Health Benefits of Sorority Life

By Amanda Pittman, IU Health Center Marketing Intern

Amanda and sisters after attending cardio hip-hop at the SRSC

This coming weekend marks the final rounds of 2017 Panhellenic Recruitment at IU. Whether you’re a potential new member (PNM) still wondering if Greek life is your thing, or a sorority woman needing a pick-me-up for a long weekend of recruiting, here’s a reminder of some of the benefits that sorority life can bring – specifically, health benefits! My positive sorority experiences have been with Alpha Sigma Alpha, but there are some unique characteristics all sororities offer that contribute to developing a healthy mind, healthy body, and healthy life.

Healthy Mind

Bigs & Littles, Moms & Daughters

This relationship is about much more than crafting for each other’s rooms; it’s about crafting a connection between two women. In most chapters, the “Big” or “Mom” is a woman who has been in the chapter longer than the woman she will take as her “Little” or “Daughter.” The Big can be seen as a mentor and a best friend, but her most important job is to offer emotional support as her Little navigates college life. A lot can happen in one semester – school is stressful, boys are confusing, and family is far away. The advice and guidance of a young woman who’s already been through some of the college experience is one of the best emotional health benefits to joining a sorority. When I was a new member and still undecided about my major, my Big showed me the ropes of becoming a sorority woman, gave me endless advice, and helped me choose a course of study that I would be passionate about.

Comfort in Community

The idea of your “family” growing from a couple people to a couple hundred sisters overnight may sound daunting, but having a large group of women that care about you as a fellow sister is a wonderful gift. During difficult times, it is healing to know that dozens of sisters are able to send prayers. When you feel lonely, it is relieving to know that there has to be someone available to keep you company. And when you’re feeling accomplished, it is exciting to know that you have so many women to share your good news with!

Healthy Body

Extra Positive Motivation

First of all, when it comes to physical fitness – there is a high chance that at least one of your sisters is available to work out with you at any given time. It’s a lot easier (and more fun!) to accomplish your fitness goals with the encouragement and company of sisters. Additionally, the campus recreation centers sponsor Greek participation in their facilities several times a year, through promotions like “MOVEmber” and “Greektober”, to give you that extra push!

Amanda and sisters at intramural volleyball

Intramurals

High school sports was one of the things I missed most upon coming to college. Regular practice schedules keep you in shape, camaraderie with teammates reduces stress, and people actually come watch you play – what’s not to miss? Freshman year I wanted to create an intramural volleyball team, but I struggled to find enough people who wanted to play. Once I joined a sorority, making a team was a piece of cake! In fact, we had a sister in charge of organizing all the teams, signing us up, and using our dues to cover the intramural fees. 

Healthy Life

Values Integration

Sororities create a place where women can grow together and strive to become better versions of themselves. Every chapter was founded upon a core set of values and beliefs for its members to work towards. Spending time with many women who are also working towards the same values is not only inspiring, but it holds you accountable. Living life around a set of values leads to better relationships, better work, better self-concept, and ultimately – a healthier life.

Balance

Overall, joining a sorority has brought a sense of balance to my life. Every chapter on campus recognizes the importance of education, philanthropy, friendship, and personal development and strives to help its members dedicate time to each of these pursuits. With the positive influences of other women working towards similar goals, balancing your studies and sisters with service and self-improvement becomes easier than you might think.

Adjusting to IU

Are you a transfer student looking for some help adjusting to IU? Or maybe a returning student but still adjusting to college? Here are some tips to help you SPRING into the New Year.

