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Bulldog Bites Blog

Quick reads for a happier, healthier you!


 

Aromatherapy for Stuffy Noses 

By Danielle Ross 

 

Ugh, it’s that time of year again, stuffed up nose season.  Whether it is from allergies or just the change in the weather, people seem to be talking about being all stuffed up.  Luckily, there are some easy remedies for this.  Aromatherapy can be used to clear those sinuses up.  Here are a few examples of some essential oils good for clearing up inflammation and congestion in the sinuses. 

 

Essential oils to help clear your sinuses: 

Peppermint               Spearmint                    Eucalyptus 

Tea Tree                    Lavender                     Rosemary 

Oregano                    Clary Sage                   Ravintsara 

 

You can add a couple of drops to a cotton ball and inhale.  You can also add a couple drops to boiling water and place a towel over your head and inhale the aroma.  The most convenient way to use aromatherapy is to diffuse your oils into the air.  Below are some great diffuser recipes you can try. 

 

Diffuser Recipes: 

Stuffiness Be Gone           Breathe Better                Sinus Remedy 

3 drops Eucalyptus           2 drops Spearmint           2 drops Tea Tree 

2 drops Lavender              2 drops Lavender            2 drops Rosemary 

2 drops Peppermint           2 drops Clary Sage         3 drops Eucalyptus 

 

Open Sinuses                      Fresh Air                        Smell Again 

2 drops Spearmint              2 drops Peppermint          2 drops Peppermint 

2 drops Peppermint            3 drops Lavender              4 drops Lemon 

2 drops Eucalyptus 

 

Remember to follow us on all our social media sites to learn more about aromatherapy and other wellness information. 


 

New Year’s Resolution 

By Danielle Ross 

Time to start thinking about your new year’s resolution.  After how 2020 went, who isn’t looking forward to 2021.  I think everyone is wanting a fresh start and what better way than starting the new year off with new desires and goals.  What do you want most out of 2021?  For me, what I want most is to be able to walk across the stage when I graduate this spring from Drake University.  If you are struggling to think of some goals or desires for next year, then I got you covered with a list of common new year resolutions. 

  • Exercise more, eat healthier, and take time of yourself 
  • Lose weight or slim down a size 
  • Get your health issues looked out 
  • Improve overall wellness 
  • Spend more time with family or friends 
  • Travel 
  • Learn a new language, hobby, or trade 
  • Make more money, get a better job, or start a new business 
  • Buy a car, boat, or house 
  • Pay off your debt 
  • Get married or start a family 
  • Be more in touch with yourself, god, or universe 

Of course, making a new year’s resolution is the easy part, staying with it is the hard part.  Now days there are apps out there for everything, including new year’s resolutions.  There are apps to help track and motivate you to eat healthier and exercise, improve your finances, and balance your life.  So much can be done live online like socializing, exercising, and learning.  Completing your resolution can be very easy and convenient if you take advantage of these options.  Good luck and have a happy new year! 


 

Aromatherapy for Stress 

By Danielle Ross 

STRESS!  Everybody experiences it from time to time.  But how do we manage it?  Well, one way to manage stress is with aromatherapy. Evidence shows that aromatherapy can affect our physiologic and cognitive functions.  The best way to experience aromatherapy is through inhalation.  You can put a couple of drops on a cotton ball or use a diffuser.  Below here is a list of some commonly known essential oils for stress relief and grounding. 

 

Essential oils for stress relief: 

Lavender               Sage               YlangYlang               Chamomile 

Rose                      Mellissa         Orange                        Frankincense 

Cedarwood            Jasmine         Geranium                    Sandalwood 

Pine                       Myrrh            Tangerine                    Vetiver 

*Add a couple of drops to some Epsom salt and sprinkle in a nice warm bath. 

 

Diffuser recipes for stress relief: 

Tranquility                                 Stress Be Gone                         Relaxation 

3 drops Lavender                    3 drops Sandalwood                    3 drops Lavender 

3 drops Cedarwood                 3 drops Frankincense                  2 drops Chamomile 

3 drops Pine                                 2 drops Sage 

 

Pick me up                              Uplifting                                    Just Breathe 

3 drops Orange                      2 drops Lavender                          3 drops Lavender 

3 drops Tangerine                  drops Cedarwood                     2 drops Peppermint 

3 drops Cedarwood                4 drops Orange                            3 drops Cedarwood 

 

Grounding                               Peace                                       Meditation 

2 drops Frankincense            3 drops Myrrh                              3 drops Myrrh 

2 drops Chamomile               3 drops Orange                            3 drops Frankincense 

2 drops Orange                      3 drops Tangerine                        3 drops Sandalwood 

 

 

 


 

Working out from home just got easier! 

