Get Curious About Sober Curious

Whether you choose to drink alcohol or not do you ever wonder why alcohol is so prevalent in our environment, especially as college students? For instance, have you ever been to a party where there was no alcohol or had a night where the activities only revolved around drinking, perhaps the only goal of the night was to get drunk. Even in the media we consume, alcohol has an ever-present role in movies, TV, music, ads and more. If you’re curious about the role of alcohol in your life, in your social circles or even in our environment you may be interested in the sober curious movement.

Sober curiosity is a movement that emphasizes conscious choice and reflection regarding your relationship with alcohol. It is a lifestyle choice to reduce or abstain from alcohol and to engage with your own life and relationships in a new way. Often, when we hear the word sober, we think that means abstaining from alcohol or that abstaining is due to being in recovery. However, sober curiosity takes a unique approach in that it encourages serious reflection on alcohol and limited alcohol use without necessarily committing to being entirely abstinent (although that is always an option). Being sober may be an intentional lifestyle choice and sobriety does not always mean someone is in recovery from an Alcohol Use Disorder. In short, it offers flexibility with an emphasis on empowering you to decide what you want your use and relationship to alcohol to look like. If you’re interested in giving sober curiosity a try there are some tips below to get you started:

  • Don’t make alcohol/drinking the focus of the night: Whether it be at a friend’s house, a bar or elsewhere, your night doesn’t have to be planned around drinking. For example, instead of getting together with friends to drink, try reframing the night as a game night or a chance to share a meal. Shifting the focus away from drinking can help facilitate sober curiosity. Consider asking yourself and your friend group: Is it possible for us to have fun without alcohol? What might that look like?
  • Take time to explore: When practicing sober curiosity, give yourself adequate time to explore options. Maybe you try a certain group or activity that doesn’t quite align or feel all that fun. Don’t give up on sober curiosity just yet! It might take some time to find a crew you enjoy, activities that feel fun, and places that are interesting.
  • Start conversations early: Don’t wait until you’re at the bar to ask, “Why are we going out every weekend?” Start the conversation ahead of time and ask yourself and your friends questions like, “Why are going to the bar every weekend?” or “Can we do something else, what are our alternatives?”
  • Create space to reflect: Make space to ask yourself important questions about your relationship to alcohol. Whether you choose to abstain, reduce, or maintain your alcohol use, an ongoing internal conversation is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship with alcohol. Below are a few questions you can continually ask yourself to help assess your relationship to alcohol:
    • When and why am I using alcohol?
    • How do I feel before, during, and after using alcohol?
    • Do I have other outlets for the role alcohol plays or do I always feel the need to use alcohol to fulfill that need?
    • How would I know if my alcohol use was becoming an issue?
    • What might my life look like without alcohol?
    • What might I gain from reducing or abstaining from alcohol use?

It may sound limiting to be sober curious in a city like Chicago where bars are as common as cars. However, Chicago offers a number of bars that serve booze-free mocktails! Click here or here for some sober curious options!

It’s important to note that being sober curious is not for everyone. For some, leaving the option to drink on the table may not be realistic, healthy, or sustainable and that’s ok. Abstinence as a way of life is another great option and the sober curious movement offers sober events where alcohol is not present, even when the group of people present may not be entirely abstinent. Sober curiosity is not a supplement for professional support or treatment for alcohol misuse. However, it is a great option if you want to reflect on your relationship with alcohol and explore different ways to live in relationship to alcohol.

Whether you are in recovery, sober, sober curious, or choosing to use alcohol you can always reach out to The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness for more information, support or other resources. We encourage you to engage in a continual conversation with yourself and friends to think about the role alcohol is playing in your life and how things might be different without it or with less of it. The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness offers 1-on-1 appointments and is a great place to begin this conversation. We also offer…

  • Peer-led workshops to learn harm reduction strategies and reflect on your use
  • Workshops for those who are living life substance-free
  • Collegiate Recovery Community meetings
  • 1:1 appointments to explore your relationship with alcohol, cannabis or other substances as well as mental health and sexual and relationship violence support

If you have any other questions about sober curiosity, alcohol, other topics, need support or anything else, never hesitate to contact us!


