Fall 2021 Guidance/COVID-19 Information

Podcasts

Take 10 for You

The podcast episodes are on Soundcloud. Transcripts are below with each link to the episode.

Episode 22 - Academic Success will be released on Nov. 3

Podcast will be released on Nov. 3, 2021

Episode 21 - Healthy Friendships

Healthy Friendships

Released on Sept. 22, 2021

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness.”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am the Alcohol and Other Drug Educator Marissa Whitaker. Our guest today is Dr. Kaitlin Flannery, assistant professor in the Psychology Department. Thank you so much for joining us.

Kaitlin: Thank you for having me.

Lauren: Yes, absolutely. On today’s episode we are going to be talking about healthy friendships. To get us started, can you share what a healthy friendship is and how would you define that?

Kaitlin: Absolutely. Healthy friendships are characterized by a few key elements. Friendships are defined as being reciprocal, positive relationships. The reciprocal piece indicates that both members of the dyad count each other as a friend. In a healthy friendship, both members of the friendship put forth effort to maintain that friendship and support and include the other person. The idea of these being positive relationships is pretty straight forward. A friend is someone that you have fun with and enjoy each other’s company. Other important aspects of close friendships involve intimate disclosure and social support – when we are kids, our parents tend to be the people that we rely on for most support. However, into adolescence and emerging adulthood, our friends really become our primary source for social support. Sharing information about ourselves, disclosing worries and dreams, these are the types of things that help to build intimacy between friends. Of course, this is something you build up to – no need to tell someone everything about yourself the minute you meet, and disclosure should also be reciprocal, such that both members share. And of course, if a disclosure is meant to be confidential, as long as your friend is not planning on hurting themselves or others, it is often a good idea to keep that communication confidential to build up trust. This disclosure then allows for our friends to serve this very important role of supporting us. Of course, social support is not always only emotional support – helping a friend study or giving them a ride somewhere if needed are forms of instrumental support which can also be really helpful, especially when you are away at college.  So basically, a good friend is someone that you can rely on, talk to, and have fun with.

Marissa: I love that you mention the oversharing. Like on the very first thing, we have all had those run-ins. Where they are a close talker and an over sharer. So, what are the benefits of having healthy friendships?

Kaitlin: So, all of the research shows that our relationships with other people are the number one predictor of our well-being across the lifespan. Having close friends is associated with better mental health and self-worth, and can be a protective factor when other things go wrong. So making time to really appreciate your friendships and be a good friend to others is a worthwhile pursuit to your overall health and wellness journey.

Lauren: That is interesting, not only appreciating your friendships but being a good friend to others because I think a lot of time we kind of forget, you know, how we can be a good friend to others, not just if others are being a good friend to us. So kind of along those lines, what are some signs of an unhealthy friendship?

Kaitlin: This is another really important thing to talk about. Healthy friendships can make you feel great – sure you may get into disagreements with friends, and oftentimes those people we are closest to can help us most to grow and change our perspectives, but overall, you feel good when you are in a good friendship. However, I’m sure you can all think of those friendships you have or have had where you didn’t feel good – you left spending time with that person just feeling worn out or tired, or you were always stressed wondering where you stood with that person. Or perhaps you have a friendship that is characterized by high levels of conflict, or passive aggression, or betrayal, or you feeling left out or like that person is just using you for something – those may be signs that this is not a healthy friendship for you to be in. In the literature, we call these toxic friendships. And as daunting as it may seem, sometimes it is best for you to pull back or end such friendships. Another type of unhealthy friendship is one in which you feel pressured to engage in activities you are not interested in.  Risky behaviors and even depression are sometimes referred to as contagious – if your friends engage in risky behaviors, you are more likely to as well – and if your friend is extremely depressed, you also may end up feeling depressed. It may not be necessary to end such friendships, but it is important for us all to be aware of how our friendships are affecting us and making us feel, and to really prioritize spending time with people who promote your well-being and not endanger it.

Marissa: Yes, we don’t always realize that what our friends think, feel and what they do can have an impact on us and could largely explain maybe my emo and hot pink hair phase in high school.

That would not happen today.  But if you recognize you have an unhealthy friendship with someone that needs to end, what is the best way to do that?

Kaitlin: Oh goodness. That is a tricky question. There have been very few studies on this topic, and the recent study that I conducted was with middle schoolers, so things might be different in college. However, it seems that friendships, unlike romantic relationships, do not necessarily require a formal breakup. Friendships often drift apart as each of you become immersed in activities that you are passionate about or make other friendships, and you can slowly downgrade friendships to lower levels of closeness. If you feel that you want to let the other person know, doing so in a straightforward and compassionate manner is probably best.

Marissa: You hear the word ghosting a lot. Is that a healthy way for someone to end a friendship?

Kaitlin: That is such a great question. Yes, actually I didn’t think it would be but, in my study, we called it avoidance. Which is sort of ignoring calls and texts and distancing yourself from your friend was actually the most common way that people reported ending their friendship and it was associated with the least hurt feelings.  Now again, I don’t know if that was just because it was middle school and people weren’t quite ready to deal with conflict at that point.

Lauren: Yea, that is really interesting. So looking on the flip side to that, are there strategies to improve or maintain existing friendships?

Kaitlin: Definitely. As I mentioned earlier, intimate disclosure is really important for building and maintaining healthy friendships. Being a good listener and providing support for your friends also are really important. If you have a friendship where you tend to get in a lot of arguments, a really important tip to remember when you are fighting is that you are a team. Sometimes when we are arguing we see the other person as our opposition, and we say really mean or degrading things about them as people, instead of focusing on the topic that you are actually arguing about. This is called destructive conflict. If you reframe the argument to remember that you are both on the same team with the same goal of finding a resolution, then you can both focus on tackling the problem instead of trying to put down each other. That is called constructive conflict. Using “I statements” is also a good tip to remember. So if you are frustrated with a friend for continually cancelling plans last minute, for example, instead of telling them what a bad person they are, let them know how their action made you feel – perhaps by saying “I felt like I was not a priority when you cancelled our plans” because someone can’t argue with how you feel – and then work together to say how you are going to communicate about plans moving forward. So you are on the same team and the thing you are working against is that miscommunication and trying to prevent those hurt feelings in the future. Does that make sense?

Lauren: Yea, I actually use a lot of the I statements because I think that they are so helpful. I think communication is so important and it is a skill that we sometimes have to practice to get better.

Marissa: And I see what you did there. Are there any last minute tidbits that you would like to add to this Dr. Flannery? This has been so helpful.

Kaitlin: Well thank you. Just putting it out there, other ways of being a good friend really comes down to prioritizing your friendships, being there for your friend, intentionally lifting your friends up instead of bringing them down, having fun with your friend – do those fun experiences, create the inside jokes that you will be laughing about for years to come – but also being understanding that both you and your friend have a lot of other obligations, like school-work and other friends, and making sure to honor that for both of you. One of the greatest things about college is that you are surrounded by people around your same age, with similar interests, at a time when you are really exploring and figuring out who you are. So, get involved on campus as a way to meet people who have similar passions, let your friends help you grow and figure out who you are, and really cherish this time, because it is special. Some of my very favorite people in the world are friends I made in college, and I hope all of you find that as well.

Marissa: That's excellent, yes. So that wraps up all the time that we have for today. I think I have a couple of friends to call and by call, I’ll send a meme because that is a friendship when you are an introverted millennial. Thank you so much for joining us and talking about healthy friendships today.

Kaitlin: Thank you, this was very fun.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 20 - Connect to the Counseling Center

Connect to the Counseling Center

Released on Aug. 25, 2021

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness.”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am the Substance Misuse Educator Marissa Whitaker. Our guests today are Carolyn Bershad, Director of Counseling and Wellness Services, and Kathryn Gallup, a Senior Counselor from the Counseling Center. Thanks so much for joining us.

Carolyn: Happy to be here.

Kathryn: Thanks for having us.

Lauren: Yeah, absolutely. So on today’s episode we are going to be talking about accessing services at the Counseling Center. Carolyn, can you get us started and just share a little about the Counseling Center?

Carolyn: Of course. The Counseling Center is open during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Center is primarily funded through the Student Health Fee, so our services are for currently enrolled students. Services are free and confidential, so there is no additional fee for services. Just so that you know, we provide group counseling, individual counseling, psychoeducational and therapy groups, and we also have psychiatric services through a consulting psychiatrist. This fall, all these services will be provided through WebEx. Given that we are still all masking this Fall, we have found that we can provide better therapy without masks online, so we can see each other. We will reassess this process for the spring as things progress.

Marissa: Yeah, that makes sense. So Kathryn, can you share a little bit about how students might get connected to a Counselor through the Counseling Center?

Kathryn: Sure. So the best way to access services right now is via telephone. Our phone number is 607-753-4728.  When you call, you will be scheduled with a counselor based on your availability, the counselor’s schedule, and any preferences you might have. If you call our number, again 607-753-4728, and if your call goes to voicemail, it just means we are serving another student or away from our desk. Just leave a message, with your name, your phone number and the best time to reach you. We will call you back as soon as we can. And just remember to try and speak slowly and clearly so we can make sure we get the right information. If you already have a counselor at the center that you work with, you can call or email them directly, and set up your appointment that way. That also is an option. Just remember that email is not confidential, so do not include anything but your request for an appointment and the best way that we can reach you.

Lauren: Awesome, that is really great information to have. I think it would also be helpful to hear what happens after you make the appointment?

Carolyn: Sure, the first step is an initial appointment with a counselor. So the morning that you have that appointment, you will be sent an appointment reminder via email. That appointment reminder is going to have information on how to access paperwork that has be completed so that we can provide services. We are legally and ethically required to have you complete this paperwork, so if the paperwork isn’t completed, we won’t be able to have a full session with you. If you have problems with the paperwork, please call our office at 607-753-4728, and someone can assist you with completion. We have found that the paperwork is easiest to complete on a computer or on a tablet because sometimes phones are a little wonky and students have had problems with them in the past. Also, even if you completed paperwork with us in the past, we still require an update each semester, so please be prepared to do paperwork for that first contact of the semester. Also, we may occasionally ask you to complete surveys during the semester, even if it is not your first session because we want to get feedback from you and have more information on how we are doing. In addition on that first day to receiving an appointment reminder, you also should receive a Webex invitation. If you do not want to use Webex, we can call you or we can use Webex without the video.  We do prefer to have video contact if possible because it helps us help you but understand that some folks are reluctant to use it and want to be as flexible as possible with students. When the time comes for your appointment, just log into the link sent to you by your counselor in the Webex invite or just wait on the phone for your counselor to call you. That link should take you to you, if you are using WebEx, to your appointment, and you are all set to begin. Does that make sense?

Marissa:  That does. That was a really great step by step process and it sounds like there are a lot of options available for people depending on their comfort level. So what if a student is primarily interested in psychotropic medication? Is that something that you all prescribe?

Kathryn: Our counselors don’t prescribe, but we do have resources on campus for students interested in medication. So for example, if a student has been taking a medication for a while, and is looking for a refill or maintenance, they can check with Student Health Services to see if they are able to work with them. For those who are uncertain about their medication, maybe want to adjust medications or would prefer to work with our department, a student should schedule an appointment with a counselor. When they schedule, let the secretary know that they also want an appointment with our psychiatric provider. Students must first have an appointment with a counselor to make sure that paperwork is completed and we have consent to treat you, and also that we have current, up-to-date contact information. That said, students don’t have to be in counseling to access the psychiatric services, and only need to have one appointment with a counselor each semester to update paperwork and a new informed consent.

Lauren:  Okay, that makes a lot of sense. So all of these services are Monday through Friday up until 4:30 p.m. so do you have any resources for students, either after 4:30 p.m. during the weekdays or on the weekends that they can look for support?

Carolyn:  That is a great question. A good place to start would be our website: cortland.edu/counseling. We have information on that website on local, regional and national resources for students who either want immediate service after-hours like you were describing. So we have some hotline numbers where you can talk or text with someone right away or  if you want services not through our department but other resources.  There are local resources that can provide both emergency services, like the hospital and our Cortland Mobile Crisis Unit, as well as information on some providers who will see students off campus.  For those students who just want some resources to learn more about mental health and how to better take care of themselves, you should also check the website at cortland.edu/counseling.  And look for some of our weekly emails. We share information on various mental health related topics and we are trying to enhance students’ experiences here at Cortland through those emails.  We have a lot of variety and have spent a lot of time this summer and last year developing and sharing resources for our students so please access them.

Marissa:  Yes, there is a ton of information on the website. Lots of different counseling rabbit holes you can fall through. It’s great. So do you have any last little tidbits of information that you would like to share with students or any little last minute things that we should know?

Carolyn:  One thing I would like to share is that coming to college can at times feel stressful, and that this is perfectly normal and it is really to be expected.  It is an adjustment coming back from your summer routine or perhaps being back on campus after an absence or even coming to campus for the first time. And that this has been a time of great change for all of us. There is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of challenges. So even in the best of circumstances, all change, even positive change can lead to us experiencing stress. It doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong or that you’re not having the right college experience.  It really just means that you are human. 

Kathryn:  I agree with that. And if things don’t improve over time, then that might be the time to first seek out your support system like your friends, your family, your RA, your RHD, classmates, teammates, the list goes on. Those who have supported you in the past.  Just remember that we are also here to provide support at the Counseling Center if your usual self-care isn’t working.  There are a lot of people here at Cortland to assist you.

Marissa: Thank you so much. This was great. I like that. There are a lot of people here on this campus to assist you, the counseling center being one of that group of people. That's all the time that we have for today. Thank you so much for joining us.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 19 - The Importance of Rest, Sleep and Balance

The Importance of Rest, Sleep and Balance

Released on April 28, 2021

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. I work in the Substance Misuse Prevention and Education Office. We have two guests with us today, Robyn Forster and Ester Edelman, Senior Counselors at the Counseling Center. Thank you so much for joining us.

Robyn: Absolutely, good to be here.

Ester: Same here, I am happy to be here today.

Lauren: So on today’s episode we are going to be talking about the importance of rest, sleep and balance. Let’s break this down a bit. So, we hear the term rest a lot when people play sports but we don’t usually have that same term when we are talking about mental health. Why is rest and maintaining an emotional balance so important to our mental health?

Robyn: So as you know, just as we had physical health, we also have mental health. And mental health refers to our psychological or emotional health and well-being. In order to maintain that nice emotional balance, it is important to keep in mind some important points. One huge one is the importance of rest and sleep. I know Ester might be talking a little more in depth later but rest is extremely important for that sense of well-being. Sleeping and rest helps us to recover from physical exertion as well as for mental exertion. Sleep disturbances can actually be one of the first signs of emotional distress. Some studies actually show that proper rest and sleep can help create a healthy emotional balance, actually boosting our creativity which I thought was interesting. Increasing our productivity, reducing our stress levels, improving our moods and even strengthening our relationships with others. Some strategies to help ensure that, and the number one is taking care of ourselves when we're sick. And I was thinking about that, it came to mind the perfect attendance award. And no knock to those students but are we sending the wrong message you know when you get an award for that? Maybe they're not feeling well, maybe they needed a mental health day. Nurturing ourselves is an important ingredient in life. As is eating well, as is exercise, avoiding alcohol and drugs, avoiding self-criticism as best as you can. Connecting with others, asking for help. Emotional balance is different for everybody so there is not one strict rule, kind of just creating your own and cutting yourself some slack. All of everything is not healthy. In our world, we tend to live in a black and white kind of thinking and in my opinion living in that gray area is a lot sweeter, nicer, happier, gentler place to be.

Marissa: I like that you said that, especially the black and white part. When you see things only black and white, you miss a lot of the pretty shades of gray that are in the world. When I think of rest, I think of turning off your brain different then sleeping. There are a lot of things under the umbrella of rest. Both are important but what benefits for your mental health do you get from sleeping?

Ester: So there is definitely a link between sleep and mental health or mood. After a sleepless night, you might be more irritable, short tempered, vulnerable to stress or have difficulties focusing.  Once you get better sleep, your mood often returns to normal and it gets easier to perform responsibilities and even enjoy free time more. So there are studies actually, that show even partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on mood. People that are limited to five and a half hours of sleep per night for one week, reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. When people resumed normal sleep, they reported a dramatic improvement in mood. So this also works with sleep, the other way around. For some people, when they are stressed, anxious or moody, that itself can affect the quality of sleep. Anxiety for example, increases restlessness, worry, rumination, which in turn makes it hard to sleep, even though people allow enough time for it. So, here’s the bottom line, do not play down the importance of sleep. Make an effort to set aside the time for it. If you are one of the people who experience sleep difficulties, there are quite the number of strategies out there to practice such as mindfulness, watching something on TV. It is very personal, not to go to bed after a big meal but also not to go to bed very hungry. You can also check the counseling centers website for tips on sleep.

Lauren: I think it is so interesting hearing the connection between your sleep is impacted by your stress or anxiety but then also your stress and anxiety impacts your sleep. I know you lay down and you are so tired and you are like I just want to go to sleep and for some it is like why isn’t that happening. Then on the other hand, some students tell me they don’t have enough time in the day for 8 hours of sleep but that comes down to a balance. And there is this balance of rest but you also want to be productive. I can see this cycle of wanting to get everything done, being stressed that you can’t relax, getting stressed to be more productive, not sleeping enough and so on. What can you do to balance everything, be productive but not get overwhelmed or stressed?

Ester: So research in this area does not support if you work on your assignments for long hours with no break, your work is going to be of better quality. One of the bigger traps that students tend to fall into, like you just said Lauren, is taking or allowing for a break, but then they feel guilty about it. So here are a few tips to on how to balance between school, responsibilities, work, rest and even have fun. Break down your assignments or challenges into smaller parts and then plan your day accordingly. Schedule those breaks in between those smaller parts. Another way to balance is to take 10 minutes out of every hour you do school work to do other things. You could go on social media, you could talk to a friend or family member, you can do a breathing exercise or a little bit of mindfulness, sit outside for a little while or even eat ice cream.  That’s okay to eat ice cream. If you stick to this plan of alternating work and rest, you will earn this break time back when you return to your assignments because it will go faster and you will be able to focus much better after you take a break. Carving out time for activities and spending time with friends is extremely important. But feeling the pressure to participate in every social activity, club or outing that your friends are participating in, is really counterproductive. Pick carefully to preserve your energy. The key is to find the type of activities that makes you feel good and helps you recharge your batteries so that you can face your responsibilities with renewed energy. Following this simple advice might not melt away all of your stress but it help you stay sane while still maintaining balance and getting your work done.

