Health Topics

We invite you to explore the following searchable list of health topics.

Alcohol, BAC and the body
  • Drink size
    • One standard drink is equal to a 12-ounce beer, 4-5 ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor
  • BAC
    • Blood alcohol concentration

Factors That Affect BAC

  • Consumption factors
    • Time, quantity and speed
  • Personal factors
    • Weight, gender, stomach contents, other drugs in body
  • Drink factors
    • Potency, temperature of drink, carbonation

Alcohol Removal

Reminder: The liver metabolizes one drink per hour, time is the only way to get sober.

How to be safer if you choose to drink
  • Alternate non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages
  • Decide ahead of time how much to drink
  • Keep track of the number of drinks consumed
  • Eat before or during drinking
  • Avoid drinking games
  • Avoid pre-gaming before you go to parties or events
  • Pace drinking to one or fewer per hour
  • Have a friend let you know when you’ve had enough
  • Use a sober designated driver
  • Avoid mixing with energy and caffeine with alcohol
When out with friends

Encourage Friends

  • Alternate non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages or not drink
  • Skip alcohol if they had taken medication
  • Consume alcohol moderately
  • Avoid pre-gaming
  • Remove themselves from potentially problematic situations

Your Drink

  • Pour your own
  • Hold on to your drinks
  • If you leave it sitting somewhere, do not go back to it and drink out of it

Respect the right of those who choose not to drink alcohol

Group Mentality

  • Stay with the same group
  • Don’t leave a friend behind

If you feel uncomfortable:

  • Have a plan in place for how to get home
  • Use the buddy system
  • Trust your feelings

Helping a friend who’s drunk:

  • Remove them from the party environment
  • Stay calm when speaking with them
  • Keep them still
  • Keep them warm even if they feel warm
  • If laying down, have them turn their head to the side to prevent choking if they vomit
  • Sip water to stay hydrated
  • Monitor their breathing
  • Call for medical help if the person is unconscious and cannot be woken up
  • Don’t laugh, yell or provoke the person
  • Don’t physically restrain
  • Don’t force them to eat
  • Don’t let them drive a car, bike, scooter or other vehicles
  • Don’t try to sober them up
  • Don’t let them walk around if they’re impaired
  • Don’t leave them alone if they are unconscious
Alcohol intoxication and poisoning

Signs of Intoxication

  • Slurred speech
  • Clumsy/uncoordinated/staggering
  • Glassy or bloodshot eyes
  • Falling asleep/drowsy
  • Overly emotional – very angry, sad, happy, etc.
  • Speaking very loudly
  • Crude, inappropriate and/or irrational behavior
  • Lack of focus
  • Radical changes in behaviors
  • Signs of Alcohol Poisoning-seek medical attention
  • Confusion and stupor
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing rate
  • Irregular breathing
  • Blue-tinged or pale skin
  • Low body temperature
  • Unconscious and cannot be woken
Policies and laws

NIU Policies

  • Student Code of Conduct
    • Conduct violations and sanctions
    • Conduct procedures
  • On-campus social events policies
  • Off-campus social events policies
    • Chapter houses
    • Third-party locations


  • Must be 21 to purchase, possess and consume alcohol
  • It's illegal to use false identification
  • Age > 21 + BAC > 0.079 = DUI
  • Age < 21 + ANY alcohol = DUI
Consent and alcohol

Consent is Permission

  • Clear, informed and voluntary agreement
  • Is not silence or lack of resistance
  • Cannot be given if a person is unable to respond
  • Active and ongoing
  • Must be obtained for every action
  • Can be withdrawn at any time
  • Consent is Tea video
Exercise principles
What is cardiorespiratory exercise?
Ability of body to transport oxygen, how well muscles use oxygen, blood flow, works the heart
What is resistance exercise?
Strengthens muscles
What is flexibility?
Range of motion of joints, mobility or muscles
What is neuromotor exercise?
Functional fitness; balance, coordination, gait, agility
Exercise recommendations from ACSM

Cardiorespiratory Exercise

  • Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
  • Exercise recommendations can be met through 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20 to 60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).
  • One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise.
  • Gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity is recommended for best adherence and least injury risk.
  • People unable to meet these minimums can still benefit from some activity.

Resistance Exercise

  • Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
  • Very light or light intensity is best for older persons or previously sedentary adults starting exercise.
  • Two to four sets of each exercise will help adults improve strength and power.
  • For each exercise, eight to 12 repetitions improve strength and power, 10 to 15 repetitions improve strength in middle-age and older persons starting exercise and 15 to 20 repetitions improve muscular endurance.
  • Adults should wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions.

