It’s that time again…

Hi everyone!

As many of you probably know, the first day of Barnard’s Room Selection for the 2014-2015 year happened today. Regardless of the outcome, this process almost always comes with a lot of stress, tension, and worry. Choosing where you’ll be living can feel very high-stakes, and having to form groups can be really challenging, especially for those of us who can’t think of enough people with whom we’d be willing to live, or are having to choose between too many potential roommates, or who don’t have good enough lottery numbers to get a suite for their group in the first place. In light of the added stress that will be present on campus during Room Selection, I wanted to remind our community that you can stop by Well Woman in 119 Reid for a place to vent, or to just hang out, drink tea, and eat chocolate! Staff office hours are from 1 to 4 pm Monday through Friday, and student office hours are from 7 to 9 pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I also wanted to leave you with this picture of happy wild swimming pigs, and a link to an article about their island home.


Enjoy your weekends!!


Monday Message Challenge Returns!

Anyone attempting to follow my Monday Message Challenge last semester probably noticed that I didn’t do such a great job. I completed a few of the first tips of the semester, and then basically stopped writing anything about it. In the spirit of wellness and letting myself make mistakes, I’m not going to offer excuses or beat myself up about this, but I am going to try again! This time I’ll be slightly less ambitious – I recognize that there may be weeks when the tip isn’t easy for me to do, or when I have too much other stuff going on, but when possible, I’ll still be trying our weekly wellness tips, and posting about it here!

This month’s theme is Move Well, Be Well, so we’re offering a variety of tips for integrating movement into your daily life. I’ve always enjoyed exercise, but it’s typically one of the first things to go when my schedule gets too hectic. Deciding not to work out on any given day can definitely free up more time for studying (or Well-Woman blogging!) but it also tends to leave me with less energy and focus, and I don’t get to do something I genuinely enjoy.

This week, our tip was all about setting SMART goals – as in Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. We suggested trying to commit to doing a fitness activity three times this week, and checking in at the end of the week to see what worked (or didn’t!) about your strategy. This semester, my SMART (if I do say so myself) strategy has been to take it day by day. Every morning, I go over my schedule for the day, and try to find a block of time that I could spend in the Barnard Weight Room. If I really don’t have a free hour on any given day, or don’t feel up to working out, I don’t beat myself up about it. I do prioritize getting there a little more for the rest of the week, though! I also always make sure to give myself some weekly days off regardless of my schedule, so I don’t feel too overwhelmed. Generally, I like to have an ideal number of days in mind at the beginning of the week, so I can take stock of whether I got there or not.

This week, and this semester in general, I’ve found that this strategy has really worked for me! It’s very specific (find a time that works each day, and go to the Barnard Weight Room) and measurable (did I do it today? How many times did I go this week?). For me, it’s also been attainable and realistic – I live close to the Weight Room, and I can usually find a block of time to head over there a few times a week if I’m consciously thinking about it. One other thing that’s really worked for me is trying new varieties of physical activity. Until this semester, my workouts tended to be very cardio-focused, which got a little monotonous. Lately I’ve been adding more strength training – it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s really fun, which is definitely helping to motivate me.

It’s important to remember that there are a variety of things that can make it harder or easier for people to incorporate movement into their lives. Although I’m busy, I’m fortunate to have a schedule with several large blocks I can easily convert into gym time. Additionally, as a Barnard student, I have access to exercise equipment without paying additional fees, and gym memberships or classes can be prohibitively expensive for a lot of people. Some people also have complicated relationships with exercise because of struggles with body image or any number of other, very fraught issues. We shouldn’t shame anyone for their decision to exercise or not, but if getting more exercise is a priority for you, trying to set concrete and realistic goals is a great way to make it happen!

Second Monday Message Challenge: Get a flu shot!

This week, our Monday Message was all about getting a flu shot. Getting a flu shot is an important thing to do for your health and the health of others around this time of year, and it’s especially important in college communities, where people typically live close together. I got my shot at Primary Care’s first Flu Shot Fair of the semester, but if you missed it and don’t want to wait until the next one, Primary Care at Barnard gives flu shots any time by appointment, or on a walk-in basis from 9am to 11:30am Monday through Thursday, and 9am to 4pm on Fridays. Barnard students can reach Primary Care at (212-854-2091) for more information, or to make an appointment!


