Category Archives: Health & Wellness

Managing Anxiety in Times of Change: An Interview With Sinclair Ceasar

Sinclair Ceasar is a mental health speaker and educator whose mission is “to end mental stigma by helping people share their stories, explore their brokenness, and seek healing resources.” On Wednesday February 17, 2021, Sinclair spoke with the University Housing & Conference Services staff during a virtual staff development meeting about how to manage anxiety in times of change. During his presentation, he shared coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety and advice on how to stay grounded.

About Sinclair: He has led content-rich workshops and programs at institutions and non-profit organizations around the country. He has years of professional experience as a higher education administrator, including within residential life, academic advising, and first year experience programming. He has been featured in the London Times, Essence Magazine, HuffPost, and Buzzfeed, and has partnered with global wellness brands like The Mighty and Shine Text.

The interview:

Q: Can you talk about “box breathing” and why it’s important?

Sinclair (S): Box breathing is a centering activity that can be used to manage stress and anxiety. Essentially, you inhale for three seconds, hold for four seconds, and exhale for five seconds – or do any variation of these numbers (1-2-3; 5-6-7; etc.). I’ve found it to be beneficial because focusing on my breath so intently takes my mind off my worries and pulls me from the panic spiral I might currently be experiencing. It’s a useful technique especially during times where the ground seems to constantly be shifting beneath us. Another helpful practice is to notice five objects in your current space whenever you’re feeling anxious. Similarly, this can help bring you to present time and feel much more relaxed.

Q: What is a “when/then habit” and how can people maintain one?

S: So this is adapted from the teachings of James Clear, who recently wrote the bestselling book, Atomic Habits. Essentially, you identify the habit you’d like to build, and you integrate it with unconscious habits you do each day. Say you pick up your phone when you wake up in the morning (unconscious habit), and you want to increase your water intake each day (habit goal). Then you’d practice drinking 10 oz. (measurable goal) of water when (time) you awake (action) in morning, then (reaction) you’re able to go on your phone (reward). To keep track of this, I recommend printing out a calendar, and crossing off each day you accomplish this goal. Try not to miss two days in a row.

Q: Why should people celebrate their small wins?

S: Because, we’re naturally inclined to focus on scarcity, deficits, failure, and danger. Taking a few minutes each week to identify how we’ve won (e.g. I woke up today; I tried my best on this test; I supported a friend even though I was exhausted) can boost our energy, pull us out of a rut, and remind us of hope.

Q: Do you have advice for people who are struggling to stay positive during difficult times?

S: Listen, it’s okay to not be okay. Sometimes, just getting to the next right thing, the next breath, is the best you can do. And, you know what, that’s more than enough. You will get through this.

Learn more about Sinclair and his message:

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Lydia Shaloka is a senior Business Administration major with a concentration in Marketing at Millersville University. Her interests include digital marketing, content marketing, and social media marketing.  When she graduates in May 2021, Lydia hopes to work for a digital marketing agency either in or near her hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 

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How to Handle Stress

Stress is totally normal – and it totally stinks. Whether your stressed about a job, schoolwork, personal relationships, or pretty much anything else, it can be hard to cope with. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can manage your stress and stop it from controlling your life. Keep reading to find out what they are and how you can use them to start feeling better:

1. Talk to someone

Source: http://gph.is/1E2gEVj

Reaching out to people who care is one of the best things you can do when you’re feeling overwhelmed. You’re not alone – stress affects everyone in some way, and it really helps to get things off your chest. If you feel like there’s no one you can reach out to, Millersville’s Counseling Center is open for the summer and you can schedule a teletheraphy appointment either through Zoom (preferred) or over the phone. Call 717-871-7821 to schedule an appointment.

2. Look at the positives

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Is the glass half full or half empty? That depends on how you look at it! If you send all of your time focusing on the negatives, you’ll never be happy and it’ll be much more challenging to de-stress. When you’re faced with something that stresses you out, try to think: “What are the positives of this situation?” “Are the negatives really as bad as I’m making them out to be?” You may not be able to make the situation better, but you can improve how you respond to it.

3. Practice relaxation techniques

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Close your eyes, imagine yourself in a calm environment, relax your muscles, and take a few deep breaths. Try to clear your mind by focusing on your breathing rather than whatever is stressing you out. You may feel like just closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths won’t help anything, but it really does!

