1. Sleep!

Losing out on sleep can lead to a downward spiral of depression. According to the National Sleep Foundation: The relationship between sleep and depressive illness is complex–depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorders.”
When you lose out on sleep, you become more depressed and when you become more depressed, your sleep can be disrupted. It’s a vicious cycle that can culminate gradually over weeks and months.
The correct amount of sleep a person requires varies depending on lifestyle and age, but a general rule of thumb is to aim for 7 to 8 hours every night. If you don’t manage to get this amount of sleep, make sure to sleep longer the next day. Always pay your sleep debts.

2. Don’t take on too much!
While staying busy isn’t a problem, doing too much, too soon could be. Feeling overwhelmed creates stress, and stress is a risk factor for depression. Stressful experiences can make the symptoms of anxiety and depression additionally severe.
Practice mindfulness as: (1) a way of becoming aware of what is causing your stress, and (2) what helps to alleviate your stress. Manage and alleviate stress by creating balance in your daily life and knowing your limits. Create realistic goals for what you can actually accomplish in a day.

3. Exercise and eat well!
Exercise appears to be an antidepressant in its own right and may act as a vital coping skill when dealing with stress. Diet and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to maintaining mental and physical well-being.
A low-fat diet, rich in fish, especially omega-3s, and folic acid can be helpful for maintaining a positive and productive attitude. Also, minimize alcohol and caffeine use. It’s no big secret that alcohol is a depressant, and even if you don’t want to completely eliminate it from your diet, at least be mindful of how it’s having an effect on your mental and physical well-being. Additionally, limit your caffeine intake. Constantly coming off “caffeine highs” can place unnecessary stress on the mind and body; it can also cause severe sleep disturbances.

4. Stop blaming yourself!
Stop mentally berating yourself for missteps, either real or imagined. Keeping at your forefront a constant bombardment of “I should have done this differently” or “If only I would have done that” is counterproductive, and could send you spiraling downward into depression, but most of all it prevents you from actively working in the present to create appropriate and effective change.
Acknowledge what didn’t work, take responsibility for it, accept what you can’t change, and focus on changing what you can.
5. Find your passion!
You must find your passion. It is a happiness that can motivate and challenge us on a daily basis. It could be writing, creating, helping people, self-improvement, sports, or anything that engages you and provides the right amount of challenge and stimulation.
To live with passion, you must first find your passion.

6. Become aware of and use the resources around you!
So you’re doing all of the above and you’re still feeling stressed and depressed, then try using some of the additional resources on campus such as meeting with a counselor at the University Counseling Center or going to an Anxiety Management Group that’s being offered in Marquette 112 from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm. Below is a list of the days, times, and topics of each Anxiety Management Group being offered.

UCC Anxiety Management Groups
Can’t stop worrying? Tired, irritable or having trouble concentrating? Stressed about school, work, friends and/or family? The University Counseling Center is offering FREE anxiety workshops throughout the fall semester:
Date Topic Facilitator
Tuesday, 09/22/15 Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Asia Wong, LMSW
Tuesday, 09/29/15 Automatic Thoughts and Cognitive Distortions Alicia Bourque, PhD
Wednesday, 10/07/15 Progressive Muscle Relaxation Erin Shapiro, LPC
Tuesday, 10/20/15 Self-Care and Stress Management Gil Lerma, MA
Wednesday, 10/21/15 Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Asia Wong, LMSW
Wednesday, 10/28/15 Automatic Thoughts and Cognitive Distortions Alicia Bourque, PhD
Wednesday, 11/04/15 Progressive Muscle Relaxation Erin Shapiro, LPC
Wednesday, 11/11/15 Self-Care and Stress Management Gil Lerma, MA
Thursday, 11/19/15 Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Asia Wong, LMSW
Thursday, 12/03/15 Automatic Thoughts and Cognitive Distortions Alicia Bourque, PhD
Thursday, 12/10/15 Progressive Muscle Relaxation Erin Shapiro, LPC
Thursday, 12/17/15 Self-Care and Stress Management Gil Lerma, MA

All groups meet from 12:30 pm-1:30 pm in Marquette 112. Groups are open to all currently enrolled Loyola students. No pre-registration is necessary and you are welcome to join at any time. Call the UCC at 504-865-3835 or e-mail awong@loyno.edu for more information.
If you would like to make an appointment, simply call (504)-865-3835 or visit the UCC in the Danna Center. It is best to call or stop by to schedule your appointment as soon as you need assistance. If you need immediate assistance after-hours or on weekends for a mental health emergency, please call LUPD at (504) 865-3434 and ask to speak with the counselor-on-call. A UCC staff member is on-call 24/7/365.