Marissa: That balance is so hard to keep.  So I think it is really important to schedule that intentional down time and the big component is to not feel guilty doing it. It is irrelevant to sit down and think of all of the things you have to do instead of just being in that moment. Whether that is watching TV, getting ice cream because Footies is open now. So what about any advice for students to care for their mental health?

Robyn: That can be a tricky question because everybody is different and everybody is an individual. Often though, I will hear students throughout the years I have been hear come in and say “Gosh, I am not good enough” “If only I was this or if only I was that.” Somehow their self-worth has gotten tied into the grade that they get in an exam or their friend group or somebody that breaks up with them or whatever. And you know, you are good enough. You already are good enough. Are there things you might want to work on? Of course, we all do. We are always all evolving. But your basic core is already good enough and I think that’s important for students to begin to recognize. There is a whole lot of self-criticism that goes on and there is a whole big world out there that is going to add to that self-criticism. So when you goofed up, or particularly when you goofed up, show some compassion, rub your heart, you know, understand that you are a human being. And that you are you. There is never going to be another you. So you can celebrate who you are, you can criticize who you are, you have choice, or you can also just accept who you are.

Marissa: That was perfect. I felt like you were speaking to me and only me. Yeah but I think that is perfect. Thank you so much for joining us that is all the time that we have for today. We really appreciate you providing your perspectives and expertise on rest, sleep and balance.

Lauren: This is the last podcast for this semester so thank you all for listening and be well.

Episode 18 - How to Juggle School, Life, Work and Sanity

How to Juggle School, Life, Work and Sanity

Released on April 14, 2021

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker, the Substance Misuse Educator. We have two guests with us today, Cheryl Smith, Coordinator of Student Outreach and Non-traditional Student Support, part of Advisement and Transition, and Nakeesta Langton, senior Childhood/Early Childhood Education major and a club officer of the Non-Traditional Student Organization. On today’s episode we are going to be talking about how to juggle school, work, life and sanity. Thank you both for joining us, we are happy to have you here.

Cheryl: Thank you for having us.  We are celebrating our non-traditional/adult student population on campus this week.  We have approximately 300 undergraduate students on campus who are 24 year years of age or older taking classes here. 

Lauren: Oh wow, that is a good amount of students, I did not actually realize it was that many. So, Nakeesta, can you talk to us about the responsibilities adult students may have aside from going to class, like what other things would they be doing?

Nakeesta: There are a wide range of responsibilities an adult student may be facing either on campus or off.  Maintain a full-time job or multiple part-time jobs. Sometimes we have students who have multiple jobs just to be able to come to college. Maintaining your connection with your partner or your marriage. Maybe having to deal with the long process of separations from a significant other, maybe that is a divorce or death. Caring for a dependent, such as children, a younger sibling, a grandchildren, a nieces or nephews. Having to take care of a sick loved one, again, it is just so much. There could also be other personal commitments, as an adult for personal commitments such as a coach, or a Girl Scout leader, or a volunteer at a soup kitchen or food banks. Having to deal with a larger financial burden that college students that are not 17 to 23 year old might not have to experience like the mortgage, car payments, health insurance and the list goes on. But all this is intensified when you are trying to manage it all by yourself. We do see single parents having to deal with this or someone that doesn’t have that support but is also trying to seek out their education.

Marissa: That was so much that you listed. It was stressful hearing all of those things and I think for a lot of people, it is a privilege to go through college to make it through when there is Hulu, Netflix and streaming services would be a big enough distraction, let alone having to worry about a mortgage or taking care of children, family members. Like I said before, it sounds like it can be very stressful. So, Cheryl, can you provide us with some tips students may be able to take advantage to manage some of the stress?

Cheryl: Marissa, it does sound tiring just listening to all of the things they have to juggle while they are students here. They aren’t here just for their education.  While these tips are geared towards our adult students, they also could be helpful for all students no matter what their age is. One good tip, take a breaks when possible. Rest your eyes a little bit. You can do that alone or the adult student can go with their family, the traditional student can go with their family. Take a walk with someone. Meal prep on weekends. Some adult students have children that can help them with chores around the house. Some students have children that are even older, that may help memorize vocabulary using flash cards. So get them involved, let them learn how you are studying and it will be a good example for them.

Lauren: I have to admit about meal prepping, I am a total advocate for that. I think it is so helpful, I mean honestly I do not know if I would eat during the week if I didn’t do it because there is just not enough time.

Marissa: Yea student or not, it takes away some of that pressure so you don’t have to worry about dinner.

Cheryl: Yes. Another tip that I have is connect with others. Get to know other adult students in your classes. Stop by the Non-Traditional Student Lounge which is in Cornish Hall. This lounge is one of the best, I don’t want it to be the best kept secret. I do try to tell people about it. It is a room that has a microwave, a refrigerator, coffee pot, three semi-new computers, and just a place to relax so people can get to know other adult students. So I definitely say connect with other students. Most importantly, the big tip I have is don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it is your instructor, whether it is your family member or whether it is a good friend. Use your support system, especially when you are stressed out. Nakeesta, do you have any other tips that have worked for you so far?

Nakeesta: Yes there is a few. Of course I have my top four that have saved me countless times. One of those is taking advantage of that SUNY Cortland OneDrive. There are several printing stations around campus that allow you to make printouts from your OneDrive. By saving classwork onto your OneDrive, I can access assignments that I have frequently printed out at home and left on the printer, an hour away from campus. So I don’t have the luxury to go and get it, so definitely taking advantage of your one drive can save you so much stress and a few less late points and deductions on assignments. A second would be take advantage of those long drives to and from campus. I currently have a PDF reader right on my phone and on my tablet. I plug it right into car with my aux cable right into my stereo. That while I am driving to campus for that hour long drive, I’m listening to my textbook that I purchased as a PDF so I am utilizing that time to and from campus. So I have two hours each day to be able to get some of that reading done that frees up some time to do some cooking. But again, if you have it on your phone and tablet, you can be able to do it when you are doing dishes or folding some laundry. It has really helped me use the freedom to get in some extra work.

Lauren: That is so cool, and I could totally see doing any mundane task and just listening to it. I never thought of doing that so yeah, that is really cool idea.

Nakeesta: By purchasing the PDFs, it is usually less than the textbooks anyways but that way I upload. I have a separate Gmail account just for my books that I save up on the drive so I can access them. It is two hours of reading that I don’t have to do. So my third advice would be get ahead of assignments. Look ahead on your syllabus. By starting and finishing assignments early, it gives you some wiggle room within your weeks to come. Try to be a week ahead with assignments for all your classes if you can, if you have the luxury to be able to do that. This way if you have a sick day or someone in your house has a sick day where you are not able to do that schoolwork, you don’t feel that added stress of “oh my gosh, not only do I have to take two days off but now I am two days behind on all of my assignments.” The fourth is being upfront with your professors. The first week of school, I always reach out and attend office hours or send them a quick email just to introduce yourself. This way I can make them aware my personal situation, the dependents I have at home and the distance I have to travel to and from campus. This way if they have something different in their syllabus where it requires bi-weekly 15-minute meetings during their office hours, I can possibly work out a plan with them to avoid an hour drive there. Twenty minutes finding a parking spot, walking into a building, a 15-minute meeting to trek all the way back. And all of the gas and finding a sitter, it can be overwhelming. But by being upfront that first week, I find that professors are super nice and willing to work with you. So be honest.

Marissa: For any students, traditional or non-traditional, just standing out even a little bit among your professors. Even saying thank you as you are walking out, those little things can make a difference so yeah, good advice on that Nakeesta.

Lauren: Yeah, and on the topic of professors, Cheryl, do you have any tips for students non-traditional or not to engage with a professor?

Cheryl:  Yes, I do. I was also a non-traditional student myself balancing a full-time job, taking care of classes, a young child. But I do encourage for students to get to know their instructors better. Again, attend office hours with questions. This could even lead to network building and letters of recommendation for the future when you are looking to go out for a job or a higher job if you are already in one.

Marissa: So, did you have any additional thoughts on how to juggle everything and our sanity?

Cheryl: I think it is very simply put, just so the best you can.

Marissa: Thank you so much for joining us today. That is all the time that we have. Again, Cheryl and Nakeesta, we really appreciate you providing all of this information for us and your own perspectives on being a non-traditional student. We will see you back in two weeks.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 17 - Loss of Normalcy

Loss of Normalcy

Released on March 31, 2021

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. We have a guest with us today, Kathryn Gallup, who is a Senior Counselor for the Counseling Center and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Thanks so much for joining us Kathryn.  

Kathryn: Thanks, I am glad to be here.

Lauren: On today’s episode we are going to be talking about the loss of normalcy.  There are a lot of things that people have lost and first I want to say how sorry we are for the loss of loved ones during this difficult time. Obviously the death of a loved one is tragic and heartbreaking, and is a very big part of this pandemic that we’ve been facing; this type of grief is a very different and an important conversation, one that we probably can’t cover in a matter of 10 minutes.  Today’s conversation is going to focus more on other losses, particularly the losses of what normalcy and significant activities, structures, and routines of what was once everyday life. Kathryn, from your perspective as a counselor, what are your thoughts and other things people could feel as a loss?

Kathryn: To say that COVID-19 has created changes, losses, and inconveniences is an understatement.  The COVID-19 pandemic truly has changed life as we know it; it’s altered the way we exist on a daily basis, the way we think about and plan for our future; it’s taken away some fundamental human activities we’ve always taken for granted, like deciding to leave our home when we feel like it, interacting with our friends and loved ones, going to school or working, and the list goes on.  Even major, transformative life events or rites of passage like graduations, weddings, and funerals have been either lost entirely, or look so vastly different in the way they’re carried out that they would be unrecognizable to us even 1 year ago.  So, definitely, “normalcy,” whatever that means for each person and for us as a national and global society has been drastically altered.

Marissa: I like that you mentioned taking those little things for granted. Like something as little as going out to eat. Before you could decide anywhere but now it is which place will fit the best on our dashboard in the car.  So it is really all of those little things start to add up and it does impact people. So, how is this loss impacting everyone? Is it normal for people to feel a certain way right now?

Kathryn: Sure, so these changes and losses have been hard to adjust to, and most people are feeling a lot of different feelings like grief, sadness, isolation, anger, frustration you know we are still dealing with this a year later, when is this going to end or just feeling “not themselves.”  I’ve seen memes online about how other generations have experienced much harder things, and that we just have to sit on our couch and watch Netflix, but I don’t think is fair, and minimizes the real difficulty of the past year on so many levels. This whole pandemic experience has changed and significantly limited our personal freedoms, our very necessary interpersonal connections, our sense of safety and security, our work and schooling, our finances, our short-term and long-term plans, and again just on and on.   So it’s a lot to take in and adjust to, and certainly comes with a lot of emotions.

Marissa: Yeah, I think that whole meme thing, I’m so guilty of that when we first started. I was like all we have to do is stay inside and it will be normal in another month. Then two months, and six months and now a year and so that is a lot to deal with and we have lost a lot of those little things that seem so normal. So how do we cope with these losses and challenges? 

Kathryn: I think that can look like a lot of things, and it will definitely look different for each individual.  First, acknowledging your feelings and your struggles is a really important place to start; whether that’s expressing them to another person, or if you are somebody who is more private, just processing that more internally or privately, both are valid depending on your needs.  And then it’s going to be a lot of rebuilding, trial and error, and trying new things to see what feels right for you and meets your needs in terms of this “new normal” that we are living in.  It may look like slowing down and learning how to be with yourself and kind of sitting still, altering or lowering expectations for yourself given the stress we are under, trying things you’ve never tried before, pivoting and shifting your goals to what is realistic for this time in history that we are living in, focusing on what you have control over, shifting priorities, finding meaning in other areas of your life, nurturing those relationships that we have kind of learned, maybe we always took for granted but we are learning how important they are now, reflecting on what insights you’ve gained about yourself or life during this time.  All of this is a lot to come to terms with though, so while you are trying to work or go to school, or just fulfilling other daily tasks, it is a lot.  So above all, I think it’s important to be nurturing and compassionate with ourselves to build resilience because we need it right now. No one was prepared for what this past year threw at us, and there is no instruction manual for how to navigate the challenges of a modern pandemic.  Just remembering that we’re all struggling, we’re all doing the best we can, and being kind to ourselves and others is really important.

Lauren: I feel like you really hit the nail on the head with we are doing the best that we can and being kind to ourselves. I think it is so easy and I am guilty of this myself too, saying to yourself, why aren’t you doing this? Well because you are in a pandemic and it is harder right now so I think a lot of people feel like that with self-care too. Self-care should be easy but sometimes that can be hard to do also. So, what are somethings we can do to help ourselves and take care of ourselves right now?

Kathryn: I think it’s important to recognize that the things we have always been able to do to regulate our emotions, create joy, provide meaning and connection, or even just distract us from whatever stress is going on in our life, all of those things are largely unavailable and simply not an option right now.  For example, I used to really look forward to going out to dinner with family or friends to laugh and enjoy a change of scenery, go to gym to blow off some steam or feel like I did something today, I accomplished something. For other people it might be going to a movie, shopping, a concert or annual/traditional event that they always go to, something like that.  These were all things that we looked forward to, enjoyed doing, and also served the purpose of balancing out other maybe harder, stressful, or mundane activities in my life.  All of a sudden these are taken away from us, and we’re faced with boredom, a lack of outlets, a loss of purpose or structure to our days, feeling disconnected from others, having to face our internal discomfort, maybe if we live in a house with a lot of dysfunction and we just have to be there and deal with it, or just any other number of challenges. So it is tough because our normal outlets have been removed or severely limited, it’s important to create other routines.  I would even argue we have to work harder than normal to practice self-care and stress relief because of the unparalleled challenges our world has been facing this year. I guess some examples of that and again, I had mentioned earlier trial and error and everybody is do different so you kind of have to figure out what your needs are and what might fulfill those needs. But I think reading a book for pleasure, or going outside and getting some fresh air, or taking a nap if you feel like you need it, or just checking in to center yourself whatever way that looks like. I just think that with everything we’re up against, taking care of our emotional and physical health has to be a priority right now.

Marissa: I really like that and I think sometimes with this self-care, sometimes I can get guilty of this, where my self-care might turn a little into complacency. Where is it like nah I am just going to watch this whole series of a TV show, self-care. 

Kathryn: Yea, no I can appreciate what you said Marissa. If we had a really busy week, we might think, I need to just do nothing all day but sometimes we do that and feel worse after. So it is kind of figuring out how do we get our energy back? It is so individual and can change day to day.

Marissa: So once we move past that and we find what works for us, how can we start to help some other people?

Kathryn: Yeah, so I do think it’s important to first validate people’s sense of loss or if they’re struggling.  Some of us tend to compare our experience to others’ and it’s important and helpful to remember what we do have and practice gratitude and have some perspective, and there isn’t necessarily a hierarchy of pain.  We are all struggling in our own way, and have different histories, resources, experiences. So comparing one person’s pain to another person is not only invalidating and damaging, it’s also counterproductive and can prevent proper healing and coping.

Lauren: I think that is a really good point. So with all of that being said, do you have any final thoughts for everyone?

Kathryn:  I just want to encourage people to reach out to others and ask for help if you need it.  Whether that’s from a trusted support in your personal life or from a professional. I know there are a lot of supportive people on campus whether that is your RA, RHD, the counseling center and again so many departments that are really wanting to help everybody during this time.

Marissa: Thank you for mentioning all of the people you can reach out to on campus. You know, aside from friends and trusted family members, there are a lot of people on campus who really care about you too. That wraps up everything we have for today. Thank you so much Kathryn for joining us and discussing some of the ways we can cope when we are having a difficult time. We will catch you all on the next episode.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 16 - Eat Right, Bite by Bite

Eat Right, Bite by Bite

Released on March 17, 2021

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am the Substance Misuse Educator Marissa Whitaker. We have a return guest with us today, Andrea Hart, our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist through SUNY Cortland Dining. Thanks for joining us again.

Andrea: Thank you so much for having me again.

Lauren: So, on today’s episode we are going to be talking all about nutrition, calories and food labels.  The dietary guidelines for Americans which provide nutrition recommendations are updated every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services. So can you start off by letting us know about the updates for the 2020-2025 guidelines?

Andrea: Yes, overall the recommendations haven’t changed too much because the most basic principles of healthy eating still stand after decades of research, which are to focus on nutrient rich foods and limit consumption of certain nutrients that are linked to disease. Basically, choose a balanced diet mostly made up of foods from all 5 food groups. The Dietary Guidelines are aligned with MyPlate, so that’s a great resource for information about choosing the right amount of foods from all food groups. As far as what to limit, those recommendations haven’t changed since the last dietary guidelines were published, but unfortunately most Americans aren’t meeting the recommendations anyway. For everyone over age 2, it’s recommended to limit added sugars to less than 10% of total calorie intake, limit saturated fat to less than 10% of total calorie intake and limit sodium to less than 2300 mg which is 1 teaspoon of table salt.

Marissa: So Andrea, are there any limitations that have been made about alcohol or recommendations for that?

Andrea: Yes, so the guidelines also do recommend limiting alcoholic beverages, if people consumed them, to 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women with 1 drink being 5 oz wine, 12 oz beer, or 1.5 oz of 80 proof liquor.

Marissa: I like that you just mentioned what those guidelines are because one drink is not one long island iced tea at the bar. There are a lot of different shots going into that. So yeah following those guidelines for your drinks is really important to do too. So how would a students eat healthy without restricting certain foods?

