week period, residents of campus housing participated in the “Step it UP Challenge”. The challenge encouraged students to increase their physical activity by tracking their daily steps using a pedometer. Step It UP also promoted the usage of stairs over elevators whenever possible, which not only improves health but also helps to reduce energy consumption. The challenge is over and the results are now in!

For most flights taken:
Team Freeman - 5,862 flights
Charles Commons, St Paul, 4th Floor
Leah Kim, Catherine Cryer, Darcy Wilson

For most steps:
Team Cook - 1,569,504 steps
Wolman 3East
Chi Kim, Jacob Rabadi, Stefany Gomez
RA of the winning floor:
Simran Hundal

Congratulations to all the winners and keep stepping UP!

The Step It Up Challenge is a joint collaboration between CHEW, Residential Life and the Sustainability Office.

SEE for Yourself on Monday

SEE Tip: Put the flashcards down for some shut eye during finals week! Long-term memories are predominantly formed during sleep when the brain replays recent experiences. Researchers at the University of Lubeck in Germany found that sleep not only strengthens a memory's content but also the sequence in which they are experienced. Students were presented sets of words in a particular order. One group of these students was allowed to sleep and another was not. Those who were allowed to sleep could more often recall the order of words than those who were not allowed to sleep. To read more click here.

Minimize Monday: Growing your own food maximizes the fun and pride involved with meals but it can also minimize your environmental impact by reducing pesticide use and the food miles traveled to get your food to your plate. For those of us who live in the city or have limited yard space though it may at first seem improbable. Thanks to Planet Green’s list of 66 things you can grow at home in containers it may be time to reconsider playing farmer for the summer! Check out the list. It isn’t too late to grow a green thumb and some veggies!

Stressbuster Sound-off: As we at Hopkins know, FINALS is actually an acronym, for Fiddlesticks! I Never Actually Learned Stuff!! (Of course, this is the politically correct version of the acronym.)
During finals, it's more important than ever to look after your health. The most important thing is sleep. Seriously. If you're not sleeping well or enough during finals, you won't retain any of the information you're trying to cram. It's tempting to pull multiple all-nighters- but if you're falling asleep on your Scantron on test day, it's not going to help.
The absolute WORST thing to do during reading period is drink. Just don't do it. It's not going to take away your worries, and a hangover will eat up half the productivity of the next day. If there's a party, and you've studied all day- sure, go. Dance. Let off some steam. But drink Coke instead of anything alcoholic. Save the hardcore partying for after finals. Make time to do small things to reset your mind, so you don't panic and explode too often. Sometimes, that's all you can ask for. But if you've been studying for a solid 2 hours, even if you feel like you're on a roll and can go on, take a 15-minute break. Run around outside, or talk to friends, or take out your journal and write, or doodle, or read a few pages of a book that makes you happy. Or answer emails. We all have a backlog of emails we need to answer- and if you don't, contact an old friend. The point is, you should do something to mentally switch gears. Naps don't work as well because your brain is probably still going to be freaking out over that synthesis problem you can't quite figure out.
Good luck with finals, and don't go too crazy!

--Garvi Sheth, Stressbusters Co-coordinator--


Need more SEE? Visit the Breezeway from 11-1 today! Come to Q-level of the library every Monday from 8-10 to check out Stressbuster's Mellow Out Mondays!

5.07.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

5.07.2010
Change up the generic college party scene. Big house parties and crowded bars may seem like the standard social environment for alcohol, but they don't have to be. If you choose to drink, next time think smaller. Have a small group of friends over where each person brings a bottle of wine, a 6-pack of their favorite beer, or their favorite mixed concoction. Not only can you socialize with your friends (and actually be able to hear your conversations), but you get a chance to try some new drinks besides whatever cheap stuff comes out of the keg. If you're feeling creative, have a theme. Maybe have a luau and mix up some frozen drinks (you can even make some sans alcohol). Big, crowded venues can make for dangerous drinking. Smaller atmospheres better allow you to stay in control. Think small, drink small. Stop@Buzzed!

5.06.2010

Test Yourself: Sun and Skin Safety

5.06.2010
We all know that it's important to wear sunscreen to protect ourselves from the harsh UV rays from the sun. Usually, we remember to apply when we plan on spending an extended amount of time outside. But even when just walking to and from class, your skin is exposed to these rays and is at risk for sun damage.

May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. It is important to regularly check your skin for any warning signs of skin cancer. Carefully examine each mole and freckle using the ABCD's of skin cancer. Are your moles Asymmetric? Do they have irregular Borders? Do they have varying Color? Do they have a Diameter greater than 6mm? These are some of the potential warning signs that show you may need your mole examined by a doctor. Early detection is important to the prevention of skin cancer. Check yourself regularly. Test your knowledge of skin cancer here!

