Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Self-Care: A Luxury or a Lifestyle?

Feeling your shoulders hurting more? Not eating as well as you could be? Not getting enough sleep or simply feeling unmotivated? With finals coming up in just a few short weeks, stress levels are high. As students, we are not taking time to take care of ourselves. It’s time to do some self-care because your body depends on it.

Too many times, we find that there's little time to do anything  but study, homework, work, or go to class. Instead of sleeping the recommended 7 to 8 hours, we fit in naps when and where we can. Catching these unhealthy habits now, while you have 4 weeks to prepare for finals, is essential! Taking 15 minutes to put down the pencil and have a little bit of “me time” each day, will do your body and mind wonders. Having a self-care lifestyle is much better than having it as a luxury. Try incorporating self-care habits into your day and see the differences!

Symptoms of Feeling Overworked
  • Less sleep
  • No appetite
  • Headaches
  • Sadness
  • Backaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lack of interest
  • Conflict in relationships and friendships
  • Negative attitude about most things
Practicing Self-Care
All of the aforementioned symptoms can cause impact on a person’s physical and mental health. Not to mention, it has a direct impact on the people around you. Below are some ways to fit a moment of self-care into your everyday life.
  1. Write down things to be happy about right now.
  2. Try Yoga
  3. Sweat in some way
  4. Read for pleasure
  5. Sleep in
  6. Stretch
  7. Clean out a junk drawer
  8. Meditate
  9. Listen to your favorite album with no interruptions.
  10. Go cell phone free for a day
  11. Drink 8 glasses of water
  12. Set aside some time for creativity.
  13. Write a thank you note
  14. Call a friend
  15. Take a walk without your phone
  16. Take a nap
  17. Practice deep breathing
  18. Smile at a stranger
  19. Fix a healthy Pinterest recipe
  20. Dance
  21. Be selfish for a moment
  22. Treat yourself
  23. Smile
So, do yourself, the people around you, and your grades a favor by taking some time to yourself each day.  Make self-care a lifestyle, not a luxury. You deserve it!
If you have questions about implementing a self-care lifestyle and/or coping with stress, contact Courtney Carver, Mental Health Promotion Coordinator, at or (217) 581-7786.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Standard Drink Sizes

According to Villanova University, 80% of college students nationwide consume alcohol. Because of this statistic, it is crucial that college students have basic knowledge about the subject. Understanding standard drink sizes is a great start. Standard drink sizes are the proper serving size of each type of alcohol.
·         Beer = 12 oz.
·         Wine = 5 oz.
·         Liquor (a shot, 80 proof liquor) = 1.5 oz.
·         Malt liquor (a stronger ale) = 8-9 oz.

Standard drink sizes can also be measured via red solo cup.

Drinking & Driving
Another important piece of information to know is the legal limit for drinking and driving. The legal limit is having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08. Measuring out your drinks is a helpful way to keep track of what your BAC is. Alcohol leaves your body slower than it enters; it may take several hours for one drink to leave your system. It really just depends on your size and gender, since women metabolize alcohol slower than men do.
If there is so much to be cautious about while drinking, why are people so irresponsible? Could it be because young people feel invincible? Possibly. Could it be because getting “wasted” is often glamourized? Sure. The truth is that consistent drinkers believe alcohol will make them fun, outgoing, and energetic- no matter how much they drink. They don’t consider the physical effects.
·         Physical effects are direct pharmacological or biological effects of a drug. Examples of physical effects include nausea, dizziness, slurred speech, and delayed motor movements.

·         Expectancy effects are effects people associate with drugs whether or not the drug actually causes the particular effects. For instance, people expect to feel happy, care-free, and outgoing every time they drink.
In reality, alcohol is a depressant that slows you down mentally and physically. If you drink a little bit, you start to feel happy. Why is this? Put simply, it is due to alcohol’s low dose effects and your expectancy to feel happy. Furthermore, when consistent drinkers surpass that low-dose feeling, they keep drinking to try and get it back. However, once you have surpassed the low-dose level there is no turning back.
Knowledge really is power when it comes to these things. Keep standard drinking size, the legal limit (.08), and physical/expectancy effects in mind and you will be set. J
Request a Presentation
The Health Education Resource Center (HERC) is always doing its best to educate students so that they can be healthy and successful here at EIU. Myth Busting Alcohol presentations can be requested by visiting Simply fill out a “request form” two weeks in advance to ensure availability. Private consultations can also be requested.
For more information on alcohol, please contact Bree Rehor at the Health Education Resource Center by calling (217) 581-7786, or email  If you would like to speak to a medical professional, please call the Health Service Medical Clinic at (217) 581-3013.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Get the Facts on Food Allergies

Have you heard the words, “food allergy” and “food intolerance” but are unsure what the difference between them is? A food allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly targets a harmless food protein, also known as an allergen, as a threat and attacks it. However, food intolerances do not involve the immune system, and result gastrointestinal distress. An example of a food intolerance is lactose intolerance, which occurs when a person does not produce enough of the lactase enzyme to digest the lactose found in dairy products.