Office of Health Promotion and Wellness


Phone: (773) 325 – 7129




Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook: @healthydepaul


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Tips to Support Mental Wellness of Self and Other

This year for Mental Health Awareness month there has been a conversation about shifting the purpose of Mental Health month events from increasing awareness of mental health subjects to increasing awareness of what actions are needed to build a society that prioritizes mental wellness. The DePaul Values of believing in the dignity of every individual and committing to building community serve as excellent guiding principles for increasing mental wellness in the DePaul community. Part of recognizing the dignity of every DePaul community member is knowing the signs of mental health distress, how to approach a community member you believe is struggling, and what healthy coping skill are.  

According to the national Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) some indicators that someone may be experiencing a mental health condition are:  

  • Excessive feelings of worry, fear, or sadness  
  • Noticeable changes in mood, behavior, or concentration (i.e., a friend who normally has more reserved emotions seems easily frustrated over the last few weeks, or the opposite someone who normally shows expressive emotions has been more reserved lately) 
  • Changes in sleep, energy level, eating habits, or substance use  
  • Increase in physical symptoms that seem unexplained (feeling “achey” but not sick, getting headaches while drinking enough water, having stomach pains before or during work/class time) 
  • Increased discussions about their appearance or comparing how they look with how other people look more than usual 
  • Avoiding eye contact in public spaces or avoiding public spaces in general  

10 Common Warning Signs of a Mental Health Condition in Teens and Young Adults 



It’s likely that while reading this list a loved one came to mind. Knowing the signs that someone is struggling with their mental health is not inherently difficult, especially if that someone is a classmate, co-worker, family member, or roommate. However, it is crucial for people who recognize symptoms of mental health conditions in others to address their perspective with the person they believe may be struggling. Building a strong community sometimes requires difficult or uncomfortable conversations. And respecting the dignity of community members requires these difficult conversations to be handled with kindness. NAMI has some tools for how to approach a community member you believe is experiencing a decrease in their mental illness, including:  

  • Finding a space to talk that is comfortable for both of you and private 
  • Use straightforward, relaxed, and respectful communication for the whole conversation  
  • Use active listening skills to help them feel more comfortable about opening up 
  • Come from a place of care and support rather than a place of “knowing what’s best” for the other person 

The main points to remember when talking with someone about an outside perception of their mental health is to be genuine, be understanding, and do not bring assumptions into the conversation. Everyone knows themselves best. Supporting a loved one in their mental health journey means listening to what they want their healing to be. Giving a list of possible outlets for them to try is appropriate as long as they are offered as suggestions and not ultimatums. Including ideas about how the other person can increase their awareness of their mental health shows that the conversation is coming from a place of care rather than a place of control. The list of ideas can be accessible therapy outlets (like the University Counseling Services), healthier coping skills (such as coloring before bed instead of watching TV, calling a friend when you feel sad instead of listening to “sad” music, or writing down the emotions they are feeling instead of holding all their emotions in), and even a weekly check-in with someone they trust and know has the emotional energy to provide that level of support.  

The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness wants every DePaul community member to know that they are not alone in their mental health journey. Recognizing and increasing mental health wellness in ourselves is not meant to be done alone. Talking about mental health, checking in on each other, and offering appropriate support are ways that our community can move from being aware of mental health effects on campus to taking action that increases the wellness of every Blue Demon.  


Visit the pages on to read more about the signs of mental health stress and how to approach loved ones who may need support with their mental health wellness: 

Health Promotion and Wellness Spotlight: Collegiate Recovery Community

The Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) at DePaul was created to give DePaul students and alumni peer support in their recovery from substance use, mental health conditions, and eating concerns. CRC hosts weekly meetings, connects students in recovery to new resources, and engages in continuing education to ensure a safe environment for all participants in the recovery process.  HPW believes that by engaging in recovery services with peers, individuals can obtain academic, social, and personal success.  

