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.


Holiday Health


The holiday season is in progress, which can mean our healthy routines we worked so hard for during the fall may be taking a hit this winter.  What healthy habits can you bring into your daily routine as we end 2011 and begin a new year?  Looking for ideas?

  • Train for a 5k (bring a friend for extra ways to commit and someone to chat with).
  • Join the Meatless Mondays campaign.
  • Get into a sleep routine; try going to sleep and waking up at the same times each day.
  • Check out a fun new fitness class in your area. You could see if they offer a free trial, or use a Groupon or Living Social type deal.
  • Eat seasonally fresh fruits and veggies.  It's tasty and less costly for your wallet.
How will YOU finish 2011 on a healthy note?


Weekend Tip: Holiday Hang Outs

Looking to do something local with a little holiday cheer? 
Check out our list of local fun and let us know how it goes!

It's a Waterfront Life!

Maryland Science Center
Friday’s After Five, December  23, 30 (5pm – 8pm)
Special discounted admission after 5pm–$8

Harborplace Amphitheater
Through Dec. 24
Enjoy special Holiday Light Shows (6pm, 6:30pm, 7pm, 7:30 and 8pm) choreographed to your favorite tunes.
Over 200 festively-dressed tuba and euphonium players will capture the spirit of the holiday as they blend their unique styles, rhythms, and progressions for all to enjoy.

Harborplace & The Gallery
WINTER HOURS: Monday – Saturday (10am – 9pm*), Sunday (*Noon – 6pm)
*Restaurants may remain open later. Holiday hours can be found online at www.harborplace.com

Inner Harbor
Baltimore’s New Year’s Eve Spectacular, Saturday, December 31
Saturday, December 31st
A celebration offering a night of music and the countdown to 2012 with a spectacular midnight fireworks, Saturday, December 31, 9pm-12:30am, Inner Harbor.    

Power Plant
Power Plant Holiday Light Show Spectacular, Saturday, November 19 – Saturday December 31, Sunday – Thursday: 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, Friday – Saturday: 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm
Power Plant lights up the Inner Harbor this holiday season with an unforgettable display of lights, lasers, music and more! Sure to become downtown’s most electrifying attraction, you won’t want to miss this must-see event!

Mt. Vernon
Holiday Guide at The Walters Art Museum

Miracle on 34th Street

Events provided by: http://baltimore.org/holiday


From CHEW to you. 

Wishing you health, happiness and peace this holiday season.


Hump Day: How Condoms are Made

Ever wonder how a condom is made?  Want to know what happens to the condoms before they even reach the condom baskets on campus?  Check out this insider's look, courtesy of Lifestyles, of what the process is for condom manufacturing.  And remember, free Lifestyles are available on campus! Don't know where to find them?  Ask your RA, check out events from CHEW and the PEEPs, like Hump Day, come to the CHEW office in Levering 115, or find them at the Student Health and Wellness Center.


Sip Tip: Avoid the Wheel


If you choose to drink while on campus you may have many options for getting back safely, such as walking with a group of friends, calling for a shuttle or cab, or crashing at a friend's place.  But if you're leaving campus for winter break, you're environment will be changing which means your options will change. 

The holiday season is a peak time for drunk driving as hospital emergency rooms can attest. Due to the increase in parties, reunions with high school friends and family, time spent without academics, and a lack of planning ahead- drunk driving seems to sky rocket.  Alcohol related traffic collisions are actually the leading cause of death in 2-33 year olds.  

Instead of adding to the statistic this winter if you choose to drink, think about what options you have in your new location.  Take a cab. Volunteer to be the Designated Driver.  Ask a sibling (or a friend's sibling) to pick you up.  Keep yourself safe this winter break- we want to see you back here in January!


Hump Day: Sext Much?


Sexting in college seems relatively common, given a study by the University of Rhode Island.  URI researchers found that nearly 80% of college students participated in sexting, either by receiving or sending the messages.  Further research has found that nearly 20% of sext recipients forwarded the message to others, despite the intentions or desires of the sender.

