The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Tag: Health and wellness

Fall Semester Update

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

Brandeis University has announced a comprehensive plan to safely reopen campus for the fall semester. The COVID-19 Task Force, which included faculty, staff, and students, consulted with local, state, and national public health and medical experts to develop this plan for the university’s fall semester. Below we have highlighted important plan information that is of particular interest for our students here at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies.

Available Facilities

While all Brandeis GPS classes are online, there are facilities available to our students on the Brandeis University campus. These include the library, gym, and mailroom, among many others. While these are available to the Brandeis community, there are strict health and safety measures that are required for all of those who enter campus. Access to these facilities are subject to change, and we will keep our students updated as the semester progresses.

Health and Safety Measures

Based upon public health best practices and accommodations for individual community-member needs, the university is implementing the following policies and procedures to create an on-campus environment that is as safe as possible:

High Frequency, Universal Testing: Brandeis will provide high-frequency, mandatory COVID-19 testing to all on-campus community members.There will also be mandatory testing multiple times per month for all students, faculty, and staff who either live on campus or who come to campus several times per week, regardless of symptoms. This will enable us to quickly identify and contain any instances of infection on our campus.

Public Health Protocols: The university will institute a suite of public health measures, including symptom monitoring, mandatory face masks/coverings indoors and outdoors, public hand-sanitizing stations, and mandatory physical distancing. We will also ask all individuals who return to campus to sign a community commitment to follow such protocols.

Cleaning Enhancements and Building Modifications: The university is also taking actions, such as enhanced cleaning protocols and changes to foot-traffic flow through buildings and on-campus pathways, to ensure that all campus spaces and buildings support the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

These are just a few of the many health and safety measures that are being implemented across campus.

Resources

For more information regarding the reopening of Brandeis this fall semester, please visit the following links:

Letter from the President

Campus Health and Safety Measures

Fall 2020 Plans Webpage

COVID-19 Task Force Report

Five Resources to Aid your Mindfulness Practice

Last week, we discussed how a regular mindfulness routine can lead to success in the classroom, the workplace, and beyond. While It can be intimidating to think about consistently finding a time (or place) to meditate, we put together a list of resources that can make fitting in a mindfulness practice a little less challenging. 

Five free or low-cost mindfulness resources

  1. Headspace. This app provides users with a library of mindfulness resources, including different guided meditation programs suited to a variety of needs, videos, articles and research, and animations. First-time users can access a free meditation basics course and a free 14-day trial. You can then choose from an annual subscription at $69.99/year (or $5.83/month) or monthly at $12.99/month.
  2. Calm. Similar to Headspace, the Calm app offers a variety of tools to sustain a regular meditation practice. Rather than offering multiple-day programs, Calm provides a new meditation technique each day. The app also includes music and visual nature scenes that users can queue up throughout the day, as well as a robust offering of guided meditations for specifically for sleep. First-time users to use the app’s unlimited services for seven days. After that, users can choose from the following subscriptions: $12.99/month, $59.99/year, and a one-time $299.99 lifetime rate.
  3. Stop, breathe, think. This guided meditation app emphasizes the development of a user’s emotional resilience, and offers different programs for adults, children and educators. The app includes more than 100 activities involving meditation, breathing, yoga and acupressure, and can be customized to fit users’ needs and interests. New users can access a free trial and then subscribe for as little as $4.91/month.
  4. YouTube. It goes without saying that YouTube can be an incredible resource for free mindfulness content. Those looking to complement their meditation with a regular yoga practice should consider the Yoga with Adriene channel, which offers more than 100 free yoga videos.
  5. Tara Brach. Brach’s website offers free guided meditations that range from 15-20 minutes. Beginners can download a free meditation toolkit that includes meditation FAQs, two brief audio meditations, a two-part talk on the benefits of meditation, and instructions/resources for commiting to a regular meditation program.

 

The benefits of meditation and mindfulness

Meditation — or mindfulness — is a practice centered around being fully present and paying attention to the current moment without judgement. While a regular meditation practice is known to alleviate stress, it can also lead to successes in the classroom, the workplace, and beyond. Here are four reasons why you might want to consider incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine:

  1. Boost your academic performance. Meditation can improve one’s ability to process and recall information; an essential skill to any student or professional. This increase in brain efficiency is due to growth of grey matter in the frontal cortex, which is associated with working memory and problem solving.
  2. Reduce stress and anxiety. Adult learners are skilled at balancing competing priorities, and while there’s a certain thrill in the simultanrous accomplishment of both professional and academic goals, that doesn’t mean that the additional projects and deadlines don’t create stress and anxiety. Although you may not realize it, stress can lead to physical symptoms such as elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, and even physical aches and pains. are all symptoms of this type of response. Meditation is an effective tool in combating these symptoms by encouraging your body to slow down. By taking the time to meditate, the body is able to recognize that it is no longer in “flight or fight” mode.
  3. Strengthen your emotional resilience. The occasional failure is a crucial part of professional development. Without failure, and the ability to control the negative emotions associated with failure, there is no room for growth and improvement. Frequent meditation is proven to strengthen the emotional resiliency necessary to process and overcome negative experiences.
  4. Improve your overall health and wellness. Meditation has even been linked to a stronger immune system. A recent study found that meditation can potentially impact inflammation, cell-mediated immunity and biological aging.

Starting a meditation practice may seem overwhelming, but thanks to technology, mindfulness resources are more available than ever before. Stay tuned for a roundup of our favorite easy-access meditation tools.

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