  1. Be proactive: Unlike high school, in college you have to take more initiative to get involved and find your fun. Look for upcoming shows, events, or organizations you might want to join. Mark it in your calendar and find friends to go with. The more you have to look forward to, the happier you will feel. It is going to be more of a constant effort on your part. We tend to lose momentum after the first few weeks, but remember, it’s never too late to get started.
  1. Fill up your free time: Don’t spend all of your time on social media or Netflix. It may be fun at first, but this ultimately tends to bring us down. Get out there! Join an intramural sports team, volunteer, or find a group you’d like to join. And if you can’t find one, make one!
  1. Put yourself out there: Leave your dorm or apartment every day. If you’re a transfer student, try to live on campus or as close to it as possible to find things to be involved in. And if you’re living off campus, try to go to campus every day. The more you get out there, the more likely you are to find things that you want to try out.
  1. Try something new: There are lots of clubs to join, and fun new places to eat. Challenge yourself to try something new. Take a different route to class. Make new friends. Go to a show. The more you successfully challenge yourself, the better you will feel, knowing you overcame your fears.
  1. Get a job: While school is still your first priority, often times working helps us be more productive. It helps you stay on top of your schedule and you’ll have a little extra spending cash too. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people and find your place here. There are plenty of places to work both off-campus and on–all you have to do is look!
  1. Try not to compare: It’s easy to compare yourself to others, thinking everyone else is having fun except you. If you’re struggling, that’s okay, and it’s perfectly normal. Remember, just because people appear like they are adjusting better, doesn’t mean they actually are. If you’re feeling this way, try and open up to others, and think about changing your expectations. And transfer students–do your best to come to IU open-minded. Don’t compare this school to your old one, instead, focus on creating a life here that works best for you.
  1. Give it time: It is perfectly okay not to find your stride within the first few weeks! It takes many students a semester, a year, or sometimes longer. Try to not get discouraged, or use it as your motivation to get more involved. There will be tough days, but it does get easier. Not everyone has found their friend group already, there are lots of people just waiting for a friend like you!
  1. Practice gratitude: We know this one isn’t easy, but we also know focusing on the positives helps us feel better. We can still acknowledge things are hard (and at times they definitely are), but try and think of three things that went well today, or maybe three things that you are grateful for. Better yet, write these down so you have something to look back on when you’re feeling a little down!
  1. Practice self-care and coping skills: What is self-care? Self-care is something you do, every day, ideally for at least 30 minutes, that is just “you” time. This could be anything that is restorative and helps prevent stress. Coping skills are what we do after we feel stressed. So what are some things you can do? Practice meditation, go for a run or walk, read a favorite book, or chat with a friend. You can also go to the gym, journal, create art, and plenty more. There are hundreds of self-care/coping skills activities; just find the ones that work best for you.
  1. Look for support: You aren’t alone in this, and there are lots of people out there ready to help. Remember, you are not a burden, and the more you reach out, the closer you’ll feel to others. Talk to your family or friends, open up to that classmate you always sit by, or talk to your RA. Meet with your professors or advisors, or reach out to a Crimson Corps member (ccorps@indiana.edu). You can check out the IU Health Center’s many services. We offer wellness coaching (charge it to your bursar!), counseling (two free sessions per semester for those who have paid the health fee!), free workshops and events, and much more!

Looking for adjustment help beyond this post? Join our first spring Web Wednesdays session on Adjusting to IU on January 18 at 2:30 p.m. To get started, go to iu.zoom.us or download the Zoom cloud meetings app. Enter the ID number 541-962-473 and you’re a go!

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Thanks for reading. Welcome new students, and welcome back returning ones! Have a fantastic semester!

Kellen Fox, LMHC

Join Crimson CORPS!

Indiana University’s Crimson CORPS (Caring, Open‐Minded, Respectful Peer Support) is seeking applicants for the 2017-18 academic year!

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Crimson CORPS is a group of carefully selected undergraduate students, trained to provide informal, accepting and non‐judgmental peer support. As a student group, the mission of the CORPS is to promote a culture of compassion and action at IU, and to bring awareness to issues of emotional well‐being within the student community. We do this through peer‐to‐peer support, advocacy and outreach. In response to research that tells us that students in distress are most likely to reach out to a peer first, we have created a group of students committed to making a difference in the lives of their fellow IU students.

We are looking for a diverse group of undergraduate students who offers different perspectives and are bonded by a common commitment to our mission and shared values involving:

  • A passion for helping others
  • An interest in stretching themselves to engage with people on a different level
  • An openness to expanding their sense of compassion, tolerance, and appreciation of themselves and others
  • A desire to make a difference in the lives of fellow IU students

back-cc-logoCrimson CORPS members are trained and supervised by the professional staff at IU Health Center’s Counseling & Psychological Services. The skills members acquire will be useful in all aspects of their lives. Members participate in more than 30 hours of informational and experiential training. Along with gaining a basic knowledge off the various mental health issues facing college students today and the issues preventing students from seeking help, we will help you learn how to:

  • Listen actively without judgment
  • Engage people from different backgrounds
  • Gather important information in non‐threatening ways
  • Engender a feeling of trust and safety
  • Recognize signs of distress in a fellow student

Crimson CORPS is a significant commitment but one that is rewarding on many levels! Crimson CORPS members will attend one half-day training session each semester, attend one 90-minute training session each month, participate in monthly task team meetings, participate in at least two outreach programs per semester, and will commit to volunteer for a full academic year (Fall 2017 – Spring 2018).

Interested? Please complete the online application here, no later than February 15.

Applicants will be notified about the status of their application by March 3, and may be invited for an interview with the Crimson CORPS staff.

