April 2010

April 2010

APRIL 2010 - Take Care Month

The month of April provides a variety of different awareness themes, all related to taking care of the individual self. Therefore, University of the Rockies has dubbed April "Take Care Month!" Please see the list below for this month's different topics.
Sexual Assault Awareness

Stress Awareness

Taking Care of the Earth

Sexual Assault Awareness
April is dedicated to Sexual Assault Awareness. The purpose of the month is to educate communities about sexual violence and what everyone can do to stay safe. Sexual assault and rape are major focuses.

Sexual Assault Awareness History
First talk about violence against women started in the later end of the 1970s in England. The well-known program 'Take Back the Night' was started at this time in response to the fact that many women were hurt in the streets at night. The movement did not take long to reach the United States; in fact, the first 'Take Back the Night' events in the United States took place in New York City and the city of San Francisco in 1978. The efforts to end violence against women turned into the month of October being designated as domestic violence awareness month.

While this designation was met with open arms, many women felt that sexual violence against women still needed to be recognized as a separate identity. Two prominent organizations, the Resource Sharing Project and the Sexual Violence Resource Center, worked hard with the community to coordinate a national sexual assault awareness month. In 2001, April was designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the color teal was the official color. For more information, please visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), a center dedicated to providing education and awareness to communities on issues around sexual assault.

Did you know that 1 out of 5 women will be sexually assaulted during her college career?* Therefore, the 2010 Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign focuses on colleges campuses and is themed "Prevent Sexual Violence...on our campuses." Visit the SAAM home to learn more about the campaign.
* source: http://www.nsvrc.org/saam/current-campaign

While a large part of sexual assault awareness is focused on women because of the high number of assaults, it is important to recognize that 1 in 33 men in the United States will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, according to a report by the US Department of Justice put out by the National Institute of Justice Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1998.

Safety Tips for Men and Women
As a student at University of the Rockies, your safety matters to us. We encourage you to take steps to prevent becoming a victim of sexual violence and understand how you can take steps to keep yourself and your community safe.

  1. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, get out of it.
  2. Don't walk alone in unpopulated areas.
  3. Keep in mind that alcohol and drugs compromise your ability to make good decisions and to defend yourself. Monitor your intake of drugs and alcohol. If you go to a party, go with a group of people. Designate someone to stay sober who can monitor the party.
  4. Walk with confidence, keeping a steady and direct pace.
  5. Don't let others know that you are alone. Late at night, if the phone rings, don't answer it, let the answering machine pick it up and if there is a knock at the door, don't answer it.

Tips provided by the Department of Public Safety and Oregon State Police @ Oregon State University

Take a Stand

  • You can take a stand against sexual violence by everyday actions such as:
  • Supporting survivors of domestic violence by taking part in events like "Take Back the Night" http://www.takebackthenight.org/
  • Speaking out against comments and remarks that suggest violence or discrimination and sexism
  • Using healthy and respectful attitudes to everyone
  • Being a positive example to young boys and girls about health relationships
  • Not ignoring violent behaviors
  • Taking action.
    Learn more about everyday violence prevention.

Stress Awareness

What is Stress?

It is well documented that chronic stress can cause health issues, both physically and mentally. Stress can be broken down into short term stress and long term stress. Short term stress is induced through immediate events and quick reactions and typically ends with the conclusion of the event or reaction. Long term stress is not quick or immediate and can affect individuals over long periods of time.

Short term stress can affect the body physically through symptoms such as increasing muscle spasms, headaches, body fatigue, shortness of breath, and dry mouth. Short term stress can affect the body mentally as seen by feelings of anxiety, anxiousness, frustration and by the inability to enjoy things you are doing, which ultimately makes one feel bad.

Long term stress can affect the body physically by making one feel constantly tired and worn out, experiencing a change in appetite (eating less or eating more), experience a change in sleep habits (sleeping too much or not enough), increasing "nervous," often repetitive behaviors such as twitching, teeth grinding, pacing, etc, as well as causing one to catch colds or the flu more often and potentially causing other illnesses including, but not limited to, asthma and headaches. Long term stress can affect the body mentally by making one worry and feel anxious, which may lead to a panic attack or induce anxiety disorder, feel overwhelmed, confused, and/or unable to make decisions and experience "mood changes such as depression, frustration, anger, helplessness, irritability, defensiveness, irrationality, overreaction, or impatience and restlessness."
source: http://www.mtstcil.org/skills/stress-deal.html

Stress Relief

It's important to be able to find ways to relieve your stress to avoid any health issues that may arise due to an elevated stress level. Below are the steps for some easy stress relievers that you can do just about anywhere. Make April your month to focus on taking your stress level down a few notches!

  1. Go to Your Peaceful Place
    • In your chair or on the floor (whatever you are capable and comfortable with doing), sit straight and tall.
    • Close and cover your eyes using the center of the palms of your hands.
    • Lightly place the palms of your hands on your cheekbones, making sure to not have any part of your hand touch your eye.
    • While concentrating on deep, fulfilling breaths, visualize the place that brings you peace, whether it's a beautiful deserted beach or watching your child sleep.
    • Hold on to this image for a couple of minutes, while continuing the deep breathing.
  2. Practice Deep Breathing
    • In your chair or on the floor (whatever you are capable and comfortable with doing), sit straight and tall.
    • Take a long breath in through your nose.
    • Focus on the breath filling up your lungs.
    • Hold your breath for a few seconds, as long as it is comfortable.
    • Exhale slowly through your mouth.
    • Hold on to that peace for a few seconds, then repeat the breathing exercise.
  3. Tensing and Differential Relaxation Method (from West Virginia University at Parkersburg)
    • Put your feet flat on the floor.
    • With your hands, grab underneath the chair.
    • Push down with your feet and pull up on your chair at the same time for about five seconds.
    • Relax for five to ten seconds.
    • Repeat the procedure two or three times.
    • Relax all your muscles except the ones that are actually used to complete the task.

Taking Care of the Earth

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect."
~Chief Seattle, 1855-

The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970 when thousands of Americans took part in a peaceful protest organized by Washington Senator Gaylord Nelson. The information provided to all communities and the media coverage of the events across the nation was monumental. As a result, in December, 1970, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect the environment and directly affect the public's health. Since then, the EPA has worked with Congress to institutionalize Clean Air and Water Acts, control toxic substance emissions, as well as many other acts and laws. The EPA continues to develop plans on to how to best use environmental resources and works to ensure the environment's stability for many generations to come. For more detailed information, visit the EPA's Earth Day site.

For the last 40 years, Earth Day has been celebrated every April 22. This year is no different. Why not volunteer this year? Events take place across the nation in communities and schools. The Environmental Protection Agency makes it easy to find event in your community! Visit the Events & Volunteer Opportunities page today for more information!

*** Thanks to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), the Department of Public Safety and Oregon State Police @ Oregon State University, University of Minnesota, Mountain State Centers for Independent Living, and the Environmental Protection Agency for their knowledge and availability to share it with others.***