Recovery Student Spotlight- Ashantis

In honor of Eating Disorders Awareness Week this week, we will be highlighting stories from DePaul students in recovery from eating disorders.  In this post, we will be spotlighting Ashantis*, a 3rd year student in DePaul’s Masters in College Counseling and Student Affairs program.  They are also in recovery from an eating disorder and wanted to share their experiences and thoughts about eating disorder recovery. 


Help us debunk some myths about eating disorders and eating disorder recovery. 

The most important myth that Ashantis wanted to debunk is the myth that eating disorders have a specific “look”.  Anyone, regardless of body type can struggle with any eating disorder.  It is important to remember that everyone’s struggles with mental health disorders are valid struggles, regardless of what they look like.   


If you could give advice to anyone thinking about starting their eating disorder recovery journey, what would you tell them? 

Ashantis wanted to start by saying that eating disorder recovery is challenging.  One of the main reasons why she sees recovery as a challenge is because it is heavily focused on unlearning certain behaviors and relearning others.  However, she wanted to stress that recovery is worth the hard work.  They described how, after being on their recovery journey for several years, their mind is clearer and they are better able to focus on things such as school, work, and life.  While some days are harder than others in the process of recovery, the work is well worth it! 

What else do you want the world to know about eating disorders, eating disorder recovery or mental health? 

Ashantis wanted to use this section to speak on how eating disorder behaviors and thoughts are quite common in our everyday lives.  Diet culture, specifically, holds a place in society that makes many of us feel that we need to change our weight.  This just goes to show the importance of accepting and recognizing the beauty in bodies of all sizes. 


If you would like to learn more about Ashantis and her recovery journey, check out her Instagram (@iamashantis)! 

If you would like more information about resources and recovery at DePaul, feel free to email the Office of Health Promotion & Wellness at  Happy Eating Disorders Awareness Week! 


*Name shared with permission 

Wellness Wednesday- Planning for a Successful Winter Quarter

HeBlue Demons! We hope that you are off to a great start to the Winter Quarter! While Winter Quarter brings a clean slate, both in the sense of a new year and new classes, many students will find the start of a new quarter to be stressful. Understandably so! Stress like this can come from things like pressure to succeed in classes, going back into routine of “sitting” in classes, or just making sure that you are getting all your assignments in on time. The good news is that there are so many things you can do to help combat these feelings and put yourself at ease a little bit. Here’s a couple to try: 

  • Find an effective way to plan. Everyone has their own preference of ways to plan their schedules and organize their academic assignments. If you do not know how you prefer to plan, or have never made a plan before, it’ll be a good idea to try out a few different methods and use what you find works best. Regardless of how you plan, having a strategy for this quarter might help you feel more organized and comfortable with what you have to get done and when you need it done by. 
  • Look ahead at your coursework and try to anticipate when you will have things like more challenging assignments and exams. If you know when to expect the bigger (and sometimes more difficult) assignments, it will be much easier to plan the things you need to prioritize and figure out how you will be able to successfully shift your schedule and get everything done that you need to.  
  • Be sure to schedule in time for self-care.  It is always important to make self-care a priority to help deal with stress. Try to have a few different go-to activities that help you take care of your physical, emotional, social, and/or environmental health. Consider this like your self-care toolbox. By having many tools in this toolbox, this ensures that you won’t find yourself without a backup plan. Make sure you are doing things every day that will help you take care of yourself – you might even have to pencil these breaks into your schedule! 

We hope these tips will help you find ways to feel a little more organizeda little more prepared, and a little more confident this quarter! 

Take Care of yourself. Take Care of Others. Take Care, DePaul! 


Celebrating Holidays During a Pandemic

We are finally at week 10 of Fall Quarter!  Once we get past finals, we get to rest and relax for a long winter break.  During this break, many of us will be celebrating a variety of holidays.  With the pandemic, some of these holiday plans may look different.  While this may be initially upsetting, there are ways to still have a great holiday season, even with all that is going on in the world.  Here are a few ways to do this! 

