cold vs flu: a special post from Primary Care

Flu and cold are on the rise in New York and in our community, so we’ve invited Dr. Marjorie Seidenfeld, the Primary Care Health Service’s medical director, to share some info about cold and flu, and how to tell the difference:

Is this a cold or should I be worried about flu?

In winter, viruses flourish, especially those that cause both the common cold and the flu (Influenza virus). We often intermix the terms, but it actually is important to distinguish between the two, because the severity, the treatment options, and the potential complications are actually quite different.

Here are the basics on the common cold: Continue Reading

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Quick q’s for a frantic self: learning to attack unhelpful thoughts

this is definitely one of those “easier said than done” things and definitely not an “be all end all” method to calming anxious thoughts but sometimes just the process and patience of asking + answering questions to yourself is helpful.

for those moments that we are our own best friend:

questions for anxiety

sometimes neglecting your basic bodily needs is the final straw. consider these questions and tend to them accordingly. this isn’t a to-do list, but rather to draw your attention to what your body might be asking for.

  1. When was the last time you ate?
  2. Did you have a piece of fruit today?
  3. Have you taken a moment to yourself today?
  4. When was the last time you took a shower?
  5. Have you seen a friend today?
  6. Have you moved around in the last few hours?

A feminist with a Brazilian?

Recently, pubic hair has been the talk of my suite. Brazilian? Bikini Wax? Just a trim here and there? Au naturale? On the surface these conversations may seem like a women’s college cliqué, but they’ve led to deeper thought and conversation about the nature of our grooming.

For me, life past puberty has included a lot of time and money spent removing hair. I got frequent brazilians for years. I put little thought into my first one; every girl past a certain age that I knew was striving to be completely bare, so why not let a professional take care of it? Once a month, I payed a woman $40 to $60 to rip the hair from the most sensitive part of my body without a second thought.

Eventually, I got too fed up and stopped going to the waxing salon. I proudly proclaimed, I was too feminist to wax. How could I, a proud Barnard woman, pay another person to act so violently to my body? And all to look like a prepubescent girl, fueling society’s obsession with the infantilization of women? Nope, not anymore.

However, this ra-ra feminist attitude I was harboring was challenged by a friend when she made me consider how I got to where I was. I stopped waxing as a rebellion to the idea that I should, so it became a proclamation of my feminist spirit.

My friend, on the other hand, gets Brazilians and loves them. She’s also a feminist. But she grew up in the epicenter of feminist hippy culture in America. Waxing to her is a choice, even a rebellion against the norm in her town. It is an act of self care, making her feel sexy and happy.

So if waxing/shaving hurts or feels like a chore for someone else, then stop (or don’t start in the first place)! If it’s a treat you give to yourself, then by all means, shave or wax away! Hairless or full bushed, feminists can unite for one idea: the hair you have down there should be your choice and only your choice.

How do you feel about your pubic hair?

Add New Practices to Your Skin Care Regimen!

Hey well people!

Today’s post is a video from blogger/vlogger Fran of Hey Fran Hey. Fran has tons of videos and blog posts on skin care, natural hair care, alternatives health options, fitness, and more. She does an awesome job of talking about how these methods can be beneficial to your overall health and offers affordable ways to live an intentional  lifestyle.

In this particular video she shares her her full body skin care regimen. One practice that I’ve adopted from this video is dry brushing before showering. Dry brushing rids the body of dead skin cells, stimulates blood circulation, cleanses the lymphatic system, and has other life-improving benefits.  Check out the video for more detail on dry brushing and other awesome ways to keep your skin and health on point!

Happy Hump Day,

Kyara 🙂

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!

It’s ok if college isn’t the best time of your life. No, really.

“College will be the best time of your life”, often accompanied by the warning “Being a grown-up is hard” is something I hear over and over from the various adults in my life. It’s true that for many people college is a time of fewer responsibilities and many opportunities.  If you listen to Buzz feed, college mainly consists of drinking and napping.  During midterms and finals (and by midterms I mean most of the semester, because let’s be real) most college students would probably rebel against the notion that college is care-free.

Our experiences in college are hopefully a good balance of hard work and fun times.  But I don’t get annoyed at those well-meaning adults because I think they undervalue the stress finals cause.  I just don’t want college to be the best time of my life.  I would hope that every part of my life is meaningful.  I don’t want to peak at the age of 22.

For me part of wellness means investing in my health.  I like to eat healthy and move my body not only because it helps me feel great now but because it will keep my body in shape for the future.  But part of wellness is also always seeking to enjoy life.  I went to an activist meeting the other week, and I was the youngest one there by a good 5 years.  It was great to see people in their thirties, forties, even seventies and all the ages in between try to untangle themselves from a human knot before sitting down to plan action on something they cared about.  Doing crazy things doesn’t stop when you graduate college.

Don’t believe me?  Check out some of these awesome “old” people.

 

World's Oldest Female Yoga Instructor (83-year-old)

Even in her eighties, Bette Calman is still practicing and teaching yoga.

 

Machsom Watch  is a group of elderly women activists who hang out at Israeli checkpoints to prevent human rights abuses.  The idea is that a person is less likely to treat someone badly if they feel like their grandmother is watching.

 

Daphne SelfeIs 80 year old Daphne Selfe the world's oldest supermodel?

Daphne Self is an 80 year old model who still graces fashion shoots.

Fat Fashion and Body Acceptance

In honor of Body Positive Week, I wanted to share something that has helped me tons in my path to body acceptance: fat fashion.

First, let me start by saying that I’m not using the word “fat” as negative, though it’s often used as such in mainstream vocabulary. Rather, through using fat simply as a describing word, like blonde, we try to re-appropriate the word as our own–not negative, not positive, just our own.

Fashion is an area that tends to marginalize those that don’t match the look of tall and thin. To dress in a way that expresses who you are and might make you stand out isn’t something that’s encouraged for fat people–rather, we’re expected to remain the invisible, not inconveniencing people by taking up extra space. Fat fashion is undoubtedly political.

I discovered the realm of fat fashion through a livejournal group that isn’t super active anymore, but played an important role in encouraging people to be visible through fashion, officially introducing fat fashion into the blogosphere. I’d just like to share a few personal favorites.

 photo gabifreshgalaxybikini_zps4960daeb.jpg

Gabi Gregg, of gabifresh.com, is pictured here wearing a “fatkini” that she actually designed last summer. From her bio on her blog: “If you love fashion but you’re sick of being told to wear A-line skirts, wrap dresses, boot cut jeans, and slimming prints, this is the blog for you.”

Peggy Jean of ontheqtrain.com

Nicolette Mason of nicolettemason.com

If you’re interested in more blogs, most bloggers will post other blogs that they read–it creates an awesome, supportive community that’s pretty easy to navigate. Fat fashion has inspired me so much, and I’m so excited to share with other people the influence it’s had on my life.

Until next time!

Shannon 😀