According to the Food Allergy Research and Education organization, every 3 minutes a food allergy sends an individual to the emergency room. Most importantly, this statistic shows the increased need for our generation to be aware of the signs and symptoms of food allergies and food intolerances. So what are they?

Signs and Symptoms
Food Allergy
Food Intolerance
·         Hives (reddish, itchy areas on the skin)
·         Redness of the skin or around the eyes
·         Itchy mouth or ear canal
·         Nausea or vomiting
·         Stomach pain
·         Nasal congestion
·         Obstructive swelling of the lips, tongue, and/or throat
·         Trouble swallowing
·         Shortness of breath or wheezing
·         Turning blue
·         Feeling faint or confused
·         Loss of consciousness
·         Chest pain
·         Anaphylaxis
·         Gas, cramps, or bloating
·         Heartburn
·         Headaches
·         Irritability or nervousness
·         Nausea
·         Stomach pain
·         Diarrhea
·         Vomiting

A potentially life-threating condition that can be caused by a food allergic reaction is anaphylaxis. During anaphylaxis, allergic symptoms can affect several areas of the body and may threaten breathing and blood circulation. To reverse the symptoms, a medication called epinephrine (adrenaline) must be injected. A delay in providing the epinephrine can result in death in as little as 30 minutes.

Did you know that over the last 15 years, food allergies have increased by 50%, with unknown causes? The top 8 food allergens, which cause about 90% of reactions, are peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts, pecans and almonds), fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, soy, and wheat. The only treatment for food allergies is strict avoidance, or elimination, of the problem foods from the diet.

Unfortunately, teens and young adults with food allergies are at the highest risk for fatal food-induced anaphylaxis. During college, individuals are likely to be living on their own for the first time, and are now responsible for making safe and nutritious food choices for themselves. Another concern for young adults with food allergies is dating. For some, it may be uncomfortable to discuss the food allergy with their significant other. But together, the couple will need to create a safe plan for the person with food allergy. For more information about food allergies and dating, watch this video about “The Kissing Study.” 

If you would like to learn more about food allergies and food intolerances, foods that may contain hidden allergen, or more food allergy resources on EIU’s campus, please contact the Nutrition Promotion Coordinator at or 217-581-7786.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sex, Consent, & Pizza

Consent is defined as a freely given, clear, unambiguous agreement between the participants to engage in sexual activity.
Consent is NOT:
  • The absence of no: If someone doesn’t say no or remains quiet it does NOT mean “yes”. This includes a lack of verbal and/or physical resistance.
  • Unresponsiveness: If someone is unresponsive, consent cannot be given.
  • A one-time thing: consent must be given every time and during every step of sexual activity. Similarly, consent given on a prior occasion does not indicate future consent, and consent may be withheld at any time.
  • Given under the influence: consent cannot be given under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Whether if both parties are under the influence or if only one party is under the influence.
Asking for Consent:

When asking for consent, communicate what you are comfortable doing and what you are not. It is important to remember that you choose where to draw the line. Be sure your partner and you have the same wishes. Also, use respect, thoughtfulness, and understanding when asking for consent.
Be Comfortable with Consent

Consent can be hard to understand sometimes, so think of it like this; Sex is Like Pizza. “Hey, what do you want on it?” or “What size of pizza do you want?” they usually give you a clear answer on what they want or say, “anything BUT (insert nasty pizza topping here).” They, FREELY, give you a CLEAR answer of what they want and what they don’t want. So, together, you come up with a pizza that you both agree on. Just like that you have asked for consent in a respectful, communicative, and thoughtful way.

Consent looks similar to deciding on a pizza with someone. You ask what they want, what they like, what they don’t like, etc. Just like sex, you want to ask the other person, what they like, what they don’t like, if they want to have sex or if they don’t want to have sex. What makes sex so much fun and beautiful is that BOTH people are participating and wanting it.
Sex is Like Pizza

The Health Education Resource Center will be holding one more open session on Sex is Like Pizza. Join us on April 20th at 7pm in the Casey Room on the MLK Union 3rd floor to learn more!
On-Campus Resources
Health Service
Human Services Building
(217) 581-3013
Housing & Dining
MLK Jr. University Union
(217) 581-5111
Counseling Center
Contact: Lindsay Wilson
Human Services Building
(217) 581-3413
Title IX/Student Standards
MLK Jr. University Union
(217) 581-3827
Title IX/Civil Rights & Diversity
Old Main, Room 1011
(217) 581-5020
University Police Department
7th Street & Grant Avenue
Office: (217) 581-5416
Dispatch: (217) 581-3213
*If reporting to Student Standards, UPD will not be called unless the student wishes to press charges.
Off-Campus Resources

