Spiritual or Religious? What is the Difference?

Spirituality and religion are often used interchangeably to describe someone’s faith or existential views; however, these two words hold very different meanings. They share similar qualities and can certainly be talked about together, but they still consist of different concepts.

Religion is defined as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman power or powers, especially a God or gods, and as a particular system of faith and worship”. Religion tends to follow more specific or outlines rules, rituals, or traditions that members follow. Members of the same religion typically identify as a community. While people within the same religion can have differing beliefs, they are related by common factors that the particular religion has to offer.

Spirituality is more difficult to define and is more abstract as far as practice and implementation. The dictionary definition of spirituality is “the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things”. Other definitions and interpretations include “the personal quest for meaning in life” and “anything involved in feeding the soul of the practicing person”.

Anyone can be spiritual, religious, or both, and the method of practice for either is always a personal preference. If you are interested in becoming spiritual, religious, or both, you do not have to follow any set rules to be a part of either and are allowed to practice in a way that works best for you. Some ways to learn and get more involved include:

  • Talking to people you trust about their thoughts and experiences and what they do for spiritual wellness
  • Doing research: reading books, watching movies or documentaries, exploring websites or group meetings for spirituality or certain religions
  • Figure out what spirituality and religion mean to Self-reflect and think about your values and what you want to gain from spirituality or religion
  • Having mantras or positive affirmations that help make you feel good
  • Try and be more aware of the things and people around you, acknowledging the life that we are all apart of and sharing

Key Takeaways

Religion: organized, typically community/group based, specific practices, common belief in a higher power

Spirituality: less structured/organized, typically individual based, more abstract concept, variety of practices and ways of engagement, centered around peace/the mind, body, and soul, existentialism view

However you choose to be, spiritual or religious, it should feel comfortable and uplifting for you. What feeds your spirituality may not work for someone else, and vice versa. Remember to be kind to yourself and remind yourself that finding spirituality or religion is often a lifelong process, and the only “right” way to do it. We all have unique perspectives of the world and have the freedom to interpret it whatever way works best!

-Alison Reynolds, Graduate Student Assistant



https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/spirituality-without-religion https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4957758/#:~:text=Spirituality%20and%2


A New Take on the New Year

As the pressure builds to create new habits this time of year, it can be overwhelming to make goals that align with what you truly desire. Diet culture, social media, and even friends and family can push us in the direction of weight loss and dieting. This can encourage quick fixes and fad diets that – let’s be honest – don’t work. Making realistic goals using Intuitive Eating can help you form a healthy relationship with food, your mind, and your body.What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating is an approach to health and eating that focuses on listening to your body’s needs and making choices to honor what it is telling you. It teaches you to understand physical cues like hunger and satisfaction and grants you freedom to let your body be your guide. The 10 principles of Intuitive Eating include:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality
  2. Honor Your Hunger
  3. Make Peace with Food
  4. Challenge the Food Police
  5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  6. Feel Your Fullness
  7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness
  8. Respect Your Body
  9. Movement – Feel the Difference
  10. Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition

5 Non-Diet New Year’s Resolutions Using Intuitive Eating

  1. Find Joyful Movement Instead of Strict Exercise – Focus less on the hours spent at the gym and experiment with movements that you feed good and enjoy doing. Try a yoga class or join a local kickball team with a friend.
  2. Clean Your Social Media Feed – Unfollow or mute accounts that trigger comparison feelings or make you feel bad about yourself. Follow people who empower and inspire you and encourage your same values.
  3. Buy Clothes That Fit – The thought of buying bigger clothes can be scary but wearing clothes that are too tight or uncomfortable can make body image worse. Donate clothes that don’t fit your here-and-now body and stop overanalyzing sizes. Remember, the clothes are supposed to fit you, not the other way around.
  4. Develop Other Coping Mechanisms – Emotions are normal and part of what makes us human. Food and exercise are common outlets people turn to cope with emotions, but they can be taken to extremes. Create a list of alternative activities you can do when you feel triggered by an emotion, like calling a friend, going for a walk, or painting.
  5. Shift the Language – Stop labeling food as ‘bad’ or ‘good.’ Morality has no place in food, and this practice will just increase feelings of shame and guilt. The next time you notice yourself labeling food as ‘unhealthy’ or ‘guilt-free,’ try reframing your thoughts using neutral terms like colorful, satisfying, or fueling.