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines recovery as “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.” 

To uphold this definition CRC holds weekly meetings led by HPW staff where members of DePaul’s recovery community can interact with other individuals who are also in the recovery process. Even if you participate in 12-step programs or NAMI meetings, the weekly CRC meetings are a place where people can freely talk about how mental health, substance use, and eating concerns can intersect with staff and peers who also understand that recovery from multiple experiences sometimes happens simultaneously. The meetings alternate every other week from large group discussions (all participants of that week’s meeting stay in the main Zoom room as everyone responds to the question of the week) to small group discussions (participants are split into rooms based on the type of recovery that is most relevant to them and respond to the weekly question in the small group). The CRC holds the recovery meetings every Thursday from 5 PM-6:30 PM. Upcoming meeting topics include: 

  • Healthy Boundaries  
  • Healthy Coping Mechanism: Tools in Your Toolbox 
  • Spirituality in Recovery 


May is Mental Health Awareness month! In honor of this time, the Collegiate Recovery Community is hosting a Crowdfund campaign to extend support of DePaul students and alumni actively in recovery. The tiers of the Crowdfund are: 

  • $10 (this amount will help CRC continue to make and distribute media that educates DePaul about resources available for recovery support). 
  • $50 (this amount will be used for training materials to teach staff and allies about how to be supportive, using motivational interviewing, and how they can aid in destigmatizing recovery) 
  • $250 (this amount will help current students seeking recovery who have unplanned financial needs that result from a mental health condition or substance use).  


Cannabis Harm Reduction

No matter your relationship to cannabis, or any substance for that matter, there is always space to pause and reflect on our attitudes, beliefs and practices. In this article, you will find space and questions for reflection, information on cannabis, including cannabis withdrawal (spoiler: yes it’s real!) and some ideas for safe use if you choose to use cannabis.

For starters, you might be wondering why we’re using the word cannabis and not marijuana. Well, it turns out, the word marijuana actually has rather xenophobic and racists roots (which you can read more about here and here if you’re interested), so from here on out we’ll be referring to it as cannabis, the name of the plant. There are a number of myths floating around about cannabis and one of the major ones is that, unlike other drugs, it is not addictive which also means there are no side-effects when you stop using (i.e. no withdrawal). However, cannabis withdrawal is a very real and well documented effect of using cannabis. So what does cannabis withdrawal look like? Do you think you would be able to identify cannabis withdrawal symptoms in yourself or someone else? Below are some of the major signs to look out for when it comes to cannabis withdrawal:

  • Anger/Mood instability
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping or strange and/or disturbing dreams/nightmares
  • Decreased appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • General discomfort throughout the body


If you are choosing to use, it’s important to create space to reflect on your relationship with cannabis. Below are some important questions to continually ask yourself and assess your relationship with cannabis.

  • When are you using cannabis?
  • Do you notice any patterns around times you use?
  • What purpose or role is cannabis playing in your life?
  • Do you have other outlets for the role cannabis plays or do you need cannabis every time? For example, if you’re using to help you sleep, do you have other tools and strategies or is cannabis the only one?
  • How would you know if your cannabis use was becoming an issue?
  • What do you want your future use to look like?
  • If you wanted to cut down or stop your cannabis use, could you? How would you go about this?


