Sleep 4 Days

Written by Sarah Thomas, WLLC 2015-2016

Whether one “sleeps for days” or literally sleeps four days in a row, getting rest holds a special place in the lives of college students. Generally college students don’t sleep enough and generally this is true for me as well. But as I have found out, there are a million billion reason to sleep more, but just one them it to avoid becoming depressed or having mood disorders. Sleeping alone is not a cure or cause of mood disorders, but it definitely contributes to overall physical and emotional wellbeing.

When I was keeping my sleep journal, I realized that when I slept, I was much less angry at the world and my surroundings. And when I am less angry, I tend to make less irrational assessment about my experiences and situations and cry a lot less, especially when my boyfriend calls and I miss him. Depression has had a long expansive history in my family. I know I’m prone to experiencing it, but I’d really rather not fall into it completely and go on medication. As one study says “30%–40% of patients with major depression become resistant to these treatments as a result of medical comorbidity, unavailability of appropriate services, and poor adherence with available therapies.” (Mood disorders and complementary and alternative medicine: a literature review). If I can avoid a major depressive disorder just by sleeping, even if it’s just a little bit, I’d much rather do that. It’s a good starting place, just like anything else, and it gives me hope.

There are many other options too. “Ayurvedic and homeopathic therapies have the potential to improve symptoms of depression, although larger controlled trials are needed. Mind-body-spirit and integrative medicine approaches can be used effectively in mild to moderate depression and in treatment-resistant depression.” (Mood disorders and complementary and alternative medicine: a literature review) I don’t know much about homeopathic medicine, but I’d like to go to medical school and figure it all out. Until then, I’ll just keep learning and growing and crying slightly less when I sleep more.

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Zzzzzz!

Written by Alina Niasmith, WLLC 2015-2016

Here we are: Week 10. The dreaded week of excess finals, papers, projects, labs. The week where students are basically pulling their hair out with the overloaded stress. The week where the smart ones who finished their huge papers earlier in the quarter can relax a bit, and on the contrary, the ones (most of us) who cannot even breathe because we are encompassed in a wrathful sea of work.

One of the most important things to do for oneself, which we hinted on in class and completed a practice on, is to get enough sleep. During the Sleep Practice a few weeks ago, I tracked the total hours of sleep I achieved per night and only two of the seven nights did I receive less than six hours of sleep.

Well, unfortunately Week 9 & 10 are game-changers.

Partially due to intense stress, increased caffeine consumption, and limited time in a day to manage a demanding schedule, many college students find themselves pulling all-nighters and sleeping way less than the recommended 8-10 hours for our age group. But sleep is SO DAMN IMPORTANT! It rejuvenates both our mental state and physical body, which as you know is essential for maintaining healthy energy levels throughout the day. We NEED to be fully awake in our cognitive functioning to ace those final exams and crank out quality papers and projects.

“My overall wellbeing, including the physical and emotional realms, from a good night’s sleep is much greater in the sense that I am in a better mood and my brain is fully recharged.”

(Sleep Practice)

Therefore, I challenge everyone reading to, even if you have already, create your own sleep practice for Week 10. If you can help it, increase the amount of sleep you get each night… Your body and mind will thank you. Otherwise, have fun being “drained and not ready for academic and social responsibilities, significantly decreasing your quality of life” (Sleep Practice).

The Benefits of the Four-Part Check-In Exercise

Written by Delaney Dickinson, WLLC 2015-2016

I am a strong believer that the four-part check writing exercise is an essential part of one’s overall wellbeing. In the act of practicing the four-part check three to five times a week (with out writing, potentially this many times a day depending the day!), I believe one can easily gain overall self awareness and a deeper understanding for the life that they are currently residing in. Please realize that in committing to practicing the four-part check exercise, “it’s imperative to consciously step away from habitual living and get crystal clear about your deepest intentions for practice” (The Way of the Happy Woman, 51).

For those of you who don’t recall what the four-part check is (since we went over it during week 2) it is a daily self check-in exercise consisting of four parts. The first part consists of checking in with your physical body and how you are physically feeling at the moment. Are you sleep deprived? Are your shoulder and back muscles tense and tight? Do you have a banging headache? All of these questions are questions that you may ponder when reflecting on the status of your physical body.

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The second part is to check in with your mind. What thoughts have been crowding your mind lately? Are you stressed about your up coming math test? Is the way your boyfriend is treating you making you feel obsessive and compulsive? Are you feeling shameful for any previous decisions you have made? By writing out what is clogging your mind at the current moment will naturally clear some space allowing for your mind to not be so congested.