Flexibility Exercise

  • Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.
  • Each stretch should be held for 10 to 30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort.
  • Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch.
  • Static, dynamic, ballistic and PNF stretches are all effective.
  • Flexibility exercise is most effective when the muscle is warm. Try light aerobic activity or a hot bath to warm the muscles before stretching.

Neuromotor Exercise

  • Neuromotor exercise (sometimes called “functional fitness training”) is recommended for two or three days per week.
  • Exercises should involve motor skills (balance, agility, coordination and gait), proprioceptive exercise training and multifaceted activities (tai ji and yoga) to improve physical function and prevent falls in older adults.
  • 20 to 30 minutes per day is appropriate for neuromotor exercise.
Common fitness facts/myths – true or false

Your cardio machine is counting the calories you’re burning.

Heart rate monitors can falter depending on what kind of exercise you’re doing.

Your weight has little to do with fitness level.

You can spot reduce to tone muscles.

Importance of rest days
  • Muscle soreness is a result of microscopic tears
  • Muscles need at least 48 hours to rest and repair in order for the muscles to become stronger
  • Not allowing adequate rest days increases risk of injury
No pain ≠ no gain
  • Soreness after a workout does not equate with improvements
  • Soreness/pain should not be the purpose or target of training
  • Pain is your body’s way of telling you to decrease the training load
  • Fitness should make every day life easier, not harder

Weekly Fitness Plan Example

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Lower Body
Upper Body
Full Body
Other Balance Balance
Rest Day
Benefits to eating like a Healthy Huskie
  • Boosts your energy, concentration and productivity
  • Fights illness
  • Helps you feel good about what you're putting in your body and in turn, feel good about your body!
Helpful tips for eating healthy in the dining halls
  • Start with one plate. You can always get more if you’re still hungry!
  • Look for whole grains. The dining halls offer brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and whole-grain bread. They're an excellent source of fiber and nutrients to nourish your body.
  • Make half your plate vegetables and fruit. Visit the salad bar first!
  • Dressings and dips are full of flavor; a little goes a long way.
  • Be adventurous! Rather than the usual grill items and pizza, consider branching out and trying a new dish. The dining halls offer a variety of mixed dishes filled with vegetables, lean protein and whole grains.
  • The dining halls offer an assortment of desserts. In addition to your favorite baked goods, try yogurt topped with fruit or a whole-grain cereal to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Make water your go-to beverage. Opt for low-fat milk and 100 percent fruit juice instead of soft drinks.
Eating Healthy in your room

Keep food in your room for a quick breakfast or snack on the go. Try one of these:

  • Low-fat cheese, milk and yogurt
  • Fresh vegetables and fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • Oats and whole-grain cereal
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Hummus and salsa for a satisfying dip
  • Peanut, almond or other nut butter
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Think twice before late-night snacking. If you feel physically hungry, such as a growling stomach, go for it. But if you think your desire for food may be boredom or another emotion, consider an alternate, such as relaxing with your favorite show or calling a friend.
  • Consider a reusable plastic, glass or metal water bottle for refilling on campus.
  • The NIU bus system has routes that go to local grocery stores. Check out the HuskieLine website or download their app to see bus times and schedules.
  • MyDining nutrition and food allergy information for the dining halls.
  • Access online to see menu items along with nutrition information and ingredient lists before you go to the dining halls.
  • Look for icons on the line cards above each food to see common allergens and ingredients such as soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk, fish and shellfish.
Healthy Huskie options
  • Look for the red paw!
  • Any food that has this seal has been deemed a Healthy Huskie option.
  • These foods have been chosen by NIU’s registered dietitian nutritionist based on a set of nutrition guidelines that can be found on the MyDining website.

Based on the USDA MyPlate guidelines, MyPaw is the Huskie way to eat a well-balanced meal. The average college student needs this daily amount:

  • 2.5 cups of vegetables
  • 2 cups of fruit
  • 6 ounces of grain
  • 3 servings of dairy
  • 5-6 ounces of protein
Vegetarian/vegan dining
  • MyDining offers a variety of vegetarian (V) and vegan (Vg) meals
  • Look for the V and Vg Icons on food labels to help you navigate the halls
  • If you have a medically-based alternate dietary need, please contact Campus Dining Services to disclose your diet and discuss possible accommodations.
  • Pay special attention to the information on MyDining to know what common allergens are in each food.
  • If you have a life-threatening allergy, be sure to carry an epinephrine injector and know how to use it.
What is a relationship?