There are different reasons people use cannabis. For some, cannabis can help improve their physical wellbeing if they suffer from chronic pain or are undergoing chemotherapy. Other times, people may find they are using cannabis to treat the symptoms of withdrawal. If you are using cannabis for medical purposes it’s important to understand the distinction between medicinal cannabis and self-medicating with cannabis. If you are using medicinal cannabis, the use will be directed by a physician and you will receive a medical card from the state to buy cannabis from a dispensary where the cannabis sold is regulated. If you are self-medicating with cannabis, this means you are using cannabis to treat or cope with an issue but without the guidance of a medical professional. This can be risky as cannabis can make certain conditions worse. Oftentimes, cannabis can also have complex and dangerous interactions with other medications. Therefore if you are using cannabis for medical purposes, it is best to do so with the guidance of your primary care doctor. For some people, their use is strictly recreational. Even if you are using recreationally, and especially if you take other medications, you should inform your doctor of your cannabis use so they can help support and treat you accordingly. Whatever the reason may be for your use, it’s important that if you choose to use cannabis, you do so as safely as possible. Below are some tips for less risky cannabis use.

  • Assess how you are feeling beforehand…
    • Being in a good and healthy state of mind can make cannabis use safer and less stressful and result in fewer negative side effects like anxiety, paranoia, increased heart rate.
    • Take note of any patterns before cannabis use – are there similar places, people, situations, or feelings that tend to lead to your usage?
  • Be conscious of the environment you are using cannabis in…
    • Be with people you trust and feel comfortable around and be in a space that is safe and private. If you are using for the first time, it is a good idea to be with other people who have used cannabis before and who you trust.
  • Know where your cannabis is from and who is selling it…
    • The safest option for buying cannabis is from a dispensary. However, if you decide to buy cannabis another way, its best to go through someone you know and trust to ensure that the cannabis you buy is only cannabis and not laced or cut with other substances.
  • Take it slow…
    • If you are choosing to use cannabis be mindful of how much you are using and use slowly. After you use cannabis, give it some time before deciding to use more. Sometimes it can take up to an hour for the effects to really hit you and using too much in a short period of time can be overwhelming. Give yourself time and assess how you’re feeling before using more cannabis.
    • Be aware of the dosage and effect depending on your mode of administration. For example, when using edibles, the effects take longer to feel and may lead to over-consumption. Also, be aware that vaping may be difficult to track/monitor and smoking brings risks to the lungs.
  • Plan ahead…
    • If you are going to use cannabis, make a plan for where you’ll be (somewhere safe), who you’ll be with (people you trust) and what the rest of the day or night might look like (i.e. if you need to get back to your own home arrange for a sober ride, take an Uber, plan to spend the night at the place where you are using, etc.)


Whether you are choosing to use cannabis or not you can always reach out to The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness for more information, support or other resources. We encourage you to engage in a continual conversation with yourself or loved ones to help assess the role cannabis is playing and the role you want it to play. The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness offers 1-on-1 appointments and is a great place to begin this conversation. We also offer…

  • Peer-led workshops to learn harm reduction strategies and reflect on your use. Sign up for CHOICES on DeHUB
  • Workshops for those who are living life substance-free. Sign up for SEEDS on DeHUB.
  • Collegiate Recovery Community meetings. Sign up on DeHUB.
  • 1:1 appointments to explore your relationship with cannabis, alcohol or other substances as well as mental health and sexual and relationship violence support.


If you have any other questions about cannabis, other topics, need support or anything else, never hesitate to contact us!


Office of Health Promotion and Wellness


Phone: (773) 325 – 7129




Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook: @healthydepaul


Do you enjoy our Wellness Wednesday articles? Subscribe to our blog for more!


Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Others, Take Care, DePaul!


Substance Free Fun and Helpful Tips ( If you choose to use)

As summer and warm weather approach us, so do the good times with friends and family. Summer kicks off patio-season, lake days and backyard BBQ’s. Along with the warmer weather, drinking culture often normalizes and glamorizes increased alcohol use. It’s important to remember a few things: (1) It’s possible, normal, and healthy to enjoy summer fun while being sober, (2) If you choose to use, practice harm reduction and be inclusive of those who choose not to use.


