Healthy Hot Topics!
Based on the ACHA-NCHA II survey conducted at SUNY Geneseo in the spring of 2018, 46.8% of Geneseo students noted that stress had affected their individual academic performance; in addition, 35.7% endorsed anxiety as a factor and 29.4% mentioned sleep difficulties.*
College Students & Stress
Stress is a normal part of everyday life. Too much stress, however, begins to interfere with your functioning. Stress levels tend to build over time, and chronic high levels of stress can lead to a condition called overstress. When not managed well, overstress can result in physical illness as well as anxiety and depression.
Ways to Manage Stress
- Engage in fun activities, including hobbies, games, arts and crafts.
- Listen to music, sing, or go dancing.
- Practice yoga or meditation (get started with Dr. Beth's Mind-Body pages).
- Try a basic breathing strategy:
- When you inhale, count 1, exhale, count 2, and continue.
- Breath in to a count of 4; breath out to a count of 6.
- Use an app. We have researched free apps that can assist with meditation, breathing, anxiety management, and other forms of de-stress such as coloring!
- Attend Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, a series of GOLD programs that focus on building healthy life skills, including managing stress.
- Review Additional Mindfulness and Meditation Resources:
More Information: Ulifeline.com offers College Students and Stress, which discusses recognizing warning signs and proactive stress management.
College Students & Sleep
College students are at high risk of not getting an adequate amount of sleep. Poor sleep can contribute to poor emotional and health outcomes. Individual needs can vary from as little as 6 to as many as 10 hours of sleep necessary to feel rested and refreshed. Getting extra sleep on weekends can feel helpful, but irregular amounts of sleep can actually serve to interfere with your sleep cycle and result in increased difficulties falling asleep, also known as insomnia.
Steps to improve your sleep:
- Modify alcohol consumption. Although alcohol can help you to fall asleep, it disrupts the sleep cycle and will leave you feeling less rested the next day.
- Decrease smoking. Large levels of nicotine in the blood result in increased agitation and decreased restful sleep.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise produces a higher percentage of deep sleep as well as fewer awakenings during the night. However, don't exercise just before bedtime.
- Examine your nutrition. Make sure that you are consuming adequate amounts of B-complex vitamins, as several of the B vitamins can enhance restful sleep as well as reduce fatigue. If you are not eating a well-balanced diet, consider taking a supplement.
- Reduce caffeine intake. In particular, don’t consume caffeine within 4 hours of bedtime--for most people, caffeine contributes to insomnia and disrupts sleep.
- Set realistic daily goals. Setting goals helps to minimize the possibility that you will stay awake thinking about what you have not accomplished that day. Perfectionists and worriers tend to have more trouble sleeping.
- Establish a regular sleep schedule. Although this can be difficult for college students, as much as possible, it is important to try to go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time each day--failing to do so is like putting yourself through jet lag on a regular basis!
- Incorporate a breath practice. When practiced before bed, breathing patterns such as 4-6, 4-4-4-4, and 4-7-8 can help you to relax and to get more restful sleep.
More Information: Sleeping Well in the Digital Age discusses the correlation between light and the brain and how it negatively impacts sleep patterns. Also visit SleepEducation.org for info on how sleep affects different individuals, quizzes for evaluating your sleep, and more.
College Students & Relationships
College opens the door for all kinds of new relationship challenges - roommate issues, casual dating, serious dating, friendships, and sex. You may also be confronted by interpersonal issues when you play on an intramural team, become involved in a student organization, or decide to join Greek life. Here are some components of healthy relationships.
- Communication - freedom to express positive and negative feelings, complaints, and affection
- Expectations - being on the same page about expectations for the relationship
- Conflict - ability to clear up disagreements and to engage in compromise
- Boundaries - ability to set limits about what is okay/not okay
College Students & Addictive Behaviors
Now that you are in college, you’ve got the freedom to make your own decisions about your life. That includes how much (if ever) and how often you drink, smoke, take drugs, or engage in other addictive behaviors. But before you start partying every night, take a look at some of the links below and make sure you know all the facts about alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs. Are you good to go?
- Educate yourself. The contents of a 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. a glass of wine or a shot of liquor each containing virtually identical amounts of pure alcohol.
- Know your limit. Most people find that they can consume one drink per hour without any ill effects. Also, experiment with this FUN and informative "Drink Wheel."
More Information: Thinking about making changes to your own use patterns or just looking for more information? Talk it over with our Addiction Counseling & Prevention (ACP) Program Coordinator, Pam Kosmowski - request an appointment with Pam via myhealth.geneseo.edu.
*Item ratings were based on the prior 12 months.