By Danielle Ross 

2020 has had its obstacles but through these challenges great things have been created so that we can go on with a little normalcy.  Rec Movement has made it possible to workout at home for free if you have  Drake email or an email account from another participating college.  With Rec Movement you can take a live class with any participating college right from your own home or you can workout to a prerecorded class.  The list of prerecorded classes seems almost endless.  There are tons of different styles of Yoga, Pilates, HIIT, F45, Dance workouts, Barre, Bootcamps, Kickboxing, and so much more.  You can work out for just 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or even for an hour or longer if you want.  On top of exercise classes, they offer meditation and wellness classes like cooking healthy on a budget.  This is the perfect way to exercise or learn some new wellness tools over the holiday break. 

Want to win FREE swag?  Rec Movement has the option to log your exercise based on minutes and activity.  Every week you log at least 200 minutes you are entered into a drawing to win free Rec Movement swag. 

Did I mention that this is also a CHALLENGE amongst the participating colleges?  When you log your exercise, it is added to Drake University’s total in the competition.  As of November 9th, 2020, Drake University stands at #53 with Palmer College of Chiropractic being #1.  This winter break I challenge you to login and exercise with Rec Movement to make Drake University #1. 

 


 

Distress vs. Eustress 

By Danielle Ross 

 

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it”  

-Hans Selye 

 

Stress is the body’s response tchanging stimuli or stressors.  It has been linked to the cause of several health issues including ulcers.  But is all stress bad for you?  The answer is “No.”  Stress can actually be a good thing as long as it’s not causing a negative affect on you.  In fact, Hans Selye introduced the concept of stress having two categories: distress and eustress.  Distress is stress that negatively affects you and eustress is stress that has a positive effect on you.  Eustress is what energizes us and motivates us to make a change.  It gives us a postive outlook and makes us capable of overcoming obstacles and sickness.  Take a second and think about what works as a eustress for you.  Is it exercising, practicing mindfulness, watching Tedtalks, or listening to music?  Below is a list of how distress and eustress impact you and some examples of the different type of stressors. 

 

How Distress Impacts You          Vs.           How Eustress Impacts You 

Lack of sleep                                                Increased energy 

Fatigue                                                          Motivated 

Headaches                                                    Increased focus 

Mood changes                                              Creates excitment 

Change in appetite                                        Increased self-efficacy 

Shortness of breathe                                     Increased productivity 

Chest pains                                                   Positve outlook 

Digestion issues                                            Increases resilence 

Feeling overwhelmed 

Lack of focus 

 

Examples of Distress Stressors          Vs.          Examples of Eustress Stressors 

Deadlines                                                        Exercise 

Financial crisis                                                Socializing 

Death of a loved one                                       Mindfulness/Meditation 

Relationship problems                                    Build relationship/friendship 

Abuse or feeling neglected                             Vacationing 

Illness or an injury                                          Listening to happy music 

Work problems                                               Achieving a goal 

Worrying about someone else                        Go to a spa 

  

So how do you really know if you stressor is distress or eustress?  Ask yourself a couple of questions.  How do you respond to certain stressors?  Do you let it overwhelm you or make use of the energy?  Another way to think of stressors is as “threats” or “challenges”.  Does this perticular stressor feel like a threat to your health or happiness at this current moment or is it a challenge to overcome for the better?  If asking yourself these questions isn’t enough for you to discover what your distress and eustress stressors are then Positive Psychology has a Eustress vs. Distress worksheet you can fill out also. 

Stress and how it effects you really depends on your mindset.  For example, lets say you have a financial crisis and can either completely freak out, letting it overwhelm you or you can use that to motivate you to make a change for the better and increase your income.  It isn’t always easy to change your mindset but with practice it is possible.   