For more information, visit our website, email corps@indiana.edu, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Best,

The Crimson CORPS Staff

  • Laura Conner, M.S., LMHCA; CAPS Therapist
  • Molly McKelfresh, M.S., LMHCA; CAPS Therapist
  • Nancy Goodrich Mitts, B.S., Doctoral Student, Counseling Psychology
  • Elyssa Klann, B.A., Doctoral Student, Counseling Psychology
  • Nelson Zounlome, B.A., Doctoral Student, Counseling Psychology

New Year, New You

2017hcIt’s almost 2017 and you know what that means! It’s resolution time!

Unfortunately, research shows that just 8% of Americans were successful at achieving their New Year’s resolutions last year, although nearly half of Americans made one. So, what’s the problem and how can we help?

“I think focusing on too many goals at a time is a problem,” said Azar Nikravesh, MS, IUHC Assistant Director of Holistic Health and Stress Management. “Having one larger goal while setting doable yet challenging weekly goals to move towards the larger goal is a much better way to change behavior.”

The most common resolution made in 2015 was to lose weight. Want to give it a try and be successful? When looking at healthy eating plans, try to make changes that will be sustainable.

“Temporary changes in your eating will only make temporary changes to your weight,” said Katie Shepherd, IUHC Registered Dietitian, MS, CD, and #CookWithKatie blogger. “Students interested in developing a healthy eating plan with a registered and certified dietitian can sign up for a weight control package through Health and Wellness education. For those who have paid their health fee, your first appointment is free, and you’ll receive five nutrition follow-ups within the same semester for just $75. Nutrition counseling is also available to all full time employees and spouses on a medical plan.”

When looking at your diet, choose one or two concrete things you feel you can improve, write them down, and track your progress. Once you’ve mastered these, feel free to add in others (but don’t forget what you started with!).

“Try to eat more fruit and vegetables every day,” said Bobbie Saccone, Ph.D., RD., CD, IUHC Assistant Director of Health and Wellness Education, and Nutrition Program Manager. “Keep a list of how many times each day you eat at least a baseball size portion of a fruit or veggie. If you’re hardly eating any, start with one serving of each daily. Want to be a rock star? Aim for 2-4 fruits and 3-5 vegetables daily and vary your color.”

Another helpful suggestion is to pack snacks. Packing healthy snacks for the day in your backpack, purse, car, or another accessible place will limit emergency trips to the vending machine or convenience store. Try packing nuts, trail mixes, dry whole grain cereals or crackers, fruit, and bars without too much sugar.

Is part two of your weight loss goal starting a new workout routine? Keep in mind the importance of incorporating your personal interests into what you choose.

“If your resolution is going to include something physical or active as a goal, make sure you choose something you love doing,” said Nick Metzger, IMU Wellness Center Office Administrator. “Do you like gardening, walking, swimming, running, yoga, playing with your kids, indoor rock climbing, riding a bike, or even cleaning the house? Physical activity doesn’t have to be going to the gym five days a week and resolving to lift weights or do stomach crunches and planks. What’s most important is choosing something fun to you. You’ll still be lapping the folks sitting on the couch. Also, be realistic about how often you plan to do your chosen activities. If you set a goal to work out seven days a week, you’ll quickly find that is nearly impossible for most people to meet.”

Healthy IU dietician, Steven Lalevich, RD, emphasizes the importance of getting sleep in meeting any resolution.

“Lack of sleep weakens your willpower and self-control, making it more difficult to stick with your resolution,” he said. “Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.”

A new year is also a great time to reevaluate the role alcohol plays in your life.

“Simple adjustments such as downloading and using a drink tracking app, switching from hard liquor to only beer, or gifting yourself with a tolerance vacation, can make a big difference in your overall health,” said Jackie Daniels, MSW, LCSW, Director, OASIS Alcohol and Drug Support Center. “For help creating your own change plan, email oasis@indiana.edu or call 812-856-3898 for an appointment. For a one-time fee of $25, a trained counselor can help you create a plan to meet your individual goals, over one or two sessions.”

Want to try a simple two-part resolution that can enhance your emotional well being and assist others as well? Part one relates to gratitude.

“Make it a point to take a few moments each day to focus on something for which you are grateful,” said Dr. Nancy Stockton, Director of IUHC’s Counseling and Psychological Services. Develop a good ‘gratitude’ habit by pairing gratitude focus moments with something you do regularly such as brushing your teeth or drinking a morning cup of coffee. We are less likely to forget to do things when we make them a regular habit. Cultivating positivity certainly is one way of improving the quality of our life.”

Now for part two. Do something especially nice for someone each day. Acts might range from taking a sick friend a bowl of soup or making a contribution to a favorite charity. Find meaningful volunteer activities.