  • If you do plan to travel and meet up with others, do so safely.  Adhere to guidelines like wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart from others to ensure that the risk for getting COVID is as low as possible.   
  • If possible, find new ways to connect with others A silver lining of this time is that it allows us to come up with new and creative ways to do things like connecting with others.  This may look like sending cards to your friends and family to tell them why you are thankful for them on Thanksgiving or having a virtual celebration over Zoom foNew Year’s Eve.   
  • Look for joy and excitement in the little things.  Maybe you are going to try a new Christmas cookie recipe or you are just excited to see holiday lights and decorations up around your neighborhood.  Looking for joy in the little things can help you focus on what is going well, as opposed to focusing on what may not be going as well.  While it is okay to feel however you are feeling about the changes that come along with celebrating holidays during a pandemic, showing gratitude for the little things may help cope with these feelings and boost your mood 
  • Create boundaries to protect yourself and your health.  Maybe there are some topics that you are not comfortable discussing with family members due to differing opinions.  Maybe you are struggling with your relationship with food and need a little help coping with food-focused holidays, like Thanksgiving.  If this is the case, set clear boundaries both with yourself and others to ensure that you are protecting your health.  If you need help coming up with appropriate boundaries to set, speak to a friend, family member, or therapist to help you brainstorm. 
  • Take time for self-care.  While this is supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year”, it can also be stressful for many reasons, even without a pandemic.  It is okay to take time to yourself to ensure that you are able to cope and re-energize as well as possible.  Be sure to schedule in time for rest and self-care activities, especially if you know you will be busy and less likely to prioritize self-care.  


With these tips in mind, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season and winter break!  Be sure to take care of yourself for a successful finals week so you can push through to a nice, long break.  If you need any 1:1 help, always feel free to contact us via email ( or our social media (@HealthyDePaul on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)! 

Coping with Disappointment During the Pandemic

Due to the pandemic, many things have been postponed or cancelled.  From concerts to film premieres to family gatherings, many of the events that we look forward to simply will not be happening when we want them to or how we want them to.  It is easy to feel disappointed because of all these changes.  While it is okay to feel however you feel, it is also important to have healthy ways to deal with these feelings.  Here are a few ways to help deal specifically with disappointment during the pandemic.   

  • Look for things to be grateful for and take time to recognize them.  When there are so many things going wrong or making us feel negative emotions, it can be easy to get caught up with those emotions.  However, finding things that we are grateful for can help with lifting moods and focusing on more positive things.  One way to do this may be to write down what you are grateful for.  Another thing to do may be to identify people that you are grateful for and send them a nice note to let them know that you are grateful for them.   
  • Find ways to add excitement and happiness throughout your daily routine or weekly schedule Maybe you plan to make yourself a really great latte midway through your day.  Maybe you and your friends schedule a weekly zoom call.  Whatever it is, try to plan something that you can look forward to that you are also able to control.  This way, you are still having some fun, but because it is on your own terms, it will be much harder for something to get in the way to prevent it from happening.   
  • Find ways to express your disappointment.  Having an outlet to express how you are feeling is an important self-care strategy that helps to manage difficult emotions.  For many people, being creative is a great outlet.  Some benefit from painting, dance, or playing an instrument.  Doing something as simple as writing down your feelings can help.  
  • Talk to someone.  Knowing that so many people are dealing with disappointment right now, it may be a good idea to talk to friends and family members about how you are feeling.  This way you may be able to feel some comfort by verbally expressing your feelings and speaking to someone who may be able to empathize with how you are feeling.  If you need more support than a friend or family member can provide, it is always a great idea to talk to a professional, like a therapist.  

Again, it is completely okay to feel whatever feelings come up during this time.  It is important to honor and acknowledge those feelings.  However, it is equally important to find healthy ways to deal with those feelings.  If you need any further support with dealing with these tough emotions, do not hesitate to reach out to us via email ( or our social media (@HealthyDePaul on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)! 

