Minimize Monday: Consider using Zip Car car-sharing at JHU to run errands or get around the city. The school has fuel-efficient Zip Car vehicles parked around campus available at a discounted price for students, staff, and faculty ($35/year plus 35 free miles in your first month). Click here for more info.
Maximize your safety on and off campus:
- Trust your instincts and be yourself. If you feel unsafe, or even uncomfortable, in any situation, go with your gut. Don't worry about what others think; your own safety comes first.
- Use your cell phone as a tool. Make sure it's fully charged before you leave home and if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, shoot a quick text for a "friend-assist." Make a plan before you go out just in case your phone dies, so you can meet up with your friends at a specific location at a certain time.
- Be careful when leaving status or away messages online and when using the "check-in" feature on Facebook or Foursquare. Leaving information about your whereabouts reveals details that are accessible to everyone. Use common sense so that someone can’t track your every move. If you wouldn’t give the information to a stranger, then don't put it on your online profile.
- Wait to let your guard down until people earn your trust. A college campus can foster a false sense of security. Don't assume people you've just met will look out for your best interests; remember that they are essentially strangers.
- Don't be afraid to hurt someone's feelings. If you find yourself in an unsafe situation it's OK to lie. Make up an excuse as to why you have to go. It's better to make up a reason to leave than to stay in a possibly dangerous situation. Your safety comes before someone else's feelings.
- If you see something, say something! Intervene if a situation seems questionable or if someone's safety is at risk. By taking action you can prevent a crime from being committed. Remember you can also contact your resident assistant or campus police.
- Stick with your friends and watch out for each other. Arrive together, check in with one another throughout the night, and leave together. Think twice about going off alone and if, for whatever reason, you have to separate from your friends, let them know where you are going and who you are with.
- Drink responsibly and know your limits. Don't accept drinks from people who you don't know or trust and never leave your drink unattended. If you have left your drink alone, get a new one. Always watch your drink being prepared. At parties, stick to drinks you got or prepared yourself instead of common open containers like punch bowls.
- Watch out for your friends. If a friend seems out of it, is way too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol they've had, or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place. If you suspect that you or a friend has been drugged, call 911. Be explicit with doctors so they can administer the correct tests.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Whether you're walking home from the library or at a party be mindful of potential risks. Get to know your campus and learn a well-lit route back to your dorm or place of residence. Think of a safe exit strategy. Are there people around who might be able to help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?
Sure there will be plenty of fun times during your college years ahead but it can also be very stressful. The pressure of your academics may take a toll on your mental and physical health if you don't take care of yourself early on. Here are some smart tips to help keep your stress at a more minimal level:
Stop studying. That may seem counter-intuitive but marathon study sessions can wear out your willpower and concentration. When you start feeling fatigued it's time to take a break and do something replenishing such as noshing on a healthy snack or taking a 10-20 minute walk. When you hit the books again you'll feel refreshed.
Give your mind a break. Stay in the present moment to alleviate anxiety and cut down on brain clutter. Daily meditation for as little as 20 minutes a day can help you develop your mindfulness muscle. Find a quiet place to sit, close your eyes, and focus on your breath, gently bringing your mind back whenever it wanders.
Make a list. Does it seem like everything is stressing you out? Make a list to pinpoint exactly what is making you feel so overwhelmed then rank them in order of importance. Crossing things off of a list has its own stress-reducing benefit.
Get your ZZZZZ's. This may be one of the most important tips of all. Most college students don't get enough sleep and studies have shown that getting 7-8 hours a night positively impacts academic performance. Naps as short as 15-20 minutes can also help you feel refreshed after a poor night's sleep.
Welcome Class of 2015!
To begin well, CHEW's WELL, CHEW's HEALTH!
The start of school is almost here. For some of us, hiding under our covers for the next few weeks may seem like the best plan. But those classes will still come, and instead of hiding, our friends at NIND have some basics to get our sleep schedules on track before school begins to ease us back into school mode without leaving us clinging to our sheets.
Set a schedule: Go to bed at a set time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Disrupting this schedule may lead to insomnia. "Sleeping in" on weekends also makes it harder to wake up early on Monday morning because it re-sets your sleep cycles for a later awakening.
Exercise: Try to exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day. Daily exercise often helps people sleep, although a workout soon before bedtime may interfere with sleep. For maximum benefit, try to get your exercise about 5 to 6 hours before going to bed.
Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol: Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, which acts as a stimulant and keeps people awake. Sources of caffeine include coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, non-herbal teas, diet drugs, and some pain relievers. Smokers tend to sleep very lightly and often wake up in the early morning due to nicotine withdrawal. Alcohol robs people of deep sleep and REM sleep and keeps them in the lighter stages of sleep.
Relax before bed: A warm bath, reading, or another relaxing routine can make it easier to fall sleep. You can train yourself to associate certain restful activities with sleep and make them part of your bedtime ritual.
Sleep until sunlight: If possible, wake up with the sun, or use very bright lights in the morning. Sunlight helps the body's internal biological clock reset itself each day. Sleep experts recommend exposure to an hour of morning sunlight for people having problems falling asleep.
Don't lie in bed awake: If you can't get to sleep, don't just lie in bed. Do something else, like reading, watching television, or listening to music, until you feel tired. The anxiety of being unable to fall asleep can actually contribute to insomnia.
Sleep well! Do well! CHEW's Well!
Ah, summer. BBQs, beach days, picnics, festivals, concerts... so many fun things to do! And thankfully, we still have a few short weeks left, as labor day weekend approaches. Summer has a lot of fun in store, but it also packs the heat. And, on those days, we need to be extra cautious of the potential for heat stroke and heat exhaustion. One of the best ways to avoid this is to stay HYDRATED!
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it can cause dehydration and even prevent rehydration. Continuous drinking of alcoholic beverages also impacts the sensory abilities and decreases the amount of attention paid to the body's signals. This can lead to serious risks for the individual who may not realize how severely dehydrated s/he is, and develop into more serious issues.
If you choose to drink this summer, be sure to drink lots of water and non-alcoholic beverages before, during, and after to keep your hydration levels up. You'll be happy you did!