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The role of probiotic supplementation to boost overall health has been widely publicized in the media recently. This information can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming. This article will explain what probiotics are and discuss the most recent evidence available for probiotic supplementation.

What are probiotics? Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, pickles, buttermilk, and soft chesses such as Gouda. Probiotics enter our bodies naturally when we eat foods containing these bacteria, which then settle primarily in our gastrointestinal tract. There are several strains of the bacteria and specific strains are thought to be effective for certain conditions. Generally, probiotics are “symbiotic” organisms that help metabolize foods, absorb nutrients, prevent colonization of harmful bacteria in our gut, and help maintain intestinal health. Some people take probiotic supplements that are available over the counter in hopes of benefiting from the extra bacteria.

There are several studies under way to determine the value of taking probiotics. However, there is still not enough definitive evidence to support the use of these supplements. Some of the ongoing studies include the role of probiotics in fighting or preventing infections in the digestive tract caused by harmful bacteria. There is some information to support the use of probiotics in certain cases of diarrhea, constipation, and some diseases of the digestive system caused by inflammation. There may also be a role for probiotics in the prevention or treatment of allergies, including eczema.*

The most convincing scientific evidence for the use of probiotics is for antibiotic-associated diarrhea. When we take antibiotics for bacterial infections, they will often treat the “bad bacteria” but they will also wipe out the gut of the “good bacteria.” This process can lead to diarrhea. When you eat foods rich in probiotics or take supplements during and after the antibiotic course, diarrhea symptoms will greatly diminish or can be prevented. This works by replenishing the normal flora in the gut. Probiotics have also been shown to shorten the duration of diarrhea during a viral illness. More research needs to be done on the role of probiotics in preventing respiratory tract infections and actual treatment of several inflammatory conditions of the bowel, as well as improving overall health.

So, what are the negative issues with taking probiotics? Probiotics are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, the product you think you are getting may not contain the ingredients listed on the label. Additionally, there are several products on the market and the manufacturers aren’t obligated to list all the ingredients. There are several strains of probiotics; it may be difficult for a consumer to make the right choice when buying supplements for a specific condition. Probiotics are also expensive.

If you are considering adding probiotic supplements to your diet, check with your doctor or nurse practitioner before starting any new regimen. People with weak immune systems should be very careful about taking probiotic supplements because they can cause infection. It is much safer to eat a balanced diet in addition to foods containing probiotics. As with any product on the market that is not controlled by the FDA, caution is always warranted.

*References available upon request

 

Update on Flu Shots this season:

Flu shots will be available in Student Health Services for all current Loyola students, faculty and staff at the beginning of October. The fee is $20 payable via cash, check or student account charge. No appointment necessary. Walk-ins welcome. Student Health Services is located in the basement of the Danna Student Center and can be contacted at 504.865.3326. Be on the lookout for an email notification of the flu shot arrival.

 

 

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Family Weekend at Loyola University New Orleans is set to take place September 25-27 and the schedule is full of engaging activities!  This weekend may be the first time that some of our first year students have a visit with their families (in person) since drop off at Wolf Pack Welcome.  For some, the transition has been fairly easy and uneventful.  For others, homesickness might be occurring.

There is no clinical definition for homesickness but the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that “Homesickness in its most basic form is thoughts and feeling about home, but it exists on a continuum — it isn’t a matter of being of homesick or not; it’s matter of degree.”  Thus, at the very least, no matter how mild or infrequent thoughts about “home” are, a student could still be considered homesick.  On the other end of the spectrum, in more severe cases, thoughts and feelings about home can significantly impact a student’s ability to function and manifest as missing classes, experiencing crying spells, and being socially isolated.  Most often, this is a typical reaction to this type of abrupt life change and at its core is a longing for the familiar.