A connection between people.

Who do we have relationships with?
  • Significant others
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Co-workers
  • Bosses/supervisors
  • Roommates
  • Professors/instructors
  • Classmates
How do relationships differ?


  • Formal and informal
  • Text, email, Snapchat, phone call, mail

Language and topics

  • Formal vs. informal
  • Slang or vulgar
  • Personal or guarded


  • Takes time to develop
  • Influences all other aspects of the relationship


  • Directly related to trust
  • Impact or consequence of honesty


  • More trust and honesty, more closeness
  • Family, significant others
  • Professionalism and boundaries
Signs of an unhealthy relationship

Lack of Respect

  • Personal property is not respected
  • Lack of trust
  • Friends are not respected

Mood Swings

  • Emotional highs and lows are normal
  • Can be a red flag


  • Controlling what the person is wearing
  • Controlling who they are talking to or hanging out with
  • Insisting they are not spending enough time with them
  • Lack of independence


  • Physical
  • Emotional/mental/verbal
  • Financial
  • Sexual
Cycle of violence


  • Very affectionate
  • Love being with each other

Tension Building

  • Tension builds
  • Uncertainty
  • Walking on eggshells


  • Small or big
  • Usually explosive
  • Hitting, pushing, punching, kicking, slapping, throwing things

Make Up

  • “I’m sorry”
  • Excuses
  • Reminders of what a great person they are


  • No tension
  • Positive interactions

Progression of the Cycle

  • Less time between incidents
  • Incidents get bigger
  • Average of seven attempts before successfully leaving a partner
Signs of healthy relationships
  • Respect
  • Encourage independence
  • Expressed feelings
  • No abuse
  • Privacy respected
  • Communication
Safer sex
  • Safer sex means practicing one or more behaviors that will reduce your risk of experiencing a negative consequence (contracting an STI or becoming pregnant) from sexual activities.
  • The term "safer sex" is used instead of "safe sex" since every sexual contact involves some form of risk -- there is a continuum of risk from very low to extremely high.

Some Safer Sex Options

  • Use a condom (female or male), a dental dam and use lubricant on the condoms
  • Choosing not to have sex is a safer sex option
  • If you choose to have sex, it is important for you to communicate with your partner about getting tested for STIs

Safer Sex at NIU

  • Most NIU students protect themselves from STIs or unintended pregnancies by either practicing safer sex behaviors or by not engaging in sexual contact that places them at risk.
  • Safer sex supplies are provided at no additional cost to NIU students through NIU Health Services

External Condoms (Male Condoms)

A single-use sheath of thin latex or other material designed to fit over an erect penis and to catch semen upon ejaculation to prevent pregnancy and/or STIs.

  • Majority of condoms manufactured and used in the U.S.
  • Widest selection of brands and types and least expensive
  • Most well-researched and regulated type of condom
  • Latex condoms can only be used with water- or silicone-based lubricants (no oil, petroleum jelly or lotion)
  • Some people are allergic to latex and may consider using polyurethane condoms instead.
  • Made from a synthetic material similar to plastic
  • Not as elastic as latex (kind of like a thin sandwich bag), and wider than the average sized condom, they can also be used with water- or silicone-based lubricants
  • The female condom is made from polyurethane as well, and is also available where condoms are sold
  • Manufactured as one-size-fits-all
  • Standard sizes and the tightness of the elastic rings, however, vary by manufacturer
  • Some condoms are "snugger fit," while others are "larger sized." A snug yet comfortable fit decreases the chances that a condom will slip off during intercourse.
  • Brands list descriptive terms, such as "ultra-thin," "sensitive," "high sensation" or "extra strength"
  • Some people prefer thinner condoms that allow for more sensation
  • Others prefer thicker condoms to feel more secure (although studies have shown that "ultrathin" condoms are just as effective as regular condoms)
  • Other choices include "ribbed" or "studded" condoms, which are designed to give one or both partners' increased pleasure
Steps to Using an External Condom
  1. Get consent
  2. Check expiration date
  3. Check packaging
  4. Tear open carefully
  5. Add a drop of lube inside the tip
  6. Pinch tip of Condom
  7. Roll down to the base of the penis or object
  8. “Burp” the condom
  9. Add lube to the outside of the condom
  10. Action
  11. Hold base of condom while pulling out
  12. Remove and throw away

Internal Condoms (Female Condoms)

An alternative to regular condoms that is inserted in your vagina for pregnancy prevention or into the vagina or anus for protection from STIs.