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The third part is to tap in your emotional state. For most, feeling your own emotions is quiet intimidating and overall a stressful idea. By practicing expressing your feelings on paper, it will allow you to become naturally more and more expressive of how you are feeling in different times and situations. This is a crucial tool for self growth and safety, along with individual development through life. If you have a hard time connecting to how you are feeling emotionally for the moment, I would consider to start asking your self small questions before the larger more emotionally intense ones. For instance, after your mom scolded you for staying out too late with friends, how did that make you feel? Did you feel angry? Sad? Happy? Starting small may seem useless, but trust me it will slowly teach you how to cope with larger and more emotionally tense situations and times.

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How do I feel right now?

The final part is to check in with your spirit. You may be thinking, my spirit? Teen spirit? No… your SPIRIT. “This is the time when you check in with your intuition- that small, quiet voice inside that will grow bigger and louder when you turn to it frequently. Ask yourself, “What do I need to know right now?” Whatever answer arises- the first thing that comes up ,…, is your highest self, your spirit, speaking to you” (The Way of the Happy Woman, 52).

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After going through these four parts for the first time, you may find that it was somewhat exhausting or quiet possibly even the opposite. Start by setting a goal of going through these four-part steps three times a week. Then build up to four or five. Depending on what you are going through in life, you may find that you need to go through these steps each day to help you just make it by each day. Understand that this is a gradual and slowly evolving process of which will emit your own personal growth. Yes, you are the drivers seat, but realize that you are not the road conditions as well.

To this day, I rely on these steps all of the time. Sometimes I practice it in writing, and some times just in my head. These steps have not only helped me bring my own self awareness and understanding up, but they have also allowed me to evolve in to a much wiser being than I was when prior to practicing these exercises. This practice has taught me how to cope with mild to severe life situations and occurrences. This four-part check exercise has also influenced me to strengthen my meditation practice. I start nearly all of my meditations with this four-part check in to allow me to get comfortable and calm down. This has become a life time reliable exercise for me. I rely on this check in to pick me up when I am down and to help me connect back to my roots when I am lost. With out being aware of this exercise, I believe I would be more so often lost rather than rooted and more so uneasy rather than content and stable.

 

Change Your Words

WLLC Student, 2015-2016

When considering ones wellness, much of ones perceived wellbeing is based on their interactions and relationships with others. In the transition into adulthood, relationships with those around us change drastically with the introduction of romantic and physical relations. The point arisen by Al Vernacchio in his TED talk, “Sex Needs a New Metaphor,” is that we as a society have an innately unhealthy relationship with sexual activity due to the common colloquial metaphors we use to describe it. This observation is completely valid, and something that should be looked at seriously in order to improve future generations relationship with sex.

Vernacchio identifies that a conversation in America about sexual activity could easily be confused with that of baseball due to the many common phrases and comparisons. He addresses many ways that this comparison fosters unhealthy conversation; however the main ones are that this metaphor is innately sexist, bias towards heterosexual relationships, and addresses sex as a mere scheduled act rather than an action of need or desire. The alternative conversation that Vernacchio offers is to think of sex as one would pizza. This alternate metaphor encourages better conversation to happen as it categorizes sex not as a game to be won, with opposing players and an ultimate objective; but rather an experience that is always different depending on circumstance.

While every point mentioned above is excellent and reason enough to make the personal switch of metaphor, I feel the most important point that Vernacchio raises is the difference in connotation with consent. He tells of a baseball game being a scheduled event, in which a player is never really able to tell the coach “hey, I think I’ll sit this one out.” But rather, when it is time to play baseball, you have to play baseball. Pizza on the other hand is something that one is more than able to refuse. If you recently ate, are on a diet or just don’t feel like pizza, you are always more than welcome to just not eat pizza. You can tell your partner, “I’ll have pizza tonight but only if it’s thin crust with mushrooms,” and your partner can than decide if they also would like that kind of pizza, or if they wouldn’t. After you order a pizza, you can also decide not to eat it and have something else for dinner instead. The main difference: relationship with choice.

In a culture striving to create a healthy sexual activity, it is vital to consider the hidden message that words have. Making constant effort to communicate the topic of sex in a way that fosters a healthy understanding of what it is to have physical relations with someone is vital when considering that persons are becoming sexually active in their early teen years. Starting the conversation early and making it very clear to younger generations that sex is a mutual experience that no one is entitled to, but rather required to have permission and enthusiastic consent for is how we can bring up a generation that has less incidences of forced sexual activity. While conversing about sexual relations is uncomfortable for some people, it is important in order to set a standard of what we as a society expect to be thought of sex in order to mold how future generations to feel about the issue.


 

Source: Vernacchio, Al. “Sex Needs a New Metaphor. Here’s one…” Ted. N.p. Mar. 2012. Web. 03. Mar. 2016.