4. Take time to yourself away from stressors

Source: http://gph.is/1X5vRNX

What are some things that help you relax? For me, I love cooking/baking and watching my favorite shows on Netflix. Whatever it is you like to spend time doing, take a bit of time out of your day when you’re feeling overwhelmed to enjoy that activity. Whether it’s for ten minutes or two hours, take however long you need to regroup and relax your mind.

5. Accept that there are things you can’t control

Source: http://gph.is/1sF95B4

As much as we’d like to be able to control all aspects of our lives, we can’t. There are things like the COVID-19 pandemic that happen and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Stressing out about the things you can’t control won’t help anything. There’s nothing you can do to change the situation, so it’s important to recognize that, realize it’s okay, and do what you can to make the things you can control better for yourself.

6. Take care of your health

Source: http://gph.is/2n0kdZJ

Making sure you’re physically healthy can help improve your mental health. Eating healthy and exercising can help you relax and manage stress. I like going on walks after a long day to unwind and decompress, and I think it really helps me feel better after I’ve had a stressful day!

Stress is extremely common, but manageable. Don’t let it control your life.  Practice the techniques above or let us know what techniques you use to cope with stress in the comments! Remember, tough times don’t last forever, and you’re not alone!

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10 Rules For Living Your Best Marauder Life

Are you truly living your best life? If that’s a question you have to think about, or if the answer to it is “No”, don’t worry, we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn our 10 rules for living your very best marauder life:

1. Leave the past in the past: It can be hard not to dwell on the past, but it’s so much better for you when you don’t. You can’t change the past; the only thing you can control is the present and your future. Accepting what has happened and being hopeful about what will happen will help you move on and enjoy every moment of your life.

Source: https://giphy.com/gifs/1n4JO2Nz6DVpaJCP3w

2. Help others: One of the EPPIIC values that members of the Millersville University community live by is compassion. Being compassionate and helping others is a great way to give back and find happiness. Click here to learn about some volunteer opportunities you can take advantage of right now.

3. Remember what you’re working towards: Keep in mind that everything you’re doing has a purpose. Even if you can’t see the benefits of your actions now, they’ll pay off in time. Continue to work hard and set goals for yourself – the results of your work will be worth it!

Source: https://gph.is/28ZV1ch

4. Love yourself: Life is hectic and stressful. Show yourself some love and give yourself a pat on the back for how you handle all of life’s craziness. Be proud of who you are. Remember to also take time to yourself and do things that make you happy. Click here to read our blog post that includes self care tips that will help you show your mind and body some love.

5. Live your values: Like I mentioned before, Millersville University’s core values are EPPIIC. EPPIIC stands for exploration, professionalism, public mission, inclusion, integrity, and compassion. Marauders should strive to be EPPIIC whenever and however they can, while also reinforcing their own personal values. Click here to read more about EPPIIC values at Millersville.

Continue reading 10 Rules For Living Your Best Marauder Life

Self Care Tips

It’s so important that we take care of our bodies and our minds in order to stay healthy and happy. Make sure to make time for self care in your daily routine. Even little things like taking a walk or listening to your favorite music can have a positive impact. It can be easy to forget to take good care of ourselves when there’s so much going on around us, so here are some tips to remind you of how and why you should look after yourself:

1. Get Organized


Source: https://cartl.tumblr.com/post/52858406827

I’ve noticed that when my room is cluttered, my mind is cluttered too. Having a clean and organized living space makes it easier to focus. When I’m finished cleaning, I always feel accomplished and like I have one less thing to worry about. It can be hard to get the motivation to organize your stuff but once you do, you’ll thank yourself for it! Check here to check out an article that shares 100 organization tips.

2. Meditate

Source: https://gph.is/g/4oydmO0

Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. Meditation is a great way to help you relax and reflect. It’s a nice pause from everything going on around you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or just want to spend some time to yourself, meditating is a great way to clear your mind and be calm. There are plenty of YouTube videos, articles, and apps that help you learn how to properly meditate, like this article or this website that also has a free app you can download.