 

Ways to change your mindset 

Focus on breathing                                             Talk to someone 

Find ways to stay busy and distract you             Exercise 

Get more sleep                                                    Write 

Think positively                                                  Meditate 

Define the worst case senerio (maybe current situation isn’t that bad) 

 

Sources: 

Good Stress, Bad Stress and Oxidative Stress:  Insights from Anticipatory Cortisol Reactivity  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4028159/ 

 “Stress” is 80 Years Old: From Hans Selye Original Paper in 1936 to Recent Advances in GI Ulceration https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28641541/ 

Ted talk: How to make stress your friend | Kelly McGonigal  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGyVTAoXEU&feature=emb_title 


 

 

Improving Your Qi  

with Qi Gong and Tai Chi 

By Danielle Ross 

 

What exactly is Qi?  In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), qmeans “energy” and it is believed that we are made of universal Qi, which consists of the constant interaction of the five elements earth, air, fire, water, and metal.  There are several different types of qi.  The one we are born with is called universal qi or life force.  Qi Gong and tai chi work with Hou tain qi.  Energy flows through meridians in our body and when qi flows properly, we are healthier and have an overall sense of well-being.  However, our qi can become imbalanced and stagnant when we are overwhelmed with stress, not eating proper nutrition, not getting enough sleep, or lack of inactivity.  The good news is it is possible to reverse this with proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, TCM meridian work.  Types of meridian work can include acupuncture, acupressure, Shiatsu massage, and martial arts practices like qi gong or tai chi. 

Benefits of Qi Gong & Tai Chi 

Balance and increase qi                                     Increased immunity 

Decrease stress/anxiety                                     Increase focus 

Increase circulation                                           Decrease hypertension 

Increase stability/balance                                  Decrease risk of falling 

Increase range of motion                                   Improve COPD/asthma breathing 

Decrease arthritis side effects                            Decrease Parkinson side effects 

Improve cognitive function/capacity                 Decrease signs of depression 

Increase confidence                                            Increase cardiac function 

Improve quality of life                                       Decrease pain 

Increase quality of sleep 

 

Qi Gong is a gentle exercise to naturally move energy through meridians with slow fluid movements combined with mindful meditation and breathwork.  It has been around for over 7,000 years and was first recorded in the Book of Changes which was the first book to discuss the concept of energy.  Today, there are over 3,000 different forms of qgong.  Qi Gong can be done at any age and for as little as 5 minutes or longer.  You can find a book to learn more or you can look for classes at your local gym and on Youtube there are several free videos to watch.  Here are a few I liked: 

Qigong Full 20-Minute Daily Routine             

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwlvTcWR3Gs 

Qi Gong Routine for Stress, Anxiety, & Energy w/ Jeff Chand  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCicH-iz1oU 

Eight Pieces of Brocade 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=445Fz8AQvX8 

 

Tai Chi is derived from qi gong and has been around for 2,500 years.  It was originally used more for defense but today is one of the most popular forms of qi gong.  There are three main types of tai chi; yang, wu, and tai chi chih.  In tai chi like qi gong, you use slow movements to natural move energy through your meridians while focusing on mindful meditation and breathwork.  Your knees remain bent while holding your stance and staying balanced.  Tai chi can be practiced at any age and can be done for as long as 5 or more minutes.  There are books you read for more information, check out your local gym, or watch a Youtube video on how to practice tai chi.  Below are a few I liked: 

Tai Chi with Helen Liang       

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apIffYvzuS0 

5 minute “Follow Me” Tai Chi – Great For Beginners            

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zLXGinTAWQ 

Tai Chi Free Lesson /20 minute Tai Chi Routine/ Daily Taiji Practice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0j5dSjme-Y 

 

Additional Sources: 

Health benefits of tai chi What is the evidence?             https://www.cfp.ca/content/62/11/881.long 

A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085832/ 

Mind–Body Exercise for Anxiety and Depression in COPD Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6981896/ 

Complementary and alternative medicine approaches to blood pressure reduction https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2592323/ 

Benefits of Qigong as an integrative and complementary practice for health 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7365612/ 


 

Fall Diffuser Recipes 

   By Danielle Ross 

 

Fall is officially here!  The leaves have begun turning beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and red.  It is time to get out those diffusers and create your favorite autumn scent.  Here is a list of some recipes to get you started.    

