If Loving Your Body Feels Too Unattainable, You’re Not Alone  

When Body Neutrality May Make More Sense than Body Positivity 

In her TedTalk titled, “Our Bodies are Not an Image,” Mary Jelkovsky makes the following powerful statement: “Our bodies are not an image. They’re an experience.” The phrase “body image” is frequently used to describe how one feels about and perceives their body; however, even this phrase falls victim to perhaps one of the biggest barriers to body acceptance: the idea that our bodies are an image, a visual, an aesthetic. 

We’ve been made to think that our bodies should look a certain way, weight a certain amount, and be shaped just right, but in doing so we lose sight of the true purpose of our bodies: to move us through life and allow us to experience joy, excitement, love, and hope.  

Our bodies are not an image. They are not visual or an aesthetic. They are functional. 

Body positivity has taken social media by storm over the past few years, with influencers, activists and even brands pushing the message that you should love your body. For some, this message is empowering, uplifting, and inspiring. For others, it feels too out of reach. To go from self-hate to self-love is no easy or quick journey, and many people feel that they fall somewhere in the middle.  

 If this sounds familiar, let me introduce you to the idea of body neutrality. It’s a philosophy that emphasizes that it is absolutely okay to simply accept your body, without feeling that it is beautiful or feeling love and positivity towards it. As the name suggests, body neutrality is simply feeling neutral towards your body. You don’t hate your body, but you’re also not in love with it the way body positive influencers seem to be. You might see your body similarly to Mary Jelkovsky, in that you focus on what your body does for you over what it looks like.  

Body neutrality, importantly, leaves space for individuals who may find it especially difficult to fully love their bodies: for instance, transgender individuals may struggle with “loving” a body that doesn’t match their gender expression. Individuals who struggle with body dysmorphia may struggle because their perception of what their body looks like is frequently changing. There is room for everyone in body neutrality since it is far more accessible. 

Some examples of what body neutrality in everyday life looks like include: 

  • Exercising as a form of joyful movement (because it makes you feel good), instead of exercising as a form of punishment 
  • Eating intuitively because your body needs to be nourished in order to function in the way you want it to be 
  • Choosing to wear clothes that you are comfortable in; you may not feel “confident,” but you feel comfortable 
  • Practicing mindfulness and listening to your body when it tells you it needs sleep, rest, movement, or nourishment 

 All in all, body neutrality is a form of body acceptance that recognizes how body positivity and self-love may be unrealistic goals for some. Body neutrality may be an ending point, or just a stop along the way of your body acceptance journey. The point is that it’s YOUR journey, and body acceptance is not one-size-fits-all. 

-Graduate and Professional Student, Student Wellness Center

Hitting a Wall – 7 Types of Rest to Combat Burnout 

Do you ever feel exhausted the moment you wake up, even after sleeping for 7-9 hours? Unfortunately, just getting the right amount of sleep is oftentimes not enough to recover mentally from your days. Our minds and bodies need rest in multiple areas to help combat fatigue, exhaustion, and daily stress.  

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, internal medicine physician, researcher, and author of Sacred Rest, has identified seven different types of rest necessary to refresh both our mind and body. Intentionality and balance within your self-care routine as it relates to the seven types of rest is essential to overcome burnout. 

Continue reading for tips on how to refresh each area and maximize rest. 

