Health fair coming Thursday

We are often sleep deprived, stressed out, malnourished or feeling under the weather. A lot of students smoke cigarettes or eat fast food and junk food. Let's face it: as college students, sometimes our health takes a back seat between school, work and other responsibilities. Health is truly important though, and there is no better time than right now to focus on embracing our state of health.

It is that time of year again, and the annual Santa Monica College Health Fair is taking place this Thursday, March 31st, on the quad from 10 AM until 2 PM.

This health-filled event will focus on ways to make you feel healthier both physically and mentally. Sponsored by the Associated Students and Student Health Services this event will showcase numerous local healthcare industry professionals and groups.

Gloria Lopez (M.SN., R.N., C.C.R.N.) of SMC's Health Services has coordinated the event for ten years. "Sometimes students don't seek help because they don't know what's there. Many students don't know that the health office is there." Lopez said regarding the state of students taking care of their health needs.

"We want to keep students healthy and prevent illness so they can be successful." Lopez stated.

Lopez herself will be in attendance at the fair answering questions and handing out SMC Health Services packets. The packets will be filled with informative pamphlets and small medical items like Purel, sunscreen and even a small packet of burn gel.

The Health Services booth is just one of many exciting booths to be found at the fair. Among others, representatives from The American Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, L.A. County Nutrition Program, Zultimate Self Defense Studio, and many more will be greeting passersby.

In all, there will be a total of twenty-nine booths with one or two representatives at each individual booth. The best part is, the Health Fair is a free event with a wealth of resources and knowledge.

Statistics show that almost all college students are overtired and as a result, they indulge in unhealthy activities, such as overeating; in general, their ability to concentrate and make good choices becomes impaired, as well.

Likewise, the stress that comes with being a college student can lead to chronic mental and physical symptoms. These include headaches, bouts of anxiety, and behaviors like smoking harmful cigarettes or even teeth grinding.

All of these facts and more can be managed. The best part is, each one of us can learn how to utilize the tools to become our healthiest selves with a little education in health.

With the help of the SMC Health Fair, it is possible for all to gain some very useful and healthful knowledge.

In past years, the Health Fair has been host to a variety of booths featuring everything from martial arts studios teaching self defense techniques to booths with a focus on sexual health and how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

Last year, a chiropractor was in attendance to give quick adjustments to those in need of them. Books and backpacks can put a massive strain on students' backs; so can the sometimes-uncomfortable desks we sit at as we take scrupulous notes in class. All this can add up to unavoidable back stress.

Luckily, the health fair provides us with solutions to a cornucopia of health-related issues we face on a day to day basis.

Health, as defined in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, is "the condition of being sound in body, mind or spirit."

Staff at the Health Services center on campus boasted of the upcoming fair. It will certainly be an event worth attending.

This is the type of fair where knowledge is both easily applicable and extraordinarily useful. You will walk away from this fair with the skills to become a better healthier you.

People have a misconception that being healthy can be expensive or time consuming. There are many ways to improve your life that do not even cost a penny and don't take a lot of time.

Our health determines our future, it is important to take care of it. Be sure to check out the Santa Monica College Health Fair this Thursday starting at 10 AM.