Adopting Intuitive Eating can give you a sense of peace and freedom. Food is meant to be eaten; our bodies are meant to be fueled. Reframing the way you approach your health and wellness goals can positively impact your likelihood of making long term changes.

To learn more about Intuitive Eating, schedule a free nutrition coaching appointment or participate in the Intuitive Eating Workshop Series.

-Janele Bayless, Wellness Coordinator


What Are the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating (And How They Can Help You)

10 Principles of Intuitive Eating


How to Vocalize Your Healthcare Needs and Ask that Question!

Going to the doctor can be intimidating. There is a real power dynamic between patient and healthcare provider that no one really talks about. This can cause a large barrier when trying to advocate for your healthcare needs and can get in the way of preventative care.

A relationship with a healthcare provider should be one built on trust, respect, and shared decision making. Below are some strategies for feeling more empowered and comfortable during your next doctor’s appointment.

Start by finding a healthcare provider you trust. Whether you are looking for a dentist, general practitioner, or a mental health counselor; you need to find someone who best fits your personal needs. Building a relationship on trust and respect is important, if you do not feel like you are getting that from your healthcare provider, it might be time to switch.

Remind yourself that answering your questions is part of a provider’s job description. You are not burdening or being annoying by asking questions. Follow-up questions lets your provider know that you need further clarification to make the most informed decision as it relates to your healthcare needs. Remember no question is too embarrassing or personal, your doctor has probably seen and heard it all.

If just the thought of asking personal questions during a doctor’s appointment brings about sweaty hands and a stressed mind, try rehearsing or writing down questions to bring to the appointment ahead of time. By writing down any questions or notes ahead of time, you will feel more prepared to bring up concerns during the appointment. This will help you to organize thoughts and it will be a little reminder of what you wanted to bring up in case your nerves get the best of you.

If you are feeling rushed, uncomfortable, or worried, vocalize that to your doctor. There are options to make you feel more comfortable during the visit, including bringing a friend or family member or requesting to have a nurse or other healthcare practitioner present during the appointment. And if you feel like you need more time, ask the doctor to schedule a follow up visit.

To prepare for your next doctor’s visit, write down and bring with you:

  • A full list of your medications and dosages, as well as any other supplements you are taking and how often.
  • A list of symptoms you would like to address during the appointment.
  • If you are discussing pain, bring notes on the pain rating, how often, and any descriptive language to help the doctor understand what the pain feels like.
  • Are there any factors that may be affecting your symptoms (change in appetite, new life stressors, etc..)
  • Any questions you would like to have addressed during the appointment.

Let’s review. Your health is a priority. Take an active role by vocalizing your concerns and needs during your next appointment by preparing ahead of time. If you need a new practitioner do some research and make the switch. There is no better time than the present to schedule an appointment with your doctor to ask that question you have been putting off for ages.


As a student at The Ohio State University, you have access to a wide variety of healthcare providers and resources through the Wexner Medical Center, the Wilce Student Health Center, and Counseling and Consultation Service including their Community Provider Database. If you need to find a new doctor or schedule a visit with your current provider, take a few minutes after reading this post to get it done!

Other Resources:

Resources | Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (ahrq.gov)


How to Prepare for a Doctor’s Appointment | National Institute on Aging (nih.gov)


-Jordan Helcbergier (she/her), Wellness Coordinator

Winter Blues and Addressing SAD

Winter is upon us. The autumn semester is wrapped up, and many of us  swiftly put behind us those end-of-semester projects, research papers and final exams that  crept up way too quickly.

