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.


Textual relationships


In a world where texting and Instant Messaging have become standard, while phone calls are rare-- we have to find a balance between what's okay for each of us and when a line is crossed in our textual lives. This line is often tested in relationships, whether they are serious relationships, friendships, hook ups, etc.  The key is knowing what your line is and when it's being crossed.

Texting is used for a variety of purposes- to check in, to send an alert ("running late"), to communicate in situations when you can't speak, to let someone know they are thinking of him/her, and endless other reasons.  When it comes to relationships, a recent poll by TextPlus found that "65% [of respondents] said it is fine to ask someone out on a first date via text (vs. 35% who disagreed) while another 24% said it is acceptable to break up with someone over text. In the survey, some 30% said they'd been dumped by text" (USA Today).  In seeing this, we wondered what some do's and don'ts might be in general and what each of your lines would be based on this information.

Texting Don’ts

Don’t guess. If you don't understand what someone messaged you- just ask them to clarify- don't guess or spend hours analyzing each word.  Just ask what they meant or wait until you are in person to get a better sense of what they meant.  

Don’t text angry. Of course, you can express frustration, but avoid text fights and arguments.  Tone is so hard to decipher via text and resolving a situation through text is next to imposssible.  Try picking up the phone if things are turning sour.

Don't expect an immediate response.  While it would be great if we could all respond right away- it's important to keep in mind that we have lives outside of our phones.  If it's urgent, try calling the person, but if it's not truly urgent, give them time to finish what they are doing, whether it be lecture, studying for an exam, or just having some down time.

Don't text while face to face.  When someone is talking with you - put the phone away.  Having a direct conversation will likely not last forever- try waiting it out or excuse yourself for a minute to respond if it's important and return to the conversation.

Texting Do’s

Do text sweet nothings. With your hectic schedules, it can be hard to pick up the phone or even send an email. A short text like “Hey _insert nickname_,” or “Thinking of you” can make your significant other suddenly happier to see you later.

Do respond. Most people are never far from their cell phone, so if you don’t reply within an hour or so, the other person will assume they’re being ignored.  If you don’t have time to answer, reply with something like “Stuck in mtg. Will hit you soon!” If you can’t do that, be sure to add “Sorry! Just got this,” when you finally do text him or her back.

Do pick up the phone.  Texts can get confusing or frustrating at times.  If conversations are going in a negative direction, try calling the person to clear up any misunderstandings before things get any worse.

Do decide what's okay for you.  If someone you are texting with asks for a picture- you have the power to say yes or no.  Consider your options and possible consequences-- and you make the final call.

Do double check.  Avoid auto-correct embarrassment and proof read your messages before hitting send.


SEE mindfully


SEE Tip: When was the last time that you took a moment to just appreciate where you are, who you are with, or even what you are eating?  We often run through our lives from one moment to the next without taking a second to stop and take it in.  We eat our meals as fuel, stress release, or possibly mindlessly.  Instead, we want to challenge you this week to eat mindfully.  And if you're up for it, to expand your mindfulness to other areas of your life.

Try one of these tips from a recent New York Times article on the subject:

WHEN YOU EAT, JUST EAT. Unplug the electronica. For now, at least, focus on the food.
CONSIDER SILENCE. Avoiding chatter for 30 minutes might be impossible in some families, especially with young children, but specialists suggest that greenhorns start with short periods of quiet.
TRY IT WEEKLY. Sometimes there’s no way to avoid wolfing down onion rings in your cubicle. But if you set aside one sit-down meal a week as an experiment in mindfulness, the insights may influence everything else you do.
PLANT A GARDEN, AND COOK. Anything that reconnects you with the process of creating food will magnify your mindfulness.
CHEW PATIENTLY. It’s not easy, but try to slow down, aiming for 25 to 30 chews for each mouthful.
USE FLOWERS AND CANDLES. Put them on the table before dinner. Rituals that create a serene environment help foster what one advocate calls “that moment of gratitude.”

Want to know more or try it yourself?  
Stop by the SEE for Yourself table today from 11am-1pm in the Gilman Atrium.

