Healthy Lifestyles

Transitioning into college can be challenging and exciting. The Wellness Resource Center can help you learn how to make the transition as easy as possible.

Tips

Students often need to learn how to manage the transition into college. Stress and time management techniques, forming healthy relationships, and being financially literate are necessary and helpful for all students on their road to success; the Wellness Resource Center can inform you and help you find techniques that work for you. Also, the Wellness Resource Center not only prepares students for academic success, but also helps these young students take responsibility for their own health. By helping students develop lifelong attitudes and behaviors that support overall health and well-being—including behaviors that can reduce their risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), students become aware and informed about prevention, resources available to them, and have the opportunity to apply for housing in the Healthy Lifestyles Living Learning Community that will enable them to live with like-minded individuals that support overall well-being. Click below to learn more:

Time management

Learning how to manage your time so that you can accomplish what you set out to accomplish is a skill that will help you throughout your life. It is particularly helpful when you are a college student as you have deadlines and many competing priorities that need your attention. It's natural to feel overwhelmed and anxious at times, but having a plan to help you get organized and set priorities will help ease the tension.

Everyone develops their own approach to better manage time, and here are a few tips to help you:

A. Anticipate and plan

Every student needs to have some kind of tool to keep track of his/her busy life. This could be a calendar, a day planner, a hand held electronic planner, or a legal pad. Whatever the tool, it needs to be something you can carry with you, and you also need to be able to see at least a week at a time so that projects or tests don't sneak up on you. Most things take longer than we think they will, so if you think about things in advance and plan for the certainties, you will have enough flexibility in your schedule to handle the unexpected things that come up. Put everything on your calendar... tests and projects, study time, social engagements, etc.

B. Break tasks down

Whether you are faced with a big task, such as graduating in 4 years, or smaller tasks such as studying for a final, it helps if you break the task down into smaller, more manageable parts. Students who procrastinate often comment that when they wait to the last minute to complete a project, they often feel overwhelmed, and the task seems insurmountable. By setting priorities and breaking the bigger project into smaller tasks, the work is more manageable, and less intimidating.

Here's how to break tasks down:

1. Look at the big picture; make sure you understand what the end product is supposed to look like. Ask the professor to show you examples from previous classes.

2. Look at the parts. What pieces will enable you to get to the whole? Figure out step-by step what you need to do. It's not going to happen through magic.

3. Think about the logical order of completing the pieces. What should you do first, second, third. Etc

4. Create a timeline for completing your tasks.

5. Have a plan to help you stay on track. Put the time you will spend on the project into your study schedule so that you can set aside the time for it. Stick with this plan. A plan is only good if you see it through.

6. Complete it early enough to have some time left for a final review.

C. Cross things off

Making a "to do" list is an essential part of effective time management. Making these lists helps you see all that has to be done, and it is a memory jogger to remind you of what has to be done. You can make immediate to do lists and longer term to do lists. Putting a date when tasks are due is helpful. Writing things on your hand to help you remember things can only take you so far!

D. Don't procrastinate

If most of your life you have followed the belief of "don't do today what you can put off until tomorrow", then most likely you brought this mind set with you to college. Procrastination can lead to many sleepless nights (literally) and can contribute to academic and personal difficulties. Procrastination can simply be a way of life for many students, and this can be stressful for them as well as others around them. It might be hard to do, but take care of business first, and then do fun things.

Here are some advantages of being a good time manager:

  • You will have less stress in your life.
  • You will have more time for the things you want to do and that you enjoy.
  • You can be a better-rounded student and enjoy many aspects of college life.
  • You will be able to spend more time with friends.
  • You can learn more... efficient learners get more from classes than those who keep trying to figure out how to study and learn effectively.
  • You will be able to play more.
  • You will feel good about yourself... when you feel good about your academic accomplishments; it spills over into other parts of your life.

Stress Management

How Can You Manage Your StressHow Can You Manage Your Stress?

Stress is a part of life, but the healthier you are; the better able you are to manage stress when it happens. Chronic stress can impact your immune system, which lowers your resistance to getting sick. Approaching stress management from a wellness lifestyle approach can give you "money in the bank" when it comes to preventing stress, and can give you the energy you need to handle stress when it happens. The following components are part of a wellness lifestyle approach.

Attitude

"Attitude is everything." What does that mean? The way you think about things can make all the difference in how you react to events.

Healthy Eating

Good nutrition and healthy eating habits can help you through your stressful times now, not just prevent a heart attack 30 years down the road. Eating well will increase your physical, mental, and emotional stamina. Fueling yourself with nutrient dense foods can boost your immune system, help you maintain a healthy weight and help you feel better about yourself.

Physical Activity

Physical activity provides immediate stress relief as well as long-term stress management. Just 20-30 minutes of walking a day, for example, can give you more energy, help you put things in perspective, improve your sleep, sharpen your mental productivity, and boost your self-confidence. Our bodies are made to move and everyone can find some type of activity that is enjoyable.