The winter blues leave us feeling out of touch with our natural routine and our body’s circadian rhythm. You may be feeling changes in your mood, your energy levels, or withdrawal from social interactions that make it hard just to get through the day.  Many of these symptoms describe Seasonal Affective Disorder or also known as seasonal depression, that usually emerges during months with dark and colder weather. You are not alone. Many students on campus are feeling this way, and here are some tips to help you ease into the winter season.


  1. Get some sunshine. Wake up a bit earlier to get 15 minutes of morning sun before classes or have meals outside or in a sunny spot indoors. Even on cold or cloudy days, natural light can help.
  2. Discover some hobbies. Hobbies are a wonderful way to get your mood up and socialize. Check out activities offered to you at your dorm or organizations on campus.
  3. Get Moving. Exercise can be a great way to release some stress from school or work and is a great way to find time to be outdoors as well.
  4. Create a routine. Create a schedule for when to wake up and go to sleep to avoid excessive sleeping or napping throughout the day. This can also help you find time to work on hobbies or extracurriculars in your schedule.

If these steps do not feel like enough, here is a free resource on campus that can guide you through the winter blues. The Student Wellness Center offers Wellness Coaching to all students. It provides opportunities to gain awareness regarding your capacity to create the life you want to live, both now and in the future. Wellness coaching takes a positive approach to personal development to generate meaningful goals for you.

Other Resources Available:
Counseling and Consultation Services

Student Health Services

Recreational Sports


-Shruti Asodaria, Wellness and Outreach Graduate Student Assistant

Fighting the Fear of the Freshman 15 (part two) 

So how can you go about dealing with the pressures surrounding the idea of the freshman 15? 

The first step is learning ways to combat any negative talk you may hear regarding the freshman 15 or any other college weight gain. Because this kind of talk has become so normalized, others may not be aware of the harm they may cause by bringing these topics up to incoming freshman. To make sure you prevent talk like this from bringing you down, try to challenge yourself to respond to these negative body talk statements in a purposeful way. 

If someone tries to warn you of the freshman 15, try telling them that it is simply a myth or that you will be happy with your body no matter your weight. You can also explain why statements such as those might be harmful to hear. If these seem too challenging to do, just try changing the subject.  

Besides avoiding negative body image talk, there are many ways to ensure you take steps to feeling better about yourself. At the end of the day, it’s your body, not anyone else’s, so you’re the only one who needs to like it.  

Here are a few simple steps to staying healthy and happy during your first year at college: 

  • Avoid diets. 

Studies have found that those who start a new diet their freshman year are more likely to gain weight. They also may be more likely to develop an eating disorder as well. Instead of dieting, practice intuitive eating. Intuitive eating involves eating whatever your body craves whenever you want it, guilt free.  

  • Make sure not to skip meals 

Skipping meals can lead to some of the same effects of dieting. It can also prevent you from having enough energy to perform well academically throughout the day. If you find yourself struggling to find time to eat in-between classes or other commitments, try keeping healthy snacks on hand to grab in a hurry.  

  • Drink enough water 

One study found that only about 15% of college students were drinking enough water each day. Water is important for every part of your body to function, especially your brain. Make sure to drink at least eight 8oz glasses of water each day.  

  • Get plenty of sleep 

Living minutes, or even seconds, away from your friends or a seemingly endless list of assignments can lead to many late nights during your college career. Not getting enough sleep can be extremely detrimental to your health. Try to get between at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night to make sure you are fully rested and have enough energy to take on the day.  

  • Schedule time for yourself 

With the introduction of several new commitments including a rigorous academic schedule your first semester at OSU, it can be easy to forget to make time for yourself. Remembering to take care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. To do so, find time to destress and relax in your favorite ways for at least a few minutes every single day.  

  • Find time to move 

Make time in your daily schedule to get some type of physical fitness in. This could come from taking a walk around campus or trying one of the RPAC’s group fitness classes. Doing so will not only help you take steps in the right direction for your physical health, but it can also be a great stress reliever.  

