Tips for Creative Wellness

Do you ever find yourself struggling to find a creative outlet? As graduate and professional students, it can be challenging to find time for self-care and creativity as you work to manage and balance multiple responsibilities. However, there is not just one way to be creative – and you don’t have to be an artist to incorporate creativity into your daily life. Check out these tips and opportunities for creative wellness. 

There are many creative activities and hobbies you can do for fun! Some examples include: 

  • Arts and crafts 
  • Drawing or doodling 
  • Painting  
  • Coloring 
  • Digital/visual art and graphic design 
  • Collages 
  • Vision boards 
  • Pottery 
  • DIY projects  
  • Knitting/crocheting/sewing/cross-stitching 
  • Photography 
  • Puzzles 
  • Video games and board games 
  • Dancing 
  • Playing an instrument or singing 
  • Acting or performing 
  • Comedy 
  • Gardening 
  • Cooking and baking 
  • Writing, journaling, or blogging 
  • Interior Design 
  • Fashion 
  • Reading 

Columbus has a variety of opportunities to explore arts and culture throughout the community. Here are just a few: 

  • Wexner Center for the Arts 
  • Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum 
  • King Arts Complex 
  • Urban Arts Space 
  • Short North Gallery Hop 
  • Gateway Film Center 
  • The Candle Lab 
  • Table Top Game Café 
  • Columbus Museum of Art 
  • Cultural Arts Center 
  • Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens 
  • Topiary Park 
  • Columbus Park of Roses 
  • Otherworld 
  • Thurber House 
  • Kelton House Museum and Garden  
  • Festivals and Community Events – Experience Columbus 
  • Concerts 
  • Theater performances 


  • Your self-expression is inherently creative! How you dress, style your hair, or decorate your space are all examples of creativity. 
  • Do you like spoken word, public speaking, speech and debate, or poetry?  Communication can be creative! 
  • The music and podcasts that you listen to are all elements of your own creativity and sense of self. So are your favorite movies and TV shows! 
  • Imagination and storytelling are creative. 
  • Problem-solving and strategizing involve a lot of creativity, which students are engaging in all the time! 



Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Outreach Assistant

Disordered Eating, Perfectionism, and the Graduate Student 

4 Strategies for Addressing Disordered Eating in Grad School 

One of the known factors that may cause the emergence or exacerbation of eating disorders is stress. Stress is also a part of life that many graduate students share. It is not, then, completely unsurprising that there is a link between higher eating disorder occurrence/severity and graduate education. A study published in the Journal of American College Health found that, out of the 305 graduate students surveyed, 82% had some level of body image dissatisfaction (with 36% reporting moderate to severe dissatisfaction) and 45% exhibited moderate to severe food avoidance or dietary rules in their everyday eating patterns (Parker, Lyon, & Bonner, 2010).  

Graduate students are at high risk for experiencing overwhelming stress, perfectionism, and anxiety. All three of these have been shown to increase the risk for disordered eating. For some, disordered eating behaviors become a way to feel a false sense of “control” when life becomes overwhelming. For others, the perfectionist attitude that allows them to succeed in school spills into a desire to lose weight to conform to the “perfect” body ideal.  

Here are some important reminders for any graduate student who may be experiencing body dissatisfaction or disordered eating behaviors: 

  1. You can desire success without desiring perfection. In fact, perfection will always be out of reach. You do not need to be “perfect” or “exceptional” to have the success that you’re pursuing.  
  2. Your desire to change your body may be driven by a need to feel “in control” or fulfill a need to be “perfect.” Unpacking these feelings through counseling, coaching or treatment can help enormously with recovery. 
  3. You can pursue recovery and treatment while still in graduate school. A professional will be able to help you determine what intensity of treatment you need, but for some, treatment may be possible without taking time off school. In other words—do not put off treatment or recovery just because you can’t afford to take time off. Talk to a treatment provider about your needs and concerns before making any major decisions. 
  4. You have a right to privacy around your health, but supervisors or mentors in your academic life may be able to provide support if you feel comfortable communicating with them. Faculty and staff are here to support you in your academic journey, that includes your health and well-being. Opening up to a trusted mentor could provide the additional support and connection to resources you need to work towards recovery.   

Most importantly, treatment and recovery are possible and deserved. Take a few moments to reach out to a medical professional if you feel that your relationship with food and/or your body has gotten out of control.  

Additionally there are many free and low cost Body Image and Disordered Eating resources at Ohio State including: Nutrition CoachingCounseling and Consultation Services, and the Eating Concerns Consultation Team. 

-Graduate and Professional Student, Student Wellness Center

The Sleep Cycle of a College Student 

(7am) you barely roll out of bed for your 8am class, (10am) go to other classes, (1pm) go to work, (5pm) go to a club meeting, (7pm) dinner with friends, (9pm) start to study for the test you have tomorrow, and (1am) you go to sleep.  