Good news for people who have latex allergies or sensitivities: Female condoms are made from a soft plastic material called nitrile. They’re totally hypoallergenic and won’t irritate sensitive genital skin.

Steps to Using an Internal Condom
  1. Get consent
  2. Check expiration date
  3. Check packaging
  4. Tear open carefully
  5. Add lube if desired
  6. Relax and get into a comfortable position. Standing with one foot on a chair, lying down or squatting are common faves — kind of like how you’d put in a tampon
  7. Squeeze together the sides of the inner ring at the closed end of the condom and slide it into your vagina like a tampon
  8. Push the inner ring into your vagina as far as it can go, up to your cervix. Make sure it’s not twisted
  9. Pull out your finger and let the outer ring hang about an inch outside the body. You’re good to go!
  10. Or to use the female condom for anal sex, remove the inner ring and insert the condom into your anus with your finger, leaving the outer ring hanging out.
  11. Now guide your partner’s penis into the opening of the condom, making sure it doesn’t slip to the side between the condom and your vaginal or anal walls
How to Remove a Female Condom
  • After sex, twist the outer ring (the part that’s hanging out) to keep semen (cum) inside the pouch
  • Gently pull it out of your vagina or anus, being careful not to spill any semen
  • Throw it away in the trash (never flush any kind of condom, because it can clog your toilet)
  • Female condoms are not reusable — use a new one every time you have sex
  • It’s totally normal for the female condom to move around a little bit during sex, but the penis should be completely surrounded by the condom at all times.
  • Stop if the penis slips out of the condom into your vagina, or if the outer ring gets pushed into your vagina. If your partner didn’t ejaculate (cum) yet, gently remove the condom and put it back in place.
  • If your partner did ejaculate outside the female condom near your vulva or into your vagina — and you’re not using another method of birth control — you can still prevent pregnancy with emergency contraception (the morning-after pill). Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy up to five days after unprotected sex.
  • One of the coolest things about the female condom is you can put it in ahead of time, before foreplay and sex, so you don’t have to interrupt the action when it’s time to get busy. Your partner can even get in on the fun and insert the condom for you.
Other barrier methods

Dental Dams

Thin piece of latex used for oral to vaginal or oral to anal sex. These can also be made out of an external (male) condom.

  • Diaphragm and cervical cap
  • Block sperm from getting past the cervix
  • Can be used more than once as long as they are cleaned
  • These only protect against pregnancy
Hormonal birth control

Pill, Patch, Shot, IUD, Ring or Implant

  • These types of contraception protect against pregnancy only
  • Speak to your doctor to find a method that works best for you

Sexual Abstinence

Deliberately avoids intercourse. This definition allows forms of sexual intimacy such as:

  • Massage
  • Kissing
  • Solitary masturbation
  • This choice is usually made for a specific reason. The reason may be moral, religious, legal or for health and safety.

Abstinence is the only method of avoiding pregnancy that is 100 percent effective.


  • Beyond massage and kissing
  • Oral – genital sex
  • Mutual masturbation
  • Like abstinence, outercourse can be 100 percent effective for birth control
  • Unlike abstinence, outercourse is not 100 percent effective against STIs
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)


  • Transmission
    • Semen, vaginal fluids and cervical secretions
  • Symptoms
    • Most people have no symptoms
    • Penis
      • Discharge and burning when urinating, especially during that first trip to the bathroom in the morning
    • Vagina
      • Itching, vaginal discharge, burning during urination and discharge around the cervix
  • Treatment
    • Can be detected in a urine test. Curable and treated with antibiotics.

HPV/Genital Warts

  • Transmission
    • Skin-to-skin contact
  • Symptoms
    • Many people will have no symptoms. The growth of warts on/in the genital area.
  • Treatment
    • Can be detected in vaginas during a pap smear. There is no test for HPV for people with penises.
    • No treatment for HPV
  • Risk
    • Can cause cervical and other cancers including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis or anus. It can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils
      • Often takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types of HPV that can cause cancers.
      • No way to know which people who have HPV will develop cancer or other health problems. People with weak immune systems (including individuals with HIV/AIDS) may be less able to fight off HPV and more likely to develop health problems from it.