Sexting with a partner can be fun and healthy.  But it can also be scary, upsetting, and even damaging when it is no longer fun or healthy.  If you or friends of yours sext, how do you protect yourselves from having the text uploaded to Facebook or put on a college gossip site for everyone else to see? What other things could happen that make sexting unhealthy or unsafe?  And how could these things be safeguarded against- or can they be?

Do you feel like you have a good handle on your texting/sexting practices?  Want to know where you stand on the topic?  Take this quiz, courtesy of the MTV Thin Line Project.


December Schedule for Massage Therapy


THURSDAY 12/8 Debora Murphy: 12:45, 2:00, 3:15, 4:30, 5:45 PM

FRIDAY 12/9 Emily LaBathe: 8:30am, 9:45 and 11:00

FRIDAY 12/9 Debora Murphy: 12:45, 2:00, 3:15, 4:30, 5:45 PM

SATURDAY 12/10 Jeanne Lindsay: 11am, 12:30, 2pm

MONDAY 12/12 Debora Murphy: 12:30, 2:00, 3:15, 4:30, 5:45 PM

TUESDAY 12/13 Debora Murphy: 11:30 AM, 12:45,2:00, 3:15, 4:30, 5:45 PM

WEDNESDAY 12/14 Debora Murphy: 11:30 AM, 12:45, 2:00, 3:15, 4:30, 5:45 PM

THURSDAY 12/15 Please call Debora Murphy to schedule on this day - 410-718-1953.

FRIDAY 12/16 Please call Debora Murphy to schedule on this day - 410-718-1953.

SATURDAY 12/17 Jeanne Lindsay: 11am, 12:30, 2pm

A few reminders: The massage office is located in the Student Health and Wellness Center. We accept only checks or cash for payment, no charges. Half hour session: $35; One hour session: $60.  Call JHU Student Health & Wellness Center at 410-516-8270 to make an appointment. 24 hours notice is required for cancellation.

Sip Tip: Meds and Mixing

You’ve probably seen that warning on medicine bottles before. The danger is real. Mixing alcohol with certain medications can cause nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, or loss of coordination.   

It also can put you at risk for internal bleeding, heart problems, and difficulties in breathing. In addition to these dangers, alcohol can make a medication less effective or even useless, or it may make the medication harmful or toxic to your body. 

Some medicines that you might never have suspected can react with alcohol, including many medications which can be purchased over-the-counter—that is, without a prescription.  This can be things like pain killers, cough medicine, and even allergy medications like Benadryl.

Medications can be safe and effective when used appropriately. Be aware of what you are taking and the effects it might have on you.  Stay informed and avoid taking medication that is that not needed or could do harm to your body.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to be sure your medication will work right for you. Consider your own lifestyle choices, including alcohol use, other medications, and general health behaviors.  Having this conversation up front can make you more of aware of the options available to you and the concerns to be cognizant of.  

Image and Information provided by NIAAA


Hump Day: Orgasm on the brain

Have you ever been curious about what the brain does during an orgasm?  A recent study from Rutgers University had the same curiosity and brought it to the lab.  This 3D clip shows a female's brain through the process of an orgasm.  It highlights the specific zones stimulated, which as authors explain can help further research in other areas, such as depression and anxiety.

Some specifics to look for and keep in mind based on this video and research:

  • The brain will turn different colors based on the blood oxygen levels.  The lighter colors indicate more oxygen which signals that part of the brain is most active at the moment.
  • Activity was found in more than 80 regions of the brain.
  • Oxytocin and dopamine flood the brain producing a euphoric feeling.
  • The same part of the brain that is responsible for controlling pain also appears to active during orgasm, which seems to explain those "O-faces".
  • More research is sure to be done!


Massage Away Exam Stress

Stressed about exams? Consider a therapeutic massage.


SEE for Yourself on Monday - SLEEP WELL!


