Category Archives: Wellness & Fitness

An Ode to Lazy Days

It took me a long time to appreciate the beauty of the lazy day. Simply lying back, watching Netflix, taking a nice warm bath, spending time in nature, just doing what makes you happy without wondering whether or not you’re being productive enough.

Days like those used to give me immense amounts of guilt. I’d wonder if I did enough beforehand to truly warrant not doing anything “productive” for a whole day. It felt like my work was all-consuming and somehow more important than my happiness and peace of mind. Days felt very frenzied and I felt as if I was on the road to academic burnout because I was constantly guilting myself out of spending time away from school work.

Soon, I began to recognize a problem. I was no longer doing work in school with the intent to learn. School was simply a place where I did assignments, and I began to hate the environment because it felt toxic. Now, it’s important to remember that only some of this can be attributed to my mindset. There are so many things about the school system and college admission systems that force a certain unhealthy hyper-competitiveness amongst their students and are simply inherently toxic, but that’s a different conversation for a different day. 

I started recognizing that something about me had to change if I intended on preserving my mental health. The first step, I decided, was to stop basing my personal worth on the grades I received. That was certainly easier said than done, but once I began opening myself up and realizing that there are so many other facets to me apart from my grades, I stopped falling into that toxic, hyperproductive mindset and started trying to spend my free time doing things I love, rather than worry about whether I’m working enough.

This even changed my outlook toward learning and school. When I was constantly thinking about my academic performance, I held lots of ill will toward school because I felt it was the reason I could never relax. Altering my mindset and attempting to distance myself from a reliance on academic validation and allowing myself to kick back once in a while really made me see school as a place to explore new subjects and learn new things.

Naturally, this process is far from linear. Just last month I got a score on a biology test that I didn’t love, and I fell right back into the pattern of guilting myself out of relaxing and forcing myself to constantly study. It’s also much easier said than done, but hopefully my journey can help someone out there embrace those lazy days a little bit more and worry about school a little less.

Featured image courtesy of Canva

My Top 5 Favorite Exercises

Keeping active while balancing school and other activities can be challenging, but it’s a great way to decompress and give yourself a moment to not think about anything that’s stressing you out.

Here are my top five exercises to try out:

1.  Bench Pressing using a barbell

This semester, I took a weight training class, and my favorite exercise was bench pressing! It was one of the first things we learned and I’m so glad it was a part of our workout program!

2.  Goblet Squat

I used to dislike these because they were so difficult for me, but once I got my form down, it was a piece of cake, and I increased the weight every single workout.

Tip: if you’re having the same trouble with squatting form as many people do, pull your hips back before you bend your knees and make sure to keep your spine neutral, instead of bending both hips and knees at the same time.

3.  Deadlift

 I didn’t start doing deadlifts until recently, but I find I really like them. The only thing I don’t like is the pain from gripping the bar. I haven’t had any calluses form, but my google search says I’m grabbing the weight wrong, and that’s something I’ll need to work on.

4.  Pigeon Pose

Okay, I use this one to stretch, not for its exercise, but I LOVE it so much I couldn’t exclude it! This pose is perfect for your hips and back, and I always feel like I can push myself a little harder than usual, especially after killing my legs with lunges.

5.  Jump roping

Of course, I could not forget at least one cardio exercise! It’s really fun when you have a set of earbuds in and jump to the beat of your new favorite song. Besides, it never gets boring since there are tricks you can learn from the pros online.

I like to use an app called Strong (not sponsored, but if you thought it was, thank you because it’s actually very flattering) to keep track of workouts and learn to do more exercises. You can create an exercise template or use one of the example templates instead. There are written steps and videos, and images to help guide you. There is a premium service, but I’ve only been using the free version, and it’s good enough for me.

I’m not going to lie, weight training looks intimidating, but it’s actually so fun challenging yourself to see how much stronger you can get. Jump roping will be more challenging than you remember, but still just as fun! Try some of these out, or look to other people’s gym routines for inspiration. Working out doesn’t have to be the dreaded thing you need to check off your to-do list, and you don’t have to do anything you don’t like.

So, You Want to Start Therapy?

At one point or another many of us have dealt with the ups and downs of life. But for some of us, the downs stick around a little longer and can make us feel lost and hopeless. In an article in Forbes magazine, Bryan Robinson said “around 47% of Americans believe seeking therapy is a sign of weakness – which is common yet one of the biggest misconceptions about psychotherapy.” 

The stigma surrounding therapy and mental health can keep us from seeking treatment.

“We wait until we’re basically having the equivalent of an emotional heart attack before somebody will make that call.” Lori Gottlieb, a psychotherapist, said in an article for NPR.

  1. Know the stigma’s around therapy

Most people stray away from reaching out for help because they feel that their problem is not big enough. Remember it’s not selfish to seek help.

  1. You don’t know what type of therapy to try out?

There are several different types of therapy, but of the most famous there are about five.

– Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most well known aimed at mindfulness to keep their patients present.

– Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is for individuals who experience extreme emotional responses to certain situations. 

– Trauma Therapy: often used for post-traumatic stress disorder this type of therapy can help bring subconscious closure to a traumatic event to relieve the patient of constantly reliving the event.

– Psychodynamic Therapy: this looks back at the patient’s past to explore what might be causing current behavior and patterns that individuals are not necessarily aware of.

– Interpersonal Therapy: suited for working through poor or challenging relationships.

Remember not all therapists and therapy are the same, it takes time to find the right fit for you and that is okay.