Herpes (Two Types – Oral and Genital)

  • Transmission
    • Vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the disease
    • Oral
      • Skin-to-skin, using the same utensils, straw, lip gloss, etc. with infected person. Can be spread to genitals and eyes.
    • Genital
      • Genital to genital, genital to anal, genital to oral. Sores do not have to be present to be passed on.
  • Symptoms
    • Oral
      • Small, pimple-like sores that form on the lips or around the mouth
    • Genital
      • Sores in the vaginal or anal area, or on and around the penis. Break outs will happen from time to time after initial infection.
    • Treatment
      • Blood tests are used to diagnose genital herpes (two types of viruses, herpes simplex type 1 and herpes simplex type 2)
      • There is currently no cure for herpes (affects over 45 million Americans aged 12 and older)
      • There are medications available to help with outbreaks, and to decrease the chances of transmission

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

  • Transmission
    • Blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk
  • Symptoms
    • When first infected with HIV symptoms can include - swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, fatigue, malaise, joint pain and/or a rash. Similar symptoms to the flu that will last up to a month. This will be followed by a time where people will typically experience no symptoms for varying length of time.
  • Treatment
    • HIV can be diagnosed only through testing (oral or blood)
    • AIDS must be diagnosed by a health care professional
    • There is no cure at this time, however there are medications that can be used to increase quality of life and slow down the progression from HIV to AIDS

Pubic Lice/Crabs

  • Transmission
    • Sexual contact or contact with infected bedding and clothing
  • Symptoms
    • Itchy bites; you may also be able to see them (parasitic insect)
  • Treatment
    • Shampooing infected areas with shampoo made for this very purpose (available over-the-counter at drug stores). Following directions on the packaging.
    • Washing clothes and bedding in a hot water cycle for 20 minutes. You may want to repeat this about a week later to kill off any that may have hatched since the first washing.


  • Transmission
    • Usually by sexual contact, though the “trich” organism can be spread by toilet seats, wet towels or other items that have discharged fluids on them. Caused by infection with a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis
  • Symptoms
    • Most people have no symptoms, but when it does cause symptoms, it ranges from mild irritation to severe inflammation often within the first five to 28 days after being infected, some much later (symptoms can come and go)
    • Penises
      • Usually none, but possibly irritation inside penis, mild discharge, burning during urination
    • Vaginas
      • Can include foamy, yellowish, unpleasant-smelling discharge and burning, itching, etc.
  • Treatment
    • Oral metronidazole (antibiotic and antiprotozoal medication)
      • Usually given to both sexual partners to avoid the repeated cross-infection typical of STIs
    • Trichomoniasis is considered the most common curable STI. In the United States, an estimated 3.7 million people have the infection, but only about 30 percent develop any symptoms of trichomoniasis.


  • Transmission
    • Sexual contact including oral, vaginal and anal
  • Symptoms
    • Often people will have no symptoms
    • Penises
      • Yellowish discharge from the penis and painful urination or going more frequently
    • Vaginas
      • Inflammation of the cervix, cloudy vaginal discharge, abnormal menstruation, painful urination and/or lower abdominal discomfort
  • Treatment
    • Can be diagnosed by a physician doing a urine test, smear and growing a culture
    • Treated with antibiotics

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

  • Transmission
    • Untreated STI
  • Symptoms
    • Lower abdominal pain, fever, unusual vaginal discharge, painful intercourse, painful urination and irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Complications
    • Infertility, ectopic pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain, recurrent upper genital infections
  • Treatment
    • Treatment of STIs
      • Not actually an STI, but a term used to describe a number of infections of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries
      • Often results from chlamydia or gonorrheal infections that have spread to the fallopian tubes or ovaries
      • Serious infection that scars the fallopian tubes and blocks sperm migration

STI Prevention Overview

  • No sexual contact is the surest way to protect yourself against infection
  • Exposure to an STI does not automatically mean you will be infected
  • If you believe you may have been exposed, seek testing from a health care provider
  • Some infections can be transmitted via other contact such as mutual masturbation; oral-genital, genital-genital or anal-genital contact
  • Condoms provide excellent, although not perfect, protection from STIs if used correctly and consistently. External condoms, internal condoms, and dental dams all provide protection and are available at Health Services on campus.
  • Condoms can be made into effective latex barriers for oral-genital or oral-anal contact by cutting a condom lengthwise and stretching it over the desired area
What is stress?
The experience of a perceived threat (real or imagined) to one’s well-being, resulting from a series of physiological responses and adaptations
The mental and physical response of our bodies to the changes and challenges in our lives
A physical, social or psychological event or condition that we perceive challenges or threatens us and produces a stress response
The wear and tear sustained by the body and mind in adjusting to or resisting a stressor
The act of managing events or conditions to lessen the physical or psychological effects of excess stress
Stress that can have a detrimental effect on health; negative stress
Stress that presents opportunities for new growth; positive stress
How does the body respond to stress?

