My move from Wyoming to New York City last year was fraught with stress. During a brief stint with homelessness and unemployment, I fell ill. My illness began insidiously, with only fatigue and a sore throat. As time passed, I only grew worse. I was under a lot of stress at the time, trying to adjust to my new life in the City. I struggled through job interviews and searching for a place to move. Even after finding a job and an internship and a place to live, there was no time for me to rest and recuperate. How could I take off work if I’d just gotten hired? How could I sleep if my new roommates were always up?
I stumbled into several doctor’s offices at the time, hoping desperately for a cure. One pronounced that I had the flu and sent me home. Two declared that I had a sinus infection. They all agreed that my illness was exacerbated by stress, but didn’t offer any solutions. It wasn’t until I visited my fourth doctor that I found an answer. I was tested for Mononucleosis and came up positive.
I was hoping that since the doctors knew what I had, I could get cured, but this never happened. I remained chronically ill and exhausted. For months, all I did was drag myself to work and then back home. The doctors told me I would recover from mono in a few weeks, but it was not until I took a break and went home three months later that I began to improve. My visit with my friends and family alleviated all the stress and depression I had experienced in the City. Finally, I began to feel healthy again. My illness and subsequent recovery made me realize three things.
IT TAKES OTHER PEOPLE TO HELP YOU FEEL WELL
One thing consistently aggravated me during my frequent trips to the doctor’s office last year. None of the doctors (except the kind woman who discovered I had mono) seemed to care that I was sick. They wanted me to pay my bill and get in and out of the office within 30 minutes so they could take the next patient. I believe that is the reason none of them was able to diagnose me. This made me realize how important it is to have someone with compassion beside you when you are ill. This is probably also the reason why I recovered when I went back home to see my friends and family.
But compassion is a two-way street. If you see someone you care for (or even someone you don’t!) sick, try to help them. Maybe you’re not a doctor, but do what you can. If your roommate has the flu, don’t avoid them like the plague. Use your meal card to buy some them soup or juice. Assist them as they walk down to the campus clinic. Even if you’re a big germaphobe, at least toss them a couple Advil! When they see that someone cares, they will feel better.
The Values section of our magazine, Student Maximu$, also provides great advice on how to care for others. Stay tuned for the next issue of Student Maximu$, which is coming out soon!
DON’T LET STRESS RULE YOUR LIFE (BECAUSE IT ALSO RULES YOUR HEALTH)
My first seven months in NYC were filled with stress, and this is the likely reason I felt ill that whole time. Stress, whether it be physical or mental, takes a toll on your body. Not to get too scientific about it, but stress releases a hormone called cortisal into your system. Cortisal weakens the immune system by attacking white blood cells. So if you feel yourself starting to get stressed, take it easy! This is easier said than done, especially for college students. But there are number of methods you can you use.
TRY SOME YOGA
Yoga, an ancient form of exercise developed in India nearly 5000 years ago, helps rejuvenate both your body and mind. After a session, you are guaranteed to feel more relaxed and stress-free (even if your muscles are a little sore!). You can practice Yoga from the comfort of your home, or hone your skills (and meet some new friends) by taking a class. BYM Bikram Yoga offers over 50 classes at great locations in lower Manhattan. Take advantage of their student discount and enroll today.
ENJOY A SPA
A day at the spa is sure to leave you more relaxed. Let yourself be pampered as the world’s cares lift from your shoulders. And as a student, you can take advantage of the many great coupons the Campus Clipper offers! Beauty and Youth Spa, Elegant Spa, Orchid Garden Spa, and many others, are all currently offering coupons for students. To see an entire list of the coupons we offer for spas, go to this link!
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
If you feel yourself starting to get sick, don’t follow my example. I continued to work despite having mono, and this severely inhibited my recovery. Take time to rest and get yourself to a doctor! As a student, you have health insurance, which ensures that you can get affordable care wherever you go. And these student discounts make it even more affordable. Now you can get the medicine you need to tackle the world again. Check out these coupons from Whitney Chemists, Block Drug Stores, and Biomed Drugs.
Hopefully, these tips (as well as the great discounts that come along with them) will ensure that you remain healthy in the coming year, so that you can continue to help those around you.
–Written by Megan Soyars, Campus Clipper blogger