Below are a few tips for coping with homesickness—

  • Get engaged with your campus community.  Walk and explore the campus and surrounding areas to find hidden gems of study spots or cool cafes to grab a snack.  Check out the Get to NOLA excursions and read your emails about Weekends in NOLA events.  Visit Student Involvement to view the vast array of student organizations and attend a few meetings to find one (or several) that peak your interest.
  • Set up your space.  Build a routine and stay consistent making sure to include self-care activities such as exercise and healthy eating.  Start blogging or journaling about your new found life and what you are experiencing. Display meaningful mementos in your residence hall room as comforting reminders of home and family.
  • Make new friends.  Eat meals, go shopping or take in a movie with others.  It’s totally normal to feel somewhat shy when meeting new people but with practice, it becomes easier and easier.  You’ll become more relaxed and chances are the new people you are meeting will be experiencing some of the same anxieties.  Lasting friendships take time and there’s no better place to start than now!
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Can’t stop worrying? Tired, irritable or having trouble concentrating? Stressed about school, work, friends and/or family? The University Counseling Center is offering FREE anxiety workshops throughout the fall semester at the Student Success Center:

Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, Asia Wong, LMSW
Tuesday, 09/22/15, 12:30-1:30, Marquette 112

Learn how to focus on the present rather than getting lost in anxiety about the future or regrets about the past. Find ways to attend to your emotions without magnifying problems, or getting lost in criticism and self-judgment.

 

Automatic Thoughts and Cognitive Distortions, Alicia Bourque, PhD
Tuesday, 09/29/15, 12:30-1:30, Marquette 112

Find out more about the specific thought patterns you engage in that cause you anxiety and stress, and learn how to change them!

 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Meditation, Erin Shapiro, LPC
Wednesday, 10/07/15, 12:30-1:30, Marquette 112

Take time out of your busy day to truly relax for an hour! A trained counselor will lead you through calming guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation. You will also learn how to do this on your own. At the end of this session, you should feel relaxed, focused and ready to face your challenges.

 

Self-Care and Stress Management, Gil Lerma, MA
Tuesday, 10/20/15, 12:30-1:30, Marquette 112

Ever felt hangry? Too tired to focus? Learn about the behavioral and biological factors that contribute to stress, what you can do improve self-care, and form a plan to implement change.

 

Groups are open to all currently enrolled Loyola students. No pre-registration is necessary and you are welcome to join at any time. Call the UCC at 504-865-3835 or e-mail awong@loyno.edu for more information.

 

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Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-old Americans?

Below are some common misconceptions about suicide from save.org:

“People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.”

Not True. Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

“Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.”

Not True. Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They may be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing. Extreme distress and emotional pain are always signs of mental illness but are not signs of psychosis.

“If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.”

Not True. Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, and most waiver until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to end their pain. Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.

“People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.”

Not True. Studies of adult suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help within six month before their deaths and a majority had seen a medical professional within 1 month of their death.

“Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.”

Not True. You don’t give a suicidal person ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true — bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

At Loyola, we are committed to being men and women for and with each other. During Worldwide Suicide Prevention Week, Student Affairs is hosting a series of initiatives to increase suicide awareness, provide information about how and when to get help, and to allow us all the opportunity to support each other and remind ourselves that we are not alone.

Take Solace| Give Solace
Open participation piece
Sept 8-Sept 11
We encourage members of the Loyola community to visit the One Loyola Room sometime this week. Write or draw words or images of comfort, love, encouragement and solace for yourself and for each other. What keeps you going? What do you wish you could say to help someone else? Post your words and images to share, see what others have contributed, and take with you any piece that resonates for you. Participate online with @loynocares, #loynocares, and Facebook page: Loyno Compassions

Light a Candle: Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day
Sept 10, 7:30 pm-8 pm
Res Quad
Rain Location: Buddig, 12th Floor

We will be distributing electiric tea lights to all residents, faculty and staff and any off-campus students that wish to participate. At 8 pm, we ask that you light the candle and leave it burning in your window for the night, to show your support of suicide survivors, commemorate those we have lost to suicide, and make visible your pledge to be a resource for those in need. We will also be distributing information about how to assess risk of suicide, and what to do if you or someone you know needs help.