Alarm Phase

  • Stress hormones flow, body prepares to do battle

Resistance Phase

  • Similar to alarm in that the same organs and systems are mobilized, but at a less intense level
  • The body tries to return to homeostasis, but because a stressor still exists, it does not achieve complete rest and ends up working overtime

Exhaustion Phase

  • The physical and emotional energy used to fight a stressor has been depleted
  • Over time, without relief, cortisol can reduce the ability of the immune system to respond to various attacks
What are the risks?

Short Term

  • Release of cortisol and adrenaline (epinephrine)
  • Feeling of anxiety and nervousness
  • Sweating
  • Heart rate increase
  • Increased appetite

Long Term, if not Managed

  • Weight gain
  • Decreased stomach acids
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Upset stomach
  • Chest pain

Physical Symptoms of Stress

  • Tension headaches, migraine, dizziness
  • Oily skin, skin blemishes, skin rashes, blushing
  • Backache, neck stiffness, muscle cramps, fatigue
  • Tightness in chest, hyperventilation, heart pounding
  • Stomachache, acid stomach, nausea, indigestion
  • Diarrhea, gassiness, constipation
  • Cold hands, sweaty hands and feet, hand tremor

Ailments Related to Chronic Stress

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Headaches
  • Ulcers
  • Low back pain
  • Depression
  • Common cold

Emotional and Social Health Risks

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Economic hardship
  • Suicide/suicidal thoughts
  • Insomnia
What stresses you out?

Sources of Stress

  • Change
  • Hassles
  • Pressure
  • Inconsistent goals and behaviors
  • Conflict
  • Overload
  • Burnout
  • Technostress
How do we cope and reduce stress?


  • The way you think about things can make all the difference in how you react to events
  • Change the way you think in order to reduce stress.

Healthy Eating

  • Good nutrition and healthy eating habits can help you through stressful times
  • 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 do 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

  • Yoga
  • Qigong
  • Tai chi
  • Meditation
  • Diaphragmatic or deep breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Visualization
  • Hypnosis
  • Massage therapy
  • Biofeedback


  • Consistent sleep is crucial for a healthy life
  • We all need varying amounts of sleep, if we don't 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

Time Management

  • Learning how to be a good time manager is a skill that you can use throughout your life
  • Managing time can make work, play and studying more manageable, more productive and less stressful
  • Learn about the abc’s 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


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

Money Management

  • Learn tips on money management and credit card use


  • 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

Managing Stress

  • Music
  • Exercise
  • Healthy snacks
  • Meditation
  • Hanging with friends
  • Video games/TV
  • Massage
  • Eliminate stressors
  • Breathe
  • Read for fun
  • Take a break
  • Warm shower/bath
  • Get good sleep
  • Manage time wisely
  • Laugh


The ability to be fully present in the moment. Basically, giving your full attention to what you are doing. Can aid in:

  • Relaxation
  • Reducing emotional and physical pain
  • Connecting more effectively with ourselves, with others, and with nature

Make a Plan

  • Identify the stressors in your life
  • What techniques do you currently use to manage stress?
  • What techniques could you use to manage stress?
  • How will you go about adding these to your life?
Why do we sleep?

Biological Purposes of Sleep

  • Conservation of energy so that we're rested and ready to perform during high-performance daylight hours
  • Restoration so that neurotransmitters that have been depleted during waking hours can be replenished (restores body functions and strengthens immune system)
  • Sleep clears the brain of daily minutiae to prepare for the new day.
  • Getting enough sleep to feel ready to meet daily challenges is a key factor in physical and psychosocial health.
  • Sleep helps you remember what you've learned.
How much sleep do we need?

People aged 18 to 25 need about seven to nine hours of sleep per night to feel well-rested and for their bodies to function properly.