3. Take Time for Yourself

Source: https://tenor.com/view/amy-adams-party-alone-myself-solo-gif-9401802

Even if you have a super busy schedule, it’s so important to take time (even if it’s just a few minutes) to do something that makes you happy. Whether it’s online shopping, drawing, playing a game, calling a friend, or listening to your favorite song, just schedule time in your day to spend doing what you enjoy. You’re never too busy to show yourself some love! Click here to read an article on Oprah.com about how and why you should prioritize spending time with yourself. 

4. Stay Healthy

Source: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=354975365104205

Getting a good night’s sleep each night, eating right, and exercising are all good ways to take care of yourself and your body. Sometimes, it can be hard to get the motivation to workout, eat healthy foods, and not stay up until 3am watching Tik Toks, and that’s okay! You don’t have to be a gym rat or vegetarian to practice self care, but staying healthy in a way that is sustainable and makes you happy is really beneficial. Click here to learn some simple ways to improve your health and happiness. 

5. Don’t Pressure Yourself to be Great

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I’ve seen a lot of posts, articles, and videos about people using the extra free time they have because of quarantine to lose weight, develop a new skill, etc. Don’t feel pressured to use this time to be more productive than usual. It’s okay to take this time to relax without making a major change. As long as you’re doing what makes you happy, there’s nothing else you need to do. 

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The Importance of Sleep

As college students, we tend to suffer from lack of sleep. Whether it is because we don’t go to bed until 2 am or we have a lot of homework that needs to be done, we end up staying up late or getting up really early. Is it healthy to live like this? The answer is no, it is not good for us. Here are some of the pros of getting a good night’s sleep:

Better productivity and concentration throughout the day.

By getting a good night’s sleep we wake up refreshed and ready for the day. This helps us feel like we can get things done, unlike when we are tired. Also your concentration during class is enhanced since you are not falling asleep.

Better calorie intake.

Believe it or not, by getting a good night’s sleep a person will consume less calories during their day. In fact according to this study sleep loss can effect your weight loss entirely.

Sleep can boost your immunity.

By not getting the 8 hours of sleep recommended you disrupt the sleep cycle. This can take away the time your body needs to build up your immune system, making you more susceptible to sickness.

Can help your mental wellness.

Getting a full night’s rest we are ready to face the day. When we don’t get the sleep we need we tend to be moody and easily irritated. By getting the 8 hours of sleep we can help our mental health.

So that leaves the question: How do you catch up on the sleep you lost?

The only way to catch up is to get more sleep. It won’t happen with one day of going to bed earlier or waking up later. It takes time to regain a proper sleep schedule.

For more information about sleep check out:

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency

Things to do While Social Distancing

By now most people are starting to run out of things to do. It is hard to be home all the time and not allowed to go or do anything with anyone. Even those who usually like to stay home are finding it hard to handle, but there are things to help with being confined to home.

Streaming movies and TV shows can be a good starting point. Maybe binge watch that TV show you have been wanting to see that you never had the time for. One show that I am re-watching is The Office on Netflix.

Playing game consoles can be a great way to pass the time. You can even connect with friends while still adhering to the social distancing. There are games you can play online or through game counsels that can help you stay in contact with your friends.

Keeping up with your school work isn’t as hard as it was and can help pass the time. I finished a paper and was able to look over it and get a second opinion on it before turning it in. I have been able to excel on my discussion posts for different classes because of the extra time I have. Take this time to improve upon your grades.

Spring cleaning is another great way to pass the time. Personally I have taken the time to go through my room and get rid of the things that I don’t want. Even working in your garden can be fun and help you get some fresh air.

Finally, spend some time with your family. This is the perfect time to have a meal together because most, if not all, of your family members are around. Try having a family game or movie night. My family has done both since the social distancing started. It has been nice to spend time with them.

This has been a hard time for everyone, but it is important to make the most of it. Try spending some time outside on nice days instead of staying inside all the time. Take time to call your friends up and see how they are doing. Just because you can’t be with them doesn’t mean that you can’t still talk to them. No one could have predicted this, but it is up to us how we want to live through it.

Stay Healthy Everyone.

All photos are courtesy of Canva.

Tips on Surviving Social Distancing

It is getting harder for people to continue with social distancing. Having to stay away from those who do not live in your home can be difficult, especially since people need to interact with others. I know that I am starting to go a little stir crazy being stuck inside all the time. So the question remains, how can a person survive being away from others for so long? Here are some tips on how to survive social distancing:

Keep in touch with those you aren’t able to see everyday.