Substance-Free Fun

If you’re sober curious, sober-free, in recovery, and/or looking to be a great host with non-alcoholic options, here’s the perfect mocktail for you.


Strawberry Hibiscus Ginger Spritz

Ingredients: 2 oz ginger, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, juice of 1 lime, 1 cup of muddled strawberries, 4 oz of club soda, 1/2 cup of dried hibiscus flowers



  • Make hibiscus syrup by combining 1 cup sugar, 1 cup of water, and 1/2 cup of hibiscus flowers in a small pot and allowing to simmer over medium heat until all of the sugar dissolves.
  • Let syrup cool, then combine lime juice, grated ginger shrub, as much hibiscus syrup as your heart desires, 4 oz of club soda, and smushed strawberries to glass, still and enjoy


If You Choose To Use

For those who do plan on using alcohol during your summer festivities, it’s essential that you know your standard pour measurements and have some harm reduction strategies on deck to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable time.


When mixing/making drinks, it’s easy to forget to measure or track how much alcohol you’re consuming. Having an understanding of the standard pour for each type of drink allows you to keep track of how much you’re drinking, ensuring that you don’t take things past your limit or the recommended health limits.


A standard pour of:

  • Beer is 12 fl oz
  • Wine is 5 fl oz
  • Malt liquor is 8-9 fl oz
  • 80 proof distilled spirits are 1.5fl oz


Being cognizant of how much you’re drinking helps you to stick to any limits that you set for yourself and makes it easier to avoid engaging in binge drinking. Many people are surprised that what counts as binge-drinking is much lower than most expect. For women, binge drinking is having 4 or more drinks in a short period of time; for men, it’s five or more. Also, know that how BAC impacts you will differ according to many factors, including gender and weight. For a helpful tool to gauge how alcohol may be impacting BAC for you, visit this BAC calculator tool.


Other harm reduction strategies to use include:


  • Making a drinking plan ahead of time and setting a limit
  • Tracking your drinks throughout the night
  • Pacing yourself
  • Not mixing alcohol with other substances
  • Staying with friends and only drinking in spaces where you feel safe
  • Having refusal lines prepared
  • Knowing who you can call for help when you need it


Reflecting On Your Use

Remember that our relationship with substances may change over time. Maybe you’ve previously chosen to use alcohol and are now noticing an unhealthy relationship with it. It’s important to continue checking in with ourselves regarding our relationship with alcohol and other substances. Below are some helpful questions to consider.

  • How would I describe my relationship with alcohol?
  • How would I know it’s time to cut down on drinking?
  • How would I know it’s time to quit drinking?
  • Am I engaging in a wide variety of ways to have fun, celebrate, let loose, and socialize? Or is alcohol always involved?
  • Am I engaging in a wide variety of ways to relax, cope with stress, manage emotions, and unwind? Or is alcohol always involved?
  • Where would I turn if I was curious about my relationship with alcohol, concerned I may have a problem, looking for recovery support, or wanting to learn harm reduction strategies? Hint: or email to set an appointment with our Substance Misuse Prevention Specialist.


Getting Help

If you need additional resources or support navigating your relationship with alcohol visit We offer a variety of supports on the topic, including:

  • Peer-led workshops to learn harm reduction strategies and reflect on your use
  • Workshops for those who are living life substance-free
  • 1:1 assessments to explore your relationship with alcohol
  • Collegiate Recovery Community meetings

Wellness Wednesday- Boundaries and Creating a Safe Space

Now, more than ever, it is important that we have a “safe space” to allow us to cope with our emotions and regulate them. In this sense, a safe space does not necessarily have to be a physical place; it can simply be having tools prepared to help you feel safe when handling challenging emotions and situations. Here are a few tips we have for setting up your safe space!