  • Utilize Ohio State’s many resources  

Ohio State has a ton of really great resources available to all students! Check out all the programs the Student Wellness Center offers including nutrition coaching and the body project to specifically work on any fears you may have surrounding college and body image.  


-Kayla Miedrzynski, Body Project Student Assistant   


Fighting the Fear of the Freshman 15 (part one) 

Almost every student has gotten the warning of the dreaded freshman fifteen before they even step foot on a college campus. You may have seen it talked about in movies or on the cover of your favorite magazines. You most likely even have heard about it from your friends and family. 

The idea that everyone gains fifteen pounds their freshman year of college has taken society by storm. We are all warned to stay away from the unlimited plates at the dining halls or sugary drinks that may be offered to us at parties, all because they can cause the number on the scale to increase. 

The beginning of your college career comes with so many things to worry about. How will I find my classes? What will my new friends be like? Am I going to be homesick? How much weight you may gain or what your body looks like should be the least of your worries.  

The beginning of freshman year is also one of the most exciting times in anyone’s life. Never before have you had so many new opportunities waiting for you. If you spend all your time worrying about potentially gaining weight, you are going to miss out on so many great experiences. It is just not worth it. 

The matter of the fact is the freshman fifteen is also simply just a myth. Numerous studies have found the average weight gain is far lower than fifteen pounds. In fact, many students do not see a change in their weight or may even lose some weight during the first year at college.  

Even if you do see a change in your body during your freshman year, so what? As long as you are happy and healthy, there is no reason to try to change the way that you look. Trying to hold on to your high school body forever is impossible. It is normal for everyone to go through different phases of their lives where their bodies transition in some way or another.  

Each and every body changes as it ages over the course of each decade. By the age of 17-19 your body is still far from being done with growing. For both men and women, bone and muscle mass reach their mass peak sometime during their late teenager years or their early twenties. It is also common for your metabolism to start slowing down around the age of 20. Even if you keep the same food and exercise habits as you did in high school, your body may react differently. This means that the body you enter college with is not the body you will be leaving college with. 

Also, during this time, students are likely to be going through some emotionally challenging events. For the first time, you will be on your own as an independent adult trying to figure out your social and personal lives. It is easy to begin to feel overwhelmed and even lost, which can have damaging effects on not only your physical health, but your mental health as well.  

These potential challenges to your mental and physical health are far more important to worry about than your weight. It is important to stay proactive rather than reactive when it comes to your health. Check out part two of this series to learn about ways to deal with the fear of the freshman fifteen.  


-Kayla Miedrzynski, Body Project Student Assistant   

Learning How to Effectively Say No to Opportunities

Reminder: No is a complete sentence. 

Although practicing and learning how to say no is relevant and necessary in all aspects of our lives, this example will focus primarily on professional and academic settings.  

Let’s say one day you are at work, and you receive an email from your supervisor with an optional request that exceeds what you are able or willing to contribute at the time. For example, the request could be something like serving on an additional committee, picking up an extra shift, or attending an optional event or training. Maybe a classmate wants you to take on some additional components of a group project beyond what you had initially agreed upon.  

First evaluate the request. Are you interested in exploring the possibility of supporting or engaging in the opportunity in a smaller, or different, capacity? If you are, you can suggest this and work on a compromise. However, if you cannot – or are not interested – in being involved, that is completely valid. 

Once you have determined that you cannot take on the additional opportunity, it is important to effectively communicate this. Just like with boundary-setting, it can be helpful to practice saying no! 

If it feels comfortable for you, you can begin your response by acknowledging the positive aspects of the request. For example, “This sounds like a great opportunity!” or “Thank you for thinking of me!” 

