5 Ways to Stay Healthy Throughout the Holidays

5 Ways to Stay Healthy Throughout the Holidays

By: Morgan Karasek  


Let’s be real, holiday season is germ season. Whether it is being cramped in the same stores with a bunch of other people all shopping for that perfect Christmas gift, or all the hugs and kisses you get from family members you barely know. Becoming sick during the Holidays is easy, but here are some tips and tricks for fighting away those relentless germs and enjoying the holidays!


1)     Wash Your Hands!

        Now I know this is quite obvious, but many people underestimate the power of handwashing. You are in contact with more people than normal during the holidays and with the increase in people comes with the increase in germs. The recommended time for an effective hand wash is 20 seconds with warm water and soap. SCRUB AWAY!


2)     Manage Your Stress

        It’s the Holidays! Take time for yourself and your family to relax and unwind from school or work because stress can have some serious effects on your body. Stress impacts your heart causing increased blood pressure, constriction of blood vessels and arrhythmias. In fact, stress is now considered a major risk factor in heart disease right under smoking, obesity and lack of exercise. Stress posing a threat to your immune system has become such a problem that researchers have made a new field called psychoneuroimmunology to study the relationship between moods, emotional states, hormonal levels, and changes in the nervous and immune system. When you are drowning in stress, it can compromise the effectiveness of your immune system making you more susceptible to getting sick. So, take the time to relax with your friends and family to fight away those germs!


3)     Do Not Indulge

        I know it is easier said than done when your mom makes the best turkey in the world, or your aunt makes those cookies from when you were a kid and it brings you back to the simpler times of childhood. It can be hard to not overeat during the Holidays. As hard as it may be, keeping those temping food out of hands reach is an easy way to prevent over eating. If you cannot reach it, you are less likely to eat it. Another way to prevent over eating is to eat at a slower pace. When you eat slower you give your stomach time to trigger its receptors and tell your body you’re full. By doing this you feel more satisfied by eating less. So, take your time and remember there is no prize for finishing first.


4)     Beware of the Empty Calorie Drinks

        Yes, I am talking about alcohol, not only do you not feel full drinking alcohol, but alcohol is an appetite stimulant causing you to want to eat more. If you are going to drink, eat something healthy to act like a buffer, and space your drinks out with water.

5)     Stay Active

        I know it can be hard to stay active during the holidays but in order to prevent unnecessary weight gain you need to get moving. Now you don’t need to go hardcore and lift weights for hours, if that’s not your thing, but there are plenty of ways to fit in exercises throughout your day. Walk your dog, play a game of football or Frisbee, play the Wii, and even dancing counts as ways to stay active. Every little bit counts! 

6)     Get Vaccinated

        During the germ season, it is recommended that everyone gets a flu shot. When you are given a flu shot, your body comes in contact with a weak or dead strain of the virus that cannot make you sick. This causes your body’s white blood cells to make antibodies so when your body comes in contact with the normal virus your body has the ability to fight it off and protect you. Think of them as a training course for your immune system! If you would like to know more about how vaccines work, click on the link below! 

If you would like to know more or see where I got my information from look no further!





Trying to quit?

Interested in quitting smoking?  You’re not alone!

Nicotine is an incredibly addictive substance.  Most people have a really hard time quitting smoking, and it can take many quit attempts to finally have it stick.  With each quit attempt, you learn more about yourself and your addiction, and you can use that knowledge the next time you attempt to quit. helpline

Whether you decide to go cold turkey, use over-the-counter or prescription medications, and/or use coaching to help you quit, there are resources to help.  Creating a quit plan is a great starting point.  Making a quit plan helps you think through how you are going to quit, brainstorm what barriers you will probably hit, and figure out how to get around those barriers.  Your quit plan is not something that someone else should write – you should write it, since you are the expert on your own life and your own experience with smoking or using tobacco.

Here are some resources that can help you:




SHSStudents can get FREE nicotine patches, gum and coaching at Student Health Service.  Call Katie Wilson at 715.836.5112 or email her at wilsonk at uwec.edu for more information.

Coping with Natural Disasters, National Tragedies, and Violence   

Coping with Natural Disasters, National Tragedies, and Violence   

By: Callie Hilbert 


Everyday we hear news of tragedies whether it’s through social media, television or from others. By now we have heard of the recent devastating hurricanes and the mass shooting in Las Vegas. These events can cause stress and anxiety for those involved directly or indirectly and leave people physically and/or emotionally exhausted. Even if the event isn’t something that has directly affected us, maybe it’s affected people we know. Regardless if it’s directly affected us, it’s still shocking to hear of these events that are going on and can cause stress and anxiety for many of us.  

  1. Talk About It

In times of distress, people can find solace in numbers. Talking to people about it will help! Sharing with people who feel the same way is a huge stress reliever. Even talking on the phone with someone helps.

2. If you can, help

Donating blood or donating money or items to a disaster relief organization is a good way to feel like you are making a difference. Always remember no amount is too small.  

  3.Spend time doing things you love 

Doing an activity that you love doing can help take your mind off things and relieve stress even if it’s as simple as . Being with people you love is also a great reliever for stress and can help you get through tough times

4.Take care of yourself  

Make sure you are taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep as well as staying active and eating right. 

5. Ask for Help 

If you are having a hard time coping with tragedy or a traumatic event, don’t be afraid to seek help. These feelings are normal. Student Counseling Services is a great place on campus where you can go if you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, or just stressed in general. They also offer counseling support to students experiencing crisis involving traumatic events and emotional distress.  