During finals one of the first things to be sacrificed is sleep. To do your best academically, it's important to get at least 7-8 hours a night. Sleep deprivation has been proven to impair mental function—and weaken the immune system. According to the National Sleep Foundation, although we think of sleep as a time of rest, research is revealing that sleep is a dynamic activity during which many processes vital to health and well-being take place. New evidence shows that sleep is essential to helping maintain mood, memory, and cognitive performance. Click here for more sleep tips. Pick up a free Sleep Kit at the CHEW office, Levering, Suite 115.

Quit on Monday tip: HKB Quit Tip: Secondhand smoke is harmful in a number of ways as past studies have demonstrated including heart disease, cancer, etc. A 2011 study on the effects of secondhand smoke expand on those harms when they studied the effects on sleep. The research found inefficient sleep among those that were exposed to secondhand smoke during the study period. Sleep is a crucial component to optimal mind and body function. If secondhand smoke is possibly interfering with your sleep patterns, consider ways to avoid it in order to have a more restful night’s sleep.

Mellow Out Monday: Students who get 6 or fewer hours of sleep per night feel more tired, sad, and stressed. Lack of adequate sleep has been associated with feelings of being more stressed out. Do yourself a favor and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep especially during finals to decrease your stress levels and enhance cognition and alertness. Stressbusters is also here to help melt your stress away on Monday, December 5th and 12th from 8-10 pm at the library, Q-level.

Finals are Upon Us: Take a Deep Breath

It’s that time of year again… two weeks of finals stand between you and Winter Break. Before you head home for the much-needed holidays, make sure to work hard, stay focused, and most importantly… stay SANE. Below are tips and tricks to keep calm and collected during this hair-pulling, nail-biting, pen-chewing time. 
  1. Try to study anywhere but the library during reading period. That might not make the most intuitive sense, but the library is a stress factory during finals. Oftentimes, it’s stressful enough to find an empty desk. Anxiety is infectious—don’t put yourself in an environment that induces more anxiety than you already have because you’ll end up being less productive. Try working in Gilman, Levering, dorm study rooms, or an empty classroom. 
  2.  Make sure to socialize. Don’t go overboard, but make sure to have some interaction throughout the day. Take study breaks or eat lunch with friends. It’ll take your mind off of schoolwork for a little bit. 

    3.      Change your scene. Walk around, see the outside world, and change the place of where you study. You’ll feel more refreshed if you avoid holing up int the same place for hours at a time. 
    4.      Rotate subjects while studying. While it’s tempting to study 10 straight hours the day before the exam, your brain will thank you if you study in shorter chunks several days before the exam. Try studying one subject for two hours, then studying for another exam for an hour. Changing subjects will also prevent you from feeling irritated or hopeless by one subject. Generally, when you feel frustrated, it’s best to move on.
    5.      Laugh. Whether it be hearing a good joke from a friend or watching a hilarious clip from YouTube, make sure to laugh. It’ll help keep things in perspective, even if it might seem like getting an A on a final is the be all and end all to life success. As Charlie Chaplin once said, “a day without laughter is a day wasted.” 

    6.   YOU HAVE LIMITS- Don’t try to exceed them. When you need to stop for the day, call it quits. You’re not “weak” because you can’t study fourteen hours a day. Some of us mere mortals can’t handle those never-ending days in the library without coming up for food, water or friends. And keep it safe!

    7.  ASK FOR HELP- Counseling services are ALWAYS available to you whether it’s the Counselor on Call after hours or at the Counseling Center during the day. Academic Advising will make the time to talk to you if you need it. Study Consultants are awesome. You have the tools, make sure to use them. 


Under Pressure: Class Registration

Yes, it’s early December, and the semester is rapidly coming to a close. You know what that means, exams galore, soon to be Finals, and registration for Spring. 

