The Downside of My Coffee Addiction

I cannot go one day without having some sort of caffeinated beverage, particularly coffee. I am going to attempt to slowly remove caffeinated beverages from my daily routine and here’s why:

Blog Post 1 - dunkin cupCaffeine raises blood pressure. Caffeine tends to cause blood pressure to rise for 2-3 hours after finishing the drink.

Caffeine is often linked to insomnia. Quite frequently, I find myself lying in bed at night unable to fall asleep. This could possibly be linked to the amount of caffeine that I consume on a daily basis.

Headaches, and lots of them. If I go without my morning cup of coffee, I end up with a caffeine-related headache. Sometimes, the lack of caffeine results in a migraine that ends up making me sick.

Caffeine is addictive and leaves people wanting more sugar and even more caffeine. This is particularly true to my lifestyle. I consume coffee (more than I should) and certain sodas. I crave the sugar and the caffeine, which is really bad for my diet and nutrition.

How many of us have heard that “caffeine stunts your growth”? It’s true. I’ve researched it numerous times. Caffeine decreases ossification in your bones, which can result in more fractures and decreased bone growth – hence “stunting” your growth. This is why you really shouldn’t consume much caffeine as a kid.

After really thinking about how much caffeine I consume on a daily basis, I honestly became a little nervous and decided to research it to find these five things. I am hoping that I can slowly wean myself off of the excess caffeine to avoid many of these issues in my later life. Let’s see how it goes after spring break and you can expect a blog post discussing my findings!

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Spring Clean Your Life! Here’s the Secret:

I love Spring time up here in CNY.  Yes, I know that we’re STILL trying to kick Old Man Winter to the curb, but eventually that will take care of itself!

Spring is by far my favorite season. I love to watch the trees bud and flowers bloom. I love to hear the beautiful birds happily chirping and singing in the morning light. (I know what you’re thinking, it’s like a scene straight out of a Disney movie.) It’s a season of new life, rebirth, hope and restoration.

One of my favorite things to do during this time is spring clean. No, I don’t mean walking around my house carrying a dust mop and a vacuum (although necessary, it certainly IS NOT fun!)  I’m talking about the concept of spring cleaning my life. 

What do I mean? Well, as I’ve mentioned above, I look at Spring as a season of growth. After being stuck in the same mindset all winter, I’m ready for some change!

created by me
created by me

So….how can you begin to spring clean your life? The secret is simple: LET GO.

Imagine that you’re holding onto a million balloons. Each balloon represents every emotion you feel, every problem you faced or any regrets you may have. Eventually, they become too heavy to keep carrying around. So, here’s the thing: let them go. Release them. Take all the garbage from the cold, dark, stagnant winter and throw it away.

  • Spring Clean every little thing that has been weighing you down.
  • Spring Clean the hurts and disappointments.
  • Spring Clean past mistakes or regrets.
  • Spring Clean negativity and expectations.
  • Spring clean the toxic people in your life.

Sounds easy right? Sounds like a simple concept….but, it’s not. It takes a lot of strength and determination to not fall back into old habits! But, you’ll get there.

Spring is a season of new hopes, dreams, goals and life. So don’t cling to the person you were in yesterday, last week, last month, or even last year. Shed old mindsets. Dump old habits. Make way for a new beginning, and allow yourself to gently grow.

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How I Relieve Stress

College is stressful, duh. I honestly believe these years will be some of the most stressful in  my life. I am at a age where I’m kind of an adult, but not really. I am obviously not a kid but still need my parents for certain things but I am not really an adult but I do have adult bills but I am not making adult money. Let’s not forget about classes and extra-curricular activities. You don’t even need to be a math major to add it all up, it equals STRESS.

Stress is natural, it going to happen regardless. I hate stress, my tolerance for it is incredibly low. I try to avoid it at all costs.

Me dodging stress.  *kidding* it's Keanu Reeves in The Matrix The Matrix, 1999. [film, DVD]. Directed by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski. USA: Warner Bros.
Me dodging stress. *kidding* it’s Keanu Reeves in The Matrix; The Matrix, 1999. [film, DVD]. Directed by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski. USA: Warner Bros.
Not all stress is bad, when necessary it can get you out of a dangerous situation. According to the National Institute for Mental Health website, when you face a dangerous situation, your pulse quickens, you breathe faster, your muscles tense, your brain uses more oxygen and increases activity—all functions aimed at survival. In the short term, stress can even boost the immune system. Although it might feel like it is, college is not life threatening.

Routine stress is related to the pressures of work, family and other daily responsibilities (i.e, college). Over time, continued strain on your body from routine stress may lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety disorder, and other illnesses (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml).

This time of the year can be very stressful, graduation, finals, finding summer jobs. Here are three tips to help cope with stress:

1. Yoga – Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety.

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Jeff Percacciante ’12 Photo by Ramon Aiello

Yoga is offered as a one-credit course here but if you’re interested in taking additional classes, Jeff Percacciante, UC alumn and Area Coordinator teaches Monday and Thursday evenings at Body by Design in New Hartford.

2. Talk to someone!

 

The Counseling Center is available Monday- Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm, a counselor is available on-call after hours. For more information on the counseling center visit their website. If you think the counseling center is not for you there are other options. The great thing about UC is the number of faculty and staff members who have an open door!

3. Exercise

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Studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. My personal preferred form of exercise is swimming. For pool hours visit the Harold T. Clark Athletic Center.

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Colleges Against Cancer at Utica College: Relay For Life!

Cancer.

Just the mere mention of that word sends shivers up and down my spine. Every day millions of people are affected by this horrendous disease. Children, teenagers, adults, families…..sadly, no one is exempt.