With what is happening now, technology is a great tool to have. Most people have a cell phone or access to a laptop, so use it to keep in touch with your friends and family. It may not be the same as being with them, but at least you can still stay in contact with them. This will help with the isolation and loneliness that comes from being away from them.

Go outside at least once a day.

Getting some fresh air can help your mental health. Go for a walk or play a game outside. You could even do your homework outside. Whatever you do, try to get outside as much as possible.

Exercise Daily.

Finding ways to exercise can help your mental health as well. Try finding a routine you can follow and sticking to it. Going for a run, biking, or yoga are some great forms of exercising. Since you can do these outside, you are able to get fresh air and stay fit.

Find a hobby.

If you already have a hobby, great! If not, find something you typically don’t have time for. I love doing arts and crafts. I may not be the best at it, but I find them fun and soothing. Since I have been home I have had more time to do more of what I like.

Help someone in need.

In times like these it is important to remember our EPPIIC Values and who we want to be as a person. If you have an elderly neighbor or someone who is unable to get out for groceries, maybe you can offer some sort of assistance. It is important not to lose sight of who we are during these difficult times.

It is imperative for us to stay close as a community while also adhering to the social distancing rules. Just because we can’t be with our community does not mean we have to give up our humanity. We need to be united now more than ever before.

Stay Healthy Everyone.

Finding the Motivation to Finish Strong

After spring break it is hard to find the motivation to do anything. It is even harder now that all courses have moved online. The semester feels like it will never end and it is hard not feeling drained. It is important, however, to keep working hard towards your goals. Here are some ways in which to stay motivated for the rest of the semester.

Remember what you are working for.

It is safe to say, that if you are in college then you desire to learn and grow into the person you want to be. Remember that in order to learn you need to do the work and show up for the Zoom meetings that your professors may have set up. It may be hard, but it will be worth it in the end.

It’s okay to change your mind.

Sometimes you need to change your goal or the steps to achieving that goal. It is okay to change your mind as long as you don’t give up entirely. I have changed my major multiple times as well as what I want to do after I graduate.

Change your HOW.

Instead of just trying to get your work done, turn your mindset into doing the task right. Instead of waiting till the last minute to do a paper or project start them early. This will help ensure you are doing them right and will cause you less stress.

Remember the feeling.

Keep in mind how it felt to get one step closer to your goal. It always feels good when a project or paper is done. Every assignment and test gets you just a little bit closer to your goal. It will feel even better at the end of this semester.

Find a meaningful quote.

Finding  a quote that means something to you may seem insignificant, but could help in the long run. We all need a little motivation to get us through the tough times.

My favorite motivational quote is:

Play to your strengths.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It is important that you play to your strengths instead of letting yourself be discouraged by your weaknesses. If you don’t like online classes because you don’t feel focused enough try to think of your strengths. This could help you find a way past the difficulties you will face.

It has been rough on students, faculty and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. We just have to remember our EPPIIC Values and try to finish this semester strong.

Fighting Procrastination

Procrastination is a word that professors dread hearing. It causes people stress and anxiety which can ruin a person’s day. This may sound dramatic, but if you read up on the effects of procrastination it shows that it can effect your health, finances, your performance in school or work, and cause feelings of anxiety. Interested in learning more? Then check out:

Procrastination

Procrastination is the tendency to avoid unpleasant or stressful tasks that are often very important and replace them with less important, less stressful tasks. A person who avoids calling a debt collector or who posts on social networking sites instead of writing a paper is engaging in procrastination.

It is important to find ways to get yourself to manage your work and homework so that you don’t procrastinate.

One way is to set simple, achievable goals.

By setting simple and achievable goals you don’t get overwhelmed just thinking about your projects. Focus on one project at a time and then your list won’t seem as long and tiresome.

Create a detailed timeline with specific deadlines.

Organize your projects from needs to get done now to can wait till later. Then set a specific time frame for each project. For example:

This is loosely based of my schedule. Find a planner or calendar that you dedicate to planning your homework and projects out.

Try using incentives.

It is okay to bribe yourself into doing your work. Promise yourself that if you finish that paper due next week on Friday, then you can go to the movies on Saturday. Give yourself something to work towards and it will make the project easier to do.

