Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Benefits of Napping

As college students, our sleep cycles are often not consistent and sometimes we need to take a nap during the day.  Naps can be great for you; they can help us with our memory, learning more information, and enhance our overall performance.

Memory:  We can take in and retain more information after we have napped.  Our memory strength improves because after we nap, it helps our brain solidify our memories by storing them to the cerebral cortex so it is more permanent, leaving room to learn more.
Learning: Since napping clears your temporary storage, you are ready to absorb new information.  Research has shown that taking a midday nap allows students to perform better even a few hours later.  Cramming the night before doesn’t help your brain absorb as much so make sure you are getting enough sleep the night before.

Don’t burn yourself out: Napping can be a great stress relief from overloading your brain and burning yourself out.  Napping can also improve your visual abilities from being exhausted and allow you to perform at a higher level. 
How long should I nap for?
It is recommended that naps are kept short, about 20-30 minutes.  This can make us feel significantly better and won’t leave us feeling groggy or interfere with our nighttime sleep.

*Image from The Wall Street Journal
How do I get the most out of napping?
If we can learn how long it takes us to fall asleep, we factor that into our nap time too.  If you have a sleep app or fitness tracker, you can get a general idea of how long it takes.  Setting an alarm on our phone can be another help tip, add about 5-10 minutes to your time to allow for how long it takes you to fall asleep.  You’ll be able to relax more knowing you won’t sleep too long and become groggy.
Choose the right time of day to get the best nap, usually after lunch works for a lot of people, assuming it fits into your class schedule.  This helps you get a better nap since your energy levels are naturally decreased and you won’t feel like you are struggling to relax during the day.
Practice can definitely help too!  What college student doesn’t want to hear that practice the art of napping is a good thing?  Over time, you will begin to know what works for you—change up your time of day, nap length, or different ways to wake up.
Don’t think you’ll be able to fall asleep?
That’s okay, it’s beneficial just to rest for 10 minutes, it can help improve mood regardless of whether or not someone falls asleep.
Snoozin’ Like a Panther
Come to our open session about healthy sleep habits and how restful sleep can impact your life personally, professionally, and academically.
October 17th: Martinsville Room of the MLK Union at 6:30pm
You may request a presentation for your residence hall floor or RSO by clicking here. For additional information on sleep, call the HERC at (217) 581-7756 or email the Health Promotion Coordination’s at herc-hlthpromo@eiu.edu or herc-genhlth@eiu.edu

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Let's Talk About Consent

In our society today ‘consent’ is sometimes a scary word. Consent means a lot of different things to different people. It can mean awkwardness, a roll of the eye, scared, court, a sexy question, etc. A lot of times, consent is seen as the feeling we have towards the notion of consent. But here is what consent actually means a freely given, clear, unambiguous agreement between the participants to engage in sexual activity. This basically means, AGREEING to any form of sex at your own FREE WILL, saying a verbal “YES!’. It’s NOT coerced, physically or verbally. Consent is NOT the absence of ‘no’, which means, if someone doesn’t answer you it’s a ‘no’ because they are nervous or they aren’t conscious enough to give an answer. Which is another thing, for someone to give consent, they must be sober. So their judgement is not impaired in anyway and they can give you verbal agreement.  Now I get it, understanding consent can be tricky and hard to grasp at times so here is an example of consent that everyone might understand better.

Sex is like Pizza! Yes, I said it, PIZZA! When you want to order a pizza with a friend, roommate, significant other, or a stranger you ask, “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 and ‘BAM!’ you both enjoy your pizza together because it was something you both wanted and agreed upon. So you may ask, “What if they are unsure on what they want or they don’t know if they even want pizza anymore?” Then you don’t get to order pizza and you don’t get to make the decision for them. They are allowed to be unsure or change their mind.

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. Some tips on how to gain consent are, ASK THEM. You know what is powerfully sexy? Someone who asks me if they can kiss me. That means they have respect, knowledge of common courtesy, and know what consent is and how to ask for it. So just ask and enjoy all the pizza in the world together!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Stress & Time Management: The Basics

Do you need help getting more value out of your time? Would you like to improve your quality of life? Time management is your answer! Time management is a set of principles, practices, skills, tools, and systems that work together to help you get more value out of your time with the aim of improving the quality of your life. By following a few simple guidelines, you can take control of your time and achieve your goals.

There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, and 168 hours in a week. However, it is not necessarily about how much we have, but rather the way in which we use it. It is important to note that time cannot be saved or stored. The bottom line is how well we use it.

  • Goal setting
  • Planning
  • Prioritizing
  • Decision making
  • Delegating
  • Scheduling

Plan Each Day
Planning your day can not only help you accomplish more, but also make you feel more in control of your life. Make a list of everything you need to accomplish for the day. Be sure to keep a schedule of your daily activities to minimize conflicts and last minute rushes.