  1. Physical Rest – Can be split into two different categories, passive and active. Passive physical rest includes sleeping or napping while active physical rest is completing restorative activities such as yoga, stretching, acupuncture, massage, and breathing exercises. To optimize physical rest, a combination of both active and passive is necessary. 
  2. Mental Rest – For those who are constantly “on,” mental rest is critically important to avoid burnout. Throughout the workday schedule short 5-10 minute breaks to mentally give yourself a refresh before tackling the next to do. For those who have difficulty turning off your working brain after clocking out, keep a notepad close to write down thoughts or items that you are anxious about to give your brain a rest while not forgetting an important to do. This can also be helpful on a nightstand when trying to fall asleep. 
  3. Sensory Rest – Sensory overload can be extremely taxing on our physical and mental health. Triggers from laptops, screens, bright lights, and background noise can all make our senses feel overwhelmed. If you often find yourself on sensory overload, throughout the day make simple changes like closing your eyes for a minute before moving onto the next task, schedule in screen free time at the end of the day, take tech free walks or turn off the radio when driving.  
  4. Creative Rest – Nowadays, it can often feel like the minute we put out one fire another has already started. Creative problem solving is taxing and drains our creative bucket. To reignite creativity and inspiration take time to appreciate your surroundings by listening to the trees in the back yard, enjoy the arts, or turn your workspace into a place of art by adding images of favorite places to travel, beautiful photography or art pieces. This will help to reawaken the awe and wonder inside of you.  
  5. Emotional rest – Those who identify as “people pleasers” can have an especially difficult time getting rest in this area. We all need to find the time and space to express feelings, reflect and think about your authentic self, and answer the question, “how are you feeling?” in an honest way. Let’s normalize not just defaulting to saying, “I’m fine” when you are not.  
  6. Social Rest – Emotional and Social Rest go hand in hand. If you are struggling in this area, take time to inventory your relationships and differentiate between those that revive you and those that drain you. To really nurture your social rest, focus on those relationships that provide positivity and support in your life while creating separation from those that are mentally draining. 
  7. Spiritual Rest – In times that we are feeling overwhelmed, connecting beyond the physical and mental can provide us with clarity. Take time to identify your self-worth, define your values, find a sense of belonging and reflect on your identity outside of your career. Nurturing your spiritual rest can include engaging with something greater than yourself like meditation, community involvement, gardening, or religion. 

Evaluate your areas of need, where there is room to schedule rest focused self-care in your weekly calendar and create a plan to focus on rest as we enter into the final month of the academic year.  

To learn more about your personal strengths, identity, and how to optimize your self-care to maximize rest, schedule a Wellness Coaching appointment with the Student Wellness Center. Peer coaches are here to support you in living your best life.  

-Wellness Coaching, Student Wellness Center

Safe and Social 

Feeling isolated during the pandemic is completely normal, but just because we must stay six feet apart doesn’t mean we can’t still connect with our friends in person. There are many ways to hang out with friends while still being safe and mindful of others. Here are some ideas to help you get started!  

First up are picnics. It’s incredibly easy to grab a towel or blanket and find a nice place to sit outside with some friends. The Oval is a great place to go, along with any of the green spaces throughout campus. If you want to do a unique activity while enjoying the outdoors, try writing letters to senior citizens! You may have seen these posts on Instagram, but with the pandemic causing people to isolate, many assisted living communities are looking for pen pals for their residents. See the resources section below for more information!  

Next up, you can bike or ride scooters around campus. Ohio State’s campus is huge and, especially if you’re new to Columbus, it can be helpful to learn more about where everything is located. Stop by Raising Canes on High Street and grab a rentable scooter or bike to begin your day. There are plenty of trails you can use as well if you want to ride by the river or visit some nice parks located nearby.  

If you have a car, then going to drive-in movies are a great option. Located about 25 minutes from campus, the South Drive-In movie theatre is a great place to go if you want to get away with some friends for a few hours. Some artists are even doing drive-in concerts, so be sure to check if any of your favorite artists are hosting one nearby.  

If you think cars are overrated, try a kayak instead. Not only is this a safe social activity because you can physically distance from other kayakers, but this can also be a relaxing activity to get you outside for a few hours while the weather is good. Pick a short course for a two- or three-hour long ride or a long course that could keep you out all day.   

If you’re feeling creative and not afraid to show off your work, then sidewalk chalk drawing may be for you. Grab a friend and create a masterpiece of art or write positive messages around campus to help lift other people’s spirits.  

Last but not least, you can start hammocking. Hammocks are also a great way to meet with people. A Wise Owl hammock costs around $30 for a single and is incredibly durable. With plenty of areas to hammock on campus, including the Oval or by Mirror Lake, you can relax with friends and do homework or just play some music and hang out.  

Even with social distancing, there are still many things you can do if you get creative.  

These are just a few easy ways to get out and meet with people while still being safe! 