If you’re a freshman, you might not know all the best system for picking out your classes, and you have yet to experience the fun times that await you when trying to get ISIS to do your bidding at 7 AM on that fateful day. Yet, what is most important as the going gets really tough here at Hopkins is remembering to have a sense of clarity. I can only speak to my experiences in my past semesters here, but here is what I have done to make course selection that much less stressful for me.

·         Start early- contact your advisor LONG before the courses are even posted so that you can get an appointment that works for you and you can maybe even make two appointments. You can use one to flesh out what your goals are for the semester, and then the second one can be used to look over different potential schedules.

·         Plan ahead- You never know which courses you’ll actually get on registration day, trust me, so it pays to have three or four different versions of a semester schedule that you could conceive of taking. Spring 2011 semester, when I tried to register, I got into 0 of the classes I had on my original schedule and PANICKED. Oddly enough, the classes that I ended up randomly picking in the ISIS aftermath turned out to be some of the best classes  I have ever taken.

·         Get sleep the night before- I cannot tell you the number of times my friends have tried to pull all nighters right before registration. One friend in particular was so tired from staying up the night before that she had everything highlighted to quickly hit register, but accidentally hit delete from cart at 7 AM. Classes fill up within a matter of seconds, so by the time she could re-add everything to her cart and hit register, most of the classes had filled up.

·         Enjoy the journey- Though 99% of people won’t end up in a situation where they get none of the classes they tried to register for, those instances can really be blessings. I was actually able to take a literature class last Spring that I would not have ever considered taking just because I could not get into a single class I had planned on taking. I always loved English literature, I loved history, but I’m double majoring and I’m pre med, so the kind of spare time that I have to take electives is pretty limited. In light of my course struggles, I found out that quite a few writing intensive classes in the English department can count for pre med requirements, and I ended up being able to take Literature in History. Let’s just say it was wonderful to combine pleasure reads and schoolwork for once in my academic career.

There’s not much you can do to control how your course selection turns out, but you can control how you react to it. It’s just not worth the stress. If you can look beyond the academics and learn to roll with life’s punches, you’ll be in much better standing for coping with the many things that will come your way as a college student. And if you ever want advice on picking your classes from fellow students, talk to some of the PEEPs! We’re in all kinds of classes and we love to talk about our experiences!
In health,

Sip Tip: Alcohol + Finals = Lower Grades

Alcohol + Finals = Lower Grades

Seems like a no brainer.  Drinking during finals week may land some with lower grades than they would normally earn.  A study from the US Air Force found this experience to be true, especially for those high achievers out there.  Students who normally achieve high academic honors and chose to consume alcohol saw a significant difference in their final grade.

Why are some students drinking during this crucial time in their academics?  It could be a number of reasons, they don't want to miss the party, they are looking for a way to relieve the stress, they don't want to think about the exam they have, etc.  While these reasons can feel like enough of an excuse are there other things that can be done instead?  Here are some ideas if you are someone that drinks and you're considering it during finals week:

If you don't want to miss the party- you could still go, but choose not to drink or choose to stop@buzzed.  By stopping at buzzed you can feel the positive effects of the alcohol, but miss out on the more negative and longer lasting ones that can affect your studying and test taking abilities.  In either case, you are able to be with friends and take a break from studying.

If you need a way to relieve some stress, try going for a walk outside and breathing in some fresh air.  Sometimes a change of environment can help clear your head and leave you feeling refreshed and de-stressed.  Or you could try taking a shower, getting a back rub, etc.  There are many other ways to relieve stress that don't require a solo cup.

If you just don't want to think about your upcoming exam for a while, try calling a friend you haven't spoken to in a while and catch up.  Or give yourself a break and hit the gym for a while to work out.  Taking your mind off something for a little while isn't bad, but avoiding it through alcohol won't make it go away.  Eventually you'll have to face it, and why not be fresh minded when you're ready to deal with it, right?

Good luck during finals week and remember to stop@buzzed if you choose to drink.

And if you're looking for some alternative things to do in December around Baltimore- here's a good place to start for suggestions from the Baltimore Sun.