Q & A Form and Archive

Do you have a wellness-related question?

Please fill out this form and a member of the Office of Student Wellness will respond to your question. All questions are reviewed on Wednesdays and answers will be posted by end of day Friday of the week they were received. All questions will be archived on our OSW website.

Please note: This is intended for Wellesley College student use only. Members of OSW are not confidential resources and this form is not intended for urgent or emergency situations; if you need urgent help, please dial 911 or contact Wellesley College Police at 781-283-5555.

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Week of 3/26/2020-4/1/2020

March 27th, 2020: I’m wondering how Stone Center is supporting students, especially students still on campus? Are they coming out with information in the future? Thank you, appreciate the work y’all are doing to help students during this difficult time! - Anonymous

March 31st, 2020: Will counselors be available to meet remotely? - KB

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Answer: Thank you for submitting a question to our new Wellness Q & A form!

Stone Counseling Services During Remote Learning

  • On-campus students:

    • Individual counseling sessions and groups will be offered via HIPAA-compliant telemental health Zoom sessions

    • The ProtoCall after hours’ service is still available (781-283-2839)

  • Off-campus students:

  • Resources for all students:

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I hope that helps to answer your questions! Should you have further questions, please don't hesitate to be in touch with us in the Office of Student Wellness or with the Director of Stone Center, Dr. Robin Cook-Nobles.

 

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Week of 4/2/2020-4/8/2020

This week we teamed up with our friends in Career Education to talk occupational wellness and ask a few questions! 

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Question: How has Career Education transitioned to support students remotely/virtually in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis?

Answer: Career Education recognizes that students are facing uniquely difficult obstacles to their career journeys as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Our College Career Mentors and Career Community Advisors want to support you through this time. We are available for virtual Zoom appointments to discuss your individual situation and think through next steps. Schedule your meeting time through Wellesley's career services platform, Handshake.

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Question: What are some upcoming virtual programs/events hosted by Career Education that students can take part in?

Answer: Career Education will be hosting virtual events throughout the semester and summer ahead, with an emphasis on career search programming that is mindful of this challenging time, self-care, and community-care. These events include:

  • Career, Coffee, and Conversation: drop-in conversation series for seniors. Bring your thoughts and questions, or just enjoy connecting with others as we chat about careers, internships, networking, and whatever else is on your mind. 

  • Senior Support Network: This program will match seniors with an alum working in their industry of interest as well as Career Education staff members. Watch your email for an opportunity to opt into the program!

  • Ongoing Career Essentials: Check Handshake each week for continued events such as resume and cover letter workshops, interview prep, and more. 

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Question: What about opportunities to connect with alumnae?

Answer: The Wellesley Hive offers ongoing mentorship opportunities no matter where you are at in your career journey. All alumnae in the platform have raised their hands to help current students and fellow alumnae. The platform allows you to search for alumnae mentors by company, industry, location, identity, and so much more. 

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If you have any questions about how Career Education can support you in this time, please email careereducation@wellesley.edu and we will help to point you in the right direction. Stay safe and be well.

 

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Week of 4/9/2020-4/15/2020

This week we teamed up with our friends at the Wellesley College Paulson Ecology of Place Initiative to talk environmental wellness and ask a few questions! 

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Question: What connections exist between nature and wellness? 

Answer: Spending time "in" nature, through your window, your back door, listening to nature sounds, or even watching a nature documentary has healing properties for mental and physical health even in normal times. Just 20 minutes a day engaging in nature can provide a wider perspective, offset uncertainties in life, reduce anxiety and provide connection during a time of social separation!

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Question: What are some nature wellness practices I can try?

Answer: There are so many ways that nature can provide accessible and grounding inspiration for wellness practices! Check out the resources we've collected for you:

  • Hug a tree to cultivate grounding and sensory awareness.
  • If you are limited to staying inside, “hug” your favorite houseplant or imagine your favorite tree and listen to the Wellesley soundscape recording.
  • Create your own Hugatree zine here using these instructions!
  • Do you know the soundscape of your backyard? A soundscape is the collective sounds that make up a specific environment. Enjoy listening to the sounds, wildlife and human, of your backyard.
  • For even more resources, be sure to check out our Nature of Well-Being website!