HKB Quit Tip: If you or someone you know is struggling with quitting an addiction, like smoking, mindfulness may be the key to help become a successful quitter.  A recent study found that mindfulness training for those wishing to quit smoking were having positive outcomes, and may even prove more beneficial than the current treatment guidelines provided by the American Cancer Society.  

To learn more about what's happening in the smoking cessation world and more, check out Hopkins Kicks Butts!  The first meeting of the Spring semester is this Wednesday, February 27th at 8pm in Levering!

Mellow Out Monday Tip: Feeling stressed out and want to learn a way to better manage your stress?  Try the mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR) which is new this semester for our students!  It is open to full time undergraduate and graduate students in the Whiting School of Engineering and the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.  There are 9 weekly sessions which are all FREE.  With the MBSR is instruction in meditation, yoga, and stress-management techniques.  If you're interested  contact sbryan22@jhu.edu for more details.

Want something tonight to help you relax? Stop by the MSE Library on Q-level for a quick and free back rub from Stressbusters!  Take 5 minutes to relax, and just allow yourself to release the stress that you may be holding in.  Stressbusters will be there starting at 8pm-- give yourself the break you need and stop by!


Sip Tip Smack Down


This weekend at Penn State University some students will be celebrating an early St. Patrick's Day, or as they termed it, State Patty's Day.  About six years ago, a group of students felt like they were missing out by having St. Patrick's Day happen during their Spring Break.  To fix this, that group started a Facebook group to start a new tradition. They were able to get over 5,000 students on board and a number of the local bars and so began the State Patty's Day tradition.

Unfortunately, this tradition went from a fun event with people dressing in green, hanging out with their friends, and enjoying a few drinks to a more dangerous and destructive event.  Reports found a combination of visitors and students misbehaving, drinking to excess, and a high number of injuries and safety concerns.

To curb the negative traditions, Penn State officials put together a committee to find a solution.  They came up with an unusual approach... pay the bars not to serve alcohol.  Using money garnered from past State Patty's days parking violations, the committee has been able to work with a number of bars to pay for the lost revenue and keep them from serving alcohol.  The Greek community was also required to keep it a dry weekend with no parties allowed.

Why is the committee taking such an atypical approach?  The numbers.

If you were on the committee, would you have agreed with the decision or what would you have suggested they do to reduce the dangerous behaviors?

Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/20/state-pattys-day-bars_n_2729871.html?utm_hp_ref=college


Hump Day: Adult Films and Condom Use


There was a great amount of debate in the last few months over the California law mandating adult film actors be required to use condoms for on-screen sexual intercourse.  The film makers felt it violated their first amendment rights to free speech and expression, and also believed that they had precautions in place to keep actors safe from HIV and other STD/STIs, such as regular blood testing.  The producers have stated that they have had zero HIV transmission thus far with their current methods of prevention and see no reason to have this law change their methods.  They also feel that the public does not want to see someone using a condom.

On that last note, what do you think the public wants to see?  Would people be turned off from watching adult films if the actors were using condoms?  Fill out our poll to tell us your thoughts: http://doodle.com/c5qhkukn5kri97vb.


SEE asks "What's your sleep hygiene?"


SEE tip: Care about hygiene?  Of course!  You likely shower regularly, brush your teeth, wash your sheets, and all of the other important tasks.  But how's your sleep hygiene?  What are you doing to get quality sleep at night?  There are steps you can take and routines you can set in place to help improve your sleep.  Things like shutting off electronics at least 30 minutes before bed or keep your books out of your bed- reserve your bed for two things- sleep and sex.  Get more sleep hygiene tips in the Gilman Atrium today from 11-12:30.

HKB Tip: Do you know someone who likes to smoke in bed?  Try to warn them about the dangers-- most accidental fires are caused by cigarettes and many accidental fire deaths are caused by these types of accidents.  Quitting isn't easy, but taking precautions may be more possible.  Ask the people you care about to consider their safety and the safety of those around them if they are a bedtime smoker.

