Wellness Wednesdays in the Wellness Suite

Join HealthWorks for Wellness Wednesdays every Wednesday in the wellness suite (20 IM Building) from 4:00-4:45 pm. The peer educators will be leading fun interactive activities designed to decrease your stress. The first 10 students who arrive will receive a free copy of “Calm: Calm the Mind, Change the World” by Michael Acton Smith.

Here’s what coming up this month:

January 15: Explore calm and meditation

January 22: Design a sleep oasis

January 29: Create happiness

Sexual Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).  “HPV is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact. You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus (cdc.gov).”

Many sexually transmitted infections, including HPV, do not cause symptoms, so most people do not know they have one.  Typically, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause health problems. If HPV does not go away, it can cause problems like genital warts and cancer.

The CDC recommends that all sexually active individuals use condoms and get tested.  If you have not yet been vaccinated for HPV, you can get the vaccine at University Health Services.  To make an appointment, log on to myUHS.

The importance of sleep

The beginning of the semester is a great time to start developing healthy sleep habits.  Aim to get 7 to 9 hours on most nights. Having a consistent sleep pattern (like going to sleep and waking up at the same time and getting the same amount of sleep nightly) will help you stay focused and will help ensure that you are functioning at your best.

Check out the Division of Sleep Medicine website from the Harvard School of Medicine for more great information about why sleep is so important and the connection between sleep, memory and learning.

Check out these sleep resources and sign up to meet with a peer educator to develop healthy sleep habits.

Time Management

The first step to managing your time effectively is understanding how you currently spend your time.  A HealthWorks peer educator can help you improve your time management.  Sign up for the stress (relaxation and time management) service.  You will complete several time tracking worksheets as part of the service.  You will also learn useful strategies to organize your life and school work.  Start getting organized now, before the end of the semester arrives. 

Yoga & Gratitude

Are you interested in being active, but do not like going to the gym?  Try the free weekly yoga class in 118 Pasquerilla.  In addition to the physical benefits of yoga, you may start to experience better mental health and improved psychological well-being. In fact, a study conducted by Ivtzan and Papantoniou in 2014 showed that the longer the study participants practiced yoga, the higher their scores on questionnaires about meaning in life and gratitude.

Mindfulness

Feeling stressed?  Research by Lemay and colleagues shows that regularly practicing yoga and meditation can help you decrease stress and anxiety. In this small, but meaningful, study, college students participated in a six-week yoga and meditation program.  The results show that “students’ anxiety and stress scores decreased significantly while their total mindfulness increased significantly.”  Now is a great time to start a weekly practice!  

 If you cannot make our weekly yoga/meditation class, here are a few digital resources to help you get started.  WellTrack is designed to help you understand your mental health and to provide you with immediate help for depression, stress and/or anxiety. The CalmApp and Insight Timer provide hundreds of guided meditations to lower your stress level and improve your sleep. Start with a few minutes every day and work toward making meditation a daily habit. 

Smoking and Vaping Cessation Support

Did you know JUUL e-cigarettes contain a large amount of nicotine which is a highly addictive substance? A single JUUL pod contains about as much nicotine as 20 regular cigarettes (or a pack). JUUL uses nicotine salts, which allow high levels of nicotine to be inhaled more easily and with less irritation than the free-base nicotine that is typically used in tobacco products, including other e-cigarettes.  Some e-cigarette labels do not disclose that they contain nicotine, and some e-cigarettes marketed as containing 0% nicotine have been found to contain nicotine. 

Nicotine can harm your brain, which will continue developing until your mid-twenties.  Using nicotine can harm the parts of your brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.   Each time you make a new memory or learn a new skill, stronger connections are built between brain cells. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.  Using nicotine may also increase your risk for future addiction to cigarettes and potentially other drugs (CDC, 2019, cdc.gov).   

If you want to quit smoking, vaping or using other tobacco/nicotine products, contact Health Promotion and Wellness at (814) 863-0461 to schedule an appointment for the Freshstart Smoking Cessation program. For more information visit https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health-wellness/healthy-living/smoking-cessation-resources