Harm Reduction for Spooky Season

The week of Halloween can be often be an exciting time for college students. However, one of the factors that comes with spooky season is substance use so here are some harm reduction tips if you choose to use and some fun sober activities as well!

If choosing to use, here are some things to keep in mind:  

Alcohol is a depressant,

which means that even if there are initial stimulating effects, it will end up with less desirable effects. However, to maintain the stimulating effects longer, drinking less actually helps. Here is a graph to showcase how a higher BAC, or Blood Alcohol Concentration, will actually cause a harder crash with more undesirable effects.


Pace Yourself

To pace yourself, know how many drinks or “standard pours” you want to use prior to an event. Here are the conversions of one drink in beer, alcohol, and 80-proof liquor.

  • 12 fl oz of a 5% alcohol beer = 5 fl oz of a 12% alcohol wine = 1.5 fl oz shot of 40% alcohol liquor

Lastly, sobering up takes time.

The liver removes alcohol from the blood at a constant rate so things like hot showers or coffee may provide temporary relief, but they don’t truly address the alcohol in your system. Make sure to stay hydrated but the best sobering up technique is time.

Here is a harm reduction list you can reference:

  • Make a plan
  • Set a limit (BAC safe zone)
  • Eat before drinking
  • Alternate drinks with non-alcoholic drinks
  • Avoid drinking games (as it is hard to pace yourself this way)
  • Don’t Mix
  • Stay with friends
  • Use caution when sex is a possibility
  • Call for help when needed

Call for help if the person is

  • Passed out or unresponsive
  • has mental stupor/confusion
  • slow or irregular breathing
  • vomitting or seizures
  • pale or blueish skin tone


By calling Public Safety at 773-325-7777 if a friend is in danger for alcohol poisoning, no disciplinary action will be taken against you. This is known as the Blue Demon Duty and it’s to help keep the DePaul community safe.


Important to note: Even though the state of Illinois has legalized cannabis for individuals 21 and over, it is still illegal federally, and since DePaul is federally funded campus, the Drug Free Schools and Campus Act prohibits use, possession, or distribution of cannabis on university campuses.

2 Important Harm Reduction strategies if choosing to use cannabis:

  • Buy from a dispensary
  • The dangers of mixing substances also known as the Synergistic Effect. 

Buy from a dispensary


You are able to ensure the cannabis you are buying is safe and is not mixed with any other substance that could potentially harm you if taken incorrectly. Additionally, it provides you a resource to ask direct questions about the dose and cautions about certain types of cannabis. This is incredibly important for something like edibles where the there is a higher level of ambiguity and it helps to avoid bad trips or dangerous experiences.

Synergistic Effect

An interaction between two or more drugs that causes the total effect of the drugs to be greater than the sum of the individual effects of each drug. In other words, mixing substances is not 2+2=4,  but rather 2+2 becoming 10 

This is due to the difference of absorption that can occur. For example, alcohol increases the absorption of THC, a chemical found in cannabis, which increases the desirable effects such as euphoria, but also heightens the undesirable effects too like feeling fuzzy, disorientation, and anxiety or paranoia. This is also another reason to buy from a dispensary as they can provide you with an even more direct explanation based on specific substances types too. 

Sober Activities

And last but certainly not least, here are some fun sober activities you could do!

  • Watch spooky movies with friends through online plug-ins like Netflix party that help you watch at the same time
  • Decorate or carve pumpkins
  • Have an “Among Us” tournament
  • Play, an online Pictionary equivalent
  • Make a delicious meal that you have always wanted to try with your roommates
  • Do an activity that relaxes you (ex. reading, baking, writing letters, scrapbooking, playing Minecraft, painting ect.)
  • Check out the fun activities clubs are hosting on DeHub

And don’t forget to use a mask.

If you want to learn more about harm reduction with substances come to our event Nightmare on Sheffield on Monday October 26th at 7pm CST. Register on DeHub with this link.

Hope to see you there!