1505 18th Street
Charleston, IL
Office: (217) 348-5033
Hotline: 1 (888) 345-2846

750 Broadway Avenue East
Mattoon, IL
Office: (217) 238-5700
Hotline: 1 (866) 567-2400

Charleston Police Department
614 6th Street
Charleston, IL
Nonemergency: (217) 348-5221
Emergency: 911

Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center
1000 Health Center Drive
Mattoon, IL
(217) 348-2525

*If reporting to the Charleston Police, the offices of Students Standards and Civil Rights & Diversity will be contacted.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Staying Safe Over Spring Break

Spring break is less than one week away! We have a few reminders for you, whether you are traveling somewhere warm or heading back home to family and friends, we want you to stay safe.

Tip 1: Keep in mind the five steps of bystander intervention over break and continue to look out for one another.  Don’t be afraid to enlist others to help out when you see a problem situation or call 911 if it is an emergency. 

5 Steps for bystander intervention:

1.      Notice the event

2.      Interpret the event as a problem or emergency

3.      Assume personal responsibility

4.      Know how to help

5.      Implement the help

Tip 2: Stay safe. We always want our fellow Panthers to stay safe whether they are in Charleston or elsewhere.  For all of you who have iPhones, Find my Friends is already on your phone for you!  You can share you location so your friends know where you are at, especially if you are traveling to someplace new.  For all of you who have an Android (or don’t want to use the app on the iPhone), consider downloading the Circle of 6 or bSafe app to share your location, request a ride from a friend, or let your friends you know you are home safe. 

Tip 3: Limit your alcohol. The realities of alcohol can sometimes be scary.  By pacing your drinks and alternating between alcohol and water, you can continue to keep yourself better hydrated (this is also important if you are sitting outside in the sun all day).  It is also important to be aware of the signs of alcohol poisoning so everyone remains safe over spring break.  If you see someone who is experiencing the symptoms listed below, call 911 immediately and stay with the individual until the paramedics arrive.

Common signs of alcohol poisoning:

• Bluish in color

• Clammy skin

• Confusion or cannot be woken

• Slow breathing

• Vomiting       

For more information, check out our last tabling event tomorrow, March 8th in Thomas Hall from 11:30 a.m. 1 p.m. If you can’t make it, but have some questions before you head out for spring break, feel free to call the HERC at 217-581-7786 or visit our website at

Safe travels, Panthers!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sleep 101

Be in the Know: Sleep 101
College is one of the most exciting times in a person's life. However, it is also one of the busiest, most hectic times. Students juggle having to study, work, and a social life. The ideal 7-9 hours of recommended sleep each night becomes a distant dream. Furthermore, it is no surprise that researchers are finding that students are putting sleep on the back burner to accommodate their busy schedules. In fact, recent research has provided the following information:
  • only 11% of college students have good sleep quality
  • 73% have occasional problems sleeping
  • 18% of college men suffer from insomnia
  • 30% of college women suffer from insomnia
This data is nothing short of alarming. Life has become too fast-paced, competitive, and strenuous. College students are doing their best to hopefully join the workforce to pay off student loans and further their career goals. But as they get caught up in the fast lane, sleep is not always a priority. However, getting a copious amount of sleep actually makes students more successful. Some of the effects and benefits of good sleep include the following:
  • higher grades ("A" students generally get 25 minutes more sleep per night and go to sleep 40 minutes sooner than "B" students)
  • better emotional health
  • improved memory
  • improved focus
Not many students are aware of how sleep is affecting their academic performance.  There are several myths out there that hinder students from improving their sleep. Students often have no idea that pulling an "all-nighter" and cramming for a test can actually hurt grades. More total sleep, especially REM sleep, actually leads to better test scores and grades. Many students also do not realize that lost sleep cannot be regained by sleeping longer or later. Once sleep is lost, there is absolutely no getting it back. So how are we supposed to combat all these myths and get on track? Here are some helpful tips:
  • create a consistent sleep schedule (wake within the same hour daily, go to sleep within the same hour daily)
  • expose yourself to sunlight or other bright light each morning
  • avoid taking naps (and if you do nap, keep it to 20-30 minutes max)
  • avoid going to bed until you are drowsy
  • exercise regularly, but not within 2 hours of bedtime
  • if you snack before bedtime, make it a light snack
  • avoid alcohol and smoking within 2 hours of bedtime
  • avoid caffeine within 6 hours prior to bedtime
There is a long list of suggestions for students to improve their sleep habits. It is hard to be perfect when you are on a rigorous college schedule. Therefore, start out small. Pick one or two things from the list of tips. Start with those. Once you have mastered them, move on to something else. Even just changing a few behaviors can drastically change your sleep patterns for the better.
Snoozin' Like a Panther
The Health Education Resource Center (HERC) is always doing its best to educate students so that they can be healthy and successful here at EIU. The next Snoozin' Like a Panther presentation will be on March 22, 2017 at 7 PM in the MLK Union: Martinsville Room. Here, students can get additional information on sleep and ask questions.
For more information on sleep, please contact the Health Promotion Coordinator, Bree, at the Health Education Resource Center by calling (217) 581-7786, or email  If you would like to speak to a medical professional, please call the Health Service Medical Clinic at (217) 581-3013.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week: Be Happy in Your Skin