Does this sound familiar? If it does, you are not getting enough sleep at night. Don’t worry, you are not alone! On average, college students get a whopping six hours of sleep a night according to a study by the University of Georgia. Lack of sleep can take a toll on your mental health, cause a reduction of cognitive performance and affect your memory capacity! Here are five quick tips to getting a better night’s sleep in college.  

Tip 1: Prioritize Sleep     

Think of sleep as a tool. It’s a tool to help you get better grades, better your mental health, and better your alertness. It’s also good to note that nothing can replace the benefits of a good night’s sleep. So, trying to fill yourself up with espresso shots or energy drinks won’t give you the same feeling as catching some ZZZs.  

Tip 2: Avoid Late Day Naps 

Naps during the day can hinder your sleep at night. Dr. Sara Nowakowski, a sleep expert, suggests if you’re feeling especially tired, take a nap—but try to follow these guidelines. If you are feeling tired, try to remain awake and active for at least three hours after your new wake-up time before taking a nap. Also, try not to nap less than six hours before your bedtime. And if you need a nap, try to keep it under 30 minutes. This is just enough time to recharge!  

Tip 3: Take Advantage of the Exercise 

Research continuously shows that exercise results in a better night’s sleep. Exercise is a natural way to help boost your rest because it makes it easier to fall asleep at night. You don’t want to exercise too close to your bedtime as you’ll have an extra jolt of energy. So, aim for placing your exercise routine in the morning! There are some great recreational facilities located around campus and you can find more information about locations and operating hours at 

Tip 4: Get on the Same Sleep Schedule Every Night 

Your body is really good at learning schedules! It learns when to be tired and when to wake up based on the habits you form. So, if you’re changing your schedule up every night, it can be pretty confusing to your body’s natural rhythm. Don’t be too ambitious. If you can’t wake up at 6am, you don’t have to! Do what feels right for your body. Set yourself a wake-up time and bedtime that is challenging, but be realistic. 

Tip 5: Unplug Before Beds 

Your body needs wind-down time! Especially from blue lights like those from your phone screen. As relaxing as it can be to scroll through TikTok right before bed (I know we all do it), it’s not helping your body get into “sleep mode.” Do something that relaxes you that doesn’t involve electronics. This can include reading a book, listening to soothing music, or drawing and coloring. It’s all about doing what’s right for you. If you’re looking for some relaxation tips you can also check out the OSU Wellness App!  


 -Taylor Sienerth, Stress Wellness Ambassador  

Recovery and Support: Eating Disorders and Substance Use Disorder 

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, nearly 50% of those struggling with eating disorders also struggle with substance abuse (5 times higher than the general population) and approximately 30-35% of those with substance misuse disorders also suffer from eating disorders (11 times higher than the general population). 

While the two diseases may seem entirely unrelated, both conditions are, at their core, coping mechanisms to escape pain, anxiety, or sadness. Both disorders provide temporary “escapes” from whatever may be plaguing the sufferer, but these behaviors ultimately become all-consuming, and compulsive. 

Similarly, eating disorders and substance misuse disorders share many of the same risk factors: brain chemistry, family history, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and social factors (National Eating Disorder Association).  

There are notable differences between eating disorders and substance misuse disorders, including the traditional treatment plans of both. For substance misuse disorders, abstinence from substances is considered the most effective plan of treatment. This is considered a “power over” approach to recovery. Additionally, many substance misuse recovery communities instruct the individual to claim the disease as an identity.  

On the other hand, eating disorder recovery focuses on moderating overcontrol and normalizing eating patterns (one cannot be “abstinent” from eating,) which is called a “power with” approach to recovery. Moreover, treatment almost always focuses on shifting the patient’s identity away from the disease.  

Furthermore, substance misuse disorders are characterized as chronic, non-curable medical illnesses, while eating disorders are conceptualized as curable psychiatric illnesses. 

Recovery from both eating disorders and substance misuse is possible, although patients who struggle with both may want to consider comprehensive, parallel treatment that recognizes the link between the two conditions and treats both together. Studies have shown better long-term recovery outcomes for patients who struggle with both ED and SUD when the two are treated together.  

However, these kinds of integrated treatment programs are rare (only 16% of the 351 publicly funded treatment programs for drug abuse also offer eating disorder treatment), and this disparity often leaves patients to seek treatment for the two conditions separately. Medical and psychiatric professionals are urging treatment centers to offer more comprehensive treatment options for the many people suffering from this comorbidity.  

For Ohio State students, there are many free and low cost Disordered Eating and Substance Misuse support resources at Ohio State including: Nutrition CoachingCounseling and Consultation Services, and the Eating Concerns Consultation Team as well as the Collegiate Recovery Community and the Wexner Medical Center Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Services. 

 -Graduate and Professional Student, Student Wellness Center