Health Is…

By Emily Matthews

Health is such a complex subject that I find it nearly impossible to talk about it holistically in a short blog post. But, I’m going to try! Health encompasses everything in your life from sleep to nutrition to exercise to stress management. Getting or staying healthy can seem like a daunting task, but the most important thing to remember is that balance is the key to holistic health. A trip to White Mountain every once in a while won’t kill you, and sometimes a day off from the gym to nap is exactly what you need for your health. Health is so much more than eating salads every day and being at the Plex for 3 hours a day.

Friendships and talking to people you love are also essential parts of health. Also, you need to take care of yourself spiritually and academically. A tough thought for most people coming to BC is that straight A’s probably aren’t going to be a reality anymore. Sometimes we can get so caught up into the culture of perfection here that our health and wellness take a backseat to marathon O’Neill sessions followed by several hours at the Plex. Looking healthy does not mean that you feel healthy. Health and wellness are very internal things, and the only person that really knows how you feel is you. Health is a balancing act, and slipping up here and there is only natural. Cupcakes are just as important as salads, and quality time with friends is just as important as time in O’Neill.

Health is perhaps the most important balancing act of our lives. It affects everything that we do. When one part of health is overlooked, it can affect all other parts of wellness. Balance is truly the key to prime wellness, and it can be extremely difficult to achieve sometimes. Health is also individualistic, and therefore finding what works best for you is vital to personal wellness.

The BC Office of Health Promotion is located in Gasson 025. Stop by if you want any more information about health. We offer services in many aspects of health including sleep, nutrition, alcohol education, time management, and stress management. You can attend a group program or set up an individual appointment. For more information, you can check out our website at!


Let’s Talk Alcohol

By Sarya Baladi

Happy Alcohol and Drug Awareness Month! This November, the Office of Health Promotion will be focusing on harm-reduction drinking strategies in the hopes of improving our physical and mental health. Here are some tips you can follow to make sure you have a fun and safe night out:


1- Count your drinks and space them out throughout the night1.gif

BAC, or Alcohol Blood Content, is a measure that indicates how much alcohol is in the blood stream. This number varies from person to person depending on weight and biological sex; this means that different people can tolerate different levels of alcohol. When drinking, it is important to keep track of how much you drink to make sure your BAC stays at a safe level, which is 0.06 or less.


2- Make sure to eat before you go out and stay hydrated throughout the night


Having food in your stomach will not stop you from getting drunk and will not affect your BAC. However, it slows the absorption of alcohol by the body. Also, water will not decrease your BAC, but it is important to stay hydrated throughout the night since alcohol tends to dehydrate the body; a cool tip is to switch between alcoholic beverages and water.


3- Pour your own drinks


Keeping track of how much you drink is crucial to safe drinking, so knowing exactly what goes into your body is a must. Therefore, be sure to familiarise yourself with standard drink measurements (1.5 oz of liquor, 5 oz of wine, 8 oz of malt liquor, 12 oz of beer). It is also a best to avoid jungle juice, since it is impossible to know how much alcohol is in a drink of jungle juice.


4- Avoid mixing energy drinks and alcohol


Although energy drinks such as Red Bull is a popular drink to mix with alcohol, it is much more dangerous than the average drink. Energy drinks mask the effects of alcohol, so it is much for difficult to feel how intoxicated you really are; this leads to excess drinking and very dangerous consequences for the drinker.


5- Use the buddy system


When you go out, be sure to stay in a group and look out for your friends. When you see someone who might be in danger, be sure to take advantage of BC’s Help Seeking Policy: if you call BCPD for a friend who is intoxicated, there will be no punitive sanctions for neither the caller nor the drinker. Better be safe than sorry!


OHP gives out BAC Cards to students depending on their size and gender, so make sure to stop by and pick one up! You should also download the “iDrink Smarter” app, which is 100% free for BC students; after putting in your sex and weight, it helps you keep track of your BAC by putting in the number of standard drinks you have consumed.


Now that you have various harm-reduction strategies, pick the ones that work best for you to try to implement them when you go out. Remember to always stay in your Green Zone!!