How to Create a Self-Care Plan

At the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness, we often talk about self-care.  Self-care is the specific, intentional tactics we employ to ensure that we are taking care of our physical, emotional, social, and environmental health.  One of the great things about self-care is that there are many ways to practice it.  The activities that we incorporate into our self-care practices can be anything from running to listening to music to cooking.  However, with there being such a wide range of ways to practice self-care, it can be challenging to find the self-care routine and practices that work for you. 

If you are struggling to create and perfect your self-care plan, consider some of these tips: 

  • Assess your needs.  It is important that we have self-care practices that address our physical, social, emotional, and environmental health.  However, some of us may need to focus more on one are of health than another.  Try to look objectively at your overall health to see if you need to spend more time on activities for one type of health over another.  For example, if you find that you struggle with stress, you may want to prioritize self-care activities that will help you cope emotionally. 
  • Try new things.  When it comes to having self-care activities lined up, it is important that you enjoy said activities so you are even more motivated to do them.  While you might already have some things in mind that you know you like, be sure to try something new every once and a while so that you can add to your tool kit of self-care practices.  
  • Consider your schedule.  Take note of how much time you have for self-care activities during each day of the week.  Maybe your weekends have larger open periods of time than your weekdays.  If this is the case, have a list of self-care activities that last 5 to 10 minutes to do during weekdays and have a list of activities that take a bit longer than you can utilize over the weekends.  Be sure to customize your plan to your schedule so that you are able to practice self-care every day. 
  • Be prepared for your plan to grow and evolve with you.  As human beings, we are all always learning and growing.  Because of this, it is understandable that your current self-care plan may be different from what your self-care plan is a year from now- and that is okay!  Take time to reassess what is and is not working and adjust your plan from there.   

With these tips in mind, it is important to create the best self-care plan that will work best for you.  Moreover, it is equally important that you begin utilizing these strategies as soon as possible so that you have tools in your toolkit before you get stressed, burnt out, or run down.  For example, if you wait until finals week to start creating a self-care plan, it will be harder for that plan to feel effective and to find the time to begin employing these strategies.  However, if you begin a few weeks before finals, you will have a set routine that feels more comfortable and natural to help prevent you from feeling entirely overwhelmed once finals do come around.  All in all, be sure to do what you can to take care of yourself every day, even if it is just for a few moments.  If you need any support, always feel free to reach out to us at 

Coping with Academic Pressure

Something that many college students commonly experience is pressure to succeed in their academics.  Whether this pressure comes purely from oneself or additionally from those close to them, such as family members, it is important to understand how to deal with this pressure.  As with any form of stress, pressure to succeed in academics can lead to many physical and psychological effects.  Prolonged and intense pressure can lead to trouble sleeping, appetite changes, irritability, and many other effects.   

With the understanding of how stress can negatively affect both the brain and the body, let’s take a look at a few ways to decrease the weight of this pressure. 

  • When learning about new concepts in class, begin by focusing on truly learning and understanding the concepts.  It is easy to focus solely on getting a good grade in the class or the possibility of getting a grade that is less desired.  However, if you shift the focus on understanding the concept before focusing on attaining a certain grade, there is less pressure to simply repeat the information for the chance of gaining a specific amount of points.  That way, when it is time to show this knowledge on a quiz or assignment, it will be easier and more natural for you to show an understanding of the knowledge.  
  • Try your best, but also understand that your best is constantly changing.  For example, your best may be different on a day when you got 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep and were able to eat a great breakfast versus a day when you were coming down with a cold and there was loud construction going on across the street from you.  While some “bests” may end up with different results than others, allow yourself to feel empowered by the fact that you did everything in your power to succeed.  If the results were not what you were hoping for, be sure to give yourself grace and understanding to allow yourself to be resilient and continue to do your best.  
  • Know your value outside of academics.  Understand that all of us have value and worth that have nothing to do with what we do or do not achieve in school.  If you are struggling to recognize this, try creating a list of things you love about yourself that does not include things like grades or GPA.  For example, are you good at listening and supporting friends?  Have you seen major improvements in your skills at watercolor painting over the past few months?  Do you continue to try hard in everything that you do, even when it is hard?  All these things have little, if anything, to do with academics, and yet they are still traits that are important and valuable to have.  Try to look at yourself holistically to understand that you are great regardless of the grade you got on that essay.  
  • Take care of yourself.  If you neglect your personal needs, it will be harder to focus on achieving what you want to achieve.  Similarly, if you are able to achieve what you are hoping to achieve, it will not be as enjoyable or as gratifying as possible because of the exhaustion and frustration that comes from neglecting your personal needs.   