-Ava Dong, Stress Wellness Ambassador 

Investment Mania  

Whether it is social distanced boredom leading people to chase thrills or the next tulip mania, investing is having a pop culture moment. The advent of Robinhood, a free trading platform, has introduced the gamification of stock trading into our national consciousness. This has never been evident than this winter’s Gamestop phenomenon that left some investors retire early and others losing thousands, if not millions, of dollars. This event has left many people with the mistaken impression that investing has to be complicated and time consuming.  Luckily with modern technology, investing has never been easier.  

  • Clearly define your goals.  What and when are you saving for?  Most American investors are saving with retirement as their goal.  If that’s the case for you be sure to understand the benefits of tax advantaged retirement accounts like 401ks and IRAs.  If you plan to invest outside of these accounts, familiarize yourself with how gains are taxed. 
  • Start as early as possible.  The best tool available to young investors is compound interest – that is investment gains from one period earning interest on themselves in subsequent years.  If you started to save $100 a month at age 25 it would be worth around $230,000 at retirement.  If you waited until 35, despite investing just $12,000 less, your investment would only be worth $95,000.  
  • Understand the financial products that make investing simple.  You don’t have to go out and choose individual stocks to purchase.  Products like mutual funds and index funds allow you to pool money with thousands of other investors to purchase hundreds or thousands of different stocks or bonds to take advantage of the market as a whole and avoid losing money on any single stock.  Though the market has historically gone up over time, it does sometimes lose value in dramatic fashion.   
  • If this all seems a bit overwhelming a very simple option is a target date fund.  These are funds of many other funds tied to a specific date, usually when you’d like to retire, that automatically adjust as your goal date approaches.  

-Graduate and Professional Student, Scarlet and Gray Financial

You Snooze, You Win 

In the busy, fast-paced life college students find themselves living, establishing a healthy sleep routine can be tough. With the stresses of school, relationships, work, and more it can be hard to relax and some might have difficulty falling asleep.  

 We know sleep is important. Just Google “benefits of sleep” and you will find a long list of benefits which, to o name a few, sleep keeps our energy levels up, reduces stress, make us more productive, reduces the risk of depression, improves cognitive functioning, and more. Since many college students struggle to fall asleep and/or stay asleep, let’s look at some ways to get a better night of sleep.  

  • Don’t work in the bedroom. Try not to do any kind of work during the day in your bed. The more time you spend in your bed awake, the harder it is for your mind to get into sleep mode at night.  
  • Caffeine. Cut out caffeine the 4-6 hours before heading to bed.   
  • Limit screen time. Put away the screens leading up to bedtime. Screens emit blue light which can disrupt your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. You can also buy blue light blocking glasses or download apps that block blue light emitted from your phone.  
  • Try a supplement. Consider using products or supplements like valerian root, sleepy time teas, magnesium, or lavender. All of these have been well-researched and shown to improve sleep quality.   
  • Optimize your bedroom environment. As much as possible, try to eliminate noise and light in the bedroom.  
  • Unwind in the evening. This can help to alleviate stress. Yoga, reading, taking a hot shower, deep breathing, or listening to music are all great options.  
  • Establish a sleep routine. This will train your mind to know when you are ready to sleep. You can include some of the previous tips in your routine! 

I hope these tips can help you relax before bed and have an amazing night of sleep!

A picture of the valerian flower. The root of this flower has been used since ancient times to promote sleep and tranquility.   


-Ben Miller, Nutrition Education, Medical Dietetics Intern   

The COVID-19 Chef  

With months of quarantine and most things still online nowadays, you may have found yourself having some extra time on your hands that you’re not sure what to do with. If you haven’t already picked up a hobby during the pandemic, a great one to consider is cooking!

The pandemic has changed the lives and daily routines for many, but it could be for the best in some ways. If you used to be so busy that you found yourself grabbing takeout most nights, now may be the time to start trying to cook from home. If you are already pushing this idea away out of fear that you would be a horrible cook, this doesn’t have to be true!

In the times we live in today, with so many apps at the touch of our fingertips, there are many resources out there with step-by-step instructions on how to cook certain recipes. To name a few, Healthy RecipesAllRecipesSideChef and Kitchen Stories are great tools to help you in becoming a COVID-19 chef!

Aside from just being a hobby, cooking has also been shown to save money and boost mental health. Here is a list of some of the benefits:

  • Causes Feelings of Accomplishment– when you cook you are setting an achievable goal for yourself
  • Allows You to Exercise Your Creativity- cooking gives you the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen
  • Can Help to Improve Your Relationship with Food– teaching yourself how to cook can improve your confidence
  • Can Help You Be More Aware of the Nutritional Value of Foods– recipes often come with nutritional facts
  • Allows You to Practice Mindfulness- it can help you reconnect and focus on the physical world

Cooking can seem intimidating at first, but you can just start out trying one recipe a week and adding on more as you go. With the holidays coming around, you can even start practicing a recipe to bring to an upcoming family event. Hopefully you found this helpful and as the chef from the movie, Ratatouille, once said “anyone can cook.”


 – Sierra Schwierking, Nutrition Wellness Ambassador

You Deserve to Be Here

The struggles of Imposter Syndrome.  

Roughly 10% of people in the world go on to pursue a graduate-level degree. Out of all of the people in the world, you are one of 10% of people to commit to continuing your education. This alone is something to celebrate, a reason to be proud of yourself. So why is it that we discredit ourselves for these achievements by questioning our right to be in these spaces? Imposter syndrome can be defined as “persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success” (Merriam-Webster, 2021). This response is far too common among graduate and professional students. Maybe your path has shifted, and you’re continuing your education with a different focus and concentration than you had as an undergraduate student. Or perhaps you feel a disconnect tuning into Zoom calls during a pandemic, creating more space between you and your program. Or maybe you simply struggle with elements of self-doubt in a variety of situations, and graduate and professional studies are no different. Whatever the reason, your struggle with imposter syndrome is valid and reasonable, and you are certainly not alone. 

Regarding this past year, in particular, the standard run-ins with imposter syndrome may have been heightened. Because of increased isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to establish community and relationships with peers, educators, and various faculty members has been all the more difficult. This lack of community enables and creates a greater space for you to lose yourself in intrusive thoughts and harmful narratives around self-doubt. In reality, many graduate and professional students feel the same. Without the foundation to connect with others to express similar worries and concerns, imposter syndrome can be elevated and even more isolating. 

So how do you combat this? It may be more complex than ridding yourself of intrusive, imposter syndrome thoughts completely, but here are a few ways you can challenge these narratives: 

  • Remember to separate facts from feelings. The truth is, you were admitted to your program because the university sees great potential in you and your work, specifically in your field of choice. Although you may feel as though you don’t belong, the truth is, you are right where you should be.  
  • Acknowledge the moments you feel you don’t belong. What is triggering this response? Why are you feeling this way? What are some concrete examples of why this isn’t true?  
  • Reach out to fellow students. Your peers are experiencing similar things. Even if you know just one person in your program or another, talking through these feelings can help and often show that you are not alone in your worries.  
  • Tell yourself it is okay to make mistakes. Mistakes and failures do not prove that inner voice saying you don’t belong, right. Mistakes are part of the journey, they are inevitable, and they are important milestones of growth. Do not let these moments discredit you, instead let them push you further.  
  • Always give yourself grace. If a friend came to you with anxieties around the program they started, expressing that they are not good enough, don’t deserve to be in the program, or don’t belong, what would you say to them? Treat yourself how you would treat this friend. You know their strengths, their abilities, their determination. Often, it is so easy to see this in others, but not ourselves. Be kind to yourself. Understanding, compassion, and support for yourself will go a much longer way than you may think.  

If you feel you need extra support, there are always resources available. Sometimes talking these worries out with a licensed professional through Counseling and Consultation Services is the best approach. Even a conversation with a Wellness Coach through the Student Wellness Center can be helpful. Most importantly, know that you are not alone in this struggle, and above all, you deserve to be here, and we’re so happy you are.  


Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Impostor syndrome. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impostor%20syndrome 

-Graduate and Professional Student, Wellness Coaching