Program:
Reflection by Residential Chaplain, Heather Malveaux
How and When to get help, Asia Wong, LMSW, Staff Counselor, University Counseling Center
What happens when I call for help? Angela Honore, LUPD

STOP Suicide Personal Pledge
Danna Center
Sept 8, Sept 10
Pi Kappa Phi will be collecting personal pledges to offer support and to ask for help in times of need. Stop by and sign a pledge, and find out what you can do to help.

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Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region of the United States, contributing to the loss of nearly 2,000 lives and displacing approximately 1.5 million residents. Beyond the physical devastation, the hurricane led to elevated health and mental health difficulties among survivors. Many of those difficulties still exist among survivors to this day. One of the most prominent mental health difficulties that many of the survivors of Hurricane Katrina have faced is the development of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a traumatic (terrifying) event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
What’s the difference between PTSD and a more normal response to trauma?
When your sense of safety and trust are shattered by a traumatic event, it’s normal for the mind and body to be in a state of shock. Common symptoms can occur such as: bad dreams, feeling fearful, experiencing anxiety, and finding it difficult to stop thinking about what happened. For most people, these symptoms gradually lift over time. PTSD develops when these normal response symptoms don’t ease up and your nervous system gets “stuck” and fails to return to baseline.
Treatment for those with PTSD can vary from person to person depending on a number of factors. Routine counseling and medication management are common forms of treatment for those with PTSD. If you feel you are experiencing PTSD or would like to learn more then please visit the University Counseling Center. We are located on the second floor of the Danna Student Center, directly above the Orleans Room (OR). Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:45pm. We provide no-cost individual, group, and couples counseling, ADHD testing, and medication management appointments.
If you would like to make an appointment, simply call (504)-865-3835 or visit the UCC in the Danna Center. It is best to call or stop by to schedule your appointment as soon as you need assistance. If you need immediate assistance after-hours or on weekends for a mental health emergency, please call LUPD at (504) 865-3434 and ask to speak with the counselor-on-call. A UCC staff member is on-call 24/7/365.

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Life at Loyola can be fun and exciting while at the same time stressful and demanding.  A visit to the University Counseling Center (UCC) could be your answer to staying balanced as you navigate the responsibilities of being a student either as a first-year or a seasoned Wolf Pack returner.  Your on-campus UCC provides mental healthcare for all currently enrolled Loyola students including residential, commuter, full-time and part-time.  Our staff in the UCC provide a range of experience and expertise.  You can check out our individual bios at http://studentaffairs.loyno.edu/bios/dept/counseling.

We are located on the second floor of the Danna Student Center, directly above the Orleans Room (OR).  Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:45pm.  We provide no-cost individual, group, and couples counseling, ADHD testing, and medication management appointments.  Counseling services are provided for concerns such as anxiety, relationship difficulties, adjustment issues, ADHD, and depression, just to name a few.

If you would like to make an appointment, simply call (504)-865-3835 or visit the UCC in the Danna Center.  It is best to call or stop by to schedule your appointment as soon as you need assistance.  If you need immediate assistance after-hours or on weekends for a mental health emergency, please call LUPD at (504) 865-3434 and ask to speak with the counselor-on-call.  A UCC staff member is on-call 24/7/365.

A few exciting plans for the fall semester include:

  • Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day on September 10
  • Anxiety Management Group weekly sessions beginning September 22
  • Take Back the Night on October 29
  • Great American Smoke Out on November 19

Mark your calendar and give us a call for more information or visit our website at http://studentaffairs.loyno.edu/counseling.

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Effective August 1, 2015 Loyola University has become a 100% tobacco-free campus. Through tobacco-related research, public awareness, and policy change, Loyola University has promoted the public health of its community. This change in policy reflects the Loyola community’s change in knowledge about and attitude towards the use of tobacco and tobacco related products. The change in policy outlines that the use of any tobacco product (smoking, chewing, etc.) as well as the use of inhalers, vapors, and e-cigarettes is prohibited on Loyola’s campus.
For a review of the complete policy, please visit: http://finance.loyno.edu/human-resources/tobacco-free-policy
Cessation options:
• 24 Hour Telephone Quit Hotline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW
• quitSTART: This is a free app that takes the information you provide about your smoking history and gives you tailored tips, inspiration, and challenges to help you become smoke-free.
• Freedom From Smoking Online: This American Lung Association program consists of seven modules that you work through at your own pace: www.ffsonline.org
• QuitNet: This program helps you prepare to quit as well as receive online support. You must register and can access most of the information for free: https://quitnet.meyouhealth.com/#/
• Zombie Smokeout Mobile Game: Keep your hands busy until the urge to smoke passes. When a craving for a cigarette hits you, it may seem intense. It usually weakens in a few minutes, but during those few minutes it’s a good idea to find something else to do. Take a walk, go get a drink of water, or play Zombie Smokeout. This action-packed mobile game can distract and entertain you to help get you past your craving.