“Doing for others not only helps them but it helps ourselves as well,” Stockton said. “For other tips on how to lower stress and increase emotional health, students can try one of the CAPS Monday Motivator workshops or Web Wednesdays.”

Here’s an interesting tidbit: when recovering from a stressful situation, participants in a study who were smiling had lower heart rates than those with a neutral facial expression.

“My New Year’s resolution is simply to make eye contact with others on campus as I’m walking along and give them a real smile–one that makes the skin at the corners of my eyes crinkle,” said Barbara Moss, IU Health Fair Coordinator and IUHC Assistant Director for Educational Outreach. “I know that smiling, even smiles that are a bit forced, definitely lowers stress and anxiety for both the giver and the receiver. Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins and makes us feel better. Smiling is free, takes almost no energy, and the benefits can truly tilt a day to the positive.”

Another common resolution is to quit smoking. Looking for help with tobacco use? According to the CDC, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease. Check out our Refresh IU program for students and employees! IU Bloomington is a tobacco-free campus and we are here to help you with a new grant from the American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation’s Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative.

Unsure how to move forward with your resolutions alone? Try Adulting IU, our student wellness coaching program, or Wellness at Work, our employee version. We’ll help you set goals and attain them. Students, you can even charge it to your bursar bill!

Happy New Year and good luck!

Cook with Katie – Holiday Salad Style!

CookWithKatie_logoBy Katie Shepherd

Welcome back to Cook with Katie—holiday style! The semester is over! Woot, hoot! Whether you’re faculty, staff, or a student, I think we can all agree that it feels good to finish up another semester. Now, it’s time to prepare for the holidays!

On that note, today’s post is a healthy (surprised?) holiday party dish! You miiiiiight have noticed there are a lot of celebrations and gatherings this time of year where the food is heavy. This makes it tough to preserve our waistlines and can lead to some crazy New Year’s Resolutions.

Trying to come up with a holiday work potluck dish, I racked my brain for something light, but also tasty and festive. I wanted to use vegetables, while trying to be more creative than the standard veggie and dip platter. Alas, Katie’s Kale and Pomegranate Holiday Salad!

This is a super easy recipe that simply requires assembling ingredients (which gives you more time to spend shopping!). Not only is this salad a nutritional powerhouse, but your guests will rave about how they never believed greens could taste so good. Really! So, let’s get mixing!…

Katie’s Kale and Pomegranate Holiday Salad

katie-saladI like to start this salad with the “power greens” mix from Kroger. This is a lovely mixture of kale, spinach, chard, and mizunala. I love kale in salads like this because the leaves are quite hearty and won’t wilt when you add dressing. Next, add pomegranate arils.

Never had pomegranates? Pomegranates are a seasonal fruit typically available from October through February. You can buy a whole pomegranate and remove the seeds yourself, or you can buy one ready-to-eat. Pomegranates have a tough leathery skin and the sweet juicy arils are covered in a pith that isn’t edible, so I usually buy the ready to eat variety. (I grow impatient when I have to work too hard for my food!)

Next, add a 4 ounce container of crumbled feta cheese. Feta adds an essential saltiness to this dish (plus a little calcium and protein).

Finally, I finish this salad off with my favorite dressing, Marie’s white balsamic shallot vinaigrette. Normally, I would say to add whatever vinaigrette dressing you like (or make your own!), but honestly, this is one of the best out there and the flavors match so well with the other ingredients in this salad. You can typically find it in the refrigerated section. I generally add 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup depending on how much dressing you like on your salad.

That’s it. You’re done!

Another great thing about this salad is how pretty and festive it is with the colors of green, red, and white.  The greens add earthy flavors, pomegranates add sweet and tart notes, feta adds a touch of salt, and the vinaigrette adds the perfect amount of acidity.

Bon Appetit and happy holidays!

Semester Break Hours

For the semester break, the Health Center and other service locations will have limited hours.

Main facility hours (10th and Jordan):

  • December 17-18: Closed
  • December 19: 8:00-11:30 a.m. and 1:00-4:30 p.m.
  • December 20-22: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
  • December 23-26: Closed
  • December 27-29: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
  • December 30-January 2: Closed
  • January 3-6: 8:00-11:30 a.m. and 1:00-4:30 p.m.
  • January 7-8: Closed

Additionally, the Let’s Talk counseling program will be closed through January 8. Those needing counseling assistance should contact CAPS directly at 812-855-5711.

In town during break? Stop by the IMU Wellness Center (Room M005) and enjoy a relaxing massage or purchase a gift package for a loved one!