  • Set and maintain boundaries. By doing this we are being proactive and protecting ourselves by setting clear expectations with others regarding what is and is not okay. Boundaries can be physical (ex: “Knock before coming into my room”) or social/emotional (ex: “I am not in the emotional space to be able to help you with this problem right now”). It is important for everyone’s physical and emotional safety that we set boundaries and respect the boundaries of others.
  • Know when to take a break and what to do. We all need breaks to ensure that we are preserving our health. This may look like turning off your microphone and camera for a few minutes during a Zoom class to get up and stretch, calling a friend to rant, or even just taking a nap at some point in the day. It is important that we are able to not only identify when we need breaks, but also what we need to do to make these breaks beneficial.
  • Listen to and validate your emotions. Try checking in with yourself throughout the day to take note of your emotions. By doing this, it allows you to know when you may need to take a break or employ some sort of coping strategy to help you deal with said emotion. While there are many things out of our control, we can control how we honor and respond to our emotions. By validating and appropriately responding to our emotions, it is easier for us to feel in control and be able to handle each situation as it arises.

We hope that you find these tips helpful for creating your own “safe space”. If you have any further questions regarding setting boundaries or mental well-being, feel free to contact us via email at “” or by phone at (773) 325-7129!

Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Study Habits

With finals approaching, many of us (me included!) are trying our best to get a head and start studying. However, it may be difficult with remaining assignments and classes. Soon we find ourselves not studying as effectively as we can or stressing out over finals. School is difficult and finding a way to study can be even more difficult especially if you’ve never nailed down a way to study that works for you.


While I won’t be telling you how to study, as everyone studies differently, I will be sharing some effective study habits that may help you find something that works for you! So the next time you decide you are able to dedicate some study time, try these 10 effective study hacks;


Choose specific times to study
A routine helps mental preparation for studying. Whether that’s in the morning, mid-day, the afternoon, or even at night. Figure out what works for you.

Set goals for each study period
This helps you stay focused and accomplish what you need to. For example, covering a specific topic or chapter in one sitting, or a time goal like studying uninterrupted for 25 minutes.

Stick to the plan
Procrastination only leads to more stress and can cause you to not do how you would like to. Try to stay focused on the plan you set forward to complete your work on time. Things like setting a timer and sticking to that and then taking a break may be helpful, but also recognizing when you might need to just step away for a bit especially if you are hungry, tired, etc. (paying attention to your needs) is important.

Tackle difficult assignments first
When mental energies are the highest do the most tasking assignments first then move on to the more medium in difficulty and end with the easiest assignments.

Review class notes
Be sure you understand the material, find ways to help you understand better, whether it’s highlighting, rewriting, or talking out loud!

Ask for help
When necessary, go to an SI session, or TA office hours, email your professor, or ask a question in class or lab. No question is a bad question. Often times if you have that question so do others in your class.

Take short breaks
Walk away for a moment to refresh your energy, have a snack, move, do whatever helps you re energize.

Plan on reviewing
It’s important to set time to review even if there isn’t an exam coming. Reviewing even just a little can be beneficial in the long run.

Study how you learn best
Everyone learns differently so do what works for you – draw charts, read the textbook, write notes etc.

Maintain a positive attitude
A positive mindset can make a difficult subject easier to learn. Perhaps doing brief meditation or deep breathing before tackling a subject might be of help, or saying a few positive affirmations such as “I am doing my best at this subject” or “I am actively working towards doing my best.” Even if it may not be something you’re excited about try to find ways to relate it to what you do enjoy.


Lastly, perhaps the most beneficial healthy study habit is to practice self-care. It can get pretty stressful sometimes but creating a self-care plan and being intentional with your self-care is important. Doing things like going outside, avoiding media overload, setting boundaries, and making time for your hobbies can help you get through finals without getting burnt out.


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: Healthy Relationships & Boundaries

‘Tis the season to be chatting about healthy relationships! If you’re familiar with our work in HPW you know that we talk about how relationships come in many forms and might look different for everyone. Something that you feel is a red flag in a relationship may only be a “yellow” flag for someone else. It’s important to really consider your own values and what you’re looking for in a relationship. Before you’re able to really establish good needs and boundaries with others you need to know yourself. A good relationship with ourselves is the most valuable relationship we can have; while a little bit of self-care can go a long way. 

