Holiday festivities are right around the corner and that means it’s the season of family, celebration, and lots of food. It can be hard to resist our favorite holiday recipes that adorn Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas like pecan pie, latkes, and sampling everything on the buffet table. But consuming 200 extra calories a day can strain the waistline causing you to gain two to three pounds over a five-to-six week period. Below are some simple tips to help you enjoy the holidays so you don’t have to deprive yourself the delicious holiday favorites.
1. Eat before you go. Excessive hunger promotes overeating.
2. Drink lots of water. Drinking water before a meal can help increase your feeling of fullness.
3. Don’t put everything on your plate. Start by taking a walk around the buffet table to look at all the options.
4. Add color to your plate. Include bright colored fruits and vegetables on your plate. Make it your goal to fill half of your plate with these bright and vibrant colors.
5. Before getting seconds, wait 10 minutes. It takes 10 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you are full.
6. Pull out your walking shoes. Take a walk before eating or between dinner and dessert.
7. Don’t stand next to the buffet or appetizer table to prevent mindless eating.
What is the first thing that pops into your head when you think of the holiday season? Do you think of tinsel and lights? Maybe a menorah or a big family meal. The holidays are often full of happiness and celebration, but for those that struggle with mental illness, or have experienced damaging loss or trauma, this time of year can be an especially difficult experience. Even for those that don’t regularly battle a mental illness, the holidays are a stressful time of year that may cause new and unexpected symptoms to come seemingly out of the blue.
Holiday celebrations are typically a time where loved ones gather and reconnect, but there is a dark cloud looming overhead for many. Loss and grief are often triggered at this time because this is a time where you would be with loved ones, but when you can not do so at this special time of year, mental health may decline drastically, even if at any other time of the year you cope well. Simply put, you start to miss people more when you know you would be with them anyway, but now you can’t. Even outside of the triggers of past traumas, the holidays are simply a very stressful and hectic time for everyone, and sometimes that stress can just build up and build up until it can become seemingly too much to handle for many people. All these negative feelings can culminate for anyone, and those that struggle daily with previously existing mental illnesses can have exasperated symptoms.
There is little that can be done to prevent these symptoms from occurring at all, but there are measures that can be taken to minimize the debilitating effects that they have on daily function. Validating and accepting your own feelings is an important first step. When you acknowledge that your feelings are valid, and there is nothing wrong with you, you are practicing a form of self-care that is very important to help get you through any difficult time. You’re not crazy; you’re human and you’re hurting, it’s natural. Not agreeing to everything everyone asks of you is also important. If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it; a good person will understand and won’t take it personally. Keeping your physical body healthy is imperative as well as physical and mental health are directly related. Reach out to your loved ones and support system. There are people that love you and will listen to you and are here to help you in a time of need. If you find that friends and family aren’t enough, or you don’t feel comfortable sharing with them, don’t be afraid to seek professional help if need be. There is no shame in needing additional professional support if need be.
November is National American Indian Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the rich histories, diverse cultures, and significant contributions of our nation’s first people. The Lenape were Philadelphia’s original inhabitants. They were hunters, fishers, and cultivated the area along the banks of what is now the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. They believed in a holistic healing approach, that connection with the spirits is what made healing so powerful. Most descendants of the Lenape now live in Oklahoma and still follow their ancient healing traditions. Several common plants with medicinal properties used by the Lenape that are found in the Northeast include birch, cattail, dandelion, sassafras, sumac, and wild grape.
Birch bark is used to make tea for treating coughs and colds.
Cattail pollen can be applied to wounds to stop bleeding. If ingested, it can help with menstrual pain. Mashing the cattail roots can be applied to treat blisters, boils, cysts, stings, and infections.
Dandelion is rich in vitamins and minerals that can be made into tea to treat the liver, cleanse the blood, and clear skin conditions. The plant also acts as a gentle laxative to help with digestion and elimination.
Sassafras root can help reduce blood pressure by acting as a blood thinner.
The white part of the sumac root can help treat a toothache or canker sore.
Wild grapes have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties for the heart. They are also a great source of dietary fiber, providing a laxative effect. The juice is rich in Vitamin C, E, iron, and niacin.
During the Oct. 26th Wellness Wednesday, Wellness Initiatives Coordinator, Kori Deibert, and Director of Investigations and Compliance from Public Safety, Chris Berry, partnered to offer students safe drinking tips for the upcoming Halloween weekend. Students were asked a question related to alcohol and were also asked to pour what they thought was a standard drink of beer into a solo cup. The lines on a solo cup are indicative measurements of standard drink sizes for most liquors, wines, and beers. One standard drink is equivalent to 1 oz. – 1.5 oz. of hard liquor (depending on the proof), 5 oz. of wine, and 12 oz. of beer. Understanding that the size of the container is not an accurate way to measure a standard drink because there is so much variety in container sizes. A 16 oz beer can might appear to be a “single serving size” but contains 1.5 standard drinks.