Health Coach Training

By Piper Haney


The Health Coach Institute’s annual training was a huge success! Prior to the beginning of school our health coaches completed a 20 hour training and certification program to ensure our new and returning health coaches are ready to help make Boston College a healthier campus.

80 health coaches were trained to have individual health conversations and facilitate group health education in areas of stress and time management, sleep, nutrition, resilience, and choices around alcohol.

Our health coaches learned effective ways to educate, motivate, and refer students to the support they need. During the two-day training we focused on motivational interviewing skills, readiness to change theory, successfully engaging in open-ended conversations with peers, and guiding student clients toward goal setting and strategies that work for the client and lead to healthier choices.  

Health coaches will be an integral part of this year’s health campaign,  Let’s Talk Health! Throughout the year the entire campus will be talking about health in 7 different speciality areas: Let’s Talk Time, Stress, Nutrition, Alcohol, Resilience, Exercise, and Sleep. Each month a new topic will be introduced and supported by key messages and education, discussions held, and challenges to participate in!

Want to get involved in the great services offered by the Office of Health Promotion? Schedule an IHP (individual health plan) with one of our trained Health Coaches or schedule a health education session with floor mates, club members or group of friends online at!

Let’s Talk: Stress

By Kevin Enabulele ’19, iChill Health Coach

The Office of Health Promotion defines stress as, “the way we respond (physically and emotionally) to an event or perceive a situation”. We can create or reduce a majority of our stress, depending on how we think about events or people in our lives. Stress can also be caused by feeling a loss of control and as a result, stress feels like something we have no control over. We may not always be able to control our environment, but we have more control over our own stress than we may think.

I recommend reading Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, M.D. However, if you don’t have time to read the whole book, luckily there are summaries of the main ideas all over the internet as well as in the Office of Health Promotion. Dr. Burns was a psychiatrist studying cognitive behavioral therapy. The book outlines several “cognitive distortions” that lead to negative thoughts and their consequent stressful and negative feelings. For example, one distortion he mentions is the idea of a “mental filter”. This is when we dwell on negatives and ignore the positives. Most cognitive distortions are a result of our brain’s attempt to streamline or simplify the information we process from our environment. The book also contains ways to prevent our thoughts from negatively affecting our emotions. It is difficult to control our thoughts, but there are ways to control the way they affect us.

In addition to having control over our stress, it is also something that is totally normal.

In a national survey done by the American College Health Association in 2016, “86% of students reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do”.

This statistic is one that I find very helpful to remember when I feel overwhelmed. A culture overrun with unrealistic images of perfection perpetuates the idea that it isn’t “normal” to feel stressed or overwhelmed. Contrary to this popular misconception, it is normal to feel stressed as a student at a prestigious academic institution. Knowing that stress is normal can make it easier to manage. Many of the emotional and behavioral side effects of stress are self-reinforcing and often lead to more stress. For example, a feeling of anxiety can lead to excessive drinking, which can lead to a decline in productivity, which would only lead to more stress. The most effective coping methods, which vary from person to person, are ones that can help you break out of cycles of stress. These range from activities like calling family, meditation, taking a break, or emotional changes like putting events in perspective, thinking positively, and accepting yourself/others.

The Office of Health Promotion is located in the basement of Gasson Hall in room 025. In the office there is information about ways to think positively, practice mindfulness, and many other ways to manage stress. You can also sign up for an individual iChill appointment, which can help you begin managing your stress.

OHP Summer Reading List

by Abby Whelan

As the school year winds down and comes to a close, Office of Health Promotion is here to help you find some relaxing and motivational reads to balance your life and find inspiration throughout the summer months! Check out these highly recommended books that cover topics ranging from positivity and optimism, sleep and self help, living alongside African wildlife, and the ultimate underdog comeback.

1. Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

boys in the boat
A story of perseverance and resilience, Boys in the Boat is about an American crew team who found themselves competing against Nazi Germany in the Berlin Olympics. Find out how this rookie group of college athletes from Washington proved on an international Olympic stage just how far some hard work and inner strength will truly take you!

2. Presence by Amy Cuddy

If you have ever viewed Harvard professor Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on power posing and communicating confidence and found it truly interesting, this is most definitely the book for you! Cuddy’s book inspires the reader to grow into your boldest self and take on those challenges that at first may seem to tower over you.

3. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell


Wondering about what your personal “key to success” might be? Attempting to tap into your natural talents while also willing to put in the hours to achieve greatness? Malcolm Gladwell offers advice and presents the facts about how every individual can make the most of their own personal situation, regardless of where you come from and who you are.

4. The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington


sleep revolution.jpg
For those who have in the past dismissed or not appreciated a good night’s sleep, here is the book that may just change your mind! In this fast-paced, high stress world today, Huffington argues that people are forgetting about the importance and the hidden power that can be found in a good night’s sleep. Huffington goes on to offer insight and some tips for maximizing and optimizing your “zzz’s”, so read up and enjoy!  

5. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi


when breath becomes air

Written as a memoir of his own life by surgeon Paul Kalanithi, this sentimental re-telling of his life, his experience with lung cancer, and his career as a surgeon is sure to both tug on your heartstrings and maybe illicit a few tears. However, despite the tragedy, this tale of a man who made the most of his life is one that ultimately inspires all.

6. Love, Life, and Elephants by Dame Daphne Sheldrick


love life and elephants.jpg
For all of the animal lovers out there, this woman shows us how love for all of earth’s creatures can help us to learn more about life than we ever knew! Written by Dame Daphne Sheldrick, who moved from Scotland to Africa with her family, she details her life experiences growing up next to, then eventually caring for, different types of African wildlife.

7. The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama, Desmond TuTu, Douglas Carlton Adams


book of joy.jpg
Some of the happiest people in the world are those people who have seen incredible hardship and experienced violent oppression. Learn how noble peace prize winners the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have dealt with all sorts of obstacles, yet still have managed to maintain positive outlooks and express kindness and generosity in their daily lives. This book is so heartwarming and is sure to put a smile on your face!

8. Mind Gym by Gary Mack, David Casstevens

mind gym

If you are looking for some motivation to jump start a new workout routine, or seeking to overcome a challenge in your athletic career, this book is perfect for you! A sports psychology consultant, Gary Mack details the ways in which you can change or build your mindset to be a help rather than a hindrance to your athletic performance. Proving to all types of athletes that your mind is a muscle and also needs training is the name of the game!

9. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy is an autobiography written by J.D. Vance, who writes about his family’s experience starting out in Appalachia and details his journey to Ivy League school Yale University. A lifetime of over overcoming challenges and a hugely impressive display of resilience, Vance explains how he bounced back from these circumstances and how they still fit into his life today.

10. Swimmer Among the Stars by Kanishk Tharoor

swimmer among the stars.jpg

A bit different from our other recommendations, this book is a compilation of short stories that will enchant and engage the readers. Written creatively and with a sort of internationally adventurous feel, this book uses each story to compliment each other and comment on events and on goings of our world past, present, and even future.

11. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder


In this amazing true tale of Dr. Paul Farmer, Kidder takes the reader along with Farmer to all corners of the world as he travels around fighting infectious disease. With numerous job titles, including Harvard professor, and an individual that makes time for house calls in Boston, this story hits close to home and shows us that we, as individuals, truly can help to unite communities and make a difference in the world.

12. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

life of [pi.jpg

If you are looking for a modern classic, this is absolutely the book for you! Martel takes us along for a voyage with 16 year old Pi, who becomes shipwrecked on a small boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. However, Pi is not alone- he has a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and even a tiger to keep him company. The Life of Pi is a fascinating story of the unique relationship between man and animal, and how this relationship can tell us/teach us about life.

13. The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

spirit catches you.jpg

Anne Fadiman captures a picture of what a clash of culture looks like today in modern day America. Bringing to light some new perspectives and cultures surrounding the field of medicine, Fadiman shows how these cultural miscommunications affect even the smallest of individuals.

14. A Chance in the World by Steve Pemberton

a chance.jpg

This story is bound to capture and pull at your heartstrings, as Pemberton introduces the reader to Stephen Klakowicz. As a child, Stephen endures physical and mental abuse in the foster care system, however, against all odds, is able to graduate college and settle down with a family of his own. A Chance in the World follows Stephen’s search for his true family and backstory where he finds out who he, and his biological family, truly are.