Mellow out Monday: A good night's rest will help you go the extra mile in the classroom.  Having trouble sleeping?  Often the benefits of human touch, like a quick back rub, can help.  Stop by the MSE Library tonight starting at 8pm for a free back rub from Stressbusters!


Sex Fest and the Weekend Ahead!


Our penultimate event of SHAG week is today!  Come to Sex Fest for the beer goggles, condoms, giveaways, and so much more!! 

Glass Pav, 11am-1pm.  See you there!

Play Sex Fest Bingo for a chance to win one of these guys!

And don't forget to head to tonight's Friday Night Film from The HOP- "Sleepless in Seattle". 

Whatever you do this weekend, keep your safety in mind.  Be a road scholar, practice safer sex (if you're having any), drink more water, and do what you can to make healthier choices.


Valentine's Day Prep - "Downtown" Edition

Talking to a spa owner the other day, she noted the high number of wax requests that she received over the week.  She couldn't understand why the number was so high-- it's winter!  And then it hit her... February 14th is nearly here.  And she commented, "I guess some people get flowers and others get a groomed ___"  well, you get the idea.

When it comes to female grooming many people have their preferences; some like the natural look, while others prefer smooth and hair-free, others prefer something in between, and others prefer not to groom.  There is no "right" way, just what feels right for the person who is sporting the style.

And same goes for male grooming!  There's no right or wrong way to groom (or not groom).

If you are considering doing something different, like getting a wax, consider having it done by a reputable professional in a sanitary environment.  This will reduce the chances for mishaps, as well as, allow someone who is trained to help you determine what is right for you.  Check out reviews on Yelp or ask friends where they go for similar services.

If you want to consider all of your options, here are the pros and cons of the techniques we could think of.  Are we missing any?

  • Hair grows back within a few days
  • May be uncomfortable and itchy as it grows back
  • Hair may feel coarse when it grows back, because the hair shaft will have a blunt tip
  • Possibility of cutting the skin, razor burn, and/or ingrown hairs
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be done at home

  • Hair grows back after a few weeks
  • Slight discomfort when the hair is being taken off
  • Hair regrowth may feel thinner as it grows back
  • Can be costly
  • Can be done at home but may be easier to have it done professionally

  • Hair grows back quickly
  • Plucking is painful
  • Can be used to remove a few stray hairs that may be bothersome but not recommended for the full job

  • Product must say that it's safe to use on the pubic or bikini area
  • Can test product in a small area and wait 24 hours to be sure that no reaction occurs
  • Can cause irritation
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be done at home

Happy Hump Day before Valentine's Day/Singles Awareness Day JHU!

Don't miss any SHAG Week Events!

Pros and Cons list taken from goaskalice


SEE a cure for ALS


SEE tip: Exercise with friends-- it's fun and the time flies. Come to the Luau Zumbathon at 7pm tonight in Levering! It's win win win-- raise money, get a fun workout with friends, and get lei'd!  A $10 ticket is required which will be donated towards ALS cure research.  No dance skills required- beginners welcome!

Facebook: Luau Zumbathon

HKB Tip: Trying to break the addiction?  Try working out.  Seriously.  Research has shown that exercise can help reduce nicotine cravings.  Feel the need for a smoke, try going for a jog instead and see if it works for you.

Mellow Out Monday: Feeling good lately, but worried about what lies ahead with school and stress?  A workout now can actually help put you into a healthier mindset, allowing you to handle anxiety or stress with more ease than if you decide to skip the gym (Science News, 2012)). Do your mind a favor and work those muscles.

Feeling stressed right now? Don't let it get worse. Come to the MSE tonight for a quick back rub from Stressbusters starting at 8pm.  Stressbusters will be on Q-level-- come find us!


Innovation in a Glass

A student from MIT woke up in a hospital bed one morning after blacking out from drinking too much.  After meeting with the Dean and thinking about what happened to him he decided to invent a way to prevent it from happening again.

The MIT student created ice cubes with electronics inside them to detect the number of sips a person drinks and how quickly someone is drinking them.  The ice cubes signal to the person with LED color changes-- with the hope of prompting a student to slow down if they start drinking too much too fast.  The ice cubes also pulse to the beat of the music at the party, an added bonus for the musically and sensory minded.