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Question: How can I connect to the Paulson Initative while off-campus?
Answer: Visit our website for lots of great resources, follow @wellesleypaulson on Instagram for more nature wellness practices, and tune into the Wabancam, your window into the beauty and tranquility of Wellesley’s campus, wherever you may be!

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“I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love rather than what I fear.
And at the end of my prayers, they teach me how to listen.”

- Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place

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Week of 4/16/2020-4/22/2020

Question: What are some resources to support financial wellness during the age of COVID-19?

Answer: Under even normal circumstances, finances are a topic of stress for many, and particularly for many college students. With the COVID-19 virus, there has been greater concern related to unemployment, loans and access to basic essentials. To help you navigate this time, please see some of the resources below:

 

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Week of 4/23/2020-4/29/2020

Question: How do you navigate a heartbreak/break-up during quarantine, as well balancing academic stress? 

Answer: The Coronavirus and quarantine have led to a series of losses, from our sense of safety to our social connections to our financial security. While the situation provokes anxiety and stress, it is also a time of collective sorrow. Navigating a break-up and heartbreak on top of this grief may bring up even more amplified feelings of loss.

Though there are no one-size-fits-all approaches to grief, loss, or break-ups, acknowledging the grief and associated feelings (such as anger, sadness, or denial) is often a helpful place to start. In doing so, we allow ourselves to turn inward and re-calibrate. This allows us to recognize that change has occurred, and that it is natural to feel grief over what we are losing, then we can move through the grief process and come out the other side. 

In terms of managing all of this along with academics, it may be helpful to remember what you can and cannot control. Much of the world's events are out of our control and can leave us feeling helpless, and we may feel similarly within a break-up wherein we cannot control other peoples' feelings or behaviors. Finding places in life where you feel more in control can help you feel more empowered and help you in the process of moving forward. Ways in which this may be helpful is with your academics; using your academics as a place for you to concentrate, to feel motivated, and accomplished can contribute to a greater sense of empowerment. 

Prioritizing your self-care is also a very important consideration during this time of the Coronavirus, and especially during a break-up. A good rule of thumb is to treat yourself like you would a small child, gently, compassionately and with great care; make sure you are getting enough rest, nourishing foods, playtime to make you smile, and movement that makes you feel good. If you haven't thought about a self-care plan, now may be a helpful time to do so. Just last week we shared some new resources around self-care so it may be helpful to revisit them, too!

Some other helpful recommendations related to feelings of grief and breakups are to stay in the present and take it one day at a time; connect with others, personal relationships, and professional support as necessary; practice gratitude, no matter how small; and remind yourself how you have managed to remain resilient in the past and put those practices into action. 

 

For more resources, please check out the following:

 

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Week of 4/30/2020-5/6/2020

Question: Before the pandemic, I wanted to lose a few pounds. Now I am home seeing lots of posts about different diets/weight loss programs and stories about people losing weight. Do you have any advice? - VS

 

Answer: Thank you for your question, VS. We do not have to look too hard to find stories of individuals tackling and mastering seemingly impossible tasks these days. It is common for our society to reward heroic and grand efforts during difficult times in order to demonstrate we can perform at or above the same level we did under normal circumstances. This can be especially frustrating for those who feel they are barely managing and leave many feeling inferior.

While change can be good, even wanted change can be very difficult. I caution you from taking on too much change, especially at this time. You have had to endure much unwanted change already in an extremely short period of time. 

When thinking about your personal health goals, I invite you to begin by writing a personal mission statement. A mission statement might be something like Follow a pattern of eating that is balanced, flexible, can be maintained over time, and that provides my body with the energy it needs to thrive. There is no right or one-size fits all mission statements. It is unique to you.