If people consistently fail to get adequate sleep, it's likely that they'll have:

  • Performance problems in school
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Difficulty controlling emotions

The need for sleep is:

  • Genetically based and differs for each species
  • Controlled by circadian rhythms (light-dependent 24-hour cycle that regulates body and mind)
Factors that can affect the quality of your sleep:
  • Caffeine
    • Try to limit your intake and don’t have any within four hours of going to bed
  • Alcohol
    • Avoid late in the evening (can cause you to wake up during the night)
  • Exercise
    • During the day is good, but avoid within four hours of going to bed
  • Heavy food
    • This can cause sleep disruption when eaten too close to bedtime
  • Stimuli
    • Keep the bedroom cool, quiet and dark, as best you can
  • Anxiety
    • If you tend to have a lot of worries pile up at the end of the day, try writing them down and mentally “releasing yourself” of them before going to sleep
  • Difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Common complaint among 20 to 40 percent of Americans
  • More common in women
  • Prevalence is correlated with age and low SES
  • If you experience insomnia regularly consult a doctor
Sleep debt myths (from GatorWell at the University of Florida)

If I can’t sleep, I’ll just go to the doctor and take sleep medicine.

Nope! Study after study has shown that changing sleep habits is more effective at improving sleep than taking sleeping pills. Also, once you start taking pills, it's hard to sleep without them, and there can be serious side effects.

I can stay up all night and do fine on a test the next day.

Not true! It's a proven fact that people who sleep do much better on tests than those who stay up all night cramming, even though the people who stay up all night think they do better.

If I stay up all night, I can just sleep later the next day to make up for it.

Wrong! You cannot make up for lost sleep. Sleeping in just throws off your sleep schedule even more and makes it harder to get to sleep at a normal time the next night

It doesn’t matter what time of day I sleep, as long as I get eight hours of sleep.

Not true! Changing your sleep schedule is as bad as not getting enough sleep. It’s just as important to sleep at the same time every night as it's to sleep for a full eight hours.

If I have trouble sleeping, I should stay in bed longer and try to ‘force’ myself to sleep.

No! This will just make you frustrated and turn your bed into a source of stress and anxiety, making it even harder to fall asleep.
What about naps?

Benefits of Naps

  • Relaxation
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased alertness
  • Improved mood
  • Improved performance
  • Quicker reaction time and better memory

Drawbacks of Naps

  • Sleep inertia
    • You might feel groggy and disoriented after waking up from a nap, especially if it lasts longer than the recommended 20 to 30 minutes
  • Nighttime sleep problems
    • Long naps might interfere with length and quality of nighttime sleep; if you experience insomnia or poor sleep quality at night, napping might worsen these problems

Best Way to Take a Nap

  • Short
    • Naps should be 10 to 30 minutes long. If they're longer you're more likely to feel groggy afterward
  • Afternoon
    • Best time is midafternoon at about 2 or 3 p.m. Naps during this time are less likely to interfere with your nighttime sleep
  • Environment
    • Should be restful, quiet, dark, with a comfortable room temperature and few distractions
Create a sleep plan
  • Increase the number of days of restful sleep in a week
    • Maintain regular rise and bed times every night if possible, including weekends
    • Restrict caffeine late in the day (four to six hours before bedtime) and avoid nicotine especially in the evening. These stimulants make it more difficult to relax into sleep
    • Create your own sleep rituals - listen to calming music, brush your teeth, read a book, write in a journal - to signal your body and mind that it is time to sleep
  • Decrease problem sleepiness during daytime hours
    • Exercise regularly to tire your body, but be aware that exercising within two hours of bedtime may make it harder to fall asleep when you want to
    • If you can't sleep, get up - don't lay in bed more than 20 minutes without falling asleep. Do something relaxing until you feel sleepy, then go back to bed
  • Decrease frequency of negative sleep behaviors
    • Limit use of alcohol because it disrupts sleep. Also be aware that alcohol can magnify the effects of sleep-deprivation
    • Make your sleep environment as conducive to sleep as possible: address light, temperature, noise, roommate behaviors, etc.
  • Decrease interference with academic performance from inadequate sleep
    • Make time for adequate rest before essay exams. While your memory skills may be relatively unimpaired (e.g., for a multiple choice test), losing a night's sleep can decrease processing and analyzing skills.
    • If you have to pull an all-nighter, go to bed early the next night rather than napping during the day.
    • While short daytime naps can be refreshing, longer naps can upset your internal clock. If you do nap during the day, limit it to less than 30 minutes