Get the hard stuff done first.

It is typical for people to start with the easy projects and put off the harder ones, but try reversing them. Start with the harder projects because then they won’t cause you stress later. Putting off the harder projects is worse for your anxiety then if you were to put off reading a chapter.

Change your environment.

Sometimes studying or working on a project is easier when you get a change of scenery. Personally, I work in my room, but when I feel like I am stuck I will go to the library. If it is a nice day try to find a quiet place outside.

Stop over-complicating things.

Students tend to be their own worst nightmare because they over think their projects. When you over think a project it can be more intimidating then it really is. When I write a paper or work on a big project, I try to just get it done and worry about if it is right after I finish. Then I revise and edit. It doesn’t seem so hard when you do a project this way.

Ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that could happen if I did this today?

The fact is that by working on that project that isn’t due till next week today, can save yourself from anxiety and second-rate work. Nothing bad will happen if you get an early start.

Finally, imagine how you’ll feel once you do whatever it is you’ve been postponing.

It always feels amazing when the project is done and you don’t have to worry about it. Try to remember that feeling when you prepare to start something.

It is hard to get started on the big projects, but once you do you will feel a whole lot better. Not only will your anxiety lessen, but also your work will be better. Procrastination isn’t worth the stress and bad grades that are sure to follow it.

Staying Healthy for the Semester

It is that time of the year. The time where germs are passed and the flu is common. Hopefully everyone got their flu shot for the season, but if you didn’t then you need to be conscientious about taking care of yourself. Here are some reminders on how to prevent sickness:

Get plenty of sleep

It is important for your health to get enough sleep. This means going to bed earlier so that when you wake up in the morning you feel refreshed and ready to go. When you aren’t getting enough sleep you are more susceptible to germs and getting sick. So get plenty of rest.

Exercise & Keep Active

It is important to make time to exercise. It is important to not sit around all the time. This time of the year is hard because the weather tends to be colder, but do not forget that we have a gym right here on campus.

Eat Healthy

Eating healthy can also help prevent you from getting sick. Find foods that are better for your body. It is okay to eat burgers and other junk food once in a while, but it is important to only eat these kinds of food once in awhile.

Stay Hydrated

Keep the liquids coming. It is important to drink water throughout your day. If you are unsure of the health benefits or how much water to drink during the day, then I encourage you to check out

Water: How much should you drink every day?

Water is essential to good health, yet needs vary by individual. These guidelines can help ensure you drink enough fluids. By Mayo Clinic Staff How much water should you drink each day? It’s a simple question with no easy answer. Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years.

Clean Your Living Space Often

This one isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about staying healthy. It is important though to keep your living space clean though. This will help prevent germs from spreading and make you feel better.

Listen to Your Body

Don’t forget to always pay attention to what you are feeling. If you don’t feel well then take some time to rest and recuperate. You shouldn’t push yourself when you are not feeling well or when you are overly tired.

Wash your hands

This one goes without saying; wash your hands throughout the day. You should keep hand sanitizer in your backpack or purse so that when you can’t get to a sink you at least have some way of keeping your hands clean.

Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks

This one has been mentioned in other posts, but it is extremely important. Try to stick to water during the day. If you can’t give up caffeine completely then limit yourself to one cup per day.

Relax

Find time to relax and take a break from the hustle and bustle of college life. I recommended finding at least one day per week to just relax. This may not be possible for everyone’s schedule. If not then take a few hours one day to not worry and just relax.

Skipping Meals?

There have been studies conducted that show eating three square meals a day is not as important as we were told growing up. It is more important to focus on what you are eating and the amount you are eating.

Is 3 Meals a Day the Only Way?

The number of meals you eat may not be so important. How you eat those meals is what matters most when it comes to decreasing the risk of heart disease and other health problems that come along with being overweight.

Do not forget that Millersville University has the Health Services. If you are not feeling well then go and see them. Here is a link to their page:

Health Services

Millersville University Health Services is dedicated to ensuring a healthy living and studying environment at Millersville University. Academic success and personal growth can only be enhanced through a healthy campus community. Health Services is committed to promote healthy lifestyle choices, preventative medicine, and health education.

It is crucial that you take care of yourself.