Once you have your mission statement, set a goal or two. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable (it is important to experience success), relevant (aligns with mission statement), and realistic timing (SMART Goals). 

Put the emphasis on addition rather than subtraction by avoiding statements like I will never eat “fill in the blank” again. For example, if you have an erratic schedule of eating, consider adding set mealtimes, or set as a goal to eat every day within one hour of waking. If you eat very few vegetables or fruit most days, a goal might be to add one fruit or vegetable every day into your routine.

We are here for you. Let us know if you have questions!

 
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Week of 5/7/2020-5/13/2020

Question: Before I left campus, I had a good eating routine. Since returning home, I have been finding it difficult to stick to my routine; I’ve been eating more junk food and fewer vegetables. Do you have any suggestions to help me get back on track and talk to my family about what foods I would like to eat? - RM

 

Answer: Thank you for your question, RM. You are not alone. While on campus, your eating schedule was primarily a function of your class/club/athletic schedules, and foods you ate were largely guided by what was offered by dining services. Living away from campus has meant that many students are no longer “masters” of their schedule or food choices.  As a result, students are reporting changes in appetite, eating more or less food, eating more or less frequently, and eating certain foods more than they would if they were on campus (especially sweets and comfort foods). Now, more than ever, it is important that our eating be guided by balance and flexibility.

Here are a few tips to help you regain some control and balance with your diet. 

Eat within one hour of waking:

  • With whatever food options are available, look for a source of protein (beans, eggs, grains, milk, meat, leftovers), grain (tortilla, bread, rice), and a fruit or vegetable or both (frozen, canned, or fresh).

Eat meals every 3-4 hours; one of each:

  • Protein (beans, meat, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy)

  • Grain (rice, pasta, bread)

  • Vegetable (fresh, frozen or canned vegetables cooked or raw)

  • Fruit (fresh, frozen, or canned), and

  • Fat (nuts, nut butters, seeds, oil, dairy, meat, avocado)

Assess your hunger:

  • Are you hungry? Eat.

  • Step 1: Rate your hunger - are you starving (10 on a scale of 1-10) or just need a little pick me up snack to help maintain focus (2-3 on a scale of 1-10).

  • Step 2: If you are a 10, eat a meal (as described above). If you are a 2 or 3, eat a snack such as a slice of toast with peanut butter and a glass of milk. When snacking, try pairing a carbohydrate (such as fruit, slice of break or both) with a source of protein (such as nuts, nut butter, cheese).

  • Rather than berate yourself for being hungry, nourish your body with the options available to you.

Get involved in the planning, shopping and cooking:

  • If you are not responsible for the weekly menu, creating the grocery list, or doing the shopping, ask if you can become involved.

  • Offer to plan and cook one meal each week.

  • Need help learning how to cook? Check out this link: Cooking basics

  • Need help planning a grocery list and making affordable choices? Check out this link: Cooking on a budget

How to incorporate vegetables into warm dishes:

  • Add fresh/frozen vegetables to scrambled eggs. In a frying pan sauté spinach, onion, and peppers for a few minutes and then add in the eggs. Get creative with the vegetables!

  • Add fresh/frozen/canned vegetables to warm vegetable/meat broth. Heat broth and add vegetables and herbs (dried or fresh). To change it up, add white, brown or wild rice, potatoes, or beans. When using root vegetables, I usually sauté them for about 5 minutes first. Be sure to rinse beans before adding them to the soup. Once vegetables are soft, serve and enjoy.

  • Add warm dressing to greens (such as kale or spinach). In a frying pan, sauté onion and mix in white vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard (all to taste). Pour over spinach for a warm salad. Mix it up by adding bacon, chicken, beans, hard-boiled egg, tofu or mushrooms. Be creative with the dressing!

  • Add a twist to traditional tortillas, wraps, and stews, by sautéing in oil chopped up leafy greens, especially collard greens and kale. 

  • Sauté/broil Shishito or Padron peppers for about 5 minutes in olive oil and add salt and pepper. Enjoy warm!