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) organization promotes an awareness week in order to bring attention to eating disorders, as well as provide information on available resources. This year, National Eating Disorder Awareness week is February 26th to March 4th. Eastern Illinois University will be celebrating National Eating Disorder Awareness week from February 20th through February 23rd. The Health Education Resource Center (HERC) and the Counseling Center will be on campus, encouraging students, faculty, and staff to take the pledge to promote and wear good body positivity. Our mission is to provide everyone who visits our table with a better understanding of body positivity, as well as provide information on how to help those around them that might be struggling to love themselves.

What is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder can be an array of things but they are primarily mental disorders defined by abnormal eating habits that negatively affect a person’s physical and mental health. Eating disorders can have many different signs and symptoms, including:

The Mind:

1. Low Self-Esteem: feelings of inadequacy
  • Perfectionism: when they cannot achieve perfection they unrealistically blame and find a need to punish themselves
  • Unmotivated: when they feel depressed and isolated; they try and fill the void with food
2. Guilt: For not meeting the expectations of others or themselves
3. Power: the need to control physical and emotional surroundings. The eating disorder is a negative coping mechanism
4. Deception: Helps maintain that control they need
  • Lying about food intake or lack there of
  • Lying to avoid eating or to sneak food
  • Hidden use of laxatives
5. Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Isolation and loneliness

The Body:

  • Feeling faint
  • Brittle hair/hair loss
  • Dental problems
  • Frequent headaches
  • Dry skin
  • Dramatic weight change
Compulsive Overeating
  • Exhaustion
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Decreased endurance
  • Muscle soreness

Want to Help Someone you Care About?

1. Support and encourage
  • Make a plan to talk to your friend and gently express your concern
  • Be caring but honest about what you have been observing and concern
  • If willing, offer your help
2. Attentively listen
  • Allow your friend a time to talk and encourage them to verbalize what they are feeling
  • Accept what is said in a nonjudgmental way
  • Gather information to find a path to recovery
3. Social support
  • EIU Counseling Center: A staff member will provide a FREE phone consultation for students with questions or needing assistance
  • Offer to take them and wait at their first appointment

Mindfulness Encourages a Positive Relationship with Food

Mindfulness is about experiencing life in the present. When practicing mindfulness, you are not judging your thoughts and feelings as “good” or “bad” but instead observing them.

Intuitive eating means being aware of your hunger and fullness cues, without judgement and not using emotions to fuel eating habits.  An intuitive eater has a peaceful relationship with food, not a dieting mentality, and does not label food “good” or “bad.”

Tips for eating mindfully & intuitively
  • Sit down at the table
  • Eliminate distractions, such as TV
  • Put away phones/social media
  • Choose a smaller plate or bowl
  • Portion your food (you can always go back for more)
  • Put down your utensil between bites
  • Resign from the “clean your plate club”
  • Enjoy the flavor of your food in each bite
Mindfulness and intuitive eating are just two ways to help form a healthy relationship with food. Other techniques include keeping a journal to describe how you feel before or after meals, or expressing your emotions to someone you trust.

On Campus Resources

Counseling Center
Office: 217-581-3413
After Hours Phone Number: 217-581-3413 or 1-866-567-2400
Human Services Building

Health Education Resource Center (HERC)
Booth House on 4th Street

Health Service
Human Services

Housing & Dining
MLK Jr. University Union
*Through the Health Education Resource Center, EIU students can meet with the Nutrition Promotion Coordinator to discuss their personalized nutritional goals. For more information or to set up a free nutritional analysis consultation, please click here.

Off Campus Resources

Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital
1000 Health Center Dr.
Mattoon, IL
Journey Counseling
304 8th St.
Charleston, IL
750 Broadway Ave. East
Mattoon, IL