As we head into the season of holidays and celebrations, remember these safe drinking tips:
· Avoid large-batch punches that may have a deceptively high alcohol content
· Never leave your drink unattended
· Be aware of sudden changes in the way your body feels
· Eat before and while drinking
· Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks, such as water
· Always use the buddy system. Make sure you leave with the same group you arrived with and never travel alone.
Each week, Student Wellness Services at La Salle hosts Wellness Wednesday, a weekly tabling program centered around the 8 points of wellness. These 8 dimensions of wellness contribute to our holistic wellbeing, which is key for students to succeed as a student and a person. Some of the previous Wellness Wednesdays held this semester included “Build Your Own Thriving Kit,” “Plant De-Stress,” and “Build a Bestie.” Build Your Own Thriving Kit focused on our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Students built and decorated a thriving kit for when things got tough throughout the semester. Plant De-Stress was all about environmental wellness and the importance of keeping our physical space clean and organized, as well as the benefits of adding plants to our physical space. Students who attended were able to plant and take home their own succulent plant. Build a Bestie was all about social wellness and attendees constructed a bestie based on the qualities that they found important in that relationship. These weekly programs offer students a chance to pause and reflect on their personal wellness, take a break from the day’s workload, and connect with their PEERS. Wellness Wednesday happens every Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. either on the Union Patio or Union Lobby, weather dependent.
PEERS are Peer Health Educators who promote health and wellbeing in our campus community by hosting fun workshops and events, such as Wellness Wednesdays, design engaging health resources, and craft social media content. For students who have a passion for health and wellness and are looking for a way to make an impact on the La Salle community, email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to become a PEER Health Educator.
We, The La Salle Collegian, had the privilege to interview Dr. Samantha DeCaro, the director of clinical outreach and education for The Renfrew Center, the largest network of eating disorder treatment facilities in the U.S. DeCaro provided information surrounding eating disorders, what causes them, what promotes them and how to combat them.
While thought surrounding eating disorders only generally focuses on traditionally discussed such as: anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating, it is important to keep in mind that there are others that are not traditionally diagnosed. Psychiatrists and leading scientists are beginning to view eating disorders less as a specific condition but rather conditions functioning along a spectrum. As new patterns of behaviors emerge, leading psychologists are attempting to help people who engage in disordered behavior before it escalates to the point of traditionally diagnosed eating disorders. Examples of other disorders on the spectrum that are not traditionally discussed are: orthorexia, a disorder characterized by sacrificing daily calories and engaging in unhealthy behavior for the sake of “clean eating,” and drunkorexia, a disorder characterized by exhibiting behaviors that mirror those of traditional eating disorders under the influence of alcohol.
While there are no direct causes that lead to developing eating disorders, there are various issues that may indirectly lead to them, these include: diet culture, financial troubles, toxic environments, genetics, anxiety, depression, impulsive behavior, and PTSD. In addition to these, research suggests that exposure to social media is directly correlated to the development of eating disorders. In our interview DeCaro discussed that, “Research studies show that there are links between social media use and: body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, negative mood, poor sleep quality, disordered eating, eating concerns, low self esteem, and anxiety & depression.” In addition to this, new research studies show a connection to higher rates of body dissatisfaction with individuals who view body positive and “fitspo” accounts. DeCaro made a point to say people are better off simply avoiding accounts that discuss different types of diet culture for the sake of their mental health.
In addition to these issues being common on a college campus, the transition from adolescence to adulthood is the time period where most eating disorders emerge. For incoming students, the radical change in environment can exacerbate these issues leading to disordered eating or directly cause eating disorders. College diet culture also serves as a breeding ground for anxiety surrounding eating habits. As students enter college, student organizations ranging from campus athletics to Greek Life enforce diet culture. Incoming freshmen are also forced to grapple with eating habits as concepts like “the Freshman 15” make their way into general conversation.
DeCaro said that the best method for combating eating disorders is to establish a support system that can help guide students through their issues. Eating disorders thrive in isolation and through a support system people struggling are significantly more likely to improve and/or overcome them. Students struggling with these issues and who feel uncomfortable reaching out to people in their general surroundings should contact the La Salle Student Wellness Center and discuss their struggles with a mental health professional.
In addition to this article, Dr. DeCaro and the Renfrew Center has provided resources for those who may need help combating eating disorders or those interested in learning more about the topic.