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Loyola Students are about to embark on a period of final exams and a barrage of due dates that will fill every waking moment and even steal some sleepy ones.  This process will be difficult for the C student, just as it is for the A student.  Working toward long term goals such as earning a high grade in Organic Chemistry or graduating with a degree in Creative Writing are tough.  While we are built for achieving long term goals (see: Pyramids, Great Wall of China, that 10 page research paper that wouldn’t write itself), it takes a certain amount of motivation to get there.

Motivation is tricky.  I do not suggest using the same strategies that the builders of the Pyramids used to earn A’s on your upcoming finals.  I’m a pragmatist at heart, so truthfully, I recommend anything that works – but let me tell you what experience and research say are the most effective.

Behavioral research shows that motivation to start and continue a task is best done through carrots… or reinforcementsReceiving compliments, eating snacks, taking Netflix breaks, scheduling video game time outs, taking naps, going for walks outside, going for  walks inside, skipping ahead to an easier assignment, talking with a friend, going to the gym, deciding to check Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, going for a meal with friends, having a cup of coffee, getting a high five, receiving a high five, going for a drive, going for a streetcar ride… the list goes on… are all better ways to build rewards into your study habits instead of punishing yourself through procrastination, sleep deprivation, locking yourself in a room, failing a test, avoiding telling your parent why you earned a D on that paper, telling your parent that you earned a D on that paper, feeling guilty for taking the undeserved videogame break, missing meals, isolating yourself socially, no one giving you a high five, pounding your 3rd Red Bull of the morning, taking Adderall when it is not prescribed to you or writing run-on sentences.  Why is this?  Because, we are better at avoiding punishments than learning from them.  This will always be true, but it is especially true when we are not aware of the meaning behind why we are at Loyola.

When your internal reason is your center, you can put the extra hours into studying and not feel like you are sacrificing or being punished.  Studying and learning can become reinforcements in and of themselves.  You no longer avoid the anxiety (read procrastination) but face it and make your way through it.  Pretty soon, you’ll be on your way to earning that A in Organic Chemistry and designing plans for your next Pyramid.

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On August 1, 2015 Loyola University New Orleans will become a tobacco-free campus. This historic change on our campus is not only happening here, but also in our city with the SmokeFreeNOLA movement. This change will improve the health of everyone on campus including our visitors.

The health benefits of a tobacco-free campus are not only beneficial to the tobacco user, but also for every person on campus who may be exposed to second and thirdhand smoke. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), secondhand smoke causes many negative effects including different types of cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, and numerous health problems. Many of these can lead to an early death. According to the CDC, since the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report, 2.5 million adults who were non-smokers died because they breathed secondhand smoke.

A big misconception is that just a brief occasional public encounter with cigarette smoke will not cause negative health effects. According to the CDC, there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. This means that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Besides secondhand smoke, there is another hidden danger of cigarette smoke called thirdhand smoke. This is the toxic residue that lingers on many surfaces long after a cigarette is extinguished. This residue (thirdhand smoke) is a health risk to those who come in contact with it. It can be found on clothing, hair, skin, furniture, carpet, vehicles and many other surfaces. The chemicals in thirdhand smoke are carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and can be released back into the air we breathe.

A tobacco-free community will promote a healthy campus environment by decreasing community exposure to second and thirdhand smoke, assist those who wish to stop smoking through cessation programs and prevent student smokers from developing a lifelong smoking habit. Negative health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke include: numerous respiratory illnesses, asthma exacerbation, allergic reactions, persistent cough, allergy-related illnesses, diminished vocal ability, decreased lung capacity, and cosmetic changes (increased wrinkles, yellowing of teeth and nails).

This is an exciting time for the entire Loyola community as we work toward improved health and well-being!

 

 

 

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