A key to sustaining healthy relationships with others is by setting boundaries and keeping open lines of communication. The earlier both of these can be established the better. These boundaries may be physical or emotional. If we’re talking about physical boundaries with others then it’s important to bring up consent as well. Consent is absolutely essential in all physical activity involving more than one person. If you’re speaking with a friend and observe your friend’s mood shift from good to bad you might ask if they want a hand to hold or a hug. This same principle applies to nearly all situations you come across. Whether it’s platonic, sexual, or anything in between, communication and consent still apply. 

Never make assumptions about what a person needs at any given moment. Having poor boundaries gives room for others to make assumptions about another’s thoughts, feelings, and needs. As with any kind of relationship – it’s a system of give and takes. Take what you need and give what you can. But we need to be careful not to let others take too much from us or us to give too much to them. By defining good boundaries, you will set the expectations for what kind of behavior you will accept from others and what kind of behavior you want. Emotional boundaries refer to the ability to separate one’s feelings from the feelings of another. The best example I have for this is letting one person’s feelings dictate your own. If you think your boundaries are being crossed then it’s important to examine your own feelings toward that person. Do you seem irritated or resentful around them? Emotionally drained? Maybe it’s the other way around. This can lead to losing parts of yourself to them – or them to you. What might have been a small disagreement has suddenly turned into something much bigger because it’s possible that emotional boundaries may not have been set and/or adhered to. Co-workers, friends, or romantic partners – this applies to all of them.

Communicating our expectations in a relationship beforehand leaves far less room for interpretation and misunderstanding. It’s never too late to inform others of your boundaries, and it’s never too late to adjust your boundaries. Maybe you feel that you have more to give now that classwork seems lighter, or maybe it’s the opposite – and you have less to give because you’re buried in classwork. Either way, your boundaries should be expressed and must be respected. Make a commitment to put yourself first. We preach, “Take Care of Yourself” all day long and hopefully it’s easy to see why! If you find yourself struggling with your emotional health we have professional staff in the office who would be happy to give you advice, be a listening ear, or connect you with other on-campus or off-campus resources. Email us at “” or call by phone at (773) 325-7129. Check out our social media pages on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @healthydepaul. Blue Demons, don’t forget to Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Others, and Take Care, DePaul!



Honoring Black History Month

Honoring Black History Month

To say that the last few months have been historical is an understatement. They will be forever remembered in American history and particularly for Black Americans. We’ve seen our first ever elected Black woman as Vice President, Kamala Harris and our first ever elected Black senator Rev. Raphael Warnock who is also the first Black Democrat to represent a southern state.

But, we have also seen the disproportionate effect of Black Americans experiencing death, job loss, continued police brutality and race-fueled attacks. As Black history month kicks off, there won’t be opportunities to collectively gather in one space but there are many ways to do this virtually, personally and within your own social circles. This month, think about the ways that you can honor, respect and support Black lives not just during this month but every day.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Read about Black History Month: There are many great resources on the internet but consider filtering your search to read specifically from the point of view of a Black person
  • Pick a book about racism, discrimination and other systems of oppression. Much of these issues stem from anti-Blackness culture.
  • Engage in respectful dialogue with active listening about the experiences of Black people and ask questions.
  • As you read articles, statistics and headlines, question everything including who is writing that piece from that perspective.
  • Ask yourself how you can support and respect Black communities more than you are doing right now

Get involved at Depaul by learning more about the Black Cultural Center here.

Also, Sankofa the Black Student Formation Program will be highlighting different aspects of the Black community / Black culture with various staff/faculty and organizations. Follow this campaign with #BlackisSankofa to learn more. You can find them on social media on Instagram @depaulsankofa, and Twitter @sankofadpu.