Relaxing Your Mind and Body

There are a number of relaxation techniques that can help you manage stress and also improve your concentration, productivity and overall well-being.

Sleep

Consistent sleep is critical for a healthy life. Although we all need varying amounts of sleep, if we do not get enough sleep, everything from our immune system to our ability to learn and remember information will be negatively affected. Sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise when preparing for peak performance.

Healthy Relationships

Changes in relationships can be a source of stress for many students, as can feeling socially isolated. At the same time, talking with a supportive friend or family member can be helpful in coping with stress. Check out the relationships section on more information about relationships.

Time Management

 Sometimes all the things we have to do can seem overwhelming and impossible to accomplish. Learning how to be a good time manager is a skill that you can use throughout your life, which can make work, play and studying more manageable, more productive and less stressful. Learn about the ABCs of time management.

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Alcohol and other drug use can lead to many problems that can add stress to our lives. High-risk use can lead to poor decision-making, impaired abstract thinking, injury and legal problems. By understanding your overall risks, you can make healthier choices. Learn more about Alcohol and Other Drugs here.

Tobacco

Tobacco can impact your sleep, ability to fight infection and overall health. These issues can create stressful situations. Tobacco use by some, however, is seen as a stress reducer. In order to achieve a healthy lifestyle, it is important to learn strategies to deal with stressors and to understand that quitting tobacco use takes time and practice.

Money Management

When you consider that the average credit card debt of an undergrad is $2,748, it's no wonder why finances are a common stressor for college students. Our section on financial literacy offers tips on money management and credit card use, as well as other financial tools to help you.

Spirituality

Spirituality means finding personal meaning in your life; it doesn't mean just following a particular religious dogma. Exploring spirituality may be helpful in managing stress.

Relationships

Starting, maintaining and ending relationships can all be stressful.

Being Single

Although it is sometimes hard to recognize, there is a lot of social pressure to enter a relationship. Perhaps it's your mom asking why you aren't dating someone or a friend from high school who goes on and on about his/her boyfriend/girlfriend, then hesitates to ask about your romantic life because you're not dating anyone. Whether you have chosen to be single or you have found yourself in that situation, there are a lot of benefits from your current situation. You should take advantage of those that best meet your needs.

Being single can allow you to...

  •    Date several people.
  •    Spend money on things that you like.
  •    Learn more about who you are.
  •    Spend as much time with your friends as you want.
  •    Flirt without worrying about the repercussions.
  •    Not have to "check in" with someone.
  •    Being single is a respectable and healthy choice. You can have more time to focus on a career, hobbies, travel, and hanging out, without feeling that you left someone out.

EVALUATING A RELATIONSHIP

Is your relationship stressing you out? These are characteristics of a healthy relationship. If these don't describe your relationship, it may be a source of stress for you. In a healthy relationship you...

  • Have fun and grow together.
  • Feel like you can be yourself.
  • Maintain honesty, trust and good communication.
  • Build friendship and respect.
  • Handle conflict.
  • Have accountability, partnership and dedication.
  • Share healthy sexuality.

Conflict Resolution in a RelationshipRelationship Conflicts

At the core of any successful relationship is the ability to communicate and resolve conflict. Even though many of our associations with conflict are negative, conflict is normal and healthy. It is an opportunity for both personal growth and strengthening relationships.

Think about a conflict you recently had.
Since conflict is inevitable, what's important is how we respond to conflict. Some options are hurtful or destructive to us or others and some options are compassionate and productive.

There Are Many Options for Responding to Conflict

  • Some options are passive, such as withdrawing, ignoring, avoiding, or giving in.
  • Some are aggressive, such as threatening, intimidating, yelling, demanding, or pressuring.
  • Others are assertive, such as negotiating, compromising, or seeking help/mediation (get an outside person to facilitate or help work it out).

Think about the same conflict.
Did you choose a passive, aggressive, or assertive response to this conflict? Why?

The assertive options are generally the hardest to master, but the most important if the goal is genuine problem solving and an improved relationship.

Being Assertive

Being assertive can reduce stress. Being assertive means claiming and expressing your experiences, your feelings, your wants and your rights. Assertiveness is necessary if compromise is to occur. People who are assertive feel comfortable asking for help, saying "no" to others, stating a unique opinion, making requests, and expressing both positive and negative feelings.

What is a situation in which you want to be more effective?
Plan what you can say in this situation with these four short statements.

  • I think...(description of the problem)
  • I feel...(emotional reaction to problem)
  • I want...(specific behavioral request)
  • I will...(your contribution to the compromise)

TIPS FOR FIGHTING FAIRLY

Find a good time

Don't have difficult conversations when you are very angry or tired. Ask, "When is a good time to talk about something that is bothering me?"

Focus on the problem, not the other person.

Open sensitive conversations with "I" statements; talk about how you struggle with the problem. Don't open with "you" statements; avoid blaming the other person for your thoughts and feelings.

Stay with the topic.