  1. You’re scared of other people finding out

Therapy is confidential. “HIPPA laws dictate what therapists can and cannot disclose when they can disclose it, and to whom this information can be relayed,” Andrea M. Risi (LPC) said.

  1. You’re scared of getting better or digging through the past

Admitting that there may be a problem is scary. Things can get worse before they get better. 

  1. You’re scared of the cost

At UT CMHC individual counseling appointments are $10 but are fully subsidized by the university — meaning you do not pay the charge. In addition, psychiatry appointments are $15 but students are required to pay $10 of the $15.

If you ever feel you need someone to talk to call UT CMHC at (512) 471-3515 to meet for a brief assessment with a counselor to set up appointments. In crisis situations call (512) 471-2255. The CMHC has several services to take advantage of such as different types of therapies, well-being resources, and psychiatric services. To learn more about what CMHC has to offer to UT students you can visit their website at: cmhc.utexas/edu. There are also several on-campus organizations that advocate for mental illness education and support such as: Nami on Campus at UT and (Un)Jaded.

Featured image by Talisa Trevino

Black Friday deals college students need

Black Friday is the perfect time to get things you realized you need to take back to college for cheap. Don’t want to pay $6 for one towel that you have to take to the communal bathroom? Want kitchenware to use in your new off-campus apartment? Then you should stock up on these college essentials while the deals last. 

For most stores, Black Friday deals will begin on Friday, Nov. 26 and run through the weekend. 

JCPenny

Here are some of the best deals to shop for at JCPenny from Nov. 26-28. JCPenny is known for having deals that require mail-in rebates, but all these items you can get without the hassle. 

  • Bath towels on sale for $2.99. 
  • Nostalgia mini waffle makers on sale for $9.99. 
  • Home Expressions reversible comfortables on sale starting at $16.99. 

Macy’s 

These items will be on sale in stores starting on Nov. 23 through Nov. 27, but stores will be closed on Thanksgiving. 

  • Art & Cook mini slow cooker on sale for $8.99.
  • Instant Pot Air fryer on sale for $69.95. 
  • Bella Rocket Blender on sale for $14.99. 

Sam’s Club 

Sam’s Club will start their Black Friday on Nov. 25, but deals will be online only. From Nov. 26-28 you can shop in stores. Make sure you are a member of the store to participate in their Black Friday sale. 

  • Rubbermaid 50-Piece Easy Find Lids Food Storage Set on sale for $9.99.
  • Philips Sonicare Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush (2pk.) on sale for $79.98.
  • A Velvet Heated Throw Blanket on sale for $34.98.

Belk

You can shop in store and online for Black Friday deals from Nov. 19 through Nov. 27. 

  • Echo Dot 3rd Gen Speaker on sale for $19.99.
  • Amazon Fire Stick Lite on sale for $17.99. 
  • 8-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set on sale for $19.99.

There are still tons of stores that have not released what they will have on sale for Black Friday and won’t until a week before the sales start. Be sure to stay on the lookout for when sales get released, especially from Target and Walmart, to get the most out of this sale season. 

Featured image by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash 

6 Places to walk around UT Campus

With midterm season in full swing, life can get pretty stressful, but it’s important to take some time to prioritize yourself and your well-being. Taking a walk is a great way to boost your energy and improve your mood when you need a break from classes and endless studying. Lucky for us, the UT campus is full of peaceful environments where students can walk around and explore new parts of the 40 Acres. Here’s a list of some places around campus to walk around and take a break from the stresses of being a college student.   

Speedway

We may not be in the Land of Oz, but we can still take a walk down the yellow brick road at UT. If you’re looking for a convenient place to walk on campus, Speedway is the way to go. Located in what seems like the middle of campus, Speedway is great for when you need to regroup between classes and don’t want to venture far from your next class. My only advice? Watch out for cyclists.  

The Drag

If you’re in the mood for some window shopping while you walk, the Drag is perfect for you. The Drag is a portion of Guadalupe Street across the street from the UT campus with stores, restaurants and other places to check out. While you may have to resist the urge to spend money at Chipotle or Urban Outfitters, the Drag is a great place to walk and take in Austin life.  

Pease Park

Located near the UT campus, Pease Park is a great place to walk and admire nature. Exploring a park can help you take your mind off school because being surrounded by school-related buildings 24/7 is not ideal — I know from experience. Put on your walking shoes and take a trip to Pease Park, where you can forget about Canvas and immerse yourself in nature for a few hours. 

Clark Field

Take a trip to the Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field, which has a recreational jogging track where you can run or walk. Clark Field is located near many residence halls, such as Jester East and West and San Jacinto Hall, making it a convenient place for students to walk after a long day of classes. Plus, while you walk, you can show your support for the Texas lacrosse teams! 

Waller Creek

Waller Creek is a stream and ecosystem that bisects UT and makes for a peaceful walk. The creek extends through different parts of campus, passing by interesting places to explore along the way. From the School of Nursing to the edge of UT’s main campus, walking along Waller Creek will help you destress and familiarize yourself with the campus. Check out this self-guided walking tour of Waller Creek!

South Mall

Depending on the direction, walking up the South Mall can be tiring. The uphill is not ideal, but the view makes up for the burning calves. Who wouldn’t want to look up and see overarching trees and a glimpse of the UT Tower on their walk? If you get tired on the walk — like I usually do — there are benches located along the path, or you could sit on the South Mall Lawn, which is always relaxing. 

The UT campus is full of great places to take a walk and unwind, regardless of the time of day. While school is important, our health is too, so I encourage everyone to put on their walking shoes and go outside!