Take a look at the video posted by the inventor below.  What do you think of this idea?  If you drink, would you consider using the ice cubes to help keep you in the blue zone?  Do you have any concerns about how it might work?

Cheers - alcohol-aware glowing ice-cubes that beat to ambient music from Dhairya Dand on Vimeo.

While there are other safer drinking methods out there, like eating before/during drinking, keeping track of the number of drinks consumed, and drinking water after each alcoholic drink, this student decided to try a new method.  And who knows-- maybe it''ll help.  There might be some limitations, but we love the innovative thinking!  What about you?


PEEPs Flu Survival Guide

The PEEPs Guide to Surviving Flu Season

Maybe you were the first person in line to get a flu vaccine, or perhaps you have no interest in these kinds of shots, and would much rather be at a party with your friends. Whatever your motivation, we all have our reasons for wanting to stay healthy, be it the immense amount of work you don’t want to make up, or the lack of sleep that inevitably follows coughing. Though we at Hopkins have yet to figure out a way to make our immune systems absolutely perfect, we do have some tips for how to maximize your body’s natural defense mechanisms in this difficult time.

·         Minimize Exposure- This doesn’t mean you should hide in your room until flu season is over (guess what, there’s always some kind of disease on the horizon in a place packed with students!), but what it does mean is that you should try not to sit next to the person coughing for the entire three hour class you have on Tuesdays, or maybe that you should consider washing your hands, now more so than ever, before every meal.

·         Be Smart- If your roommate has a high fever, chills, and a cough, it might be time to ask another one of your friends if you can crash at their place for a few days. This way, your roommate can comfortably recuperate without feeling like they are interrupting your schedule, and you can continue about your daily routine without worrying too much about getting sick!

·         Have a Plan- If you have an on campus dining plan, make sure you know someone who can pick up your meals for you if you get sick. Often times, if you give your JCard to a roommate or a trusted friend, they can explain to the Dining Staff that they are bringing you a meal, and they will be more than happy to assist! Though you want to avoid getting this sick, it’s in your best interests to anticipate!  

·         Sleep- In college, the first habit we give up is sleep. Without sleep, your body does not have time to unwind after the stresses of the external environment. If you are being bombarded by little bacterial and viral particles all day, being able to rest gives your body a chance to repair itself uninterrupted by things like tests, quizzes and worries! Without sleep, your body effectively runs on empty, and like a car low on fuel, is likely to stall at the most inconvenient of times.

The bottom line is this—getting sick is not fun, especially when you aren't at home. By trying to observe basic preventive processes, like washing your hands, refraining from spending time with people who are already sick, and by making a plan for if you do fall sick, you give yourself the best chance of minimizing the impact of such a potential problem! So, my peers, grab yourselves a warm cup of tea and warm up to the idea of a nice, eight hour rest each night –you need it more than ever! 


SHAG Week is coming!


SHAG WEEK February 11th- February 15th
See more and get updates on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/472192949510351/

Come to one, come to them all!

Monday: Luau Zumbathon for ALS*
Glass Pav, 7-8pm
*$10 ticket purchases will support ALS

Tuesday: I ♥ Female O
Arellano Theater, Levering Hall, 7:30pm
Laugh and Learn about female sexuality and pleasure!

Wednesday: Valentine's Day Card, Condom-gram, and Cookie Mix with Hop
Nolan's Dining Room, 6-8pm

Thursday: Passion Party
Gilman 50, 7pm
This is not your grandmother's tupperware party.

Friday: Sex Fest 
Glass Pav, 11am-1pm
Come for the fun!

FNF: Sleepless in Seattle
Gilman 50, 8pm
A classic!


Stay Warm This Winter-- Advice from a PEEP


It’s finally snowing! While some people love the cold weather and the winter season, I know there others who dread it and want more than anything to stay warm and in bed. Staying stuck indoors isn't the only way to keep warm. Below are some healthier options.