Don't use a current concern as a reason to jump into everything that bothers you.

Let others speak for themselves.

Don't assume things. When we feel close to someone it's easy to think we know how he or she thinks and feels. Don't assign feelings or motives.

Take responsibility.

Say, "I'm sorry" when you're wrong. It goes a long way in making things right again. Ask for help if you need it.

Seek compromise.

There may not be a resolved ending. Be prepared to compromise or to disagree about some things. The goal is for everyone to be a winner.

Ending a Relationship

Tips on moving on, ending a relationship, starting a new relationship, and questions to ask if a relationship may be abusive.

MOVING ON
It may be time to move on from a relationship when:

  • Unhappiness with the relationship persists for a significant amount of time.
  • There is unresolved conflict.
  • You are staying in the relationship to avoid hurting your partner.
  •  It seems as though trust cannot be rebuilt.
  • You are considering pursuing a relationship with someone else.

Some individuals stay in a relationship because they are "afraid" to be alone -- even when there are no feelings of love for the other person. Using a relationship as a security blanket to protect you from loneliness isn't fair to the other person and doesn't give you an opportunity to grow, learn about yourself and find out what you need. If you're in that type of situation, ending the relationship might be best for you and your partner

ENDING A RELATIONSHIP

Ending a relationship is a hard thing to do. There could be feelings of guilt, fear of emotionally hurting your partner, fear that your partner may take it the wrong way, or it could be that feeling of wondering if you did everything possible to save the relationship.

Although ending a relationship is easy for some, for others it can be a difficult thing. If you feel it is the best option for you, then you need to follow through no matter how difficult the process may be. In some instances you may find that your partner feels the same way, and in others your partner doesn't realize what's going on. Holding on to a relationship that is over will only make the relationship worse and become more of a strain on you and your partner's life. If ending a relationship were the best thing for you, then it would be the best thing for your partner.

Some tips:

  • Be honest -- with yourself and your partner.
  • Be respectful -- end it clearly and compassionately.
  • Be clear. Don't expect your partner to know what is going on. Explain the situation and your feelings fully.
  • Explain how you want the relationship to end (friendship, no contact, etc.).

If Abuse is Involved

With the term "abusive", many individuals think of being hit or punched, but abuse can come in many forms--from verbal abuse to preventing other friendships and activities. Sometimes it is difficult for the person in the relationship to realize that it is abusive. Some of the following questions may help you assess your relationship.

  • Does your partner reduce your self-esteem?
  • Do you feel threatened or afraid of your partner at any time?
  • Does your partner try to control your decisions and your life?
  • Have you lost all your friends because of this relationship?
  • Has your partner ever hit you, pushed you, or forced you to have sex?
  • If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to speak with a professional about your relationship

Financial Literacy

Following a budget is key to reducing financial stress

1.      Track your spending for two to four weeks to find out where your money is going. Use this information to complete your budget worksheet.

2.      Map out a budget by listing your sources of income as well as expenses. Use the chart below.

3.      Examine your budget. Review your budget and consider. How can you add to your resources? This may mean getting a part-time job, asking family for help, etc.

What expenses can be eliminated? Unfortunately, you may not be able to do everything you want. Are there some things you consider necessities that may really be luxuries? What things can you do less frequently? Are there little things you buy each day (e.g., a latte) that add up? Can you cut back on these?

Credit Cards

Being smart about credit means acknowledging that credit cards are not free money. They are high interest loans.

If credit cards are a problem for you, you can...

  •     Consider a debit card instead, so you only spend money that you really have.
  •     Use credit cards sparingly, not for small purchases. Otherwise you may be paying interest on minor items - soft drinks, magazines, etc.
  •     Ask for your credit limit (potential debt) to be lowered. Companies will try boost up your credit lines so you spend more. Tell them "no" each time.
  •     Avoid applying for a card just to get a free gift.
  •     Research before choosing a card.
  •     Pay your bills on time. Try to avoid carrying a balance.

Fly 4 Partnership to help you graduate on time and cost effective

Help a Friend

If you or a friend need help developing a plan for your healthy lifestyle, visit Wellness Resource Center.

Living Learning Community

If being healthy and active are important parts of your lifestyle and you would enjoy helping others create a healthy college experience, then this LLC is for you!

Temple's Healthy Lifestyle Living Learning Community (LLC) enhances students’ academic, personal and professional growth by offering them a community space with the support of like-minded students, the peer mentor, and Wellness Resource Center staff. Our goal is bringing both formal and informal learning experiences that go beyond the classroom and integrate them with daily campus life.

Goals and Requirements for the Healthy Lifestyles Living Learning Community

  • Promote dialogue between peers about academic and social issues
  •  Increase satisfaction with your overall academic experience
  •  Enhance their connection with Temple University and Philadelphia
  •  Help with the transition to a large university
  • Participate in 1 on campus wellness activity and one off campus wellness activity
  •  Enroll in a 1 credit first year experience seminar class, taught by the Wellness Resource Center staff and peer mentor