University Counseling Service (UCS) Mental Health Newsletter - September 2016
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We’re Here to Help You Have A Successful
to The University of Iowa!

As the new academic year begins, how can you be sure that you are ready for the emotional challenges and opportunities of college life? Transition is easier when you foster your emotional health! Learn about campus resources and tips that can help you have a smooth transition and maintain positive mental health during your years at the University of Iowa. 

Get Sleep
College students practically invented the "All-Nighter," but lack of sleep can interfere with your ability to think rationally, make good decisions and deal with stressful situations. Skipping sleep may give you more hours in the day, but it won’t be quality time. It can make it hard to do well in class and can make you more likely to get sick, upset or depressed. Planning ahead and prioritizing can help you get the sleep you need. Most experts recommend 7 to 8 hours a sleep of night, but the best sleep schedule is one that works for you and fits into your schedule.  
Stay Active
College is an important time to develop exercise habits that will help you stay healthy and fit. In addition to improving your physical health, just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 to 5 times a week can significantly improve mood, decrease fatigue and reduce stress. Research has shown that people dealing with mild to moderate depression have experienced up to a 50 percent reduction in symptoms after exercising on a regular basis.
Explore these options for activities:
Recreation Services
Get involved in a student organization :
See what’s going on in the greater Iowa City, Coralville community:
Eat Right
It can be hard to eat well at college, but the “Freshman Fifteen” is not the only consequence of ignoring your body’s nutritional needs. Bad eating habits can also affect your state of mind. Too much caffeine or foods high in sugar can increase nervousness and irritability and make you less able to concentrate and manage stress. Not getting enough key vitamins and nutrients can also have a negative impact on your mood. Try to eat fresh foods including fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Consultations are available at Student Health to learn more about eating right.
Learn to cope with homesickness. 
It’s only natural that there will be times when you miss your family, even if you were one of those kids who couldn’t wait to get away. Find a way to deal with those feelings, such as making a phone call or sending some email home.  Stay on campus as much as possible. Whether it’s homesickness, a job, or a boyfriend or girlfriend from home, try not to leave campus too soon or too often. The more time you spend getting to know the campus and your new friends, the more you’ll feel at home at school. 
For more ways to conquer homesickness:

If you want some face to face help with homesickness, call University Counseling Service for a consultation.  319-335-7294.
Manage Stress & Be Prepared to Feel Overwhelmed Sometimes
There’s a lot going in your life right now. Expect to have moments where it seems a bit too much. As one student says, be prepared to feel completely unprepared. The trick is knowing that you’re not the only one feeling that way. How we deal with stress is just as important as the factors that cause it. Avoid stress when possible, but also develop coping skills to deal with necessary challenges and pressures. If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, find the best ways to deal with it. Is it a workout or a yoga class? Do you write or listen to music? Learn what works for you.
See some stress management recommendations at UCS Self-Help

Click here to see the Shrink-Rap issue: "Anxiety & Stress"

Know your limits

College exposes you to experiences that you might have never had before. Alcohol and other substances can often be easily found on college campuses. By federal law, alcohol is illegal if you are under 21, as are other drugs. If you do drink or “party,” remember to be as safe and smart as possible. Being intoxicated can be dangerous physically and make you vulnerable to injury or other unwanted behaviors. 

Student Health and Wellness offers echeck ups, screenings and help with Alcohol and Drug use:

Speak Up for your Emotional Health
If you were experiencing back pain or stomach cramps, you would probably go to your doctor or health center to get it checked out. It’s just as important to speak up and get things checked out if you are concerned about your thoughts, feelings or behavior. Students should take advantage of counseling services as soon as they start feeling overwhelmed rather than wait until the problem becomes immobilizing. You aren't alone.
Call University Counseling Service for an appointment 319-335-7294
Explore our services on our website
Mira Anson (Academic Support & Retention)
Has Suggestions For Making a Successful Transition.
Transition Happens

We know what it takes for students to EXCEL at the University of Iowa. Get enough sleep and exercise regularly. Keep in touch with friends and family. Connect with peers and get involved. Go to class! Do the reading and take good notes. Talk to your professors. Successful students use academic resources, such as Supplemental Instruction. They seek out and accept help.

This sounds easy enough, right? But, how do you practice these positive academic behaviors? We know that “transition happens” because you find yourself in an entirely new environment that is asking you to practice new sets of behaviors. And changing behavior is hard. It’s like trying to change your diet or kick an old habit. A healthy transition to college is about than more going to class, getting involved, and knowing about resources. It’s also about:
  • Actively using resources
  • Recognizing that you are not alone during this transition; talk to your friends, RA, faculty, advisor, etc.
  • Giving yourself the time and space to grow – and to bounce back and learn from challenges
  • Embracing academic tenacity by focusing on both short-term and long-term academic goals, while never, ever giving up

College is hard, but finding help isn’t!
Mira Anson, Ph.D. is the Director of Academic Support & Retention at The University of Iowa
Make the Most of Your Educational Support Resources
Use academic advisors and get to know your professors. Attend office hours, even if it’s just to introduce yourself. A good connection with a professor could turn a boring course into a favorite. Find out what is expected of you academically and use support services (e.g., academic advisors or tutors, writing and IT support, multicultural services) on campus. This will help to minimize stress and maximize focus and efficiency.
Student Success Coach:
Everyone deserves to be safe, supported and respected at the University of Iowa. We recognize that all of us—students, faculty, staff, and other members of our community—can only achieve our best in a safe, healthy, and inclusive environment.
The UI has a number of resources that can help address a wide range of concerns
The following emergency phone numbers can connect you with help right away:
  • Report a police, fire, or medical emergency: 911
  • UI Police non-emergency number: 319-335-5022
  • Rape Victim Advocacy Program 24-hour Rape Crisis Line: 319-335-6000
  • Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator: 319-335-6200 (Available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.)
  • Domestic Violence Intervention Program: 800-373-1043
  • Johnson County Crisis Center 24-hour Hotline: 319-351-0140
  • UI Health Care 24-hour Nurse line: 319-384-8442
  • UI Health Care Emergency Treatment Center: 319-356-2233
  • Poison Control Center: 800-222-1222
  • National Suicide Prevention 24-hour Lifeline: 800-273-8255
  • Student Health & Wellness: 319-335-8394 (8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday)
  • University Counseling Service: 319-335-7294 (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday)
For More information on Safety and Support at UIowa:
Rap it Up
So what does this mean for University of Iowa students?  At the University Counseling Service, we see many students who are having trouble making transitions.  If you are struggling, you are not alone. Approximately one quarter of the students who visit with us report problems with adjustment.  With nearly every transition, there are losses as well as new opportunities.  We help students cope with losses and make the most of their opportunities.  Individual counseling or group counseling can support you as you figure out ways to engage with new people and new activities, and perhaps explore new identities and roles.  Call 319 335-7294 to schedule a consultation with a UCS staff member to discuss how we can help you.
This issue of Shrink-Rap was adapted from:

Copyright © 2016 The University Counseling Service (UCS), All rights reserved.

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