Wellness Center Break Hours:

  • December 17-18: Closed
  • December 19: 8:00-10:45 a.m. and 1:15-5:00 p.m.
  • December 20-22: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • December 23: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
  • December 24-27: Closed
  • December 28-29: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • December 30-January 2: Closed
  • January 3-6: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • January 7-8: Closed
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Finally, Wellness at Wells is now closed and will reopen for the Spring 2017 semester on January 18, Wednesdays from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Wellness at Wells takes place in the Wells Library Learning Commons, Room 138 on a weekly basis.

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Our Medical Services: What and When

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First time away from home? Have your parents always scheduled your doctor’s appointments for you? You might be wondering how best to use the medical services at the Health Center to meet your needs when you’re sick or injured. Maybe you’ve been dealing with a chronic health issue and you need to see a medical professional before you can return home to see your regular doctor. Maybe you’ve injured yourself playing basketball at the SRSC. What do you do? Where do you go?

It’s not uncommon for students to contact our after-hours call service and ask if they can wait until the morning to be seen at the Health Center or if they should go to the emergency room for a problem.

It is helpful to understand the differences between our walk-in clinic, a scheduled appointment, and a visit to the emergency room. In one study, it was reported that nearly 50 percent of the diagnoses at emergency rooms could be treated by a walk-in clinic at a fraction of the cost and wait time.

Certainly, if you’re experiencing a potentially life-threatening illness or injury, you should call 911 and go to the emergency room immediately. The ER is meant for true emergencies and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In Bloomington there are two hospitals with emergency rooms – IU Health Bloomington Hospital (not affiliated with us) and Monroe Hospital. If you are experiencing a serious health problem such as an allergic reaction, severe shortness of breath, severe chest pain, serious wounds or trauma, continuous bleeding, unconsciousness, or serious head injury, you should definitely visit the ER.

However, many health problems that you may encounter while you’re in college can be managed in our outpatient clinic here on campus. It’s recommended that you try to make an appointment with one of our medical providers, however, if an appointment isn’t available, you can come to our walk-in clinic for acute illnesses and injuries such as high fever, cough, sore throat, flu, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, minor injuries and burns, sports injuries, cuts, and more. The walk-in clinic is available to you Monday-Friday 8:00-4:30 and most Saturdays during the academic year from 10:00-2:00 for urgent health problems. You don’t need an appointment to come to the walk-in clinic.

In other cases, you may have a health problem that you’ve been dealing with for some time. Possibly a chronic health condition that you see your hometown doctor for, but you need care in town while you’re in college. In another instance, you may have a concern about something that has been bothering you for a few months, such as fatigue. If that’s the case, and your problem isn’t urgent, it’s recommended that you schedule an appointment with one of our providers. This allows you to establish care with a provider that you can get to know and trust and return to for follow-up visits, if needed.

The Health Center offers medical care to students in several areas including:

You can schedule an appointment for any of the above on our website or by calling 812-855-7688. Our free after-hours medical question service is also available until 11:00 p.m. each night during the fall and spring semesters at 812-330-3790 for those times you’re just not sure what to do.

Stay tuned for future blogs on how and when to use our counseling and wellness services!

It’s Get Yourself Tested Week!

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The week of November 28-December 2, IU Health Center will partner with the Community Capacity for Prevention and Education (CCPE) Substance Abuse and HIV Prevention Project for Get Yourself Tested Week, which includes free, confidential HIV testing at the IMU Health and Wellness Center (Indiana Memorial Union, room M005). Testing will occur daily from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. There is no blood draw required; swabbing and results take approximately 30 minutes.

Thursday, World AIDS Day, will also feature an educational booth and games from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m, with our Peer Health & Wellness Educators offering tips on how to own your sexual health through communication with sexual partners, sexual and reproductive health product options, and information on where to get tested for other STDs. All events are open to the entire IU and Bloomington community.

The CCPE Grant is a project funded by SAMHSA and is designed to reduce, and ultimately prevent, the onset of Substance Abuse and HIV among target population members in Monroe County.

IMU Wellness Center Gift Packages Available!

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Looking for that perfect gift for a friend or family member–or even yourself? The IMU Wellness Center is offering a holiday gift package which includes three of our relaxing services. This $75 package includes:

  • 45-minute table massage
  • 30-minute aromatherapy session with essential oil sample included
  • 45-minute progressive muscle relaxation and guided visualization session

Head over the the IMU Wellness Center (Mezzanine M005), or call 812-856-4468 to purchase (beginning 11/28)! This offer is available to students, employees, and the public. Limited quantities are available and certificates expire one year from the date of purchase.