Andrea: Well, I really encourage people to think about what they can add to their diet instead of focusing on what they should take out. I know I just talked about the dietary guidelines and the recommendations to limit added sugar, saturated fat, sodium and alcohol. This is important for good health, but focusing too much on this can be overwhelming for some people. On the other hand, focusing on things like drinking enough water and eating the right amount from all of the food groups, helps to naturally crowd out the foods that are high in salt, sugar and saturated fat. For example, if you like pizza, go ahead and eat pizza. But try to have a salad with it. Because if you eat the salad, you’ll get a lot of nutrients, and your belly will also be more full, so you may not feel like eating that extra slice. I also encourage students to think about what foods they really enjoy.  I ask what food they would be sad to never eat again. Usually there are one or 2 that someone will name, but those are the ones they think they have to give up in order to be healthy. Instead though, I help them figure out how much and how often they can eat it to both feel satisfied and not go over the recommended limits. For some it may be one piece of really good chocolate every day, for others it may be an ice cream sundae once a week. For other people it may be salty things like French fries a couple times a week or potato chips every other day. There is no magic answer that works for everyone. But the one thing that doesn’t work is to try to give it up forever. If it’s really a favorite food, then people are likely to give in eventually, and usually eat more than they would have had it. And besides, why give up your favorite foods? They are your favorites for a reason and it is something that brings pleasure to life. So have them and figure out what works. So, unless they make you sick in some way, like obviously if someone has an allergy and that will make them sick then they can’t eat that anymore, but other than that there’s a way to make them fit in everyone’s diet.

Lauren: Yes, that is a great mentality to have about food.  And if anyone is wondering what their own calories needs are you can visit https://www.myplate.gov/myplate-plan or they can also make an appointment with you Andrea, right?

Andrea: Yeah, absolutely.

Lauren: Yeah, so eating the right amount of calories is really important and I think that a lot of people might not know what happens to your body when you don’t eat enough calories?

Andrea: It’s important to think about the fact that calorie is a name for a unit of energy.  It’s the way we measure the energy we get in foods and drinks, and the energy our bodies use. We need energy for physical activities but for most people, the majority of energy our bodies use is to keep us alive.  All body functions require energy so breathing, your heart beating, hair growth, thinking, everything. So taking in less energy in the form of calories than our body is using means something has to give. To some extent, everyone has a certain amount of extra energy stored within our bodies, a little bit as carbohydrate but most is stored as fat. So if we take in less than we use, we’ll lose some weight. But if we do this too drastically, say on a crash diet, it’s very concerning to our body. It doesn’t know that we are doing it on purpose, restricting the calories, for all it knows we are wandering in a desert with no food available. The body wants to stay alive, so it will send less energy to the functions that aren’t essential for survival. Which means people can experience things like brain fog or trouble concentrating, hair loss, fatigue, loss of reproductive function, decreased immune system and all kinds of things. To prevent side effects like this, if someone is trying to lose weight, it’s important to cut calorie intake to just a little less than energy use. Now on the other hand, that doesn’t mean to exercise 3 hours a day in order to eat a pizza though. The body doesn’t react well to extremes like that.

Lauren: I have always been told, everything in moderation. So every food has different nutrients and the easiest way to tell what is in it, is to look at the food label. Can you talk about the more recent changes to food labels?

Andrea: Yeah, so in the US the Food Labels are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. Recently the Nutrition Facts Label, the part with the numbers like calories, that was updated to reflect things like new scientific information, new nutrition research and input from the public, with an aim to make it easier for people to use. So some of the changes are serving sizes have been updated to be more realistic and more like what people actually eat. They are also easier to read so you can tell if the package contains one serving or more than one serving. They also made calories bolder and larger, so they’re easier to find quickly. A line has been added for added sugars because science is pointing to added sugars being more of a concern than the total amount of sugar in a food, which includes sugars that are naturally occurring in foods like fruit and milk you will find naturally occurring sugars. But it is the added ones that the manufactures put in that we have to look out for more. There have also been changes in which nutrients are listed on the label, based on what Americans are more likely to be deficient in. Calcium and iron are still on the label because a lot of people still aren’t getting enough of those but vitamin D and potassium have replaced vitamins A and C. Another important thing that people may not know about food labels is that when you look at an ingredient list on a food label, the ingredients are listed in descending order by weight which means that whatever is listed first, is what the food has the most of. So when you’re looking for something made of whole grains, for example, you want the first ingredient to be a whole grain, such as “whole wheat.” However, it’s good to scan the entire ingredient list, because food manufacturers can try to trick you. If there is a lot of sugar in the food, they could split it into different types of sugars and list them separately. So you could see in one ingredient list things like sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, brown rice syrup, honey or other names of sugar. They can be listed separately because they are slightly different from one another. In a case like that, the food might be mostly sugar, but you may not see that as the first ingredient on the list.

Lauren: Right, so on the front of the package it says made with whole grain, that doesn’t mean the whole food is made up of whole grain?

Andrea: When it says made with whole grain, it means that some amount of that product is made with whole grains but it could be a very, very small amount. There is no standard for saying it has to be 50% whole grain or anything like that. So it is really best to find out more about that food by checking the ingredient list, rather than just by going with the label on the front that says made with whole grain. They have taken a lot of really sugary cereals and pastries for example and added that little label that says made with whole grain but it doesn’t really make it overall healthier, necessarily.

Marissa: I like that you say that because in addition to sneaking in all those sugars and then sneaking whole grain on a box of lucky charms, you still have the marshmallows in it. But what you were saying back to the serving size, because that was a real humbling experience to find out what one serving of cereal is. It is not like the troth of the bowl you fill up. So when you say they are changing the serving size to be more realistic for people, would that be on cereals and stuff too?

Andrea: Yeah, I mean it is going to depend on the product because some products already had a fairly reasonable serving size but a lot of them that are higher in sugar, saturated fat, sodium. Those are the ones that a lot of times it was a couple of chips or one little tiny cookie or a really small amount. Like maybe one scoop of ice cream might have been counted as a serving and that is just not realistic. And if people are not looking at the label that closely, they might not realize that is like eight servings of food.

Marissa: Right, like I am looking at you Ben and Jerry’s, but also at myself because there is no restriction there. I like that they put the whole calories like if you eat the whole pint, this is what you are looking at and that is really disconcerting. So that is all the time we have. Thank you so much again for joining us Andrea and explaining the new dietary guidelines to us.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

 

Everyone’s calorie needs are different, and based on all kinds of things including height, weight, age, gender and activity level. But let’s look at 2000 calories, which is a default or reference amount that is often given as a calorie level for an average adult. Keep in mind that you may need more or less calories to meet your needs.

Using MyPlate as a guide, you would need, each day:

2 cups of fruit

2.5 cups of vegetables

6 ounce equivalents of grains (examples of one ounce is a slice of bread or a half cup of rice or pasta)

5.5 ounce equivalents of protein foods (one ounce is an egg or tablespoon of peanut butter; 3 ounces of meat is about the size of your palm)

3 servings of dairy foods (one serving is a cup of milk, soy milk, or yogurt, or 1.5 ounces of cheese)

And about 250 calories from added fats and sugars

A sample day for a student eating in the dining halls could look something like this:

Breakfast: an omelet with veggies; 2 slices of lightly buttered whole wheat toast; 1 cup of fat free milk; 1 orange

Lunch: one slice of cheese pizza, a salad with one cup of lettuce, one cup of other assorted vegetables, ¼ cup chickpeas, and 2 Tablespoons of Italian dressing, plus ½ cup of diced melon and a glass of infused water

Dinner: A serving of roast turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, and corn, plus a yogurt parfait for dessert made with 1 cup of vanilla yogurt, ½ cup of diced fruit, and ½ cup of granola, and a glass of water

Snack: 1 apple, water

Episode 15 - COVID-19 Vaccine Information

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Released on Feb. 24, 2021

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. I work in the Substance Misuse Prevention and Education Office. We have a guest with us today, Maria Whitaker, hey same last name, an Infection Preventionist. Really quick before we get into that, let’s describe what an Infection Preventionist is. So they are medical professional who provides education and training to do what is required to prevent the spread of infections. So Maria, that you for joining us, we are happy to have you here.

Maria: Thank you both Lauren and Marissa, I am very glad to be here.

Lauren: So on today’s episode we are going to be talking about the COVID-19 Vaccine. We want everyone to understand information about the vaccine and encourage people to get it. So, to start us off, what is a vaccine and what does it do to your body?

Maria:  A vaccine is an injection that introduces molecules into your body to help produce things called antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that help fight disease in this case COVID-19 the production of antibodies is called an immune response. The immune response is how your body recognizes and defends itself against bacteria, viruses and substances recognized as harmful or foreign. Sometimes these foreign bodies are called antigens. So, in this case as we're talking about COVID-19 if you're exposed to the COVID-19 virus and you've been immunized, antibodies in your body produced from the vaccine that you received, will recognize this virus and attack it. It takes about two weeks for your body to build up an immune response once you have that vaccination. You need to remember, it is not a live vaccine. You are not going to catch coronavirus from getting vaccine

Marissa: Thank you for breaking it down slow enough that I can think and process what you are saying. We hear antigens, antibodies, the difference in people that often interchange them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “you are going to get the virus, they are putting it into you.” So I’m glad you broke it down like that. So you’ve had your two shots. Can you tell us a little about your experience with that and maybe what we should be doing to take care of ourselves after you get it?

Maria: Absolutely. So personally after my first vaccine, my arm was sore, the site was red, hot and swollen. I applied ice and took acetaminophen which alleviated the problem by the next day. Now my reaction after the second shot was a little different. The day after my second shot I had a sore arm. I was fine on day 2 but the next day, day 3 I had fever, chills, headache, awful headache and I was extremely tired, and I slept all day but it was just that one day. By the next day I was fine. One thing to remember is side effects are not uncommon after receiving a vaccine and studies show with the COVID vaccine, the side effects are going to differ. Some people don't have side effects at all. Mild side effects are good with a vaccination. This is telling you that your body is building up that immune response, you are responding to the vaccine. For pain management after you receive your vaccine over the counter pain medications will work.

Marissa: That is interesting too that yours took up to three days. So we've been talking for people who we know that had it and like the next day they felt it. So just keep that in mind when you do get your vaccine, you don't want to maybe take a double shift the next day. It varies again from person to person.

Maria: Yes, I did have to call in sick the next day. I was not able to go to work.

Lauren: I want to ask about pain management, I have seen that it is not proven but pain medicine that is taken before the vaccine could interfere with the vaccine. So you should not take it as a precautionary measure.

Maria: Yes, studies haven't been proven about that but with any vaccine it's not recommended to take any over-the-counter pain medications before you get the vaccine because you're not symptomatic. And yes, it may cause some type of inflammation in your body so that when you are immunized it's not going to be as effective.

Lauren: Yes, that makes a lot of sense. So is there anything important to know about the vaccine clinics or what you can expect? 

Maria: When you go to a vaccine clinic, the first thing that they're going to ask you are your demographics, if you have any allergies and they may also take your temperature. After that’s done, you will receive your vaccine from a healthcare professional. After you get your vaccine, you need to remain at the clinic for 15 minutes. The wait there is to ensure that you have no immediate reactions to that vaccine. Before you leave, they'll give you a vaccination card with all the information on it. Don't lose your card because this is going to be something very very important that you're going to need to keep.

Lauren: And aside from keeping it, you have to also, like everyone does, take a picture and post it on social media otherwise you didn’t get it done. So obviously we want to encourage people to get the vaccine. So, can you tell us more about what are the benefits?

Maria:  First of all, yes I do encourage everybody to get this vaccine because we need at least 80% of our population to get it to stop the spread of coronavirus and mutations from occurring. The benefits of this vaccine are there will be less serious illness, there will be less hospitalizations and it will prevent death. Getting this vaccine will also keep you from getting seriously ill. It will also protect the people around us who aren’t able to get this vaccine either because of their age or for medical reasons.

Marissa: So there are some people are worried that the vaccine was created so quickly and that it might not be safe. How was this vaccine created so quickly but also kept in line with standards? And does it really matter which vaccine you get?

Maria: No, it really doesn’t matter which vaccines you get at this time, just get vaccinated as soon as you can with what's out there. One thing to keep in mind that all of vaccines, these in particular, were studied and underwent clinical trials by the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, before they were given to the public. What made it go so quickly that we weren’t used to seeing was that there was a lot more funding available to these companies to create a vaccine because this was a pandemic. Once the trials were completed, the studies were reviewed. There's an organization called ACIP, the advisory committee on immunization practices, which reviewed all the data for final approval and FDA and CDC daily continue to monitor the vaccine for safety and side effects.

Lauren: So we have all these new variants of COVID-19 coming up and a lot of people have been talking about is it worth me getting the vaccine if there are other variants? Is it still going to work? Is the structure of the virus different? So are there any studies that have shown how these vaccines are holding up against these new variants?

Maria: Yes and studies are being done constantly on these variants. There are several variant strains out there right now. So far the antibodies that are generated through vaccinations do seem to recognize the variant strains that are circulating right now. By the time that the vaccine is available to everybody in the public sector, there will be several options available to you, more than just Pfizer and Moderna so check the manufacturer instructions if you are concerned about the effectiveness against the variant strains.

Lauren: And mutations happen all the time in viruses. There are constantly mutations for every viruses.

Maria: Right and that is notorious for viruses in general. You are right, they mutate very easily. This is why the influenza vaccine has to be given every year because you are receiving components in that vaccine that were circulating the year before.

Marissa: That is interesting I mean even if you are concerned about getting the vaccine, is what we are doing now working, I mean no, we need something more than we can’t just stay inside forever, although I do like that sometimes.

Maria: And I can tell you personally seeing people coming into the emergency room and getting admitted to the hospital who do have COVID, it is severe. They can’t breathe, they are often put on a ventilator. Staff is seeing all types of people coming into the emergency room. It isn’t just an old person’s disease. Young people are getting it too, including college students.

Marissa: Another reason why we should all be getting the vaccine.

Maria: Also please remember everybody that until most of our population is immunized you still need to practice social distancing in public, avoid crowds, stay six feet away from someone that's not in your social bubble. You're still going to need to wear masks. Don't touch your eyes nose and mouth, these are entry points for the virus to get into you. Avoid poorly ventilated spaces, clean and disinfect surfaces regularly and wash your hands often.

Marissa: Thank you for mentioning the cleaning. I saw that in some of the TikTok submissions so it looks like a lot of students are already doing the right thing. Thank you so much for joining us that is all the time that we have for today. We really appreciate you providing information on the COVID vaccine and answering all of our COVID questions. We will be back again in a few weeks with another podcast.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 14 - I Had COVID-19, Now What?

I Had COVID-19, Now What?

Released on Feb. 3, 2021

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am the Substance Misuse Educator, Marissa Whitaker. We have a guest with us today, Katrina Marshall who is the athletic trainer for Recreational Sports here on campus. Thanks so much for joining us Katrina.

Katrina: Hi everyone, I am totally excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Lauren: On today’s episode we are going to be talking about the impact that COVID-19 can have on your body, after you have contracted the virus. I thought this was important to go over since we don’t always think about long term effects. I will put a disclaimer that when we are talking about long-term effects, this has only been out for about a year so that is what we are looking at. We will know more information the further out we go. So Katrina, you have been reading articles that state the concern for long term heart, respiratory or brain concerns. Can you talk to us a little about that?

Katrina: Yes, so COVID 19 has shown to have an impact on many systems as you said; Respiratory system, Gastrointestinal, Brain, Cardiovascular. That is why we see a wide variety of symptoms that have presented in individuals with COVID-19. Those who have had COVID-19 are typically put in a 10 day isolation period and that period has been indicated to be the frame that your body is shedding the virus. Although you may no longer be contagious, many may notice symptoms lasting longer than that 10 day isolation period. Here is the big thing. It is important to be aware that the impact the virus has on your body may not just disappear after those 10 days. So there might be underlying effects that you don’t see and that you may be presenting with and you don’t even know about it.

Marissa: Yeah, and I think that is the important part about it, you don’t even know about it. So what sort of effects should people be looking out for post those 10 days?

Katrina: So yeah, some of those prolonged symptoms may include: difficulty breathing, cough, loss taste/smell, those are the typical ones that we have been seeing but those could last a little longer. The other ones are anxiety, depression, fatigue, clouding of mentation (which would be mental activity, so if you notice that you are a bit foggier), sleep disturbances, and a big one is heart palpitations, exercise intolerance, chest pain or pressure. So, A growing concern in the world of athletics and exercise has been the impact that COVID-19 on the heart, specifically. COVID-19 has been seen to directly affect the heart causing myocarditis and that is inflammation of the heart. It also has shown scarring of the heart. These conditions have been shown in individuals who have otherwise recovered from the virus. Now they are noticing people are having effects on their heart.

Both of these are super concerning as they play major roles in the hearts function and could lead to ventricular arrhythmias, particularly during exercise and activity. Ventricular arrhythmias are abnormal heart beats, causing the heart to beat fast, which prevents oxygen-rich blood from circulating to the brain and body. Ultimately this could lead to sudden cardiac arrest which is the big caveat here. Myocarditis is responsible for a good portion of sudden cardiac arrests in athletes so it is very concerning in the athletic population.      

Lauren: I was curious when we were doing some research about this on what percentage of people this is impacting. So I saw this report from the CDC that did telephone surveys of 292 COVID-19 patients. Among those people that were 18–34 years old with no chronic medical conditions, one in five had not returned to their usual state of health. So, it is not that it is happening to everyone but it could happen to young people and I feel like that is why it is so important that you are talking about this. So I was curious about other viruses. Is COVID the first one that is having this long term effect on things like the heart or have other ones also?

Katrina: So the heart can be affected by any common infectious causes so basically like HIV, Flu, Hepatitis. They can all have this almost like indirect injury of the heart. However the concern with COVID-19 is that studies are indicating that the virus can directly infect the heart. So instead of just coming from like the virus causes this little bit of myocarditis in the heart, it's actually directly impacting the heart.

Lauren:  Yeah, that is concerning. I saw something else from the CDC, that even people who are not hospitalized and who have mild illnesses can experience persistent or symptoms later on. So that’s talking about people that had mild symptoms but then I got me thinking what about the people that have not had any symptoms or asymptomatic, do they still have those increased risks?

Katrina: Yeah, unfortunately any individual who’s contracted COVID-19 are at an increased risk for these prolonged impacts, compared to those who have not contracted the virus obviously. Those that may have had serve reactions or symptoms may be at a higher risk but regardless of the acute symptom status, the risk for long term impact is still there. All of those that plan to return to exercise and athletic type activities should follow up with their primary care physicians and take extra precautionary steps regardless of the severity of their symptoms.

Marissa: So Katrina, what advice do you have for students that want to return to sports after they recovered from COVID? How should they do that safely?