15. Option B by Sheryl Sandberg

option b.jpg

Written by the incredibly successful Sandberg, Facebook’s COO and one of Wharton’s top professors, this story is about how to move forward when it just doesn’t seem very possible. For those working towards building their resilience, this book explains how she herself and still others were able to bounce back and, most importantly, find joy in their new situations and live a happy and fulfilled life. Even though the new situation might not be Option A, we can find happiness and discover new, untapped strength in our “Option B.”

16. You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein

youll grow.jpg

If you are looking for a few laughs and some relatable reminiscing on moments of uncertainty, try Jessi Klein’s book You’ll Grow Out of It! The book takes the reader back to her childhood, growing up as a tomboy, and talks about her transformation into a writer for incredibly popular shows such as SNL and Inside Amy Schumer.  

Stay tuned for our weekly posting on social media as a part of #OHPSummerBookClub!

Be Mindful, BC!

A Guide to OHP’s Mindfulness Map: Campus Locations for Reflection and Relaxation

by Abby Whelan

Boston College’s campus is known for it’s beauty and it’s plethora of tiny spaces to explore. Recently, the Office of Health Promotion put together a map of some of these spaces on campus that are conducive for reflection, prayer, meditation or simply relaxation.

Below is a further description of these locations that may offer a safe space for your quiet reflection during a busy week!

Multi-faith Center at 66 Comm Ave the multifaith center is a space that one may visit individually at any time in between 6 am to 11 pm as long as there are no group events scheduled. Located conveniently on Lower campus very close to the residence halls, this is a great space to seek out on your way to or from your room for the day.  

Labyrinth behind Bapst Library the labyrinth, a space that signifies the intersection between the human and the divine, was built as a beautiful memoriam for the members of the BC community tragically lost in 9/11. Labyrinths are typically used to meditate by walking along the circle slowly and mindfully, so if you are an individual who likes to move around while reflecting, this is a space for you!

Statue of Mary located on the path leading to CoRo outside of Bapst, this space offers a quiet corner of campus close to the library. Take a study break and slip outside to enjoy a few minutes in the sun and a few deep breaths!

Reflection rooms in the dorms there is typically a reflection room in each residence hall on campus. The reflection rooms offer space right within your living quarters to take a couple minutes and reflect and relax. While there are often programs occurring in these rooms, it is easy to seek a reflection room out and use the space without ever needing to take a step outside!

St. Ignatius ChurchFor those students seeking a larger space to reflect, St. Ignatius is the church located at the bottom corner of lower campus right along Comm Ave. While there is a daily mass schedule on both the weekdays and the weekends, anyone of any religious affiliation can slip in for a few minutes during the day for their own individual prayers or meditations.

St Mary’s  Saint Mary’s chapel, located along Linden Lane, is a breathtaking space to sit and be mindful. With its convenient location tucked away close to the main quad and both libraries, this space is perfect for a midday reflection session. It is also a nice place to say a quick prayer or do a quick body scan while waiting for the Newton/Comm Ave bus to pick you up at main gate!   

St Joseph’s Chapel in Gonzaga Saint Joseph’s is located on upper campus and is a great space for Freshman and Coro students to utilize! Take a few minutes out of your day to venture into the bottom floor of Gonzaga and attend a mass or do some quiet individual reflection.

Reservoir→ the reservoir offers a scenic outdoor walking path spotted with benches that each have a unique view of BC campus and/or Boston. Whether you run, jog, walk, or sit, this location is perfect for an outdoors reflection space. Take a lap and clear your head while taking in some serene views.

McNeil Family Garden      located under the bridge between Stokes Hall North and South, this is beautiful spot to spend a few quiet moments pre- or post- final. This time of year the space flaunts beautiful spring blooms and shady spots to journal, read, or reflect.

Stokes Amphitheater→ Stokes Amphitheater is a wonderful place located right across from Eagles and Mac! Grab some food in the morning, noon, or night to eat your meal outside or just lounge in between classes in the grass and or/stone.  