Me after my flu shot – feeling fine, and I got an awesome sticker!

First Monday Message Challenge: Taking a step–outside–to be well.

Last week I explained the rules for my new blogging project – the Monday Message challenge. Today, I’ll be talking about how the first week went! This week’s theme was little things we can do outside in the lovely fall weather, and I decided to start off slow with something I already knew I would enjoy – going for a long walk in some crunchy leaves!

I go for afternoon walks in our neighborhood parks fairly regularly, so to mix it up a little, I decided to take this Riverside Park walk in the evening. I left around 7:00 pm, but it was already pretty dark out, thanks to the rapid shortening of our daytime hours. I brought a friend along this time, but would have enjoyed the hour-long walk by myself as well! The sunset over the Hudson was really beautiful, but unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures for to share this week, as my phone camera is not exactly amazing and only really works in broad daylight.

I love walking/hiking/generally most outdoor activities, so I wasn’t too worried about not enjoying this week’s “challenge.” Instead, I was concerned with trying to get something new out of it. Usually, when I go for walks, I use the time to think about the things that are going on in my life, like my homework, or the events I’m planning on campus. This time, though, I really wanted to focus on my own wellness and calm. I’d say this was a mixed success – just being conscious of the need for a more peaceful approach was a total step in the right direction, but I did find it hard to put all the distractions out of my mind. Overall, I would absolutely recommend going for a relaxing outdoor stroll or otherwise spending time outside before the weather gets too gloomy, and I look forward to picking another healthy Monday challenge to try next week!

The Monday Message Challenge is Back!

As some of our readers may know, Well-Woman sends out an email message every Monday with one or more tips to help our community lead healthier lifestyles. A few years ago, a Well-Woman alum called Elisa (see Elisa’s posts here) took on the challenge of doing – and blogging about – all of these tips. I’ve decided to bring this challenge back, and in the process, I hope to accomplish (at least) two things: spread our Monday health tips to an even wider audience, and improve my own health and wellbeing! I’m excited, and I hope you are, too.

I’m not perfect (none of us are), so I don’t have any illusions about actually doing one tip per week AND blogging about it every single time for a whole year. But in the interest of dreaming big and crossing things off my Barnard Bucket List before I graduate in May, I WILL be making this my goal! Don’t be too harsh on me if I fail, but do expect regular updates on my progress, both good and bad. For clarity’s sake, here are the guidelines I hope to follow:

1) Try at least one of the health tips from each week’s Monday Message.

2) Write a blog post sometime that week about my experience with the tip: did I enjoy it, would I recommend it, do I feel better after, etc.

3) Have fun!

I won’t be starting the challenge this week, because yesterday’s Monday Message was primarily to spread the word about the Furman Counseling Centre’s amazing support groups. While these groups are an awesome resource for our students, it would be uncool of me to join a support group with the intention of blogging about it, so I’ll start the challenge next week! In the meantime, general information about Furman’s groups can be found here.

Have a wonderful and healthy week!


I just found out about RightRides, an organization in NYC that partners with Zipcar to provide safe rides to individuals who might be at risk for gender-based harassment or assault. They also have other projects aimed at eliminating this kind of harassment. I don’t know very much about them yet, but it sounds like a great cause. Read their mission statement from their website:

RightRides for Women’s Safety builds safer communities by ending gender-based harassment and sexual assault. We work towards this by community organizing and offering direct service, safety education and advocacy programs.

Through our flagship RightRides program, we offer women and LGBTQGNC individuals a free, safe, late night ride home on Friday and Saturday nights from 11:59 PM – 3 AM, (early Saturday and Sunday mornings) in 45 NYC neighborhoods across four boroughs. To call for a ride, the dispatch number is (888) 215-SAFE (7233).  Since 2004, more than 6,000 individuals have received safe passage home.

And check out the rest of their page here!

Room Selection 2013

Today was the first day of room selection, for groups of all rising seniors. While Barnard offers some great housing options, the selection process can be incredibly stressful, and doesn’t always turn out the way we hope it will. So on that note, to those who haven’t selected yet, good luck! To those who have, I hope you’re happy with what you got! To everyone, take some time during the process to relax and think about how best to be well in the upcoming academic year, whatever your living situation.