Katrina: So yeah, it’s been recommended in athletics, they do 6 months prior, they want you to been seen by a primary care health physician. Not only to be cleared but to identify if you need further evaluation based on your history, activity level and individual response to the virus. Regardless of severity, I’d say take a few more weeks off from exercise to maximize rest and recovery. That is super important. We want to return to exercise and activities gradually. So it should take you at least 1-2 weeks after your initial 10 day plus 7 day rest period to return to your full normal routine. So when I say return to activities gradually, that means start out walking, start out with a stationary cycle for 15 minutes. That is enough to increase your heart rate a little bit to see how your body is taking that. Start to progress to simple movement activities like bike sprint with rests, or light running and jogging. Eventually you will add lifting, body weight and core, maybe some yoga. And then as you go you are adding 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, so you are just gradually progressing your activities and increasing your heart rate for longer periods of time. So there is a helpful infograph and the Recreational Sports Department will be putting out a newsletter coming out later this month.

Marissa: I am glad that you mentioned that because I don't think we talked enough about the after. I think its like ‘okay I’m recovered, I'm going to go back to doing the routine I was doing before.’ Even if your body can handle that, you feel like it can, what's going on internally that we're not aware of so I'm glad that you mention that.

Katrina: For sure.

Marissa: So once somebody has gotten back into their routine a little bit and I’m thinking athletes in particular, do you have any advice for what they should be doing whether it is competing or just even participating in recreational activities?

Katrina: Yes, so the big thing is listening to your body. So if you notice anything doesn’t feel right, chest discomfort, trouble breathing, headache, mental cloudiness or just don’t feel right, those are things that we want to stop the activities you are doing, take a step back and maybe follow up with a physician, only to make sure there is nothing else underlying going on. Another thing you may need to adjust your workouts down based on your body’s response. So that means if you are doing well one day, maybe can do 30 minutes, the next day you aren’t feeling so great so you break it down to 10-15 minutes.  You just might have to, it waxes and wanes as you go. You also, I would suggest putting additional rest days. So if you are used to having no rest days and you are working out every day, throw in a rest day every other day just to give your body a little more time to recover.

Marissa: I like that because we are not giving out medals for who work outed the most after they recovered from COVID. So I don’t understand what they bragging rights are to that. Yeah so I really appreciate you explaining all of that so clearly and I think it is important too with another disclaimer, if you do have questions about this, you should consult your medical doctor. We don’t have to be wed MD-ing how fast I can run a mile after this. So consult professionals, there are people on campus who you can reach out to. So thank you for that. I think that wraps up the time we have today. Again, one more thank you Katrina for sharing all this helpful information, we really appreciate it. We will catch you all next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 13 - Keeping Busy At Home

Keeping Busy At Home

Released Dec. 2, 2020

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. We have two guests with us today, Julia Martins who is a sophomore and a health education major and Megan Perine, a community health major who is a junior. Thanks so much for joining us.

Megan: Thank you for having us, we are happy to be here.

Marissa: On today’s episode we are going to be talking about how to keep busy at home. So now that most students are at home and perhaps have a bit of the boredom blues, let’s talk about some ways that you can keep busy. So, perhaps let’s start first with some “do it yourself” crafts that you can do at home.

Julia: So, DIY crafts can include sprucing up your wardrobe and making cute and functional decor for your room. A trend that's really in right now is DIY clothes so people embroider denim jackets or jeans. Also tie dye is very in and you can buy the tie dye on Amazon. For room décor, people can paint on canvases and hang them up in their room. Even if you're not a good painter you can do different things like splatter paint or I've even seen melted crayons on a canvas.

Megan: With painting you can use tissue paper to trace your image on a laptop with a pencil. And then you flip it over and put the lead side down and you can trace back over it again onto either the canvas or the clothing item and it will transfer over and then you can outline it however you please. Another craft is a zen garden which I have right next to me right now. Me and my roommate makes things a lot just because they're really good stress reliever. So to make this, you can either use a shoebox lid, a bowl, a plate. Anything you can find that will just hold sand.  Then you can paint the base and then you can fill it with sand. Then you can put rocks and crystals on the inside. You can sprinkle with essential oils and then you can get a rake, use a fork or just use your hands.

Marissa: I never even thought to add essential oils. I have like a bunch of those, well the zen garden and the essential oils. That's so cool.

Lauren: Yeah, I actually made a zen garden when I was a student and I was surprised how relaxing it was so I’m glad you brought that up.

Julia: Another thing you can do is create a boho yarn wall decoration. It's a nice piece of decoration for your room and you can make all different kinds. They don't all have to look the same because there's different colored yarns and different beads and you can make different shapes. And you can also look at YouTube and it can show you how to make it.

Lauren: Yeah, that is actually what I did a couple of winters ago. It was really cold, obviously, so I picked up knitting since it was something I could do indoors and I just followed YouTube. And I feel like for knitting at least, it give me a lot of satisfaction because you are creating something that is also useful as an end product. And in my mind, if there was ever a time to pick up a new hobby at home, this would probably be that time. We are not going that many places. So on the other hand, if people are looking to do things safely outdoors, I know you have some ideas for them.

Megan: Yeah, so this winter I feel like it's especially important to unleash your inner kid again, have fun with life, and just forget about your stress during the break. I find myself over winter breaks always still waking up at 7 a.m. being like what do I have to do today, what essay do I have to get done today and I just have a lot of anxiety. And one thing that I found reduces anxiety is just going outside and playing in the snow or doing something outside. Outside you can make snow angels, you can go sledding with your friends and be socially distant and safe and wear masks. And another fun thing to do is make snowmen.

Julia: I also like doing that stuff and it is also the season of giving. So you can make baskets to donate to the homeless which can include gloves, hats, canned food and a nice note. Another thing you can do with your family or friends is writing letters to soldiers. And I remember doing this when I was little in school but I feel like a lot of people our age don’t do it anymore. I feel like it's a really nice thing to do in your free time.

Megan: Yeah, I also have a friend who is in South Carolina in the Air Force right now and last Christmas she couldn't spend Christmas with her friends or family and she did receive some letters from young kids and adults and the tears that came down from that girl's face like I've never seen somebody so appreciative and so grateful so it's a really great thing that you can do. Also another thing that you can do at home is have a whole winter Extravaganza night. You can bake cookies, you can wear pajamas, drink hot chocolate. You can watch winter holiday movies and while you're watching this winter holiday movies it would be fun to sit underneath a fort.

Lauren: So speaking of movies actually, Marissa is my go-to whenever I am thinking of movies or tv shows. So Marissa, did you want to say what some of your favorites are that maybe some people can check out?

Marissa: Yes I am a really big fan of movies if only I had applied that to my studies I’d be a professor right now. Yeah so I have a lot of different things it all depends on what genre you're in. Lets see, if you are into TV shows, Ratched. I don't know if anyone saw that. Did you watch it Julia?

Julia: Yes, I just started it last week and it's so good I can’t stop watching it.

Marissa: Yes and so that’s by Ryan Murphy so any American Horror Story and the FX kind of fans, this is right up your alley. It's the backstory from Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Sarah Paulson plays Nurse Ratched. And just like the colors, the acting, it was so good. So there's that. Any other Sarah Paulson fans out there there's a new movie that she has called Run that's on Hulu. I haven't seen it but it looks really good. It has real Gypsy Rose Vibes. There's a lot of things we can watch that also better ourselves depending on what we're all watching on TV but there's a lot of enriching things we could be watching too. So for those recommendations I recommend 13TH that’s on Netflix it's really talks about criminal reform and racial justice and I recommend that. Let’s see there's a ton of stuff on Amazon Prime. I have been really into different civil liberties type of movies lately so there was something on Shirley Chisholm who was the first african american woman to run for president. It was really eye-opening just to see how one women has done a lot and that is not a name we hear that often either so I recommend that to people too.

Megan: So another documentary you can watch is the Soul of America and a lot of what it is, is reflecting back on things that have happened in our past like women's suffrage, african american suffrage, segregation and it compares it to what is going on now. One of the things they compared was like Marxism to social media today and how it is essentially the same idea and concept. And it was really enlightening and how we are not really repeating history but history is almost rhyming with itself now.

Marissa: Oh, I will have to watch that and the Social Dilemma. I don't know if anyone saw that so recommend both of those then.

Megan: I also really recommend watching the David Letterman interviews on Netflix. He interviews Ellen DeGeneres, Barack Obama, Zach Galifianakis. He interviews a lot of people and it's really interesting to learn about their stories.

Marissa: I’ll have to watch that. It’s in my queue, all of these things we've talked about. I just haven't gotten to the David Letterman ones yet.

Megan: They are so good, so good.

Marissa: Cool. So, a lot of these movies that you can watch on the streaming platforms have ways to do this virtually. So what are some other virtual activities that people can do with their friends and family?

Julia: People can actually have virtual dinner dates with their friends or significant others. And you can buy the same foods to cook, create a playlist to listen together and just sit and eat together as if you were together in person. So, you can also virtually play games with your families and friends whether it's the same board game you have or you can connect and download a game on your phone.

Megan: Another fun thing you can do is host a virtual PowerPoint night. I actually did this with my friends last weekend. We all took turns sharing our screens and going through our PowerPoints and it made us feel really connected and like we were actually together. Some ideas for these PowerPoints you can do what you think you and your friends' future homes will look like, which Disney characters you guys would be, what each friend would do as a president or all of your friends' funniest moments.

Lauren: Even if people don't want to make a PowerPoint, they can even just share their screen and scroll through different things that they like or sometimes like a fun thing is to guess what song it is if you are playing a song. So there are so many things that you can do.

Megan: Another thing that you can do is a lot of zoos have virtual tours. So if you go on zoom and you share your screen you can go through a virtual tour together and that's really fun and really cute.

Marissa: Have you been to explore.org before? Go on there because if you like virtual zoos they had these cameras that are built in like in wildlife sanctuaries, in the Sahara Desert, like all of these different places. You can go explore different animals and different cool stuff. You can get lost on this website for hours just looking at puppies sleeping. So that's all the time we have today. Thank you both so much Julia and Megan for providing us all the ways we can stay busy over winter break. And thank you to all of our listeners. This is actually our last podcast for this semester. But we will catch you all in the spring.

Lauren: And again, thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 12 - Impact of E-cigarettes on Health

Impact of E-cigarettes on Health

Released Nov. 18, 2020

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness.”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. We have two guests with us, Dr. Beth Gero who is a Program Specialist for St. Joseph’s Health and Jenn Hamilton who is the Community Engagement Lead Coordinator for the Tobacco Free Zone through the Cortland County Health Department. Thank you both for joining us.

Jenn: Thank you having us.

Marissa: On today’s episode we are going to be talking about the impact of e-cigarettes on health, especially now in the age of COVID-19.

Lauren: When we talk about e-cigarettes, that includes a lot of different things. So, we're talking about when people say e-cigs, vapes, e-hookahs, vape pens, all electronic nicotine delivery systems. Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like flash drives or pens. All of these things we are talking about when we say e-cigarettes.

Marissa: Yes, so when people say I don’t use e-cigarettes, I vape, we're talking to you.  So first off Jenn, can you give us an overview of the issue?

Jenn: Sure, so as COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, it’s really important to recognize the effects of vaping and smoking on immune function of the respiratory system. Very recently, Stanford University reported that young people who use e-cigarettes have a substantially increased risk of COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 and e-cigarette use and combustible tobacco use is just a disaster for lung health. E-cigarette use by young people really exploded starting in 2014, and then escalated in 2015/2016 with the introduction of JUUL.  

Marissa: So speaking of JUUL, how has the e-cigarette industry contributed to this problem?

Jenn: The tobacco industry has always displayed brilliance when it comes to producing and marketing its products. The promotion of flavors over the years and heavily utilizing all sorts of media, especially social media and retail channels have created this untamed beast. New York State has recently delivered impactful changes to public health policy by ending the sale of flavored vapor products that lack an FDA marketing order and also ending online sales of all e-cigarettes to private residences. Teens and young adults are certainly attracted to the sleek, high-tech design, the easily concealable kinds of e-cigarettes like JUUL, Stig, Posh, and Puff Bar. So regardless of their design and appearance, these devices generally operate in a similar manner and are made of similar components but they still lack appropriate regulation. Most e-cigarettes consist of four different components, and that includes a cartridge or pod, that holds a liquid solution containing varying amounts of nicotine. Many have extremely high levels of nicotine, they have flavorings, and a humectant, like propylene glycol, to retain moisture and create that aerosol when heated, as well as other chemicals. There’s also the power source which is usually a battery, a heating element and a mouthpiece that the person uses to inhale.

Marissa: Yea so like you said the humectant propylene glycol is great for face creams but not so much for our cilia and our lungs. So Dr. Gero, can you tell us a little more of the heating of these chemicals?

Dr. Gero: Yes, the aerosol is produced by the vaping devices and it is not harmless-cigarettes producing this aerosol is heating the liquid that contains the nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals that Jenn had just mentioned that make this aerosol not a clean water vapor which they want us to believe. There’re actually six key ingredients that are actually found in the vapor at this time. It’s the propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, ethanol, acetyl, propylene oxide. And propylene oxide has just been found in the last probably two months the peer review article and that is a potential carcinogen. So that is a new one that has been added. Once these chemicals are heated that I just mentioned, they in turn will make other carcinogenic compounds. So, let me give you a few of the chemicals that have been found once it is heated. They have found diacetyl and that actually you might have heard of this one. It is a chemical used to flavors some vape juices. It has actually been linked to the popcorn lung which causes scarring and obstruction to the lungs smallest airways and it is irreversible. They have found benzene which is found in car exhausts, heavy metals such as nickel tin and lead. We all know lead is a toxin that accumulates in the soft tissue and in our bones that acts as a neurotoxin damaging the central nervous system, highly, highly poisonous metal.  Another one is acrolein. Acrolein has been found to affect the upper respiratory tract and they used to make a lot of plastics. If you inhale it it's highly, highly toxic, I can’t stress that enough. Another one which is a very poisonous compound is acrylonitrile, some of these words are kind of hard to pronounce, this is used to widely manufacture plastic adhesive and synthetic rubber. So, this is just a few that I wanted to touch on for everyone to understand how important it is for us to help people quit inhaling anything into the lungs that could be causing any type of inflammation as the coronavirus will only find an inviting environment otherwise.

Lauren: Yeah I mean there is so many things, like you said it's hard to pronounce, I don't even think most people know what these ingredients are, let alone that’s what is going into their lungs so that's really scary. And in addition to our lungs e-cigarettes affect a lot of different parts of the body so can you talk a little bit more about that?

Dr. Gero: Yes, so let me give you some information on that. We know that nicotine is highly addictive and can slow brain development in teens, affect their memory, concentration, their learning, their self-control, attention and mood. And it is peer reviewed that if people vape at an early age, and the younger they start vaping, the harder it is going to be for that part of their brain to ever develop. We also know, studies show vaping has a big effect on heart disease, it will help build plaque in your arteries. It makes it harder for your blood to reach your vital organs and this can lead to heart attack or stroke. The US Surgeons General report that came out in 2010, it actually showed that smoking, vaping actually affects every vital organ in your body. Then what was more important in 2016 the Surgeons General came out with how it affects all of those organs with all the cancers and all of the diseases. Now I want to take a second to just give you a little background about EVALI. And it stands for e-cigarettes or vaping product use-associated lung injury. The latter part of 2019, all of the sudden we had young people that were presenting all of these problems with their lungs, having trouble breathing, being sent to hospitals and it presented identical to COVID.

Marissa: I like that you mention EVALI because it seems like a lifetime ago that that was on everyone's radar but now that’s still there. People are still vaping so now just COVID is an added layer to it. So, are vapors at a higher risk for COVID-19 infections and does e-cigarette use affect the COVID-19 outcomes?

Dr. Gero: Yea, I think that is a really good question. With the connections between serious complications if you vape, are you more likely to have serious complications from COVID-19? There are new peer reviewed studies out there that are stating yes because what they are finding is that the underlying medical condition that increase the risk of this severe disease and death from the virus are people that have chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, people that are vaping, cardiovascular disease. These are things that are caused by vaping. Even though COVID-19 is such a new virus, we do know now, that if your lungs are damaged, if your immune system is damaged, you are putting yourself at a much higher risk. That is why it is so pertinent today that if you are vaping, it is very important to try to quit smoking.

Lauren: And for any students that are listening here that are hearing all these things and they're thinking ‘you know what I do want to quit,’ I know there are tons of resources. What tips do you have for students that are looking to quit?

Dr. Gero: I would say the most important resource at this time where they can google it is the New York State Smokers Quitline. They have a great online program setup and is a free source for counseling and cessation related services. They have health-care providers that are able to provide a direct referral. Right now, I do know they are offering for people that use the electronic cigarettes, 3-months free of the Nicorette gum. Have them download mobile apps that are on helping them to quit smoking. If they think about quitting and if we get them to start thinking about it, then they are on the road to recovery.

Marissa: So, if there was ever a time to quit for our listeners, I think now is now that time. Speaking of time, that's all the time that we have for today. Thank you so much Jen and Dr. Beth Gero for joining us today. We will catch you all next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 11 - Supporting Our Immune System Through Nutrition

Supporting Our Immune System Through Nutrition

Released Nov. 11, 2020

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. We have a guest with us today, Andrea Hart, our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist through SUNY Cortland Dining. Thanks for joining us.

Andrea: Thank you so much for having me here today to talk about this.

Marissa: On today’s episode we are going to be talking about how to support our immune systems with nutrition. 

Lauren: Being that we are in the midst of flu season, we want to do as much as we can to help our immune system which in return will be helping us to fight off any viruses. So what can you eat to help your body?

Andrea: Well first of all, I want to be sure to say that there is no research showing that any specific food or supplement will prevent or cure illnesses like COVID or the flu. However, a healthy diet, combined with other lifestyle factors like stress management, adequate sleep, and regular physical activity can help support the immune system, which is the body’s defense against illness. It’s important to focus on foods that contain nutrients which are needed to build and maintain immune cells, protect against damage to healthy cells, and manage inflammation. While in the short term, inflammation is an important function of the immune system, chronic inflammation that lasts for a long time has been linked with a lot of health problems, including decreased immune function. It’s also a good idea to include foods which help support healthy bacteria in the body, as they help fight any harmful bacteria that might get in.

Marissa: So what are some of the nutrients that we should be looking for?

Andrea: The nutrients that are needed for these functions include Vitamins like A, C, and D, Minerals like iron and zinc, and Phytonutrients which are special compounds found in plant foods. These are important for a number of reasons including proper growth and activity of the immune cells, and many of them also function as antioxidants which protect healthy cells from damage. We also need protein for building cells throughout the body, including immune cells. And healthy fats which are unsaturated fats and specifically omega 3 fatty acids which help manage inflammation. And probiotics or healthy bacteria that helps support the balance between healthy and harmful bacteria, and when you add fiber to that, that has many roles including to support the healthy bacteria.

Lauren: It sounds like there are a lot of nutrients that could be helpful and foods typically have more than one of those nutrients in them. So as far as foods go, what food groups are most helpful in supporting our immune system?

Andrea: So, In order to get these nutrients, eat a balanced diet with a variety of different foods from each food group. With fruits, choose fruits in all different colors, as the color indicates specific phytonutrients found in that fruit. With vegetables, again, eat vegetables of all different colors, and include fermented ones like sauerkraut and kimchi which contain probiotics as well. Choose whole grains for fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients. Lean proteins. When you choose these, be sure to include plant proteins like beans and legumes, which contain fiber and phytonutrients in addition to protein. When you choose dairy foods, think about those with live and active cultures like yogurt and kefir. And also be sure to include healthy fats. Although fats aren’t technically a food group, when you do eat them choose unsaturated fats from sources like olive oil, avocados and fatty fish. Again, it’s important to eat a variety of foods from each food group, because each food is high in different nutrients, so eating a variety helps you get a healthy mix of nutrients that your body needs. If you want to think of a whole diet approach to eating like this, you could follow a balanced diet like the Mediterranean Diet, or use the MyPlate model, which you can find out about online at choosemyplate.gov. It’s also really important to take in enough calories because cutting calories too low puts stress on the body, which is not helpful for the immune system.

Marissa: I like that you mention having colorful meals. There is nothing worse than making dinner and you look down and you’re like that looks so beige. So having to add some color to it is helpful. And you mentioned a second ago we should be having the right amount of calories and I know that varies from person to person. So how would a student find out how many calories they need?

Andrea: Yes, calorie needs are based on many factors including height, weight, age, gender and activity level. You can calculate your calorie needs online at https://www.choosemyplate.gov/resources/MyPlatePlan. Also, hydration is super important too even mild dehydration puts stress on the body and can depress the immune system. The best option of course is water. If you don’t like it plain, you can infuse it with fruits, veggies or herbs, or drink diluted juice, or decaf or herbal tea, either hot or iced. Another way to hydrate is with soup – you’ve probably heard that chicken soup is great when you’re sick. Well, it really is. It can be soothing when you don’t feel like eating much, hydrating because it’s mostly liquid, and contains a variety of nutrients too. Veggie soup works for this too.

Lauren: I actually love making my own vegetable soup. I just add any vegetable I have and honestly I feel like the vegetables give it enough flavor so most times I don’t even add any other spices.

Andrea: Yea I love to make vegetable soup as well. Speaking of spices, I should also mention that there are some herbs and spices that may be beneficial for immune health, including garlic, ginger, turmeric, and capsaicin (which is the spicy component of hot peppers). More research needs to be done on these to find out the exact benefits of this, but unless you’re intolerant to them, they are safe to consume. I do recommend adding these to foods, as opposed to taking a supplement. For one thing, they add great flavor to foods. You might want to try them in your soup next time Lauren. It’s a lot harder to take in too much if you add it to your food. Unlike a supplement, where it’s pretty easy to go overboard, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. High intakes of some nutrients and herbal supplements can actually be harmful for your health, including your immune system. They are also not well regulated, so you may not be getting what you think you are. It’s really best to consume nutrients through food, unless you have a specific need like a deficiency diagnosed by a health care provider.

Marissa: Andrea, have you heard of fire cider tonic before?

Andrea: I don’t know about that specifically.

Marissa: It’s this stuff that it’s got like a bunch of ginger, horseradish, jalapenos all of these things put together and then they put apple cider vinegar in it and they let it ferment. But I have been having this stuff and it feels super helpful. I didn’t know if you heard of that.

Andrea: I have not heard of that specifically but those again, you are mentioning a lot of components that had have some research about them being healthy. Fermented foods as I said are really good for that probiotic effect and a lot of people are afraid of them. But actually what makes them a little scary for some people is what actually makes them so good for us. 

Lauren: That is really interesting and Andrea when you are talking about the nutrients and supplements that some of them could be harmful. And you know we talk about eating and everything should be in moderation and I think it can be a little confusing what you should eat less or what you should avoid. So what are some foods that you do want to stay clear of?

Andrea: Basically, you want to avoid, or at least limit things that stress the body and decrease immune function. The number one type of food to limit is ultra-processed food. Some processed foods are healthful, for example, if you take milk and you make it into yogurt gives you a nutrient-rich food. Or if you modify a grain like oats into rolled oats that are eaten as oatmeal, you get another highly nutritious food. But ultra-processed foods are highly modified from their original form, and contain additives that may enhance factors like taste, but don’t improve their nutrition. Ultra processed foods are usually high in things like saturated fat, salt, sugar, and again, unnatural additives like artificial flavors. Although ultra-processed foods are very common, unfortunately they are not great for us. For one, ultra-processed foods may increase chronic inflammation in the body. They also take the place of nutrient-rich foods that you could be eating instead. And, when these ultra-processed foods are high in sugar and other simple carbohydrates think cookies, cake, soda that type of thing, they can also cause a yo-yo effect on your blood sugar. So it’s best to set some limits of how much and how often you eat these kind of foods.

Marissa: So speaking of limits, can you tell us a bit about how alcohol and caffeine might impact our immune system and why limiting that might be a good idea?

Andrea: Yes, absolutely. Alcohol depresses the immune system, and it is also dehydrating and as already mentioned, hydration is very important for proper immune function. Caffeine should be limited as well, as it can be dehydrating, but especially because it interferes with the ability to rest properly, and adequate rest is really important for the immune system. Think about both the total amount of caffeine you consume, as well as the time you consume it. It takes a long time to leave the body, so the effects on sleep can last many hours after the caffeine buzz wears off. And think about all sources of caffeine, not just the more obvious ones like coffee and energy drinks. Many sodas have caffeine. It’s also in tea, especially black tea, but there is even some in green tea. Some unexpected sources include chocolate, fitness supplements like pre-workout, and even some over the counter medications, like those specifically made for headaches or PMS.

Lauren: This is all great to know. Unfortunately that is all the time we have today.

Marissa: Thank you so much Andrea for joining us and providing all the ways we can support our immune system. We will catch you all next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 10 - Safely Engaging in Sexual Activities

Safely Engaging in Sexual Activities

Released Nov. 4, 2020

Intro music says 10 minutes for your health and wellness

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. We have a guest with us, Dr. Jena Curtis, professor in the Health Department, Coordinator of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the Director of the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies. Thanks so much for joining us.

Jena: Thanks for having me.

Marissa: On today’s episode we are going to talk about how to safely engage in sexual activities during COVID-19, if one chooses to do so.

Lauren: And having sex with another partner is pretty much the closest you can get to someone else. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, that means putting each other at the greatest amount of risk assuming you are not already living together. There is a lot that everyone can do though to lower those risks, and ways that people can be sexually active without any risk to other people. So Jena can you talk about some of those things?

Jena: So first of all, lets challenge the idea that having sex with another person is one of the riskiest things we can do. Right? I would argue that choir practice right now with your entire gospel choir in an enclosed room for 30 minutes is probably riskier than having sex with one other person. This is not the time for folks who are already having multiple partners, to start, right. Obviously, we would like to limit your exposure to folks but the other thing we should think about is just like the way we use technology in our academic lives to lower our risk, we can use it in our personal and sex lives as well. So, there is lots of fabulous tech out there and luckily our students even before COVID were already making use of that.

Lauren: Yea and so part of that is sexting by using online platforms. The first thing we want to make sure that students are aware is getting consent from the other person- in general for any kind of sexual activity. In addition to that, in this virtual world. Can you talk about what that would look like in this digital world?

Jena: Sure, so the same way that I absolutely expect that folks are going to have consent before they engage in in-person sexual activity, my expectation is that before anyone sends anyone a pic of let’s say any areas that are typically covered by a bathing suit you would be able to articulate how you knew that was wanted. Right? And the same way we engage in physical activity we gradually build up and there is a sort of mutual exchange of giving and taking and checking in at each stage to make sure that this is okay, I would be really surprised and really disappointed in people who leaped right into sending a dick pic. That is not okay and that is not a great introduction. That is not a good look for anybody. Instead my expectation is there would be some verbal flirting. There would be some suggestive pictures. That people would talk about if they felt comfortable receiving nudes or sending nudes and what’s the context around that. Is this a private thing, is this something that would ever be okay to share any place else? All of those things need to be negotiated they same way when we are having physical sex with people we need to negotiate what that is going to look like and what our boundaries are.

Marissa: That is a really good point. You might be surprised in the places you need to exercise your boundaries. Obviously since we are inside a lot more I have been playing a little more Yahtzee on my phone and the amount of people who are going online to meet someone online via the Yahtzee platform, it was shocking to me. So, I am here ready to roll the dice, not getting unsolicited messages from people. And it’s amazing all of the areas that you think you are safe do be doing something and not to be getting messages that you don’t want, but it really is everywhere now. If I’m thinking too sometimes if we were playing this game in person, would you be really doing this? I don’t really think so because we are doing things online and are getting keyboard confidence but because it is online, people seem to lack conversation skills people might have in person.

Jena: So, one of the important things to remember is that we already have the skills to do this. The same skills that you use to negotiate safer sex or is somebody going to use a condom or is this relationship exclusive? Those conversation skills about here is what I am looking for and here’s what I need to feel safe in this. Or here is what I need to be happy in this are the same skills that we are going to use online to talk about what we are looking for, what’s okay and what our limits are.

Marissa: Yea that makes sense. So how can we translate some of these skills for people that might not be living together and they still want physical contact? What advice do you have for that?

Jena: That’s a great question. I don’t think anyone should have to feel like because of COVID you can’t physically see and physically be intimate with people that they are already close to or want to be close to.  And again, the same way that you weigh the risk of is it reasonable safe enough for me to have sex with this person. Does someone decide that they won’t have sex unless they are in an exclusive relationship or is it okay to understand that you are having sex with somebody that is also seeing other people? We should be having conversations before we are physically close with people, sexually or not, about what their risk tolerance is around COVID. So, for people who are going to be talking with people and then meeting those people, one of the conversations that is sort of important is not just that sexual risk conversation. Should we be using condoms? Should we be exclusive? Do we need to get tested before we have sex? But also, a COVID risk conversation. I would really love for you to come over and let’s have a conversation on how many people you are around on a regular basis and how many people I am around so people can decide on that COVID risk is acceptable for them as well.

Lauren: And it is interesting that you talk about wearing a mask and wearing a condom. All of these things we are wearing but we are doing all of these things to be safe. And when we are talking about protection, there are so many different methods but there are difference reasons why we are safe in general. So, for one, we want to protect against sexually transmitted infections and also, we want to protect against unintended pregnancies.

Marissa: Oh that is a good point. So, if a student is looking to be safe in the Cortland area, where would the student get condoms?

Lauren: That is a good question. Students on campus have access to safe sex supplies in residence halls. Off campus students can email health.promotion@cortland.edu so they can schedule when to pick up safe sex supplies. Now keeping all of that in mind, the last thing to do is to have fun. I would think the goal is to have really good sex. I know that is a specialty of yours to talk about.

Jena: Excellent. As the self-appointed sex-czar on our campus I don’t want anyone to be having sex unless they want to and unless it is really good sex for them. And everyone gets to decide for themselves what good sex looks like. Right? Because again we all have different things that make us happy and that we are looking for. And one of the things, I hate to say this because it sounds a little corny but I think one of the opportunities that this gives us is the ability to communicate what we are looking for sexually and what we are comfortable with sexually when we are not in the moment. Right, when we have a calm head and cool pants we can sort of talk about what would feel right. And I used to joke with students before COVID happened that if I was really the sex-czar and I had like legal powers nobody would be allowed to have sex wit anyone else until they could have a sober conversation about what they like and what their boundaries were. This gives us the opportunity to have that conversation before we actually meet face to face. Here’s what I am coming over for, here is what I am hoping for, here is what would make me really happy, oh my gosh I would love this and also, here are what my limits are for this interaction. So, the ability to have that when cooler heads are prevailing and we are not in that moment means that when people actually do get together, they have been able to build that conversation, they have been able to build sexual tension and they have been able to build trust. That’s a recipe for some really great sex. So, one more quick thing before we end, I want to put in a plug for self-love. This has never been a better time to practice exploring your body and figuring out what makes you happy. It is absolutely zero COVID risk, zero STI risk, zero pregnancy risk so if people are feeling uncertain about introducing another person in their life, if they are worried about their COVID exposure, this is a fabulous, fabulous time for people to spend some quality time with themselves.

Marissa: Yes, you are your safest partner right now. It reminds me of the Spartan cheerleaders for any 90s Saturday Night Live fans out there where they were like sex can wait, masturbate so I feel like that’s a good way to tie this all together.

Jena: Everybody should give themselves a big hand.

Marissa: That’s awesome. On that note, let’s give Jena a round of applause for joining us. Thank you so much for providing ways to have safe sex during COVID. I think that is all the time we have today, we will catch you next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 9 - Social Justice Matters and Mental Health

Social Justice Matters and Mental Health

Released Oct. 28, 2020

Intro music says 10 minutes for your health and wellness

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli. 

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. We have two guests with us, AnnaMaria Cirrincione, the Director of the Multicultural Life and Diversity Office and Lima Maria Stafford, the Assistant Director of the Multicultural Life and Diversity Office. Thank you both for joining us.

AnnaMaria: Thank you for having us.

Marissa: So today’s episode we are going to be talking about mental health and current social justice matters. 

Lauren: So there is a lot going on in our country right now and a lot has been impacting people’s mental health. So can each of you talk about some current things that have been impacting people’s mental health and why?

AnnaMaria: So right now there is obviously a lot going on in the world. I think with the elections coming up, the COVID pandemic, Black Lives Matter movement and I think it can feel very overwhelming. With the pandemic it is difficult having to social distance and of course the Black Lives Matter movement. I know we have been working really hard in MLDO to help support our students through what they are experiencing and seeing in the news. And we created the Black Lives and Liberation forums which we have been hosting once a month. We started the forums because it is a lot to process and it is a lot of emotional stress that comes from doing social justice work. I know me personally, I don’t know how many of you heard about the President’s executive order on diversity and inclusion. That has been stressful and causing anxiety on my part because it drastically affects the work that we do in the Multicultural Life and Diversity Office. At the moment it is not affecting us as much, but it could in the future. But for those of you who may want to look into it more, it is basically making us not talk about certain things or we can have repercussions of losing federal grants or contracts. And things we are told not to say in diversity workshops or trainings are things regarding white privilege, critical race theory, implicit bias, or things that could potentially make people feel uncomfortable. Which is very difficult to do when you are doing diversity and inclusion work. It is meant to bring you out of your comfort zone so all of this can feel very overwhelming and put that on top of whatever you are dealing in your personal lives or our students with their academics, it is difficult times, for sure.

Lauren: Absolutely. And Lima I know you usually travel a lot and how has this been on you?

Lima: Yes, it has definitely been tough especially in general with the pandemic has affected my mental health. So with the pandemic, like Lauren you mentioned, I usually travel a lot out of the country, at least once a year and I wasn’t able to this year so I was like oh man. And I didn’t get to spend time as much time with my family and friends like I usually do. In terms of lack of diversity of counselors in the area that definitely affected me because it was a struggle to find a person of color or someone to relate to. And not saying that white folks can’t do this type of work but for me I know I wanted ot have someone that I feel I can relate to or seen that could help me through the things I was dealing with. So the good thing is I was able to find services outside of the area and it is nice because of everything being virtual anyway so that was helpful with the pandemic and that’s been going great and I love it. So I am glad I was able to get help for myself in relation to everything going on.

Marissa: Yea Lima, you actually bring a really good point up. I am also going to make it a big picture issue. There is not a lot of diversity in the mental health field. I actually was just looking this up earlier this is from the American Psychological Association. I saw that 86% of psychologist are white and out of George Washington University they did a study on how many social workers that can practice counseling, 69% of those MSW are also white so aside from the local area, it is a bigger picture issue nationwide.

Lima: Yes, definitely. Thank you for sharing that.

Marissa: Yea, yea, I thought that was really interesting. So aside from seeing counselors, what are other things you do to cope or what others can do to cope?

AnnaMaria: So I know for me personally, when the pandemic first hit it was March so it was still very cold. For me once the weather started getting better, something that really helped was going for walks and I think just being outside and getting some fresh air and clearing my mind. Me and some friends even set up a fitness challenge because we realized none of us were really getting out or moving. Sitting in front a screen all day can be very tiresome and makes our bodies achy especially at my age now.

Lauren: I feel it too.

AnnaMaria: Yup. So we set up little challenges and we would send each other videos. So one day it was like do 10 jumping jacks and the next day it was like go for a 10 minute walk and you know we would help support each other through it. I think something that also really helped was we would do zoom dates with family and friends so that helped connect to the people I was very much missing and wanted to see in person but couldn’t. And I think especially when you are talking about the different things related to what we are seeing politically and with social justice as far as coping and getting help. The biggest thing for me has been finding supportive circles and trying to do what I feel, although I can’t change the world over night, my part in helping to make change. And then again being a part and one of the facilitators of the Black Lives and Liberation forum has been huge for me because it makes me feel like we are making an impact and giving our students a voice on this campus about very important matters.

Lauren: Yea, that’s awesome. You definitely are and that platform is so needed.

Marissa: So those are some great ideas AnnaMaria. What about you Lima? What do you do?

Lima: So for me, some of the things I use to cope is I love to cooking, especially Caribbean food and trying new recipes. So, I found myself baking a lot. I love music and dancing, so I am always jamming to Gospel and Caribbean music around the house. I love working out and playing sports especially, those are like me go to. So with that being said, those are some ways for me to cope. I know the Student Affairs Office sent an email on October 19 so if you want to refer back to it. They sent an email on behalf of Counseling Services about self-care during study in place. So here are a few other suggestions from them that I thought would also be great. And you can also find them on helpguide.org. So one of the first things they said was stay informed but don’t obsessively check the news. So making sure you stick to trustworthy sources. Step away from media if you start feeling overwhelmed. Be careful what you share. Do your best to verify information before passing it along. One of the other things is focus on the things you can control. So there are so many things out of our control including how long the pandemic lasts, how other people behave, or what’s going on in our communities so when you feel yourself getting caught up in the fear of what might happen, try to shift your focus to things that you can control. So keep that in mind. One of the other things emotions are contagious, so be wise about who you turn to for support. So basically turn to people in your life who are thoughtful and good listeners. And one of the next ones is to take care of your body and spirit. So for example whether it is eating healthy meals, getting plenty of sleep, meditating, keeping those in mind and be kind to yourself. And lastly, help others. I love that suggestion because it says ‘it will make you feel better’ and I have noticed that even with myself when I was able to do something for other people and things have been tough for me, it made me feel better and feel like I can make a difference on others lives. So it is more meaningful and purposeful. So those are the things that were suggested in that email from the Counseling Services office so feel free to refer back to that email because they have a  lot of really great resources.

Lauren: People can’t see but the whole time I was nodding and I was like yeah all of these things are so helpful and such great resources so thank you so much for sharing those.

Lima: Yes, definitely.

Marissa: I need to work on obsessively checking the news. So that is one little assignment that I can take away from this, that’s for sure.

Lauren: So are there any last words of advice for our students?

AnnaMaria: I would say that although these are trying times, know that we are stronger then sometimes we think we are and to continue to persevere because we will get through this together.

Lauren and Marissa: I like that.

Lauren: Jinx. That was really well said.

Marissa: So that is all the time we have today. I think we all have some ways that we can work on our coping a little bit better now. Thank you both AnnaMaria and Lima for joining us. We will catch you all next week. 

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well. 

Episode 8 - Transitions in College

Transitions in College

Released Oct. 21, 2020

Intro music says 10 minutes for your health and wellness.

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker, the substance abuse educator. On today’s episode we are going to be talking about some of the transitions that students’ face in college. We have a guest with us, Greg Diller, who is the Coordinator of Transitions Programs in the Advisement and Transition Office. Thanks for joining us, Greg.

Greg: I’m glad to be here. Thank you.

Marissa: So, there are so many transitions that students face when they come to college, whether it’s for the first time or coming back for another semester. This semester in particular, there is an added layer of transitions that students are faced with. Can you first talk to us a little bit about what kind of transitions students face from being at home vs being in college?

Greg: Yea absolutely. So, in normal years, the transition ranges from leaving from what is familiar and living on your own for the first time to how to make sure you don’t shrink all of your clothes with you do laundry for the first time. It’s making new friends and being apart of this new and diverse environment that students get to join and its scary to put yourself out there and feel vulnerable doing so. With COVID, it does throw a new layer on top of what is already challenging for students. So much of what we do as a campus community is relationship building during those first few months. That comes from students’ in person learning, building relationships with professors and other students in their major, from going to Cortland Nites, cheering on fall sporting events. Things that I know I am missing. And casual conversations in the dinning halls and hanging out with friends in residence halls. So, Cortland as a college itself is transitioning to how we can still offer these types of events and experiences safely. Students are learning new systems and new information, adjusting to the reality of our new world. And it’s important for students to try new things and new ways of doing things this semester especially and provide any feedback to us on what we can continue to improve or add moving forward.

Marissa: I like that you say that to put yourself out there to do things. I remember when I was a first-year student, I didn’t go to the president’s barbeque that everyone else was going to. Everyone got a sunburn and they all showed up with their red faces and there was such unity, so not only was it obvious that I was not going to the mandated group activities, but then I missed out on all of the fun stories that people had to tell after so you’re right, putting yourself out there is a good thing that students can do.

Greg: Yea, and it’s definitely hard. I am an introvert by trade so I know for me it is even a little harder to be in some of those big group settings but especially this semester it is one of those, in this virtual world. I know for me sometimes you go and you want to scope things out but you are kind of thrown into a room of people, a virtual room of people, so I know it can definitely be challenging. A lot of times we have done events virtually throughout the semester and the students that have come, we have had some really great conversations, had some laughs, had some fun, been able to bond together a little bit. People have shared, they have been able to meet and talk and win some prizes but also just made a new friend online. So, I think it has been very different for everybody but we still had some really great experiences so far with the students who have come.

Lauren: Honestly, even with me, I’m mostly an extrovert, and even with me going in to these virtual things its so awkward. It doesn’t matter who you are, there’s not really a way to make it not awkward so I just kind of embrace ‘you know what, it’s awkward’. So, with all of these transitions, we are all in college and the biggest thing is being successful. So, what about students successfully transitioning with their academics?

Greg: Absolutely, so on top of all the social transitions I just mentioned, academically students are learning a new school with new lingo, new expectations, how to take college level courses, and some of the students may have taken AP or other courses through their high school but it’s just all new. So, it is just a difference level and with COVID it is a new layer of learning how to participate in online classes and make those meaningful connections. But in some ways, we are more accessible than ever as an institution. I encourage students to go to professor’s office hours, make appointments with them outside of class virtually. Professors have been really great in meeting with students and so many things have happened this semester changes because we are in a pause that professors have been really great to help students and meet them where they are. Students can continue to become more familiar with blackboard and starfish and know ways to ask for help when they need it. The learning center and the writing center have all their tutoring and resources online, so students are still getting that help that would normally be given in person in the semester. In my office, Advisement and Transition, like many other offices, there is the live chat availability that are on all of our websites now. Our office is advising students virtually from 9 to 3 on Wednesdays. We normally have our walk-in Wednesdays on Wednesdays but we are virtually 9 to 3 now so anybody can pop in with any questions. The biggest message students can share about being successful is ask for the help the moment they need it because we are all here as a campus community to answer that call. 

Marissa: So, it sounds like all of these services are still there its just about changing our routines to finding these services. What used to be we could go in person, drop into an office, now we are setting up appointments virtually but you can still have access to all of those things. Which is a good segue to routines in general. How are those helpful to students and how do you go about setting up a good routine?

Greg: Yes, absolutely. So, I facilitated a few sections of COR 201, which is enhancing the transfer experience course and we spend some time talking about time management. When we ask transfer students what is the biggest struggle for them adjusting to a new school academically, time management is always at the top of the list. So, we spend some time looking over weekly calendars, providing some tips and reflecting from week to week. The assignment I usually do is I do an over-the-top busy schedule and just see how schedules can fill up so quickly. Making sure students’ have time to eat, sleep and have that wellness that they need. We talk about wellness a lot because you need to take time each week for yourself as well and not just go go go study. So, then I have them do their own actual schedule and reflect on that. I know many students will go through all their syllabi in the beginning of the semester and put in every assignment that’s due in a student planner or a calendar which I think is great. But then sometimes it could get lost because you don’t know where all that stuff went. So, I encourage students to go one step further and make a two to three week plan out. Your classes might be similar, your work schedule might be similar but your outside of work whether it is studying or reading or papers, that is going to change week to week. So at least you know, two or three weeks out how those are going to look, you can plan out a little bit better. You are not waiting until the last minute to read or study for an exam and it might relieve a lot of stress that might come when you realize you have a busy week. Students can also make an appointment with somebody in the learning center and continue this, because their professional tutors really help them learn to not only study a little bit differently but just really find what’s best for them. That’s something I would really encourage, not just transfer students but really all students to do that.

Lauren: Yea and we talk about all students in general for all of these things but this week is National Transfer Student Week so is there any advice specifically for transfers that you want to let them know?

Greg: Yes, I would say for transfers, because when we look at transfers and transition, it is a new school for them as well. Just because they have been somewhere and they know how college professors might work, its finding how that works here. And I would encourage them to talk to their professors, meet with them, if they are in person when we can be back in person, meeting with them before or after or virtually and going beyond the class with that to get to know them a little bit better.

Marissa: It’s really interesting that you say that because it sounds like COVID has kind of leveled the playing field for all students because everyone is kind of making a transfer into an entirely different system then what we knew before. So, in one way we can all kind of identify like that together.

Greg: It definitely is. And at any given point, roughly 35-40% of graduates each year are transfer students. So, it is a huge part of our population and of what we do here at Cortland.

Marissa: Wow, I never realized there were that many students that have transferred in. That is like a sixth of our population on campus.

Greg: It is yea. So, we are about a little over 6,000 and almost 1,000 each year. So yea it’s a large part. I know we have been putting some things together for National Student Transfer Week and retention is 84% which we are always really proud of. I think that has to do with a lot of the really great things that a lot of office do for transfer students around campus. So, we are really proud of all of that focus and the great students that we do bring in.

Lauren: Yea, I agree, we have some really great students here at Cortland.

Marissa: Well that is all the time we have today. Thank you so much for joining us today Greg. I feel like we learned a lot about the Advisement and especially the Transition programs here on campus. We will catch all of you next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 7 - Impact of Alcohol and Other Drugs

Impact of Alcohol and Other Drugs

Released Oct. 14, 2020

Intro music says 10 minutes for your health and wellness.

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli. My co-host Marissa Whitaker actually has an additional role as our guest today since she is the Substance Abuse Prevention and Education Associate. So Marissa, thank you for joining us.

Marissa: Thank you. It’s weird to be here in the other seat. Although it is the same seat I am sitting in when I am co-hosting.

Lauren: So on today’s episode, we will be talking about the impact of alcohol and other drugs. We know that alcohol and other drugs can impact many different aspects of our bodies. So I was hoping we can take a look first at alcohol and its impact on our immune system.

Marissa: Yea, yea. Alcohol absolutely plays in role in our immune system. It actually weakens the body’s ability to fight off infection. So this, I think a lot of the time you think oh the flu, but this anything from our gut microbiome because alcohol plays a role in that, to our susceptibility to contract pneumonia, to, this is real important, to disrupting our ciliary function in our airways. So cilia are the things that clean out our airways to keep it clean from mucous and dirt. So you can’t really fight off COVID or the flu if you are fighting off a hangover.

Lauren: Yes, that is so important for everyone to keep in mind right now. So the best way to not have your immune system weakened, is basically to not consume alcohol. But we know that approach doesn’t always work so can you talk about harm reduction and using alcohol and what the role of that is?

Marissa: Yea, I’d love to. So let’s before we get into that, start off with a working definition of what harm reduction is. It is really just a set of practical strategies and ideas that we can use to aim at reducing negative consequences to something. It’s everywhere. We wear seat belts when we get in the car. We wear helmets when we are riding a bike. Same with sunscreen. So in terms of alcohol use and harm reduction, just what you said before, looks different for different people.  What I think one of the great things about harm reduction is one of the key principles of harm reduction is to meet people where they are at with things. There is not a cookie cutter way to approach this stuff. So for some people, abstaining from alcohol altogether is their best option. It’s not usually having one or two beers, it could be a case of beer, or they blackout every time they drink, or they get in a fight with a friend, a significant other or family. If alcohol tends to be the common denominator in a lot of those situations, for some people the easiest way to avoid those negative consequences is to just abstain from alcohol. But some people might argue that abstinence only isn’t always the best approach for some people. So I think that is where harm reduction can come into play. So that would be using some strategies that you predetermine ahead of time to avoid some of the negative risks associated with drinking. So for example, easy things that people can do. Eat before you drink, during while you are drinking, after you’re drinking. Always, always hydrate. Ideally with water in between your drinks.

Lauren: And the reason that you are hydrating is because alcohol is dehydrating you.

Marissa: Oh yea, absolutely. I mean it is really cool the anatomy of a hangover. It is entirely preventable, well yeah from not drinking, but again, the reason that you have that headache in the morning is because the alcohol has sucked the water from your body and your brain is expanding to fill in the brain cavity, so that’s why you feel like your head is pounding. So again, staying hydrated is extra important if you are going to be consuming alcohol. So other things that we can do. We can stay with your friends if you are going to go out. Now this becomes a little bit of a difference situation while maintaining social distancing and gathering guidelines but not wanting to be out at a party alone. Stay with your friends if you are going to drink and always have a designated driver. I think college students do a really good job of that. And the data shows that as well, especially on our campus. And I think that most college students are responsible when it comes to wearing masks and I think that most college students are responsible when it comes to drinking as well. We don’t hear about the students that are staying in and having a Netflix marathon or staying in and having a game night with our friends. So I think maybe giving acknowledgment to the students who are doing the right thing is also important to do too.

Lauren: Yea, that’s so true. In addition to how alcohol and COVID-19 don’t mix, its important to look at how alcohol is consumed. First, sharing drinks or shots in general or a drinking game can easily spread respiratory droplets. Then being in a group of people and when someone drinks anything indoors, they are going to take off their mask off. So are you aware how close you are to other people? What the ventilation systems are in those places? These are all important things to keep in mind so students are protecting themselves and others.

Marissa: Yea, so you mentioned not getting into a large group together but I think its also important to talk about not drinking or using substances alone. These are some stressful times that we are in and so I think it is really important to be mindful of any substances that someone might be using. Why do you want to drink now? Am I drinking out of anger? Sadness? Frustration? Those are not good times to be turning to a substance, and it is not a sustainable way to cope with stress.

Lauren: Right, there are a lot healthier ways to cope. So I do want to switching gears on focus on the other drugs and specifically cannabis. If you are inhaling anything aside from air, that’s not good for your lungs. So cannabis is no different.

Marissa: Yea and that’s a good point. Any smoke in the lungs is not good smoke. And this was pre-COVID but now during in the midst of COVID there are some added risk factors that we should talk about. As its getting colder and you are going into someone’s car which is dangerous on so many other levels. What are you doing in the that car? There is no way you are six feet apart from people. That is a really good way to contain a virus. So again, you are in that closed environment you take a hit and you start coughing. That is like the definition of how these diseases are spreading. Because just what you said before, there is no way to wear a mask and hit a bong at the same time. It’s just not conducive to one another. So you cough, the infected person might cough, their respiratory droplets are in the air. The people who are in that car or in that close space are inhaling those droplets in. And let’s just rewind back a little bit to how that blunt is sealed together. With someone’s saliva. That was disgusting even before COVID happened so you are at a party and someone passes it to you and you hit it. So yea your friend passed it to you but do know who rolled that blunt? Again, sketchy on a good day but now that there is a communicable disease that’s going around. Perhaps smoking isn’t a good thing to be picking up right now. Or if you are doing it, maybe is a good tie to take a tolerance break.  And again, this isn’t just COVID, this is how communicable diseases spread. So sharing cannabis can potentially expose you to the flu, herpes simplex 1(those are the cold sores we are talking about), strep throat, staph infections, mono, and meningitis. I mean, that’s the definition of a shared experience, just not a good one.

Lauren: Not the ones that we are looking for. Aside from them smoking cannabis, also there are some people that use edibles or ingest it. How is that impacting their bodies?

Marissa: Yea and that is a really interesting and one might argue a complicated point that you bring up. So on one end, yes you are not inhaling the smoke, vapor, concentrate. You are not inhaling something so from a respiratory standpoint, that might be a check plus. However, there is another side to that coin. Edibles can be unpredictable. So because the THC is absorbed by the digestive track, it takes longer for it to kick in, if you will, then if it was smoke. So that’s why a lot of people, you might hear from friends or anecdotally they have a bad time after using edibles because they eat a brownie and they are like this doesn’t work, this thing is garbage, I’m just going to eat the rest of the pan and see how this works. Edibles can take up to an hour for some people to kick in so by the time you already had two or three after that, you might be in for a bad time. It’s also an entirely different molecular structure what someone is having after they eat it. Typically, when you smoke, that’s delta-9-THC but when you are eating it that becomes, metabolized to 11-hydroxy-THC which has a much stronger psychoactive property. Also, in terms of responsibility, we live in a state where cannabis is illegal for adult use. So, when I’m talking edibles, I’m thinking more from a regulated place like a dispensary. When we are talking edibles in a state where it is illegal, it might be a roommate, friends, boyfriend who just made them in his kitchenette. So we are not talking a regulated product here either. So we don’t know is that 5 milligrams of THC or 50 milligrams of THC that I am ingesting.

Lauren: That is a big difference. I know we could talk so much more about this but unfortunately that is all the time we have for today, but this was so helpful so thank you so much Marissa.

Marissa: Thank you so much for turning in everybody. We will catch you next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 6 - Reducing Stress and Meditation

Reducing Stress and Meditation

Released Oct. 7, 2020

Intro music says 10 minutes for your health and wellness.

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. On today’s episode we are going to be talking about how to reduce your stress and the benefits of meditation. We have a guest with us today, Melanie Jennings who is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Senior Counselor here at the college. Thanks so much for joining us Melanie.

Melanie: I’m excited to be here.

Marissa: So I’m sure a lot of people are aware that there are a lot of stressful things going on right now in the world. What are some things we can do to reduce some of that stress?

Melanie: I think the first thing that is really important is to just normalize that there is stress in life and this year probably in particular there is increased stress. So just lowering expectations a little bit and just be kind to yourself. Because if you are struggling right now, if there is a challenge in your life, you are already going through a lot. So just try to find some compassion. You are probably doing the best you can with what you have right now.

Marissa: Yea, I like that. I think that makes a lot of sense. Just being kind to yourself because that can go a long way in order to take on some of the other tasks that might be thrown at us too.

Melanie: Yea, it can be hard to do that. An exercise that is helpful for some people, if it is hard to know what to say to be kind to yourself, is to imagine you are talking to a small child, a friend or anyone you care about. And think, would I say this to someone that I really care about? If the answer is no, then maybe channeling what would I say to that person. Would I be more supportive? Would I be more loving? Would I be kinder? And then seeing if there is a way to transfer that to yourself because it means you have the capacity to think those things and believe them.

Lauren: That is so true. I have actually said that to some people that I realized I was like wow do you hear what you are saying to yourself? Would you say that to me? And they were like oh no of course not. And I’m like then why are you saying that to yourself? It’s so true I think we can all use a little bit more self-compassion. Something else that I have heard of and I don’t know if you can talk about is grounding techniques. What exactly are those and why can that be helpful?

Melanie: Grounding techniques are one of my favorites. There’s a bunch of different ways to ground but grounding the way I see it is making a connection between yourself and a physical object. Whether it is walking barefoot on the ground, in the grass, in the dirt. Hugging a tree, those are some outdoor examples. But there are a lot of different ways to ground and one of my favorite ways is to encourage people and myself to just be aware and drop into your body in the present moment. Be aware of the connection your body is making with whatever you are sitting on, if you are sitting. Feet on the floor is best so you can make contact with the ground and just noticing, just observing. You are where you are, you are here. Reminding yourself, I am in my room, I’m in my class, I’m outside, I’m safe right now. A lot of times people are using grounding when they are anxious or they are stressed so they are really out of their body. So just bringing yourself back physically and then from there, people like to use senses. So they can go through their senses and name three things, four things, five things with each sense. Like right now I am looking at Lauren and Marissa, I am smelling a fall candle so you can kind of just go through your senses and it can really help just bring you back to the present moment and help your nervous system get regulated. It takes you back from the sympathetic nervous system where your body is anticipating something stressful happening that you are prepping for, back to the parasympathetic nervous system where your body is more relaxed.

Marissa: Even as you were mentioning all of that, I was changing how I was sitting. I was like you are holding your coffee cup. You really can lose yourself almost in getting to where your senses are so that’s really cool.

Lauren: Yeah that so true. I am really more aware of what I am doing. Aside from when you are stressed or anxious, would you use grounding any other time?

Melanie: Well sometimes grounding is great just to take a break and a pause so you can focus on the task at hand.

Marissa: Yea and I imagine if your mind is wandering if a thousand different directions at least if it is wandering towards something a little more productive than your fears and worries because that’s not helpful either. So those grounding techniques sound like they can be really helpful. I also know meditating can be helpful too, so what are some of the benefits around that?

Melanie: Meditation is a form of mindfulness. Mindfulness people have described as being in the present moment on purpose, so intentionally, and without self-judgement. And that part can be really hard. But one of the primary parts of meditation is connecting to your breathe. We obviously always know we are breathing because we are alive, but we don’t always stop and notice our breathe. We don’t really consider the last time we were intentionally aware of our breathing, the quality of our breathing, is it relaxed and natural sounding, so meditation really just brings you back into your body in either a specific or general way. There are people that have a strong sitting meditation practice and they sit on their zafu, their meditation pillow with their hands in a certain way and they do it for a certain amount of time and they breathe in a certain way. I personally don’t do that. I am more of a mindfulness person who also meditates in certain ways. SO for me, yoga is probably the main way that I meditate because I am connected to my mind and my body. I am moving my body in a really mindful and joyful way, connected to my breathe. But people can mediate in any kind of way. I have heard a lot of my clients who enjoy exercise or who have been athletes, that’s how they mediate. Just being very in your mind and in your body and having them be in the same place and the same time.  

Marissa: That’s really helpful to hear because I always thought meditation was more just clearing your head of thoughts and I wickedly struggle with that. So my question was are some tips for people that find it difficult to mediate but I feel like you kind of answered it partially by focusing on your breathing so that is something tangible that you can do then.

Melanie: Yea absolutely. I think one of the major tips going off of what you said Marissa, is that the goal is never to clear your mind of thoughts. I think that’s an idea that has been put out there a lot and it really deters people from meditation or then they get really self-critical thoughts thinking that they have failed at meditation. You are just noticing them. They are coming and going and you don’t have to attach drama or a story to them.

Marissa: That’s so helpful to hear because I last about 30 seconds when I’ve tried to mediate in the past. One thought leads to another. I always admire people when I’m like what are you thinking about? And they are like nothing and how is that even possible? You are thinking about something like you are thinking about how annoying this question is. So that is really helpful to hear so thank you.

Melanie: Yea and I am also with you Marissa, I am never not thinking about something. But even if I guess you are thinking about your breathe but you are making a shift from overtime. This is a lifelong practice but making a shift from thinking about breathing to thinking about feeling to just noticing it. Because there is going to be something happening in your brain at all times if you are alive just like with your breathe. 

Lauren: One of my other coworkers once told me that you can mediate just standing on line at the bank or just anywhere that you are and after that I was like you know what, I never realized you could mediate anywhere. I thought I had to sit down, take time for myself, you know do all of that stuff. So in talking to students how could they mediate at home? What kind of things can they do? How long should they take in doing that?

Melanie: Yea and as you were saying that too it reminded me of all these skills you can do anywhere, they are all portable. So as for how long you have to do it or how you have to do. I think it is really just a personal preference. The essence of mindfulness if just being in your body connected to your mind and body in the present moment so that wouldn’t look the same for everyone. Some people swear by 20 minutes, some people can tolerate more than 2 minutes. Some people say 5 minutes. It’s really just different. Also when people meditate, they do visualizations. So they can picture themselves at the beach or picture themselves with somebody that they love. That might be pretty powerful these days when maybe some people haven’t seen certain people that they love due to COVID. Another mediation too is the love and kindness meditation. One part of the love and kindness meditation is to say kinds of affirmations to yourself. Like I am happy, I am safe, I am healthy, I am well. And another part of the love and kindness meditation is just wishing that for the greater community and greater world. So it starts within yourself and it also ripples out to other people.

Lauren: That’s so interesting. I find this all so fascinating.

Marissa: Yes, you have given us a lot to think about and a lot of actual things we can do to reduce some of this stress. I am excited to take that into my own life and I hope our listeners are also. So that wraps up all of the time we have today. Thank you so much for joining us Melanie and we will catch you all next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 5 - Exercise and Motivation

Exercise and Motivation

Released Sept. 30, 2020

Intro song says 10 minutes for your health and wellness.

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am the Substance Abuse Educator, Marissa Whitaker. Before we get started with today’s episode, let’s take a minute to talk about flu shots.

Lauren: It is so important for everyone to get your flu shot especially because the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are so similar and we already have a vaccine for the flu. So make sure that you get your flu shot. Keep an eye out for the flu clinics that will be held and check your email for those.

Marissa: Right, just make sure you get your flu shot. On today’s episode we are going to be talking about exercising safely and what types of workouts you can do at home. We have two guest with us, Evan Nolan, a Graduate Assistant for Fitness and Personal Training in the Rec Sports Department and Chris Gutierrez who is a Masters student at SUNY Cortland and was previously a Grad Assistant for Fitness and Group Exercise. Thanks so much for joining us.

Chris: Thanks for having us today.

Marissa: So I know there have been some changes made to utilizing the Student Life Center Evan. Can you talk a little bit about what these changes are and what students should know if they want to use the Student Life Center?

Evan: Sure, the first thing I would recommend for students to do is to go on the Recreational Sports webpage. It outlines all the new rules and regulations for the Student Life Center. And Eve Mascoli also sent an email on the 31st of August to all the students as well. So we have been doing a system of time slots that consists of an hour and 15 minutes. Your actual workout will be one hour and there is a 15-minute transitional period in between sessions for our fitness supervisor staff to sanitize all of the equipment.

Marissa: Oh cool. How is that working with the sanitizing? Is everyone keeping it pretty clean?

Evan: Yes. The fitness supervisors have been doing a great job of make sure the sanitation rules and regulations are implemented properly as well as the patrons have done a great job of doing that themselves.

Marissa: Are people wearing masks too? I know that is required but do you seeing everyone wearing them as well?

Evan: Yes, that is something we are very diligent about for the safety and health for your fellow students and staff. We have to make sure that’s upheld.

Marissa: I saw that Under Armour just put one out and they aren’t our promotional sponsors but if they want to (Lauren: We will take it) Yeah so I did just see that Under Armour put a new mask out that is supposed to be really well rated.

Lauren: I have not seen it but I wonder how much of that is marketing? I feel like it is important to have a back up mask to begin with. I mean I don’t go this hard but if you get super sweaty and your mask is just drenched, you probably want to have another one with you because when it gets wet it is going to be hard to use that right?

Evan: Yeah, wet masks seem to stick to people’s faces and especially if you are sucking wind it’s not a great recipe.

Marissa: There is nothing worse that drives me nuts then having a wet sock, so I can’t imagine a wet mask on your face. And then you walk out in the cold after and it just, sorry. Did you just say a person trainer video that is launching soon right.

Evan: Yes I would like to talk about the programs a little more in-depth because I think they are really customizable for students and staff at the college. The one is a fully remote option where you only have to step in the Student Life Center twice and from there it is fully online. And the other one we have in person coaching sessions and weekly video chats. So it is about as facilitated as it can be. What was in mind from us from the ground up was building it so it is sustainable no matter what happens to the campus long-term. You will still be able to work with your trainer all the way through the semester, no matter the conditions of the campus.

Marissa: Cool, how does one sign up for the personal training?

Evan: To sign up for personal training, you can fill out a personal training interest form. There is a whole webpage on the SUNY Cortland Rec Sports page that will point you in the right direction.

Marissa: That’s awesome. And there is still group exercises too right?

Evan: Yes, we are trying to start the group exercise program. It is still in the works. It is going to look like a monthly calendar that people can join live sessions.

Marissa: Well it sounds like you guys are doing a lot of really great things for the campus and there are a lot of options for people to utilize them.

Lauren: Yes, I agree Marissa. Now if students don’t want to go to the Student Life Center, they can also do a lot of outdoor activities. So Chris, what are some things that students can do outside?

Chris: Right now the weather is really beautiful. It is not too cold, not too hot so something that I like to do is go on lots of hikes. I've been to Robert Treman, Buttermilk Falls and Lime Hollow Nature Center. Another activity that you can do is go for a jog, go for a long walk, go for a run. Those are exercises/activities you don’t necessarily need any equipment and it’s pretty easy to do.

Marissa: I love that you mentioned Treman park. I just went there the other weekend. It is so pretty there and it’s nice now but when the leaves start to turn soon, it will be even prettier. It will be a little chillier but it will be so worth it for the leaves. So we have covered a lot of stuff you can do outdoors, what about what people can do inside?

Evan: I would recommend bodyweight calisthenics. You can perform them anywhere and how creative you are, determines the quality that your workout is. There’s also tons of free resources online. I would personally recommend using Youtube, there are a bunch of great channels on there. Specifically, stronger by science, they are really evidence-based practice program that has some great content for free for people. The quality of your home workouts is only limited by your own creativity. Look what you have in your own environment. You can get chairs, tables, find things you can use to change angles, use gravity, those are going to be your best friends in doing home workouts.

Chris: Yeah, like Evan mentioned, calisthenics is something you can do at home. Just using your body weight to do body weight squats, push-ups, lunging, burpees, which are my favorite exercise.

Lauren: Those are terrible.

Chris: Those are awesome, full body workout right there.

Lauren: It is a full body workout.

Chris: Right, but just playing around with calisthenics and your own body weight but if you want to add a little bit of resistance, you can purchase some resistance bands. So something that I have recently been saying is anything that can be done at the gym, can be done at home.

Lauren: It’s so easy to say, just workout at home, or just workout at the gym. But how do you encourage people to be motivated to workout?

Chris: That is one of the struggles to working out at home. We are home all of the time so one way that I motivated myself by surrounding myself with other individuals who view fitness as a lifestyle versus a chore or activity. I lose motivation quite often. Especially being home all day. It’s hard to get moving when you’re at home. For me, when I am home that usually means I am relaxing but now my home has also become my gym. So surrounding myself with other individuals who view fitness as a priority has helped me stay motivated. Another way I stay motivated is I teach virtual group exercise classes. I have been teaching these classes for about 5 months now actually. It helps me to fulfill my purpose which is to help people develop these healthy habits. The reason I mention that is because I am trying to help individuals create these sustainable, healthy habits so I feel that I should be following these same habits.

Lauren: And it seems like it helps so much keeping everyone accountable because I feel like that is the main way I have continued to do some workouts. Not every day but you know.

Chris: I definitely agree with that. Just having those classes and I’ve asked for feedback and what I hear is the accountability, just knowing that alright at 5:30, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I have a workout, its scheduled. It kind of feels like there is a routine there and I think a lot of people like that.

Marissa: Oh cool, so Evan, what about you?

Evan: Motivation is probably one of the most important parts of being successful in integrating fitness into your lifestyle because that is really what it should be. It should become a part of your lifestyle and something you look forward to. What I really recommend is to find activities and modes of exercise that you enjoy, that can be one of the most fulfilling parts of your life. Every single time you perform exercise or any activity, you are getting better and making internal changes to your body, even if you can’t see them.

Marissa: I like that and with everything we are learning about COVID, staying in good or decent physical shape I think is really important. Well that is all the time we have today. Thank you both Evan and Chris for joining us. We will catch you all next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 4 - Challenges of Adapting to Change

Challenges of Adapting to Change

Released Sept. 23, 2020

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness.”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. On today’s episode we are going to be talking about the challenges of adapting to changes associated with COVID. We have a guest with us who has her Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, Dr. Roueida Ghadban, a Senior Counselor at SUNY Cortland. Thank you for joining us.

Roueida: Glad to be here.

Marissa: So let’s just jump right into things. We’re constantly faced with loss and change in our lives, how do the losses and changes associated with COVID differ?

Roueida: Well under normal circumstances, if we are going through a crisis, the rest of the world is usually not also going through the same crisis at the same time as we are. So typically, there is some semblance of normalcy that we can look to outside of what we are going through to help put things into perspective. This is definitely not the case with COVID. The losses and the changes associated with COVID differ in three important ways. They are pervasive, they are prolonged and they are unprecedented. So just to go into more detail, these may seem self-evident but these changes are pervasive in the sense that we are experiencing the effects of COVID in almost every area of our lives. Relationships, career, employment, physical health, social connections, milestones, important life events, and emotional well-being. In addition to that, we are also witnessing losses that important people in our lives are also experiencing which is stressful as well. These losses are prolonged because we have been going through this experience now for about 7 months and there is not clear end in sight. It is unprecedented because we have never gone through something like this before. We are learning as we go and as the pandemic progresses. We don’t have a clear sense of how it is going to continue to unfold and this is also a significant stressor as well. So all of these differences can feel like a collective loss of control over our lives. And long-term, it can really take a toll on us.

Marissa: That was just worded so perfectly and it cut me to the core because that is so true, all of those things. You are right though, I mean this change happened so quickly. It was like the world was turned upside-down so fast where its not like in three weeks you are going to have to start wearing a mask. It was like you should have been wearing this yesterday. And all of these things you anticipate what the changes are but it is hard to anticipate because we don’t know the situation that we are in. And we are all going through it together which feels good on one end that we are not alone in this but when you are going through loss, sometimes that feels very lonely too.

Lauren: Yeah and I think you said it really well, everyone is experiencing loss in so many different ways. Just because someone has a loss that is a certain person or losing certain things, doesn’t mean it is more or less important than other people. Can you talk a little more about what kind of losses that people can experience?

Roueida: In terms of students in college, there are a lot of things that they have actually lost. They lost their college experience as they expected it to be or as they have experienced it prior to this. They have missed out on things like graduation celebrations. They have a new way of learning that doesn’t work for everybody. This has touched every area of our lives. There are things that people can’t do now as they did before and while people can say well just get used to it, we are all trying. But easier said than done.

Marissa: It is almost a form of privilege to say just get used to it because if you are struggling with addiction or something- and you know get used to how we are changing- but if going to a meeting everyday was your support system and you can’t do that. I mean even mental health groups and groups of support in general, we are missing a lot of support there.

Lauren: Yeah and that actually goes along to what I was hoping you could talk about too Roueida. How has COVID-19 in your professional experience impacted people’s ability to take care of themselves?

Roueida: That’s a great question. These are just some of them. Fear and anxiety about the future, difficulty making decisions, difficulty with attention and concentration, decreased in energy, apathy and emotional numbing, loneliness and isolation, reoccurring thoughts about the stressful situation, irritability and anger, sadness and depression, feelings of powerlessness, feelings of hopefulness, feelings of self-doubt and guilt, changing in eating habits, disruptions in sleep, headaches, back pain, stomach issues and an increased use of alcohol and drugs. Now this is not an exhaustive list. And how someone is actually affected by COVID or any crisis for that matter depends on the factors such as have they experience any significant instability in the past.

Lauren: Wow. We know there are things affecting people, but when you hear it all together, you realize that people may be struggling with a lot. No wonder why this is such a hard time for people.

Roueida: You know when you say that, I think one of the things that people sort of persuade themselves into believing is you know what, we have been going through this for almost 7 months. We should really be in charge at this point. We should be okay at this point. We should be used to it at this point. And that is certainly not the case. I hear over and over again, how difficult this has been to manage for people.

Lauren: Right and another challenge I have noticed is that people seem to not be as cautious as they were in the beginning.

Roueida: So back in early March when we first heard about COVID and we were more vigilant about taking the necessary safety measures. So one of the challenges is caution fatigue. This term was actually coined by Jackie Gollan, she is a clinical psychologist at Northwestern University. Caution fatigue is characterized by how long we have been in crisis mode as well as a loss in interest and motivation in taking the necessary safety precautions. Because we are warned down. We essentially become physically and emotionally too tired to care about safety risks as we were at the beginning of this. It is difficult to sustain that level of hypervigilance indefinitely. And that’s the position we are in.

Marissa: There is so much truth to what you said, I am like did you just read my diary? But you are so right about the fatigue because in the beginning, I’m so open to admit, that when it first happened, I went and got about $300 worth of like beans and other. I thought it was like the walking dead was about to start and I just needed to like here is my apocalypse kit. And now just this weekend I am like I think we need cilantro, so it is wearing on me and I don’t think I am alone. I think we are all kind of in this boat. But it is really interesting though that there are things we can do about this.

Lauren: I get so fascinated with caution fatigue because like Marissa said, I see it in my own life as well. How do you combat caution fatigue?

Roueida: I mean the first step is clearly recognizing when your energy level is that low and you are not really doing what you have been doing and that may not be so easy to see. One of the things that can help is to engage in behaviors that motivate you, not deplete you. I mean this is going to be different for different people. So its not like this is a how to for everyone. You got to kind of figure out what works for you and do the things that help you feel more energized. The other things that we have heard a lot about and these are all factors that can make you more resilient or help you come back from caution fatigue. Be selective of the amount and type of information you expose yourself to about COVID.  Get information from reliable sources. Know what your limits are. The other thing is, if you haven’t done this already, you may have to build or rebuild your daily routine to incorporate safety measures as part of it so you don’t have to think about them. So they are an integral part of your daily life. For example, extra masks in your car, at your backpack, at work, placing post-it notes on the door before you leave, reminding yourself about social distance, washing your hands, not touching your face. I mean these are pretty straight forward things to do but we may not think of them necessarily.

Lauren: Right and those are just really good things to keep in mind.