In the past 12 years, my family has gone through the loss of three awe-inspiring, heroic people. I lost my uncle and both of my grandfathers due to various forms of cancer and it has completely broken my heart. Each of these men have made incredible impacts on my life and I carry them with me every single day.

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This year, I was so excited to find out that the school approved a new organization: Colleges Against Cancer at Utica College. 

Colleges Against Cancer is a nationwide community of college students, faculty and staff who are dedicated to finding ways to eliminate cancer through programs and keeping the mission of the American Cancer Society.

CAC has hundreds of chapters all over the country and has made a tremendous impact on young people. Perhaps my favorite part of this organization is the fact that our generation is showing the world that WE care and that WE want to make a difference in raising awareness against all forms of this disease.


The most popular event created by the American Cancer Society is the Relay For Life walk. At these events, communities come together as one to honor every battle won, remember each battle lost, and to support those who are still fighting. The common goal is to raise money to help find a cure and to promote ways to reduce your cancer risk.

Relay For Life teams spend the overnight hours taking turns walking or running around a track or path at a local high school, college, etc. Throughout the night there are several ceremonies to join in on as well as several fun and exciting activities for the teams and participants. For more information on what to expect at a Relay event, click here!

From April 17-18, from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. UC will host its first Relay For Life event right on campus. So far, there are 23 teams and 85 participants who raised a total of $5,755. To keep up to date with the latest information on this event, consider liking the official “Colleges Against Cancer at Utica College” page on Facebook, or follow the organization on Twitter (@UC_CAC)


Please consider participating or donating to this wonderful cause. If you can’t attend the event, but would like to contribute, you can do so by clicking here. You will immediately see a sign up and donate button.

We all know someone who has been affected by cancer. There are truly no words to describe what losing a family member to that disease feels like. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s something no one should have to endure. A simple donation can truly make a difference in the fight against cancer and make a significant step in finding a cure.

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How to Manage Anxiety While in College

College can be an exciting but extremely stressful part of our journey into adulthood. It’s the first time that we have the power to choose where we want our lives to go. We get the chance to choose the career path that we have to be happy with for the rest of our lives! No pressure, right? Wrong. 

The more research I’ve done, the more I see that anxiety is a growing problem among young people – especially college students. Plus, I have my own personal experience with this….

Anxiety is a topic that I’ve kept quiet about, but always wanted to address. I think if more people were willing to discuss it and were willing to realize just how many people are affected, there wouldn’t be such a stigma about this.

Here’s the thing: Anxiety is so much more than just getting nervous. Anxiety is an internal life altering condition that can affect the way a person thinks, feels, and lives their life. Anxiety is also not the same thing as stress, though they are used interchangeably. Stress is caused by external circumstances, and majority of the time, it can easily be controlled or managed.

Anxiety affects millions of people every single day. It doesn’t discriminate. Research has shown that people from ages 16-25 years old are more likely to experience and suffer from anxiety due to the high demands and pressures of society. Interested in learning more? Read here.

As someone who has experienced anxiety, I know how debilitating it can be. You feel alone, misunderstood, and you constantly feel like you’re a prisoner of your own thoughts. That’s a lot to take on at such a young age!

However, I know I’m not the only one who has felt this way before. I know that there many people who choose to remain silent due to fear and judgement. I also know that I’m not one of those people anymore. So, if you’re like me and live with anxiety, I’ve compiled a list of ways to help you manage college life along with keeping your health in check.

Made with Pixlr
Made with Pixlr
  1. Breathe: I know firsthand how classes, professors, assignments, projects, and presentations can completely overwhelm you. Take a few deep breaths. If you find yourself in that place of anxiousness, stop for a moment. Go somewhere quiet and take in a few deep breaths. Focusing on inhaling and exhaling sends oxygen to your brain and stops the anxiety from occurring.
  2. Watch What You Eat: While it is important to have a balanced, healthy diet, I’m not talking about food here. Watch what you feed your soul. Are you constantly digesting negativity? Are you indulging yourself in the judgments of others? If yes, stop. It’s unhealthy and will only feed your fears. Instead, surround yourself with positivity. Read positive blogs, read positive affirmations, and of course, surround yourself with positive people.
  3. Talk: One of the best ways to combat anxiety is to talk it out. Find someone you trust – whether that is a family member or close friend. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, but avoid people who are only going to use that vulnerability against you. When you confide in someone about your anxiety, be very selective. Not everyone is going to understand your journey. But, when you find that special person that you feel that you can open up to, do it. Don’t hide yourself. Be prepared though for frustrating and hurtful times on both of your parts. If the person that you talk to doesn’t have anxiety, be patient with them as they try to understand what you’re going through. Realize that it’s not easy for them to understand, but by being as straightforward as possible, you’ll help them know you a little better. Don’t be afraid to let someone see the dark side of you. If they truly love you, they won’t walk away from your friendship or relationship.
  4. Let Your Professors Know What’s Up: Anyone living with anxiety knows that some days are better than others. Some days, you’re fine, and some days, you struggle to get out of bed. Anxiety can hit you out of nowhere. If that happens, and you find yourself having to leave or miss class because of it, let your professor know what’s going on. You don’t need to go into explicit detail, but give them a heads up. You don’t want them to think that you’re merely skipping class or are just plain irresponsible. It might be embarrassing, but chances are they will understand and your grade won’t suffer because of it.
  5. Self-Care/Self-Love: This is probably the most important tip. Learning to love yourself despite your anxiety is hard. Very hard. But, it is oh so necessary. Every day, take some time out to do something you enjoy. Make time in your busy schedule for YOU. Take a walk, play with your pet, read your favorite book, listen to your favorite song, do Yoga, exercise…allow yourself to be happy.

Bottom line is that living with anxiety sucks. It sucks more when you’re in college. But there are so many ways to get help and keep your anxiety level low. Be confident. Be brave. Be bold. Be you.

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