Be focused on the prize!

Welcome back from mid semester break….well I’m a little early in the welcome back you still have a few days off. Enjoy them and be sure to return next week refreshed and ready to get stuck into the end of semester 2. For some of you this will be your last semester before you complete your degree and for some it’s the end of your first semester. For all the rest you are somewhere in between. Regardless of where you are in your individual journey’s you are all on the same journey to finish this semester which inevitably will involve completing assessments, writing and/or studying for exams. While some of you are ready to go, are great at managing your time and have a system sorted for success there may be a few people still looking for some tips. Building on from my previous posts about managing your time and getting the most out of your study time today I am reviewing a new app for you recommended by someone who has recently completed their PhD.

Be focused is a time management app which is free, easy to use and allows you to keep track of your progress on the time you devote to a task. It allows you to add tasks to work on easily and then you tap to work on this task in 25 minute intervals. You can of course continue working by tapping again at the end of the time frame or if you want to switch tasks you can. The idea behind this one is to be able to take regular breaks to re-energise as well as keeping track of the tasks. It has a pause function if you get interrupted. If you want to change the work or break intervals you can in the settings section so it gives you an opportunity to figure out your optimum times for success.

What’s good about it: it is easy to use and you can start without reading through long instructions. It is also customiseable to what works best for you in terms of work and break cycles. So if you like a 50 minute block and then a 15 minute break you can set this up.

What’s not so good about it: mmmmmmm…. it will still require you to stay focused on the work to lead to success – so if you are struggling with procrastination you might want to team it with some other apps and resources to help with this also.

Abstober Challenge @ UON

Give your brain a rest and go 31 days in October without alcohol? Caffeine? Tobacco? Energy drinks? Take the challenge and feel the improvement in your health and well-being at the same time as raising funds for The Glen Centre – Central Coast Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Centre.

All you need to do is register your name and contact details along with your pledge for what you will abstain from for the 31 days on our site and download the sponsorship form and start collecting pledges from your family and friends.

October is a busy month completing assessments and preparing for the exam period so why not exchange these substances for more sleep, improved eating habits and regular exercise and maximise your results this semester.

Common Sexual Health Myths – Busted!

This weeks guest blogger is Claire Swan, Health Promotion Coordinator, Healthy UON.

We have all heard one at some point. Admit it. There are many myths about sexual health and it’s surprising how many untruths are still widely believed. What is more troubling is that sometimes people’s sexual behaviour is based on these myths, putting their sexual health and that of their partner/s at risk. Positive and safe sexual health relies on being informed and having access to accurate information.

Here are some common sexual health myths:

You can get an STI from a toilet seat.

False.You get STIs by having sex (vaginal, oral or anal) or by skin-to-skin touching–not from toilet seats.

You can tell if someone has an STI

False. You often cannot tell if someone has an STI by looking at them. Most people do not show any signs. 80% of people who have Chlamydia do not show any symptoms. A person may not show signs of an STI but can still pass them on during sexual contact. If you every have unprotected sex or the condoms broke it is important to get a sexual health check.

Lesbians do not need pap tests

False. Lesbians are advised to have regular Pap tests if they have ever had sex with a woman, if they or their partner has ever had a male sexual partner or if they or their partner has had genital warts/HPV. Pap test are a screening tool for early changes to the cervix caused by the Human Papilloma Virus.

There are so many more sexual health myths and misunderstandings. For more information and support on sexual health access the Healthy UON Sexual Health webpage.



Am I OK day?


This Thursday is RUOk day. This National awareness day targeting suicide prevention, was co-founded in 2009 by Gavin Larkin who experienced the suicide of his father years before. The day urges people to meaningfully ask someone, R U OK? On the website Gavin says “getting connected and staying connected is the best thing anyone can do for themselves and for those who may be at risk”.

I think this is such a valuable message. It did get me thinking though about how often we meaningfully check-in with ourselves. I spend most of my time checking-in to see how other people are doing (hazard of the job!!) but I rarely take the time to do the same for myself.

As an experiment I thought I would take the time to ask myself, Am I OK?  I asked meaningfully (this felt a little silly at first) and really thought about how I am feeling. I discovered I am ok in some areas and not so ok in others. I am enjoying new challenges at work and loving family life but have been feeling a bit blah due to a recent injury. Before asking myself Am I Ok, I wasn’t consciously aware of how much impact not being able to do my normal exercise routine was having on my psychological and emotional well-being. Being aware of this prompted me to find an alternate exercise routine and amazingly the blah feeling improved almost instantly!

Tomorrow is RUOK Day. Maybe today can be Am I OK day.  Ask yourself, how am I feeling physically? Am I eating well, do I need more sleep, have I had a health check recently? How am I feeling emotionally? Have I been feeling more down than usual lately, am I in a constant state of stress, do I need to connect with some form of support? How am I feeling mentally (Different from am I feeling mental)?  Is my brain fried from Uni, are there some thoughts that have been bothering me? How am I functioning in my relationships? Am I feeling connected to others, do I feel safe in my relationships, who can I reach out to when things get tough?  Ask yourselves some questions like this and see if the answers surprise you.

If you discover you need a boost in a particular area there are lots of people you can connect with for support.  A GP, the Student Support Advisors here at the uni or family and friends are a great place to start.  Plus, you can check out the online counselling website for tips, resources and details of how to connect with an online counsellor.  Today ask yourself am I OK and tomorrow, connect with someone else by asking, RUOK?

The material or views expressed on this Blog are those of the author and do not represent those of the University.  Please report any offensive or improper use of this Blog to
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