  • Make your own “Veggie Red Sauce” by sautéing fresh/frozen/canned onion, bell peppers, carrots, celery, garlic, jalapeno pepper and zucchini. Add 1-2 large cans of whole peeled tomatoes and let simmer for about 1 hour (using a large spoon, squish tomatoes against side of pot). Add fresh or dried herbs to taste. Parmesan cheese is optional. Serve over pasta, chicken or tofu or with your favorite bread.

  • Cook your favorite pasta, rice or other grain such as quinoa. In olive oil or other vegetable oil, sauté fresh/frozen/canned vegetables such as onion, green beans, carrots, bean sprouts, zucchini and peppers. Season with vegetable oil, fresh/dried herbs such as basil, salt and pepper, and your favorite vinegar. This can also be prepared with chilled grain and raw vegetables.

How to incorporate fruit into meals and snacks:

  • Add fresh or canned fruit to cold leafy green or rice salads, canned oranges and in season berries are especially yummy in cold salads.

  • Slice an avocado in half and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper or add to cold salad. Yes, avocado is a fruit ☺

  • Slice banana on top of toast and peanut butter, or eat it like a hot dog.

  • Blend frozen or fresh fruit with yogurt, and milk/milk alternative for a refreshing smoothie. Variations and additions include vegetables, nut butter, and seeds.

Adding flavor to dishes:

  • Flavor foods and beverages with fresh or dry herbs and spices. To turn up the heat, try dried chili flakes. 

 

We are here for you. Let us know if you have questions!

 

 
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Week of 5/14/2020-5/20/2020

Question: I’ve been eating less since I’ve been home. Partially because of stress, and partially because when there’s nothing available that I like, I just don’t eat. My parents really don’t listen to me about food choices, so what are my options? I’m really trying not to slip into disordered eating. 

 

Answer: Thank you so much for your wellness question submission, you are not alone in your struggles. Many students are experiencing a lot of stress right now, and the unfortunate reality is that stress worsens feelings of low mood or angst. As a result of the stress, many, just like you, experience changes in appetite and eat less frequently. Skipping meals and eating less than your body needs because you do not like your food choices, further exacerbates your low mood and as you point out, puts you at risk for developing disordered eating behaviors.

It sounds like you are trying to continue to eat the same foods you did when you were on campus, foods you view as healthy, but that your parents make different food choices that you feel are incompatible with yours? Leaving you to feel that you, and you alone, must be flexible and make changes to your diet. This must be very frustrating for you.

Staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone. The increased anxiety can cause some to abandon their healthy eating intentions and snack on whatever is around while others adhere to a strict healthy eating regimen. Meal planning for a family, a challenge on its own, can be more so now with seclusion at home, more people to feed with different tastes, and more food stores with limited groceries and shopping times.

Now, perhaps more than ever, it is important that our eating be guided by balance and flexibility. I wonder how your parents would respond if you offer to plan and prepare one or more meals each week for your family? What about offering to do the grocery shopping for your family? Would this provide you with the opportunity to add in a few items that appeal to you and to prepare meals or dishes to your liking?

Your concerns about developing an eating disorder are valid. I strongly encourage you to reach out to the Stone Center through the student portal to schedule a remote counseling session. The Stone Center can also help you locate a therapist in your area.

In the meantime, check out The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness’s website https://www.allianceforeatingdisorders.com/news/

The Alliance is a national non-profit organization dedicated to the outreach, education, early intervention, support, and advocacy for all eating disorders. 

They are hosting free on-line check-ins Saturday, May 23rd 11am EST and Monday, May 25th 7pm EST. Links to register:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSezek62Ei24F8DeuG9KErUEOqlpLLJcjBnlMOGRp01e-EIeeg/viewform
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeP92vgNUNMKjTPNgx9DaGY-iYwdN3-Ly_cZvRdQFoD3zL16g/viewform

We are here for you. Let us know if you have additional questions.