Eat foods high in healthy fats, like nuts. These are good for thermo-regulation.

Exercise! Besides releasing endorphins, exercising is good because sweating can help increase blood circulation and warm up your body, especially your extremities finger and toes.

Drink hot drinks. The hot mug will warm your fingers but teas like green tea and coffees are healthy. They have antioxidants that can help fight off the infections and illness that unfortunately also come with winter.

Discover the benefits of hot soup. Besides warming you up, soup is also filling and can help reduce overall calorie-intake.

Try adding different spices! Ginger can help increase blood circulation and keeping temperature high. Herbs and spices can have other health benefits too.

Take a warm bath before bed! Body temperatures naturally decrease when we get sleepy, so having a warm bath can cause an even greater drop in body temperature and help you feel more relaxed.

Bundle up! Don’t forget scarves, gloves, earmuffs, a big winter jacket or anything that can help fight off the cold.


Eat Breakfast and SEE for Yourself


SEE Tip:  Eat breakfast --> Increase your energy for the day.  It's that simple.  Of course, if it was really that simple, everyone would do it, right?  But it seems that many people choose to skip breakfast.  The reasons range from not having time in the morning, to not being hungry, to not knowing what eat.

So let's problem solve!

Problem 1: No time to get breakfast in the morning.
Possible Solution:  Try easy on the go items like hard boiled eggs or a yogurt that's high in protein and low in sugar- Greek yogurts are usually good bets.  You can stock your fridge with them for the week so you don't have to worry about it.

Problem 2: Not hungry when you first get up.
Possible Solution: If you can eat within an hour of waking, that would work.  But if the idea of that makes you feel queasy, just listen to your body's signals and eat when you feel hunger pangs.  For some people it takes a little longer and that's okay.  Just don't ignore your body's signals when they kick in.

Problem 3: No idea what to eat for breakfast.
Possible Solution: If you want to eat breakfast, or have been doing it, but find that you are hungry within an hour you may want to reconsider what you are eating.  Try reaching for complex carbohydrates like oatmeal with fruit or almonds as toppings.  If you are reaching for bagels, try adding peanut butter instead of butter or cream cheese as the spread to add some filling properties to the food.  And to really top it off, try sliced bananas, too.  Delicious and filling!

Want more breakfast ideas?  Stop by the rec center after getting in your Monday morning workout today to get a healthy parfait with PEEPs!  We'll be there starting at 7am, until supplies run out.  Start your week off with a workout and breakfast to SEE for yourself!

HKB Quit Tip: A recent study found that the graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging are helping to reduce smoking habits across socio-economic statuses.  This study has illuminated the social justice issues that surround the marketing of tobacco products and the lack of warnings that were directed towards all users.  Read the article and comment on the HKB Facebook pagehttp://www.facebook.com/hopkinskicksbutts.

Mellow Out Monday: Guess who's (got your) back? Stressbusters!!  Spring semester is in full effect with people hunching over desks, books, and computers-- all this hunching is just asking for a back rub.  Come by tonight for a free 5-7 minute back rub in the MSE Library on Q level.

Also, Stressbusters are recruiting new members!  Want to make a huge difference in peoples' days?  Looking for a way to lower the stress levels on campus and in your own life?  Consider applying to be a Stressbuster.  Applications are available at: www.jhustressbuster.com/become.html.



Shrinkage is rarely a good thing, especially when it comes to our most valuable asset.  The brain!

Recent studies have shown that excessive alcohol use leads to changes in the brain, including shrinkage and changes to white matter.  This break down has lead to deficits in visual learning and memory-- which could be a serious issue come exam time and down the road as careers are being made.

So if you choose to drink, but don't want to cause damage to your prized possession try staying in the Blue Zone.  This means doing things like sticking to one drink an hour, alternating water for every alcoholic drink, and staying within your limits.  Doing these things can reduce the chances of damaging the brain and can also increase the enjoyment in drinking.  (See the BAC charts below for Blue Zone information).

Slow down and enjoy the moment-- avoid rushing through it or you'll miss it.