5.05.2010

Tip of the Week: High Tech Health

5.05.2010
With all the other things that Hopkins students have to juggle, health isn't usually a top concern. To get plugged back in, bring your health into the technology age. There are an endless number of health resources available in the palm of your hand- or laptop. Utilize new technologies to stay linked into your health. Between health apps on your Smartphones, free health resources online, or even text message health tips, you can constantly be connected to a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some tips to make you High Tech Healthy:
  • Search for healthy apps for your phone: pedometers, recipes, nutrition facts, etc
  • Use Facebook or Twitter groups as a support group or for new health tips
  • Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to exercise, rest, or take your birth control
  • Find forums or online communities for smoking cessation support
  • Start a health journal to record your personal goals and accomplishments
  • Utilize free online sites to create your own diet or exercise plans

In need of some free health resources? Check out SparkPeople, OneResult, Quit Now, FoodFit or search Google to find a resource of your own!

5.04.2010

In the News: Go Mental

5.04.2010
Mental Health Month could come at no better time than May. Well, at least no better time for college students. With the semester winding down the stresses of studying, finals, papers, and graduation can weigh heavily on your mind. Although your To-Do List may be countless items long, it's important to put your well-being at the top of the list. While it may seem like stressing out is the only way to make it through finals week, there are plenty of other options that allow you to keep your GPA and your spirits up.

Mental Health America is sponsoring a campaign called Live Your Life Well. According to their website, "Live Your Life Well is a national public education campaign dedicated to helping people better cope with stress and enhancing their well-being". The website hopes to aid people in realizing their stress, recognizing stressors, and figuring out the best ways to cope. It's important to remember that everyone responds to and deals with stress differently. A little good stress (or eustress) can help keep you motivated and on task. However, stress can very quickly turn negative when it gets to be too much. Eventually, poor mental health can begin to affect your physical health. You may have difficulty sleeping, focusing, random aches and pains, changes in appetite, or severe mood swings. It's normal to worry about grades or exams, but those things should not take precedence over your health and happiness. Check your stress levels, and recognize when you need to take a break to just relax. Grades aren't everything, but your health is.

In need of a place to relax? Check out the Relax Fair this Friday from 12-3 on the Beach. There will be inflatable games, giveaways, obstacle courses, and plenty of other ways to release some of that pent of stress. So put the books aside for an hour or three and come on out and enjoy yourself!

5.03.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday

5.03.2010
SEE Tip: This week, strengthen your body while strengthening your mind! Take study walk-breaks. When you are studying for long periods of time, try to stand up once an hour for a few minutes. The University of Pittsburg School of Medicine has found that short bouts of exercise enhance weight loss and cardio-respiratory fitness. To learn more click here.

Quit on Monday from HKB: Set a date. When you consider quitting, it can be easy to come up with excuses to keep pushing back your first day without tobacco. You may begin to justify "just one more cigarette" if you have an upcoming stressful event (like finals) or social event (like the end of finals). Instead of allowing yourself to keep putting off the inevitable, set a date and pledge to stick to it. Mark it on your calendar and keep a tally for every day you stick to your commitment. Consider each day you go without tobacco your own personal victory.

Stressbuster Sound-off: Hand Massage: We all sat in front of computers for more hours a day than we care to think about. When we're not in front of computers, we're holding a pencil or pen, frantically taking notes. So our hand muscles get cramped. The good news is you can fix this on your own! All you need (and you don't even really need this) is some kind of lotion or cream with a scent you like. I recommend avocado oil, or those ultra-rich Bath and Body Works lotions- or warming massage oil. Squeeze a small amount on the back of one hand. Use the other to work the lotion/cream/oil into all the little pockets and crevices of your hand, the area around the muscles, the small amount of webbing between your fingers, the bases of your fingernails. Work it into your wrist too- the harder the better. Flex and extend your fingers. Stretch your palm. Do what feels good. Then do the same to the other hand. This is relaxing, refreshing, and, if what you use is lightly scented or unscented, you can do it right there in your cubicle at the library. But, as always, I recommend closing the books first! (Or closing your computer.) And of course, relaxing music is a nice accompaniment. There are plenty of online tutorials for hand massage, if you're interested. But anything will feel good. Garvi Sheth

Minimize Monday: As the weather heats up, everyone is thinking about summer and summer vacation plans. Vacations do not have to have a negative impact on the environment. You can take a sustainable vacation by vacationing locally, choosing ground transportation, and staying at green hotels. All of these decisions will cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. In most cases, these tips will also cut back on your expenses as well. For more information, click here.