I saw a meme the other day that made me both chuckle and think about my habits during my first semester as a graduate student. It was from a fellow classmate after we finished with our last final and it said, “Caffeine, you’re on the bench. Alcohol, suit up.” I’m sure it was funny to the majority of my classmates. It made me reflect on my study habits and my cycles of “self-medicating.” Both caffeine and alcohol are indeed drugs, legal ones, but too many people have developed a dependency on them.
I can remember a few tests this semester where I had more caffeine than I should have while studying. I knew skipping coffee on any day would make me feel unproductive. I associated mental arousal with that irresistible hot black beverage. I even went on a caffeine detox for a week and I felt horrible during the first couple of days.
After those tests were done, I often found myself wanting some sort of alcoholic beverage just to relax. I didn’t want to go to parties and binge drink my brain away, but rather enjoy the effects of a drink or two in solitude. See, my mind was so overstimulated from the caffeine that the depressive effects of alcohol seemed to balance it out. I needed one drug to counteract the effects of another. I thought I was being smart, only having one or two drinks on Friday evening. My mindset was “I’m old enough to legally drink; I’m doing so responsibly, there is nothing wrong here.”
Many will argue that caffeine and alcohol are fine in moderate amounts and in appropriate situations; however, I do believe we need to get out of the vicious substance controlled undulation of our state of minds. Instead of relying on caffeine to heighten our senses, we should be altering our lifestyles in a manner that brings more balance. Instead of unwinding with a drink after a week of taxing our minds with caffeine and dull textbooks, we should be seeking out positive and enriching experiences outside school. I’m not going to be giving up on my green tea anytime soon, but I will avoid using it solely as a means to be more attentive.
On Wednesday, March 19th, anti-tobacco activists everywhere will be acknowledging the annual “Kick Butts Day.” Kick Butts Day is a day focused on standing up and speaking out against both tobacco use and the tobacco industry. All across the world, people will be holding all kinds of different anti-tobacco related events. The primary goal of most of these events is to encourage current tobacco users to quit using tobacco for good.
The benefits of quitting tobacco use are numerous, and it is important to investigate the options out there for helping you quit if you choose. Here at UND, there are plenty of resources. At the Health and Wellness Hub, located in the Memorial Union, users will find “Quit Kits” available. Users can also check out Student Health Services to discuss the process of quitting tobacco, and perhaps get a check up to see how at risk you might be for tobacco induced health problems. Across North Dakota, the Department of Health has also established the “ND Quits” campaign. Users interested in quitting can check out the campaign’s website or dial the toll free number to get access to free resources available for quitting.
The good news is that all across the U.S., tobacco use is decreasing. Compared to 42% of the population reporting regular tobacco use in 1965, in 2012, the percentage was reported to be 10%. (kickbuttsday.org) So, if you’re interested in quitting, please do your lungs a favor and check out these fabulous resources!
www.kickbuttsday.org (the official website for “Kick Butts Day”)
http://www.ndhealth.gov/ndquits/ (the official website for the ND Quits campaign)
1.800.784.8669 (ND Quits hotline)
701-777-2605 (UND Student Health Services)