Lawn Behind Shaw House→   The Lawn Behind Shaw House is a lovely green space on Upper Campus for Freshmen to enjoy a quiet place outdoors. Enjoy meditating to music or finishing some homework on this lush lawn on Upper.



Running is Fun!

By Piper Haney

Tired of getting super sweaty running around the same old reservoir? Have you gotten chased by the scary geese one too many times? If you are looking for tips to spice up your run you have come to the right blog post.

I enjoy a beautiful and iconic trip around the res as much as the next Boston College running, jogging, or speed walking enthusiast but sometimes I get tired of running around in scenic circles. Follow these 4 easy steps to transform your boring old run.

My first suggestion is creating a new route; running through Boston is one of the best ways to get some exercise and exploring done all at the same time. To make exploring easier I like to use’s “create a route” feature to determine the distance and direction my run will take. At the bottom of this blog you will find pictures of a few of my favorite runs including the scenic and somewhat hilly run to Walnut Street and the exciting run to the Res’s pretty sister, the Brookline Reservoir—word on the street is it’s only a mile around and the home to adorable baby ducklings.

If your sneakers are still not calling your name I suggest recruiting a friend to join you on your sweaty adventures up and down Comm Ave (pictured above is my favorite running pal and I taking on the Red Bandana Run in matching Super Fan shirts). An updated music playlist can also do wonders for your run if all your friends are “too busy” watching Netflix to catch some fresh air. If a new running route, a trusty friend, or a new playlist of jams is not your cup of tea you have one last resort, THE DESTINATION RUN.

The only thing more fun than running into Boston and back to BC is running into Boston and taking some sort of transportation besides your feet home. Try running to Fenway, the Boston Public Garden, or the North End if you are a pizza connoisseur like myself. The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder so don’t forget to head outside and appreciate running around Boston when there isn’t 10 feet of snow.

For more information about fitness, schedule an Individual Health Plan (iHP) here,

A Warm Welcome to Spring

OHP’s top 5 destinations for outdoor adventures!

by Abby Whelan

With growing anticipation for warmer weather and the slightest hint of longer days, there is no better time to get up, get outdoors, and go explore Boston!

As the final stretch of the academic year commences, often times, student’s motivation will start to wane. Our suggestion is to find some new, seasonal inspiration by stepping out of Bapst or O’Neill and saying goodbye to stress-build up and cabin fever! Seek a change in location for a change of heart/mood. Explore some new outdoor sites will help you to clear your head and take a productive study break. Detailed below are OHP’s top 5 locations to spend some quality time outside catching up on some dearly missed vitamin D 🙂


  1. Blue Hills Hiking

Reservation Headquarters

695 Hillside Street, Milton, MA 02186


Gorgeous, peaceful hiking and biking trails that are only about a half hour drive from campus! Additionally, from certain trails, there are fantastic views of the Boston skyline on a clear day. Check out the website for more information on the trails, for a map, and for lists of other outdoors activities that are possible at this location!

blue hills

2. The Esplanade

B/C/D Line to Park Street, transfer and take the Red Line to Charles/MGH

Stretching from Charles Bank Park to Harvard University, the esplanade is a great place to exercise outdoors. Spend some time running or walking or biking to release some endorphins and boost your mood! Additionally,  check online to find out more about bike and kayak rentals.


  1. Memorial Drive

B/C/D Line to Park Street, transfer and take the Red Line to Charles/MGH

Parallel to the Charles River in Cambridge, this is yet another great place for cyclists, runners, and rollerbladers. Memorial Drive is typically closed by the city on Sundays for recreational purposes, so be sure to check it out!

memorial drive

  1. Arboretum (Harvard University)


D Line to Copley, then walk to Back Bay and take Orange Line to Forest Hills

Stroll through the beautiful gardens and exhibits on your own or sign up for  one of their many weekend/weekday tours!


  1. The Lawn on D

D Line to Park Street, transfer/take Red Line to South Station

Venture out to see interactive art exhibits, live music, play ping pong or other fun games in this outdoor space by the waterfront!

lawn d.jpg

#RealHealthatBC featuring Kellie O’Leary and Yoga

Kellie O’Leary & Andie Babusik

I highlight BC students for #RealHealthatBC features on all of BC Health’s social media platforms. These features showcase how regular BC students incorporate health and wellness into their (busy) everyday lives. A recent feature was of Kellie O’Leary, a Boston College senior.

Kellie does yoga at least four times a week. Through high school she casually did yoga, but she started taking yoga more seriously after an injury that left her unable to do her normal work out. Kellie says, “Yoga made me feel strong when I thought my body was weak and broken.” Now, whenever she feels sore or gets injured, she knows she has yoga to turn too. Kellie feels empowered by her body’s ability to do yoga and wants everyone else to feel just as empowered! Kellie details how yoga is a freeing experience for her, “There is no judgement in yoga. There are so many levels and variations, you can do it alone or in a class. Yoga can be molded to fit anyone’s life.”

Kellie loves that yoga can be modified for anyone interested. Most yoga moves have three variations, an easy, medium, and hard style. The variations are a great way to work in your comfort zone but still have room to advance. Not to mention, you can choose the moves that work for you. For example, if you broke your foot and can’t put any weight on it Kellie suggests doing sitting poses or one-leg standing poses. Kellie affirms, “Yoga is about listening to your body. Then you can give your body what it wants and needs.”

Yoga transformed Kellie’s life, maybe it can benefit yours too! Check out more of what Kellie had to say about yoga:

“When I got injured, I started practicing yoga more seriously, and it was life changing. Now I do yoga about four days a week. I love that you can make yoga whatever you want or need it to be for you. Yoga makes me feel strong and helps me de-stress. Exercising is about pushing yourself, but yoga is about giving your body what it needs. Everyone can do yoga and everyone should do yoga!”

For more information about healthy choices, schedule an iHP (Individual Health Plan) through the Office of Health Promotion at or visit BC Campus Rec’s website at


Sweet Treats and Study Breaks


Our top 5 places to visit in and around Boston where you can drink some coffee, eat some dessert, and de-stress from midterms!

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By Abigail Whelan

Usually at this point in spring semester many of us are both exhausted from midterms and permanently chilled from the cold and dreary weather. Instead of continuing in the same routine, take some time to combat your stress and balance out your responsibilities by treating yourself! This list details some deliciously inviting places in and around the city of Boston where you can seek refuge from the cold, succumb to your inner sweet tooth, and grab an energizing (and totally instagram worthy) cup-o-joe. Happy eating!

  1. The Thinking Cup

(617) 247-3333

85 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02116

Stop in for some pastries, macaroons, and coffee while shopping and strolling on one of Boston’s most beautiful streets. A wide variety of food and open from 7 to 10 pm, this location is one that cannot be beat!


2. Paris Creperie 617-232-1770

278 Harvard Street, Brookline

C Line to Coolidge Corner

If you love crepes, this is the place for you! Paris Creperie offers a wide variety of sweet and savory crepes, in addition to a create your own option and delicious breakfast crepes.







3. Morano Gelato

Shops at Chestnut Hill, 199 Bolyston Street, Chestnut Hill

Located in the Chestnut Hill Mall, accessible via BC Chestnut Hill Mall Shuttle

Have a craving for authentic gelato that tastes just like the creamy treat you’ll find in Italy? Morano Gelato is a premium gelato shop right in the Chestnut Hill mall that features a plethora of unique flavors with a rotating menu that changes every day! Word around the street is that Morano has the best gelato around- come see for yourself!

4. Fuel America


152 Chestnut Hill Avenue, Brighton

BC Commonwealth Ave Shuttle to South Street, walk up South Street to Chestnut Hill Avenue

Come to Fuel if you’re in the mood for a warm latte on cold day or if you’re just in the mood for snack on the healthier side. With a variety of sandwiches, salads, and drinks, you can’t go wrong here!


5.Pavement Coffeehouse


1243 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

B Line to Harvard Street

Check out this hip coffeehouse in Allston if you’re in the mood for great coffee, handcrafted breakfast sandwiches, and yummy baked goods in a cool neighborhood. Try the cider latte sometime in the fall for a really tasty treat!




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BC Office of Health Promotion

Gasson 025