Orange Spice                                        

2 drops Cinnamon Bark                           

2 drops Clove                                         

5 drops Orange                                    

Autumn Leaves

4 drops Cyrpess

2 drops White Fir

2 drops Sandalwood

Sweater Weather                                   

2 drops Cedarwood                                  

2 drops Marjoram                                      

3 drops Bergamot                                

Gingerbread

4 drops Orange

3 drops Ginger

3 drops Cinammon 

Harvest Blend                                        

1 drop Nutmeg                                        

2 drops Frankincense                              

3 drops Orange                                

Spiced Cider

4 drops Orange

3 drops Nutmeg

1 drop Cinammon

1 drop Clove                                                             

If you don’t have a diffuser you can buy one at Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and HyVee.  Essential oils can be purchased through companies like Young Living, Doterra, health stores, and there are other reputable companies out there.  For diffuser purposes fragrant oils are just fine.  Follow Drake Wellness on our social media sites for more information about aromatherapy. 

 


 

Cold and Flu Season 

By Danielle Ross 

 

The leaves are falling, temperatures are cooling, and fall has arrived but so has cold and flu season.  With the coronavirus still a threat this year, it is more important than ever to prevent yourself from getting sick.  There is a ton of information out there on how to stay healthy.  So much in fact it can be overwhelming.  Here at Drake Wellness, we want to save you the time of looking for ways to stay healthy and provide you with the information.  You can start by boosting your immune system and practicing good hygiene. 

Boost your immune system 

- Get plenty of sleep.  Research has shown a direct connection with the circadian sleep cycle and the immune system. 

Eat healthy.  Our body needs proper nutrition to fight off foreign bacteria and viruses.  You should make sure that you are getting plenty of fruits and vegetables. 

- Drink plenty of water.  You need to stay hydrated so that the body can function properly.  You should be drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. 

- Take your recommended daily vitamins.  If you are not getting enough nutrition with what you are eating, then it is recommended to take daily vitamins. 

Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin C and Zinc.  Vitamin C and Zinc have been proven to support the immune system and reduce the number of sick days. 

- Reduce any stress.  Stress is known to weaken your immune system.  There are many ways to reduce your stress.  Practice mindfulness or meditation, exercise, or take time to have fun. 

- Exercise regularly.  Exercising regularly not only reduces your stress but boost your immune system. 

Practice good hygiene 

- Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer when you are unable to wash your hands. 

- DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE WITH UNSANITIZED HANDS!  This is the fastest way to get sick.  The mucus membrane in our eyes, nose, and mouth are the easiest way for bacteria and viruses to invade our bodies. 

- Wear a mask when you go anywhere where social distancing is not an option. 

Wash bedding every couple of weeks or at least monthly.  When you are sick you should wash them as soon as you get better to prevent getting sick again. 

- Keep where you reside clean and disinfected.   

Check us out at  Drake Rec Services for more information about disinfecting your house. 


 

Mindfulness 

By Danielle Ross 

 

Mindfulness, what exactly is it?  Mindfulness is the practice of being present in your mind at that moment.  It is taking the time to check in with yourself, process what is going on, and then letting it all go so that you can be truly be present with yourself and those around you.  Mindfulness is being aware of yourself, your surroundings, and others.  It can include breathing exercises, meditation, and visualization.  Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere.  It can be done while on a walk, sitting down, or even while eating.  Anyone can practice mindfulness.  It is great for kids, college students, adults, and even grandparents. 

Practicing mindfulness has many benefits.   Mindfulness is known to reduce stress and anxiety by altering your emotions and mood.  When you become more relaxed you increase your brain function, focus, clarity, sleep and immunity.  Your blood pressure and heart rate also decrease when you are in a relaxed state.  Practicing mindfulness can decrease your frequency of experiencing depression.  Mindfulness alters our mood by allowing us to focus on the positive side of things, increasing relaxation, creating a sense of connection to everything around us, and a sense of purpose.  Increasing immunity gives us a better chance at fighting illnesses whether acute or chronic.   

There are many ways to practice mindfulness.  It can really be done anywhere at any time in the day.  You can do it while brushing your teeth, driving, taking a bath, and even between classes.  There is no time limit.  It can be a quick minute or even 15 minutes.  You can sit, stand, lay down, or be in motion.  There are endless ways to practice mindfulness.  Below is an example of a breathing exercise and a visualization exercise. 