Hopefully these strategies are able to help you feel less anxious or stressed about events going on in your life. Remember that we are all different in how we respond to stress and not every event causes a stress disorder.  

For more information on coping with tragedy, go to 



Cultural Appropriation [AND] Halloween

Cultural Appropriation [AND] Halloween

October 31st is right around the corner, read these tips on how to avoid disaster this Halloween!

What is cultural appropriation?

Cultural appropriation is when individuals adopt the features of another culture that is not their own. It is sometimes portrayed as being harmful to the culture that is being appropriated. This is because the culture that is being appropriated is often misrepresented, and appropriation can lead to stereotypes being reinforced instead of shut down.

How does cultural appropriation relate to Halloween?

When people are searching for what Halloween costumes to wear, it can be tempting to dress up as something that relates to a culture that is not their own. Some examples of these costumes are “Native American Princess” or “Poncho-wearing Mexican”. The main issue although often unintended behind these costumes is that they turn someone’s actual culture and values into a costume, or something to be made fun of. Also, a culture’s history and traditions can get lost. Even if it is unintended it is incredibly insensitive to do this, and your costume will most definitely offend others.

How do I know if my costume is appropriating someone’s culture?
If your costume is based solely on race, ethnicity or a culture other than your own, then it is appropriation. If you are dressing up as someone else’s culture because you think it’s funny, then it is appropriation. In general, if you are seriously questioning if you are appropriating another culture with your costume, then you probably are!

So what costumes can I wear?

There are so many costume options out there that are fun to wear, and won’t misrepresent cultures. There are plenty of costumes based off of movies or TV shows, pop culture, and so much more!

101 Dalmatian’s! Clue!


For more information on what to or not to wear go to:
Cambridge Dictionary, (2017). Definition of “cultural appropriation”.

Retrieved from: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/cultural-appropriation.



Welcome Christy!

Meet our newest Health Educator, Christy!Christy Prust, Student Health Services.

Christy Prust is one of the health educators on campus. She is a part of Student Health Service and works out of the Office of Health Promotion. Christy is from Green Bay WI and earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Human Development from the University of WI-Green Bay in 2004 and earned her Master of Public Health in Community Health Education from the University of WI-La Crosse in 2017. She started working at UWEC in Student Health Service in May 2017. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, DIY crafting, reading, spending time with family and friends and being a mom to her cat Clea. An interesting fact about Christy is that both of her pinkie fingers are crooked. Christy’s favorite healthy snack is apple slices with sharp cheddar cheese. Her favorite way to exercise is biking and if she where a crayon color she would be mango tango.



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Meet a New SWAT Member!

Meet Cassidy!

Cassidy is a Sophomore Psychology major from Waterloo, Wisconsin. Her favorite healthy snack is an apple with peanut butter, and her favorite way to work out is playing volleyball. An interesting fact about Cassidy is that she was born in Alaska. If she was a crayon she would be mango tango.cassidy

What is SWAT?
The Student Wellness Advocacy Team (SWAT) is a group of students educating students on a wide variety of health and wellness topics. Some of the programs we offer include information about alcohol safety, sexual health, and stress management. Many of the programs are very flexible, so we can change it to match exactly what your group is looking for. We try to make everything fun and interactive while still keeping the information educational and relevant.

How did you learn about the job opportunity?

Near the end of the spring semester I was looking at the job board and saw the posting, and I was immediately interested. The position seemed like it would be a good segway into working in the health care field, which I hope to enter after graduation. I applied and was ecstatic when I got the job!

What made you want to be a part of the SWAT Team?

I am very passionate about educating people about health and wellness topics, and it is something that I want to continue to do after college. I thought that being a part of SWAT as a Peer Health Educator would be a perfect way to enter the field that I am passionate about, all while being on a team with other students who feel similarly. It just seemed like a great opportunity, and I’m glad that I have the chance to participate.

What does SWAT do?

SWAT facilitates many of the programs that you might see advertised in the dorms such as Condom Bingo, Sexual Health Jeopardy, and Balanced Life. We also lead the alcohol classes (PHD and Choices) for when students violate dorm policies. You may also see us tabling outside of Davies or Centennial just to spread the word about SWAT and give out freebies!

What are the hours like?

Every week, we have an hour-long team meeting, and a two-hour office hour. Other than those three hours weekly, it varies depending on how many programs there are that week. That’s one of the great things about this job, it is so flexible. If you have a busy week you can pass on teaching programs, or you can do more on a week when you’re free.

What is the work environment like?

The environment in the office is so welcoming and accepting. I always feel comfortable offering up new ideas or sharing my thoughts on how we can improve certain programs. I look forward to coming to work because I always am learning something new and having a good time with my coworkers.

What is your favorite part about the SWAT team?

My favorite part is all of the great people that I work with. It’s great that I am always able to learn something new when I come to work, and I feel like we are making a positive impact on the campus atmosphere here at UWEC.

Welcome aboard Cassidy! cropped-cropped-cropped-swateam1clr.jpg


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Meet a New SWAT Member!



Meet Hannah!


Hannah Van Steenburgh is a Sophomore from Manitowoc, Wisconsin studying microbiology with a minor in pre-professional health science, in hopes of one day becoming a doctor. Hannah is the new nutrition lead and is also interested in sexual health. Her favorite Healthy Snack is any type of fresh fruit, especially strawberries and apples. Hannah stays very active teaching group exercise classes on campus and also enjoys running, biking and waterskiing. If she were a crayon she would be the color Sunset Orange and an interesting fact about Hannah is that last summer she got to shadow a surgeon and helped perform 6 surgeries.




Welcome Hannah! We look forward to working with you!


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