Dear Students,

I overheard a student the other day saying "It doesn't really feel like school is back in session until the first test." Whether you agree or not, school is most definitely back. So now is the time to establish those healthy habits; that way, when things ramp up next week (or next month), you'll already be creating a positive buffer against the side effects of stress and anxiety. When you're prepared, you'll be amazed at how much you can take on.

Here are three simple practices to work on regularly:

  1. Take 10 minutes to pause and practice some mindfulness. This exercise can help re-center you, especially when you are at risk of, or in the midst of, feeling overwhelmed. I like several different apps, including UT's own Thrive App, Headspace, and Insight Timer.
  2. Find people to support you. Create a help-network. Create study groups, join a student org that speaks to your passions, and, maybe most importantly, visit your professor and TAs now to establish the relationship. Then when the semester heats up, it won't be intimidating.
  3. Go outside. Walk barefoot in the grass, sit in the shade of a tree, go swimming, and of course exercise. Just being outside has a myriad of benefits. To thrive in school, you'll need your body, so treat it well.
We're going to try something fun this semester: in some emails this year, there will be a hidden objective. If you find it and succeed, you will be eligible to win some fun stuff. For this week, I'm going to make it obvious: the objective is to take a picture of yourself enjoying the outdoors. Be sure to post on Twitter or Instagram and include the hashtag #CNSwellness which will be your entry ticket to the prizes. The drawing for this week will be held the week of September 23rd and the winners will be notified by email.

Dr. Vanden Bout

Joke: Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.