Breathing Exercise 

Belly Breathing- Take a nice deep breathe in and slowly let it out.  Notice what part of your body is rising and falling.  Focus on your belly filling up with air first, then your chest as you inhale.  As you exhale, focus on you belly falling first, then your chest.  Sometimes it helps to place your hand on your belly to create more awareness.  As you continue to do this, feel your body start to relax and release all that stress.  Remembering to check back in on your breathing.  Continue to do this breathing exercise until you feel a sense of calmness. 

Visualization Exercise 

Blue Light Technique- Visualize yourself surrounded by a blue light.  As you breathe in, imagine your body breathing in the blue light.  As you exhale, imagine all your stress coming out as black smoke.  Visualize the black smoke evaporate into the surrounding blue light.  Continue to do this until you feel a sense of relaxation and peace of mind. 

 I challenge you to take 5 minutes out of your day and practice mindfulness.  You will be amazed at the difference it can make in your life.  There are a ton of apps and resources out there to help guide you through mindfulness.  Below are just a few apps and resources out there.  Remember to check out all of Drake Wellness’ social media sites for more information. 

Mindfulness and Meditation apps: 

  • Smiling Mind app (free) 
  • My Life free app (free) 
  • Koru Mindfulness app 
  • Calm app 
  • Breathwork app 
  • Headspace app only $10 for students 

Sources for Mindfulness and Meditation: 

  • Little book of Mindfulness 

 

Post Workout Remedies 

By Danielle Ross 

 

Working out is something everyone should be doing to improve their health and overall well-being.  However, it is no fun to still feel sore after a workout.  Luckily, there are several things we can do prevent or manage this. 

Before we talk about post workout, I should start by saying that you need to stretch properly to warm up your muscles before you begin your workout.  Staying hydrated during and after the workout is just as important too.  Staying hydrated keeps your muscles from cramping up.  After the workout it is a good idea to do a cool down and then stretch out the muscles you worked.  The reason we get sore after a workout is because of lactic acid sitting in our muscles.  One way to move that out of the muscles is to increase circulation by getting a massageperforming self-massage, or using a foam roller.  There are also muscle rubs and sports creams can help reduce inflammation, increase circulation, and help with the soreness.  An ice bath or just applying ice increases the circulation to the muscles which helps push the lactic acid out as well.  Soaking in a bath of Epsom salts can draw out any inflammation and the magnesium aids with cramping.  Drinking apple cider vinegar can prevent muscle cramps and soreness also

Of course, don’t forget to rest and replenish your body with proper nutrition after working out.  You should never regret working out if done right.  Make sure to take the time your body needs after a workout.  For more information or any questions feel free to email us at wellness@drake.edu and follow us on our social media sites. 


 

Stress Relief 

By Danielle Ross 

Stressed out?  It is understandable to be stressed out at this point in college.  You are probably feeling the demands of tests, reports, and presentations already.  Not to mention extracurricular activities, organizations, work, and still trying to have a life.  Well, take a deep breath and relax because here at Drake Wellness we are here to help.  There are so many different techniques out there to help with reducing your stress.   

                              Breath Exercises         Massage 

                                   Mindfulness           Aromatherapy 

                                    Meditation            Eat a healthy diet 

                                     Exercising           Get plenty of sleep

                                       Tai Chi              Talk to someone 

         Qigong             Take some time for yourself 

               Yoga                 Find ways to laugh or have fun 

Get ahead of the stress if you can.  Don’t let it pile up to the point it is so overwhelming if you can help it.  Prioritize your stress.  Make a list of the stress you can do something about and a list of the stress that is out of your control.  Come up with a strategy to get through the feeling of being overwhelmed with stress.  Just remember you are not alone.  It is common to be overwhelmed and stressed out but, if you need to talk to someone please do not hesitate to call Drake Counseling Center at 515-271-3864.  Keep following us on all the Drake Wellness media sites for more information on relaxation techniques. 

Additional resources: 

Exercise Effects on Depression: Possible Neural Mechanisms https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6437683/ 

Bidirectional relationship of stress and affect with physical activity and healthy eating https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6767465/ 

Depression and Anxiety Disorders: Benefits of Exercise, Yoga, and Meditation https://www.aafp.org/afp/2019/0515/p620.html 

Yoga classes are offered at the Bell Center through Drake Wellness for free to students. 


 

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