Some questions to think about when you are planning your time are:
  • Do you need time to prepare for studying?
  • What time of the day do you study best?
  • Do you plan out what you are going to study first?
  • Do you stick to study priorities once you set them up?
Prioritize Your Tasks
Time consuming, but relatively unimportant tasks, can consume a lot of your day. When prioritizing your tasks, ensure that you spend your time and energy on those tasks that are truly important to you by numbering each of the components in order from most to least important.

Here are some questions to consider when prioritizing your tasks:
  • What items must be done today?
  • What items can be rescheduled?
  • What can be delegated?
  • Which tasks most closely match my priorities and goals?
  • Which items can be eliminated?
Delegate Your Tasks
Take a look at your to-do list and consider what you can pass on to someone else. Is there someone else who has (or can be given) the necessary information to complete the task? However, it is important to be conscious of your timelines/deadlines and your expectations or goals for the project when delegating a task.
Limit Distractions
Block out time on your calendar for big projects. During that time, close your door and turn off all electronics to avoid distractions from your friends, family, or work via texts, phone calls, e-mails, etc.

Some of the most common distractions people report are:
  • E-mail
  • Phone calls and/or text messages
  • Internet
  • Other people
  • Work environment
  • Tiredness
  • Noise
Get Plenty of Sleep, Have a Healthy Diet and Exercise Regularly
A healthy lifestyle can improve your focus and concentration, which will help improve your efficiency so that you can complete your work in less time. Eating a balanced diet, exercising at least 60 minutes per day, and sleeping 7 to 9 hours each night can really help!

Say No to Nonessential Tasks
Don’t take on more than you can handle. Be sure to consider your goals and daily schedule before agreeing to take on additional work.

Here are some statements that are beneficial when turning down a task, job, invitation, etc.:
  • “I appreciate that you thought of me, but I cannot do…”
  • “I respect the fact that you want me to attend; please respect the fact that I cannot.”
  • “I am touched that you invited me, but I must decline.”
  • “I would love to, but my schedule will not allow it.”
  • “Although that sounds great, I can’t give it 100%, so, I must pass.”
Poor time management skills are often a direct result of procrastination. A basic definition of procrastination is putting off the things that you should be doing now. Try to beat stress by living a more organized life!

Steps to curing procrastination:
  • Identify your goals--both short term and long term.
  • Reward yourself when you have completed a goal. For example, if you study for 2 hours, take a 30 minute walk outside.
  • Know when to ask for help from professors, friends in class, RA’s or other on-campus services such as the Counseling Center, Career Services, HERC, or the Student Success Center.
  • Handle big projects or papers in steps. No need to tackle it all in 1-2 days.
  • Carry and utilize a planner.
  • Start NOW!
The Health Education Resource Center wants to help you in reducing some of the stress of midterm week, exams, and college life! We will have stress balls, sleep kits, healthy recipes, and relaxation coloring sheets available for all students to use and take with them. See below for the dates and times!
  • October 10th: Bridge Lounge of the MLK Union from noon to 3 PM
  • October 11th: Lawson Hall lobby from noon to 3 PM
  • October 17th: Pavilion between Klehm & Lumpkin Hall from noon to 3 PM
  • October 18th: Thomas Hall lobby from noon to 3 PM 
Request a time management presentation today and the HERC staff will come to you! Whether it is for a residence hall, a Registered Student Organization, class, or other groups, the staff will provide tips, information, and interactive discussions about good time management habits. Visit www.eiu.edu/herc and fill out the form under “Request Form.”

If you feel as though you need to speak to a counselor, please contact the Counseling Center at (217) 581-3413 or stop by the Human Services Building. If you would like to make an appointment to see a medical provider, please contact the Health Service at (217) 581-3013 or visit www.eiu.edu/health.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Improving Your Sleep Environment

As adults, you would think that we would all have the whole sleep thing handled by now. But in reality, sleep is a major problem for many students. In the age of technology, there can be many different aspects that can distract us when we are trying to go to sleep.  Strolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and back to Facebook is a common nightly routine for many college students.
Being new on campus means that you are getting use to a different environment and new routines. One of the most important things about being back at school is adjusting to your sleep environment.  Talk to your roommate or the people you live with about the ideal sleep environment to ensure a good night's rest!

Below are some quick tips on how to create a better sleep environment! This improvement can make all the difference!

What can I change within my bedroom to create a better sleep environment?
  • Your bedroom should be a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment that is neither too hot nor too cold.
  • If sunlight is an issue for you, try room darkening curtains.
  • Remove all TVs, computers, and other “gadgets” from the bedroom.
  • Try turning your notifications off. The alert sounds may keep you awake longer.
  • Your bed should be comfortable and used only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music
  • Refrain from late-night snacking in bed, or eating a large meal. Crackers and small amounts of water are recommended to have if you need a snack before bed.

If you would like more information about Sleep, you can attend one of our open sessions called Snoozing Like A Panther:

September 14th at 5:30  in the MLK Union: Greenup Room

October 17th at 6:30 in the MLK Union: Martinsville Room

You may also contact the HERC's Health Promotion Coordinator, Bree Rehor, at (217) 581-7786, or