Marissa: Thank you so much Roueida, you have given us a lot to think about today.

Well that is all the time we have and we will catch you all next week.

Lauren: Thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 3 - Keeping Yourself and Others Safe and Healthy

Keeping Yourself and Others Safe and Healthy

Released Sept. 16, 2020

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness.”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. On today’s episode we are going to be talking keeping yourself and others safe and healthy in the age of COVID. We have a guest with us, SUNY Cortland’s emergency manager Mr. Nick Tomizawa. Thank you for joining us Nick.

Nick: Thanks folks.

Lauren: So we are just going to jump right in. Part of keeping yourself healthy is not just relying on your own actions, but the actions of others. So we encourage things like wearing a face covering, maintaining 6 feet distance, washing your hands and sanitizing surfaces. Today we are going to focus on face coverings and physical distancing.

Marissa: Let’s take a more in depth looking at the what, why and how of covering your face. So let’s start with a softball. Nick, why is it important to wear a face covering?

Nick: Well as you know, when we start talking for example, we emit respiratory droplets. It can come from your conversation, it can come from straight breathing. If you sneeze or cough that will project these droplets even further. One of the key processes of this entire COVID infection, this pandemic, is that those who are infected are sending out infected droplets with a heavy viral load and that will infect other people. So we need to wear these face coverings or masks to prevent infecting other people.

Lauren: I think it is also important to mention that when people are either asymptotic or presymptomatic, if they don’t have any symptoms or they haven’t yet experienced any symptoms, and they don’t even know they are transmitted it. They seem like they are totally healthy.

Nick: That is absolutely right. The best we can all do for our own personal responsibility is to make sure to wear that mask. We all do that, we are cutting down the risk of spreading this disease.

Marissa: I was out this weekend and no joke, I saw a lady with this little crocheted mask on, you could see her mouth through it. So aside from wearing a doily on your face, but I also don’t want to look like Bane at the same time. What kind of face masks should we be wearing?

Nick: I mean, Cloth masks out of cotton, any type of coverings that allow people to cover their nose and mouth, from the top of the bridge of the nose down that covers the chin onto the neck. So you see various types that people are wearing from gators to cloth masks. Again we are just trying to prevent people’s respiratory emissions from passing, so if it covers the nose and mouth then we are doing a good job.

Marissa: Oh cool, so I think you have answered my next questions really well I just want to make sure we are covering everything. So like those chin guards that I see a lot of people. It’s a mask but its covering your chin. Not the right way to be wearing masks here.

Nick: No, there is a lot of wackiness going on of how people are wearing masks. And to be very fair, this is new to our culture. I lived in Asia for several years and it is part of their background to wear masks. It is built in to their sense of community and personal responsibly that if they are sick they don’t want to spread it out. So we are learning right now. All of us, students, faculty, staff. It is something that we are learning to do.

Lauren: Yea, I have to admit with the first face covering I had, it did not fit me correctly. I was talking and it was falling down my nose.  And I realized I needed one to be tighter. So I ordered some different ones to kind of play around with what would be the best. I have also seen some people wearing one with the little vents or valves to breathe out the air. But that’s actually not recommended by the CDC, right?

Nick: Yeah, the vents are not helping. Really what it is doing is your respiratory droplets are making their way out of those vents. So, no, those are a no-no. To go further, there has been lots of discussion about face shields. Those are always from the start a secondary measure. Wearing a mask is also a primary issue. Wearing a face shield and a mask. For those who think the face shield is the sole protected covering, it is incorrect. Just think of the aerodynamics of your breathe hitting the shield going underneath it. It is not an adequate protection. If you are going to wear it to protect your eyes, you still must wear a mask.

Lauren: So there should not be anyone on campus within 6 feet, just wearing a face shield.

Nick: No, that is not on the approved CDC list. Just common sense the shield only goes here and your breathe can easily go underneath.

Marissa: I like how you just said common sense. I feel like a lot of this is kind of common sense. So just wear the mask and wear it for the humanitarian reason of wanting people to be safe. I really like the Eastern culture of approach to this is doing it for other people and to keep other people safe so I’m glad you said that.

Nick: Clearly there is an empathy element to this. I think this is a really important show of what it means to be a part of the community.

Marissa: Yeah

Lauren: I agree. And I think too, a lot of people, aside from wearing it, the next step is cleaning it. Taking care of it. So it is not really helpful if you are going to wear it and then your touching it the whole time, your touching the outside of it. So how do you then properly take it off and clean it in between uses.

Nick: Well for environmental reasons, for garbage waste disposal, we want to get away from the single use mask out there. Of course, they are approved for use and they do- do the job. We do recommend if you have a multiple use a cloth mask or a cloth face covering you grab them by the ear straps. Thoroughly wash them with soap, hot water, detergent. Hang them up to dry, put them on a high heat setting in the dryer. Its good to wash them daily, again if it is getting on the surface of the mask, you don’t want to touch the surfaces of the mask. We want you to wash your hands, sanitize it before you take it off. Make sure you have a number of them. Make sure you rotate them and wear them appropriately.

Lauren: So it is recommend still to wear it outside but why is that?

Nick: First having the mask with you at all times it is very important. Should you come into contact with someone outdoors, it could be happen sense. Someone sees you in your car and stops, someone walks out of a building and is now approaching you. You should have the mask on already.

Marissa: What about, and you talked on this earlier a little, but exercising near other people. Why is the mask important then?

Nick: You are breathing harder, you are emitting respiratory droplets even further because you are breathing harder. Distance and the mask are very important.

Lauren: And you are breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide but the masks are not filtering the oxygen and carbon dioxide. So I actually looked up, I was curious, how big were the particles were of oxygen and carbon dioxide. And I am looking at it on a scale of nanometers which is just so incredibly tiny and the amount of space in between the cloth masks, they can freely go in and out of the cloth masks. So it is not that you are breathing in so much more carbon dioxide when you have the mask on or you are not getting enough oxygen.

Nick: Yeah masks are not bullet proof jackets or anything like that. They are made for the exchange of air. The size of those molecules are way too small for it to be a hidden. If they were, these masks would not be approved for use.

Lauren: Right, so lets briefly have you talk about the distancing recommendations.

Nick: The primary way the disease is being spread is by close contact, that’s within 6 feet. Social distancing is from the aerodynamic studies of a breathe without a mask, so we are doing double duty by wearing a mask and spreading the distance. So the mask has already cut down the emission distance. To really fight this coronavirus, we are doing both.

Marissa: Yea, I saw on TV a couple weeks ago this girl was standing in the crowd saying no I am holding my breathe so its okay. So those are the myths that we need to dispel.

Nick: Yeah she takes a breathe in and exhales out.

Marissa: Right and you are holding your breathe so its probably going to be a bigger breathe that you would take on normal circumstances.

Lauren: Yeah, right. So what are our last take-a-ways, Nick.

Nick: It’s that personal responsibility again. The power that you, the individual has to stop it. Really, if everyone felt that personal responsibility to do these things and be cognizant that they have the power. If everybody else felt that, we could really conquer this problem quickly.

Marissa: Yea, so I think that is all the time we have today. Thank you so much for joining us Nick. This was so informative. And we will catch you next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 2 - What is COVID-19 and Student Perspectives

What is COVID-19 and Student Perspectives

Released Sept. 9, 2020

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness.”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for You part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am the Substance Abuse Educator, and armchair epidemiologist, Marissa Whitaker. Today’s episode is going to be a two for one. The first part will talking about the basic epidemiology of COVID-19, and then we are going to switch gears and have two students as our guests. So let’s start a little bit about the name “COVID-19” and some of the misconceptions associated with it. This isn’t the 19th coronavirus, and although COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus, it’s not THE coronavirus. And I have to catch myself sometimes saying it because I am like coronavirus and I say it and the Cardi B, I don’t know if everyone saw that video, I’ve seen it way too many times to be proud of. So, Lauren, can you explain a little background of coronaviruses?

Lauren: Yes, so I did some research from the infection prevention at Johns Hopkins Medicine about coronaviruses. Coronaviruses are a type of virus. Corona means crown in Latin and refers to the way the virus looks underneath a microscope.

Marissa: Cool! I could talk about this all day but I know we are only here for 10 minutes. But little fun fact for those who don’t read the Lancet, I’m just going to nerd out for a really quick second. Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses so think of the envelope as a membrane that protects the virus and all of the horrible things that it’s taking away from us. The spikes, or crowns, that you just referred to Lauren, they are embedded in this membrane, and are needed for the virus to enter the host’s cells. Because coronaviruses are an RNA virus, it needs a host to replicate. This is why hand washing is so important. Either alcohol-based hand sanitizers or soap is going to disrupt that membrane. If you disrupt that membrane, or wash it away, there's no more spike for the virus to attach to something. So if the virus can't get into your cell, and is then inactivated.

Lauren: That’s so cool.

Marissa: Yeah, so there are multiple types of coronaviruses like we said before. Right now the one that we are hearing about is COVID-19. Lauren, you have a lot more information on specifically about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.

Lauren: Yea, so the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 is SARS-CoV-2. Let me explain what it all stands for. COVID-19 stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019 and SARS stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome and the CoV portion is coronavirus. I find it very interesting that people like to abbreviate coronaviruses as ‘rona but there’s a technically a actual scientific nickname for COVID-19 so I don’t know why that hasn’t caught on yet.

Marissa: Yes, I know we got a coronavirus puppy, which I know I am a cliché but if it was a girl I really wanted to name it Rona but that didn’t fly in the house.

Lauren: Not anymore I guess. So I know everyone must be wondering, the reason it is SARS-CoV-2, the 2 at the end, is because there was a SARS Coronavirus before in 2003 that seemed to be similar. There is still a lot unknown, but COVID-19 seems to spread faster than the 2003 SARS. In 2003, a little over eight thousand people became sick compared to currently over 24 million world-wide  have tested positive for COVID-19. In 2003, 774 died from that virus and unfortunately there was been over 800,000 deaths across the world in relation to this virus.

Marissa: Yea and you bring a good point with the statistics that you just read about SARS. I was listening to another epidemiology podcast the other day and this is when COVID first came out and they were saying, you know SARS is still much more serious and has a much higher fatality rate. Just in these few short months, just how diseases, the natural history of them progress, goes back to what we said before. There’s so many things that we just don’t know about this right now. So let’s talk a little about what have we learned in the past 6 months about how COVID-19 impacts the body?

Lauren: Yes, so it is interesting because at first the virus it looked like it was just impacting the lungs. But we are seeing more now that it is affecting multiple organs in the body. I got this quote from an internal medicine doctor at Hackensack University Medical Center and she said that “Individuals recovering from COVID-19 may struggle with a number of respiratory, cardiac and kidney problems. They also have an increased risk of blood clots, which can potentially lead to a stroke or heart attack.” I think a lot of people don’t think of the potential long term effects this can have and I mean it is only been about 6 months plus but there is still a long time to go before we really know how it going to impact our bodies in the long run.

Marissa: Yea, you got it right. This has been around for 6 months. I mean we are still learning things about HIV and how long that’s been around so in terms of disease, this is a very new virus we are encountering. We do have information on other coronaviruses, viruses mutate. SO as fast as we are learning information, things can also change. There’s still much to be learned from those who have recovered from COVID-19. And really, all of this just highlights the importance of taking care of yourself and others – in the now. What can we do now to prevent things from getting worse later. So now let’s shift gears and welcome our guests, Roman Rodriguez who is an alumni and current SGA Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Tyler Pitner  who is a senior this year. Thank you for joining us. First, how have both of you been handling the pandemic since March? Tyler, do you want to start?

Tyler: Yea, basically since March, I have been hanging out in my house. Just trying to maintain sanity, just staying busy as much as I could until I went back to work. And then I came to school and I’m excited to be back.

Marissa: Yeah I feel like we can watch everything on Netflix now but it’s time to get back to school. What about you Roman, how have you been handling the pandemic?

Roman: Personally, the past few months has been quite difficult for me. It’s been a struggle interpersonally, socially, professionally, pretty much hitting all the core demographics of well-being. And I am trying to keep my spirits high and I’m trying to move forward with everything that’s been going on.

Lauren: You hit on it, there are so many different things that are going on right now. And I appreciate you saying right now it is a really tough time and my heart really goes out to everybody because this is just so hard and I think everyone is doing the best they can do. Which brings us to any words of advice that you have for your peers going into the rest of the semester?

Roman: Tyler after you.

Tyler: I think this semester can be as good as any. The school has implemented so many guidelines that benefits everyone. They are meant to keep us safe but as a school wide base, we need to be accepting and oblige to those terms. If we follow the protocols and the social distancing, we can remain on campus. I mean, it is also bigger than that. The town of Cortland and the whole community needs the school to stay open, the businesses need it. I guess for some of the first year students, who I have heard say “we might as well enjoy it now before we are sent home,” we won’t be sent home if we can just follow those guidelines. I mean even the returning students, the ones who are off-campus housing, hopefully they can agree that it isn’t the best idea to be throwing big parties. We can still have a good time too. Like even with everything going on, I still see everyone having a good time even with all the guidelines that are happening.

Lauren: Right, you can still hang out and talk to people with masks on and being socially distant, you know? So, absolutely. Roman what about you, what advice do you have?

Roman: To not look at this time as something that’s being taken away from you. To not be disheartened by everything that’s been going on. This is a time to appreciate what we can have in the moment. Yes, things are difficult but it is difficult for everyone so this is something that we are all going through together. So my advice would be to go through this together. For it to not be “oh man this sucks,” “I can’t do this,” for you to hold on to one another and be able to push past and try to appreciate the moment that you have.

Lauren: That was said really well.

Marissa: I know, that’s a tough act to follow. Any final thoughts that either of you have before we sign off for the week?

Tyler: We should all just be smart and stay safe.

Marissa: Yea, it’s as simple as that. Well it looks like that’s all the time we have for today. Thank you both Roman and Tyler for joining us this week. And we will catch you all next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 1 - Intro to Podcast

Intro to Podcast

Released Sept. 2, 2020

Intro song: 10 minutes for your health and wellness

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for You part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker aside from co-hosting this podcast with Lauren, I work in the Substance Abuse Prevention and Education Office. On today’s episode we are going to be talking about how and why we decided to have a podcast.

Lauren: Before we get started, let me ask you Marissa, what are the factors that are important for the students to do in order to be safe and remain physically at Cortland throughout the semester?

Marissa: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think so often we are getting really tired of hearing all of the things we can’t do. We can’t go to the concerts I had planned this summer. So I guess Alanis Morissette will have to wait. So maybe we can talk about the things we can do.

Lauren: Yeah absolutely.

Marissa: We can wear a mask. Learn to love the mask. Do you know how many awkward run-ins you don’t have to have with people you went to high school with? Really embrace this. You can go to the grocery store and you don’t have to smile at people. It’s kind of nice actually now that I think about it. You know I might keep the mask after this is over with.

Lauren: Yea, it does help with the awkwardness if you should smile or not when you are passing by a stranger. So there is a lot of talk about being socially distant or physically distant, what are your thoughts about that?

Marissa: We keep hearing stay socially distant, socially distant, but that can feel really lonely too. So I think replacing socially distant with physically distant could be helpful for people. You can still see your friends but do it safely. Be outside, stay at least 6 feet from people. There are some things we should avoid doing. So avoid anything with big crowds, a party, event, in Cortland, you can only have 25 people at a gathering.

Lauren: Yeah there was an executive order that was supported by the Cortland City Council that limits all social gatherings in the city of Cortland to no more than 25 people. That started on Aug 27th. So there are a lot of precautions people are taking. Another one that hopefully everyone was doing you know “BC” before COVID-19 was washing their hands. I know I have been a lot more aware recently of how much I touch my face throughout the day. But everyone has to be aware of other things too right?

Marissa: So while you might be cautious of touching your mouth, you should also be cautious of the things you touch. Cups, ping pong balls, water bottles, your student ID, your cell phone. I think we don’t often talk about how absolutely disgusting our cell phones are on a good day- let alone now with COVID to worry about that too. How often do you wash your cell phone Lauren?

Lauren: Actually, anytime I leave the house and come back, I have a little alcohol wipe that I use to wipe it down.

Marissa: Right, that’s smart. That is something I need to work on maybe doing a little more. You forget that your cell phone becomes an appendage so just little things like that.

Lauren: Yes, it makes a difference. So this segues us a little into why we are doing a podcast.

Marissa: Yeah, can you explain the rationale behind this podcast?

Lauren: As everyone knows, we are going through a pandemic. So I was brainstorming a way to get Wellness Wednesdays out there that would be easy for all students to access information at any time of the day or night. Because let’s be honest some people are up at 3 a.m. with nothing to do and a podcast is perfect for that. It is important to note that we will be discussing health and wellness as it relates to COVID-19 and since this is still relatively new we will keep you updated if anything changes.

Marissa: So do you have any experiences with podcasts or is this the first one you have done?

Lauren: So this is actually my first one. I have listened to a couple before but that’s kind of the extent of it. This is a new experience for me and I believe for you also. I have been having some fun learning how exactly to do this and navigate it. How have you been feeling Marissa?

Marissa: Well I figured because I listen to plenty of podcasts, this would be a real easy transition but for our listeners, this is not our first take so I guess at this point I am qualified to offer commentary and to help facilitate those awkward silences. So we will just embrace that silence for a second. And I will ask you about the title. Where did that come from?

Lauren: Sure, so Take 10 for You coincides with the amount of time each episode will be, ideally. My thought was that everyone could take 10 minutes out of their day to learn about their health and wellness.

Marissa: Yeah and I mean, we all have 10 minutes. For some that is 10 Tiktoks, or approximately 7 scrolls on your Instagram or Facebook for those of us, including myself over the age of 30. Full disclosure I did have to look up how long a Tiktok was. So I guess I am in the demographic. I did hear too though the grapevine that you are going to be offering some prizes raffled off for some of the later podcasts going on.

Lauren: Yes, we will be posting a questions on our twitter page @CortlandHPO and when you answer on twitter, regardless if it is correct or not, you will be entered into a raffle that week. So then we will respond back and let everyone know who the winner is and then we will contact them to get them some sort of Cortland prize.

Marissa: Oh that’s awesome, see stay connect through podcasting and a free chance for some merch too, that’s great. So this sounds really exciting and I think that might be coming to a close for all the time we have today. Consider this like syllabus week, we get out a little bit early. We will catch you all next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.