While it is important to work hard in academics, it is important to balance your drive to succeed and your mental health and stress levels.  In doing so, the process of achieving in academics will be much more fun and rewarding.  If you need any help or want someone to talk to, feel free to email the Office of Health Promotion & Wellness at 

Habit Forming

I struggled with habit-forming for a long time. I would always resolve to get into the habit of doing something like incorporating more veggies into my diet, going to bed earlier, or starting my assignments in advance. In the beginning, I would feel really excited and motivated to make a change though when I wasn’t seeing results quick enough, I would always return back to my old bad habits. It was extremely frustrating not being able to maintain consistency and reach my goals. So, I spent a lot of time re-evaluating and found that my method of habit formation was setting me up for failure. Once I figured out what was holding me back, I took the time to think of strategies that would help me reach my goal and began to implement them. I’ve made great progress in reaching my goals and implementing healthy habits and I figured I’d share my strategies with you all.


  1. Focus on one habit at a time and try to connect it to an already established habit
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to establish 5 habits at once. Instead, implement one habit at a time and try to connect it to an existing habit, for example in order to incorporate more veggies into my diet I started writing them into the weekly menus I make.
  1. Commit to 30 days (at the very least) and strive for consistency
  • Habits take time to form, give yourself at least 30 days to get into the routine of doing something. Within these 30 days strive for consistency if you’re implementing a daily habit try not to take more than 2 days off.
  1. Take baby steps and set milestones
  • Break down your goal into digestible and easily attainable tasks. If your trying to get into the habit of going to bed earlier break up the task by: setting an alarm to warn you it’s time to start winding down, establishing that your room is for R&R, and eliminating distractions like using your phone or watching tv after a certain time. Be sure to celebrate your achievements along the way, if your goal is to get in the habit of going to bed before midnight make sure to celebrate your milestones on your way to your goal.
  1. Hold yourself accountable, but also be forgiving
  • Goals don’t work unless you do. Holding yourself accountable is essential in order to ensure that you stay on track. Methods like tracking and sharing your goal with others may encourage you to stay committed. Though while accountability is important be sure to be kind to yourself, we all make mistakes, and missing the mark every once in a while isn’t the end of the world. Be sure to forgive yourself for your mistakes and get back to forming healthy habits!


To get help with your goal setting or for wellness coaching visit:



For more habit-forming strategies as well as health and wellness information visit the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness on Twitter and Instagram: @healthydepaul and on Facebook: @HPWDePaul


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Reflections on Recovery

As we near the end of National Recovery Month, it is important to reflect on the stories and thoughts that DePaul students in recovery have graciously and bravely shared.  In this post, we will review the many myths that the students in recovery have helped us debunk and discuss why DePaul’s Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) can be such a helpful resource. In doing this, we will be able to become more educated so that we can all be better recovery allies. 

The first major thing to take away is that anyone can be in recovery from any number of things.  From the last three recovery student spotlight posts, we have seen students in recovery from substance use, anxiety, depression, and even experiences like domestic abuse.  It is important to understand the variety of disorders and experiences that someone can be in recovery from so that we are better able to support those in recovery.  This support can look like many things, including helping with finding resources, being there to listen, or simply just letting the person in recovery know that you believe their struggles and believe in them.  