Next, provide a brief – yet direct – explanation for turning down the request. Here’s a possible example (keeping in mind that this may look different depending on your own personal preference, communication style, and reason for saying no): “Unfortunately, I am currently at capacity with my workload, and I am unable to take on any additional projects at this time.” If you are interested in providing support in another capacity or smaller role, you can always offer that as well. Additionally, if you know of someone else who may be interested in the opportunity, you could refer or recommend them.  

Altogether, saying no can look something like this: “Thank you for thinking of me! This sounds like a great opportunity. Unfortunately, I am currently at capacity with my workload, and I am unable to take on any additional projects at this time.” 

If saying no and setting boundaries is new to you, you can always practice and start out small! Check out these articles for more tips and strategies: 


-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant  

Emotional Spending

We’re not immune to the “treat yourself” mindset. After a rough day do you find yourself buying something new or enjoying an extra nice meal? When in moderation, this type of spending can help with coping with the stress of everyday life. When we end up relying on purchases to lift our moods it becomes a concern known as “emotional spending”. 

Emotional spending is a behavior that causes people to spend money whenever they experience negative or positive feelings, generally to fill an emotional need.  While there is a short-term mental health benefit to spending, too much emotional spending can impact your financial well-being and lead to increased stress. 

Most emotional spending is a pattern of behavior. When you start to recognize the behaviors, you can in turn disrupt them. Some behaviors may include:   

  • Spending beyond your means 
  • Withdrawing from conversations about money because it makes you anxious 
  • Accumulating more items during a stressful period  
  • Impulse buying  

Changing behavior takes time but there are strategies and alternatives you can try to prevent emotional spending. Strategies include: 

  • Make a weekly or monthly budget to help pre-allocate your finances. Free Financial Coaching through the Student Wellness Center can help. 
  • Limit the use of credit cards and removing stored card information to make it less easy to make a purchase from your phone/computer/tablet 
  • Limit exposure to ads on social media by reducing screen time 
  • Create a waiting period when making purchases. If you want something in the moment, see if you still want it in a few days? 
  • Talk to a Wellness Coach to identify positive coping mechanisms  

The Student Life Student Wellness Center offers free peer to peer coaching services. You can meet with a Financial Coach to discuss budgeting, credit cards, student loans, and more. Wellness Coaching serves provides stress management techniques, goal setting, communication strategies and more to improve your emotional wellness. Learn more and schedule a session by visiting the Student Wellness Center website.  

Financial Peer Pressure

FOMO! The fear of missing out can occur when it comes to not attending social events or activities with friends. That fear can be even worse when the event costs money. You must remember, everyone’s current financial state and goals are unique to them and if you must decline an offer due to finances, are you prepared to discuss with your friends? 

Start the conversation with your friends by using one of these strategies:  

  • Be Truthful: Your friends will understand. You don’t need to go into details but letting them know you cannot afford an activity or event due to the price is acceptable.  
  • Suggest an alternative: What are other low-cost or free opportunities you can take advantage of to have a good time with friends. OUAB and d-tix are a great place to start.  
  • Use a goal: “Thanks but I’m saving for a study abroad trip”  

You may feel bad about having to decline events or tell your friends no, but ultimately you are taking charge of your financial wellness. Real friends will understand.  

Don’t forget that budgets are made to be flexible too. If you’ve done the hard work to ensure that you have savings, an emergency fund and a good budget, you may want to indulge in something that pushes your budget a bit. Is it a once in a lifetime opportunity or an experience you’ll never forget? It may be worth it for the memories and that is money well spent.  

Looking to learn more about budgeting, credit cards, student loans or other financial topics? The Student Life Student Wellness Center offers free, peer-to-peer, financial coaching. You can learn more and schedule an appointment online by visiting the Student Wellness Center website 

National Coming Out Day & LGBTQ History Month Resources

Celebrate National Coming Out Day on Monday, October 11th and LGBTQ History Month with Student Life! It is completely your decision when to come out, whether to come out, and who to come out to. Everyone’s experience is unique, and the Student Wellness Center is here to support you no matter what. Check out the following events and resources for National Coming Out Day and LGBTQ History Month: