Tag Archive: stress


Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This is for all the people who have ever looked in a mirror and listed off numerous flaws with their bodies.  This is for every person who strongly believes he or she is not good enough.  This is for anyone who feels that the world would be better off without his or her body “taking up space.” This is for me and for you and for everyone else who does not believe they are perfect enough.

We live in a society that pushes perfectionism, and an extreme perfectionism at that.  For women, the ideal beauty is a thin but curvy frame.  For men, their ideal figure is strong, masculine and tan.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health estimates 8 million Americans (7 million women and 1 million men) suffer from some form of an eating disorder.  From anorexia nervosa to bulimia to binge eating disorders, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. Despite popular belief, eating disorders are about more than just the desire to be thin.   They are an all-encompassing illness that stems from low self-esteem and the desire to be perfect.

It is a heartbreaking disorder, one that some people don’t understand unless they have been personally affected.  As someone who suffers from an eating disorder, I have experienced the consuming cycle of eating and not eating as I try to achieve perfectionism. I have lost friends during my battle, and I have lost time. I have skipped parties because I was concerned with either not eating anything or eating everything in sight.  So much energy and time have been wasted over the past five years.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week starts today, February 20, and goes on through February 26.  It is a time for light to be shed on an mental disorder that many people do not fully understand.

A few events are being held this week at UNC.  The movie Thin, a documentary about eating disorders, will be shown in Room 3411 at the Student Union tonight at 5:30 P.M.  Viewers will also be able to ask Dr Anna-Bardone Cone, a UNC psychology professor specializing in eating disorder research, questions.

On Monday, February 21, McAllister’s Deli on Franklin Street will donate 10% of its revenue from 5 P.M. to 9 P.M. to Carolina House, an eating disorder treatment center located in Durham.  Make sure to print off the flyer. Interactive Theatre Carolina will also be performing skits on eating disorders in the Union Cabaret on Tuesday, February 22, from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M.

Even after Tuesday, bringing awareness to eating disorders should not end.  If you have friends who are suffering, let them know that you are there for them. And if they don’t have treatment, help them find it.

If you are currently suffering, please seek help.  There are people out there that care for your well-being.  Even I am here to help support you, so don’t be afraid to contact me.  I have been in your shoes, and I still am.

There is one last thing I want to leave.  You are beautiful or you are handsome just the way you are.  You have been shaped into the way you were meant to be. You were given a unique body and your own mind.  Perfectionism is just an idea. It is never tangible.  Accept yourself and others for who they are, and remember that imperfections are what is truly perfect.

-Hillary Rose Owens

Sources:

National Eating Disorders

Mirasol

Something Fishy

Facebook Event for Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Fitness Lines

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How to Combat Adult Acne

Adult acne can be more than just an unsightly annoyance, depending on its severity. You’d think after the awkward pubescent high school years have passed that the pimples would disappear and reveal a flawless face the way braces are removed to expose gorgeous, straight teeth. The same should apply to acne, right? Unfortunately, acne does not always go away after the teen years, and sometimes lasts into adulthood. Sometimes women may find that their acne is related to unbalanced hormones. When acne persists and becomes untreatable with over-the-counter medicine such as Clean and Clear or Neutrogena, women can go to their doctor or dermatologist and get a blood test taken to determine hormone levels.

If imbalances are detected, sometimes birth control pills are prescribed as an effective treatment. There is a major downside of taking birth control for acne, however. Many women find that it is an excellent treatment option when they are on the pill, but a few months after they decide to get off the pill, acne usually comes back with vengeance, worse than ever. Women may feel pressured to stay on the pill for years because they worry that once they stop taking it, the red, bumpy pustules and sometimes painful cystic acne will return.

If your acne is not related to a hormone imbalance, it may be useful to develop a good skin care regimen. I suffered with adult acne for many months, which caused me immense emotional distress and physical discomfort from the cystic growths along my jawline. I tried all the products available in both drug stores and high-end department stores. I spent hours doing research on the Internet and ordered books at the library, until I stumbled upon the site acne.org. This site proved to be a tremendous tool and helped answer some of my questions and alleviate some of my emotional turmoil. I was able to compare products reviewed by other members on the site, and learn what works for majority of people and what doesn’t. I finally decided to order some products off of acne.org, whose founder, Daniel W. Kern, also suffered with severe acne. I ordered the cleanser, moisturizer, and treatment in large 16-ounce bottles, because I knew that it was the most cost-effective option.

Once you establish a skin care regimen, it is important to stick with it. No matter how comfy you get cuddling with your significant other, do not doze off without washing cosmetics off of your face. If he’s good enough for you he will still think you’re beautiful without a stitch of make-up on, so please ladies, wash your face before bed. Then, pat your face dry with a clean face towel and make sure to change the linens that touch your face (face towel, pillow case) once a week because dirt and oils from dirty laundry can cause acne flare-ups. I then moisturize and wait until it’s dry before applying treatment all over my face. Some people may prefer to apply treatment first, and then moisturize. The advantage of acne.org’s treatment is that once it has dried, it’s completely clear and does not leave a filmy residue on the face. I wash my face, moisturize, and apply treatment once in the morning and once at night.

In the morning after the treatment has dried, I can apply facial makeup with ease. I recommend a mineral powder applied with a clean brush (wash your brush once a week because bacteria and dirt build up lead to acne!). After I established this regimen in addition to taking Yaz birth control for my hormonal imbalance, I noticed a huge change in my results. Strangers and friends would come up to me to admire my nearly poreless complexion. I have finally found a host of products that work for me and even though my regimen may sound complex, it means the difference between a face with unattractive and sometimes painful bumps and grooves, and a smooth, confident appearance.

Here’s a list of products that work in my experience:

  • Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask (dries up acne pimples; rated 4.5 out of 5 stars when Googled)
  • Retin-A (Available with prescription. Makes acne much worse for the first couple months, but then uncovers beautiful, nearly flawless skin. Drawback is once treatment is stopped altogether, acne returns.)
  • Acne.org products – I cannot give enough praise to the treatment. Some prescription treatments burn the skin, making it unbearably sensitive, but acne.org’s treatment works just as effectively as prescription without the physical suffering, costs much less, and comes in large quantities.)

In my opinion, I do not think that a poor diet causes acne, but I do know that when I eat greasy foods and chocolate and then touch my face, I will get a pimple. So make sure to keep your hands away from your face, or develop the habit of washing your hands as soon as you finish snacks. Carry sanitizer or hand wipes in your purse when a sink isn’t handy, such as when taking long road trips. It is important to keep your body hydrated with water because it flushes out toxins that may otherwise result in skin problems. Also, sweating flushes away toxins, contributing to better skin. So try to make exercising a priority.

I hope these tips help you in your battle for a clear complexion and remember to browse acne.org for more information and advice!

-Kristen Cubero

Getting Organized

As I flip through the TV channels on mute and listen to the clock tick quickly, I’m struck by the chaos that I’m living in.  Clothes, books and loose papers are strewn across my unmade bed.  My backpack is stuffed with crumpled-up handouts, notes and newspapers.  Although I’ve made it to each class today, I have no idea what my assignments entail for this week.

It’s time for some (early) spring cleaning.

If a messy, disorderly room is making you equally stressed out, look no further.  There are plenty of easy ways to get yourself – and your life – organized in mere minutes.

Get a planner or Google calendar. I literally can’t imagine how I’d function without my planner.  It contains every detail of my packed schedule, from classes to meetings to cocktails.    There’s nothing worse than forgetting about a club meeting, coffee date or deadline.  Putting commitments in writing, whether they’re required or with friends, will prevent you from realizing when you have to be somewhere across campus and have only five minutes to get there.

Organize your coursework. For the past few weeks of class, I’ve been taking notes for all seven of my classes on whatever paper I’ve had on hand.  My Spanish notes are in the same notebook as those from Political Science, and who knows where my News Writing notes have gone.  This system may work for a while, but when midterms roll around, it will be nearly impossible to compile all notes, papers and old quizzes. It’s essential to have a separate notebook and/or binder for each class.  You’ll be so much happier come exam time when cramming in Davis is as simple as opening a notebook and buckling down.  Though it may not be the most appealing pastime, it sounds much more appealing than riffling through knee-high stacks of papers in desperate search of the first weeks’ notes and your (unopened?) textbook.

Keep things neat. Studies have shown that it’s easier to get work done in tidy spaces.  Messes are distracting, stressful and all-around unpleasant.  Taking a few minutes to make your bed, hang up clothes and organize your desk can make studying so much more comfortable and relaxing. This applies to your computer, too.  Clean out and organize your inbox.  It will keep you from losing track of e-mails you were supposed to respond to but forgot about.  As mind-numbing as it sounds, it will help out in the long run.

Make a schedule and stick to it. It’s so easy to put off a night’s readings to hang out with friends, watch TV or catch up on sleep.  But when this happens repeatedly, you’ll find yourself hundreds of pages behind in multiple classes with one night before a test. Set goals for each day, even if it means getting up a few minutes early to read some extra pages.  It will make life so much less stressful.  Plus, you’ll be less embarrassed when the professor asks you a question in class and you can actually answer it.

Getting organized is easier than you’d think.  I just bought notebooks and binders at Student Stores.  Tonight I’m going to print out my syllabi, write down my assignments for this week and catch up on the reading I haven’t done.

…Or maybe I’ll put that off to another night.

-Georgia Cavanaugh

Trust the process

Project 365 is a year-long blog series about being a senior at Carolina, going through the senior bucket list, job search, applying to graduate school and just life in general, told in countdown form.

Good morning, Seniors.  In the spirit of Health and Wellness, I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss the seemingly stressful journey that we have in front of us.  The next 7 ½ months are going to be some of the most exciting and simultaneously terrifying months of some of our lives. But one of my professors gave my class the best advice.  Trust the process.  Sure, we were talking about the writing process but you know what?  It seems to be pretty relevant advice.

Trust the process.

Trust the Process.

Trust the Process.

When I graduate, I might not have a job.  A lot of us won’t, and that’s okay.  It’s the reality we live in and we need to prepare ourselves that we might be the (gulp, I hate using this word) victims of the economic recession.  So what can we do? Trust the process.  Trust that things will work out eventually for the best, even if they aren’t working out now. The recession won’t last forever and eventually the job market will rebound.

Here’s the thing: we have enough to stress out about as seniors because while the job market is on the back of our minds, we still have exams, projects, papers, homework… not to mention, countless extracurricular activities.  Don’t ruin the fun with stress.

According to WebMD, stress can lead to:

  • Heart Disease
  • Headaches
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Decreased sexual performance
  • Weight gain
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mood swings
  • Shaking

Really… who wants all that?  And it’s true, stress is a part of life and no matter what happens, there will always be something to stress about.  So what can we do to deal with stress? WebMD suggests:

  • Avoid sources of stress
  • Exercise regularly
  • Engage in problem solving
  • Take responsibility for situations
  • Lower your expectations and accept that there are some things out of your control.
  • Have supportive friends.
  • Learn relaxation techniques (I love yoga at the SRC, personally)

So let’s not stress this year.  Let’s continue on with our lives, work hard, and trust the process.  Good luck everyone!

Countdown to Graduation: 222 Days!!!

– Samantha Ryan

It’s 2 a.m. and you’re on the 6th floor of Davis Library, chugging Red Bulls and cramming for the test and presentation you have tomorrow – or is it today?

This scenario is a common one on campus.  With midterms and papers fast approaching, many students are nearing the breaking point.  At this point in the semester, it’s easy to become completely consumed by stress, which can affect your eating habits, exercise routine, sleeping patterns and mental health.  In times of stress, it’s important to stay calm, focused and optimistic. But have no fear – there are countless easy ways to relax and unwind.

Exercise

Working out is a great way to let off steam.  Do yoga in the quiet of your dorm room, go for a run around campus or participate in a group exercise class like Zumba or Cardio Pump. You’ll be able to briefly take your mind off of the things causing you stress while also doing something productive and healthy.  The endorphins exercise releases are known to improve mood, too.

Drink something

I’m not talking about alcoholic beverages.  Enjoying a warm drink on a chilly day can be a soothing treat. If possible, escape from the library for a few moments to clear your head and refuel.  Hot chocolate, lattes and green tea are just a few options.  I never feel calmer than when drinking coffee and people-watching in the Pit.

Forest Theatre

Spending time outside is a wonderful way to alleviate stress.  Fresh air and sunshine will make any bad day seem better. Whether walking through Coker Arboretum, sunbathing in Polk Place or sitting outside of the Daily Grind, stress will seem to drift away with the autumn breeze.

Sleep

Although we tend to get by on much less, it’s crucial that college students sleep for at least seven or eight hours per night.  Being well rested has been shown to improve cognitive functioning and academic performance.  Getting enough sleep is also necessary in that it helps to stabilize mood.  For example, sleep deprivation has been linked to depression.  It’s almost always better to study a little less if it means you can sleep a little more.

Take a break

If you’ve been studying for hours and think you will spontaneously combust if forced to read another sentence, it’s probably time for a study break.  Grab a healthy snack, watch a few minutes of TV or play a game. Sudoku and crossword puzzles are my personal favorites, but any other entertaining game or puzzle will suffice.  Just be careful your five-minute break doesn’t turn into an hour-long YouTube or Facebook session.

Listen to soothing music

Turn on your favorite channel on Pandora.com or go to stereomood.com, a website at which you can pick a playlist that corresponds to an emotion you’re feeling. Make a list of go-to songs in times of intense stress.  Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and tune into the sound of the music.  When I’m a bundle of nerves, I listen to “Breathe Me” by Sia in order to release tension.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by stress, but that doesn’t have to be the case.  If balancing academic pressure, extracurricular responsibilities and a social life is about to give you a mental breakdown, step back for a moment.  Do something that makes you feel calm, whether that may be walking around campus, reading a novel or listening to a favorite song. Before you know it, midterms will be over.

And then you can worry about finals.

– Georgia Cavanaugh

Why I love midterms

Midterms officially kicked into high gear this week, so I would like to take a moment and explain why I love them so freaking much:

  • Multiple hours of slaving away inside Davis Library. It’s industrious to know you’re studying in the same building where babies are made on the 8th floor.
  • Professors may deny their vanity over the course of the semester, but midterms unveil how vain they really are: They all try to one-up each other by scheduling as many midterms for you as possible in the same week. Sly dogs.
  • I lose sleep. The recommended amount is 7-9 hours a night, and I usually average 5-7. Midterms bring me down to 3-5 hours. But wait! This is a good thing! According to the economic law of marginal utility, the more you do something, the less satisfaction you receive from it, so less sleep = lower opportunity costs! Yay!
  • The amount of coffee consumption triples, due to all nighters and more studying on campus. I (sarcastically) told a friend a few weeks ago that I wanted to pick up a coffee habit, so… mission accomplished.
  • You have a greater chance of getting sick, since your mind and body are stressed so much. We have a pretty exciting epidemic to catch this year. A good “swine flu” story is so much more badass than an “I got a cold” story.
  • There’s very little space to study on campus. I especially love this, because I can then spend multiple hours wandering from Davis to the UL to Graham Memorial in an attempt to find an open study spot. From Graham Memorial, I often go to the Union. If the Union is full (it usually is), I’ll try to find an open classroom. But if it’s after 9, the buildings are locked. At this point, I check the Caribou Coffee on Franklin Street, but all the tables are taken there, too. Thus, I must cross the street and enter my nemesis, Starbucks, looking for an empty chair. Of course, there is none. I wander back onto campus, this time into Hanes Art Center, but I don’t know why I bother; there’s hardly any study room in this building, and oh yeah, it’s locked. So I get in my car and drive back to my apartment and go to sleep. Studying is exhausting.

-Sonya Chudgar