When speaking about recovery from substances, it is important to remember that struggling with substance use is not a moral issue.  If we look into the neurobiological aspects of substance use disorders, it is easy to see how struggling with substance use is not a choice or a matter of “not being strong enough to stop. Recovering from substance use disorders can be challenging, which is why it is important to be supportive of those in recovery, as opposed to blaming them. 

Finally, if you are in recovery, you are not alone.  These past few weeks, we have heard from only a handful of students in recovery at DePaul.  There are many students at DePaul, as well as in other universities across the country, who are in recovery.  This is one of the reasons why the Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) exists.  The CRC is meant to be a place where students in recovery can relate to one another and support each other in their recovery journeys.  If you would like more information about becoming part of DePaul’s Collegiate Recovery Community, feel free to email the Office of Health Promotion & Wellness at 

Holistic Wellness and Spirituality for Vincent’s Feast Day!

          Take care DePaul entails taking care of yourself, others and our community. This idea of care and wellness is nothing new to the Vincentian tradition. Over 400 years ago Saint Vincent de Paul shared this same vision of holistic wellness and understood the importance of taking care of communities. In fact, the Vincentian mission grew from a recognition of the spiritual poverty in rural France. Vincent grew to understand that spiritual and physical needs both required care and attention – they were not separate. This holistic approach to relationships and responding to the needs within a community is part of the DNA of our DePaul tradition. This week in celebration of that tradition it’s Vinny Fest!

          Vinny Fest is DePaul’s annual celebration of the feast day of Saint Vincent de Paul on September 27th! Saint Vincent de Paul was alive over 400 years ago. You may be wondering what could possibly be relevant from his life to our world today? It turns out there are a lot of parallels to Saint Vincent’s world and ours. Saint Vincent and his followers always served and cared in a holistic manner; addressing both physical, as well as, spiritual needs. Holistic care is important for ourselves and those around us. We can engage in holistic care by…

  • Starting by listening to people’s needs
  • Building long term, sustainable relationships
  • Taking the time to really ask and listen to how someone is really doing 
  • Building a community committed to a broader vision of the world
  • Community care & self care are key to sustainability 
  • Contemplation, time for solitude, re-rooting self in values
  • Friends

          In the spirit of holistic Vincentian care and wellness, some staff in the Division of Mission and Ministry were asked what comes to mind when you hear spiritual wellness? Here is some of what they shared…

  • Balance: finding a healthy balance in life between different areas. This means nurturing and developing not just our physical or intellectual wellness but being sure we also give attention to our emotional, spiritual, psychological and social health.
  • Transparency: being transparent yourself as much as possible. One of the Vincentian virtues is simplicity. This can mean physical simplicity in our surroundings however, it also means simplicity in our being; being true to ourselves, being honest and being direct with ourselves and in our relationships.
  • Connection: creating and maintaining a connection to oneself, to others and to something greater than you.
  • Community: community with all beings and environments around us – we are not meant to be solitary beings! Finding a community is important to nourishing our spiritual health. Often, we find deep meaning and spiritual nourishment in the love we share and receive in our communities. 
  • Vision: last but not least is vision. Vision of another world that we know is possible. We hope to better ourselves, the people around us and our communities and create a world based on love, acceptance and growth as we move forward. However, to do so, we must have a vision for what that world may look like; a vision of that world which we know is possible and achievable.

          Our focus is often placed on physical wellness however it is important to remember we are whole people and we must care for ourselves and others in a way that recognizes and respects every aspect of our beings. Spiritual wellness can look very different from person to person. Often, spirituality is linked with religiousness and while this may be true for some people, spirituality is very personal and may not be related to religion in any way. As we move deeper into the school year, remember to take time to look after your spiritual health as well as the other areas of your life in addition to your studies.The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness is here to support you now and throughout the year. We are here to listen, help and meet you where you are. Finding a healthy balance and learning to nurture your whole self can be difficult. If you would like support or resources please reach out at any time via email, phone or social media (see below), we’d love to hear from you!


Phone: 773-325-7129


Social Media: Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @healthydepaul


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