Skip Navigation
Oklahoma City - An OSU Degree in OKC.

OSU-OKC's Wellness gurus offer ideas to help maintain over break

The holidays are nearly here, and many may struggle to watch food portions and maintain exercise during the break. Also, struggles with anxiety and depression often increase over the holiday season. 

OSU-OKC’s Wellness Center Manager Kevin Galloway said you don’t have to make huge changes to maintain positive momentum during the holidays.

“Keep doing what you are doing!” Galloway said. “If you are walking, keep walking. If you are going to the gym keep doing that. You might have to change the environment. Instead of walking on the treadmill, try walking to a park, or around your neighborhood. A change of scenery plus fresh air will do you so much good.”

Walking, in fact, is one of Galloway’s top recommended exercises.

“You have to walk to get anywhere, i.e. when you have to drive your car,” Galloway said. “Intentionally park further to get those extra steps in. Walk around your car first. Use your smart device to track your steps. If you did 2000 yesterday. Try to get 2200! On average 2000 steps is a mile.”

Galloway started in 2010 at the OSU-OKC Wellness Center teaching Kick Boxing and Weight Lifting.  He started martial arts in 1976, and in 1999 started KMG Martial Arts, currently located in El Reno. He initially began teaching in the morning hours at OSU-OKC while continuing to grow his martial arts academy. He said his favorite part of being at OSU-OKC is being able to help.

“I get to help the young, the old, tall, short, big, little, faculty, staff, students, community members, nurses, EMT, police and everyone in between,” Galloway said. This year’s graduating class of fire academy are an amazing group of people! It is my honor to help where I can.”

Galloway and OSU-OKC’s Health and Wellness Counselor Ross Duren discussed mindful eating on a recent Lunch and Learn. Many of those same strategies apply to holiday portion control.

Galloway said it is important to savor our food – and our holiday time – which will help keep us from overindulging.

Take a moment and appreciate the experience, which will help give your body time to process your meal and send signals to your brain when you are full. 

“Finish your last bite before starting another,” Galloway said. “Do not drink anything while you are eating. That dilutes the gastric fluid that digests your food. Use a smaller plate. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to tell your body you are full. When you are done eating, go for a small walk. That aids in digestion.”

Duren agreed it is important to maintain awareness.

“Being mindful does not mean we can’t enjoy our food,” Duren said. “Allow yourself to enjoy your favorite holiday treats but exercise moderation. Mindful eating will set your body up both physically and mentally to navigate all that comes your way during the holidays.”

Duren has been part of OSU-OKC since April 2021.

“I’ve always been drawn to working in higher education and being in a university setting,” Duren said.  “Several of my family members work in higher education so it was something that has always caught my attention.”

Prior to working at OSU-OKC, Duren worked for several years as a case manager for a national mentoring non-profit. During that time, he completed his Master of Social Work and Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), which then allowed him to begin practicing therapy.

“I practiced for just under two years at a local community mental health center, which provided me with tons of great experience and allowed me to gather clinical hours to complete my Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) license,” Duren said.

Here at the campus, Duren enjoys working with students and helping grow their confidence as they better understand themselves. 

“I also enjoy hosting training events throughout campus and interacting with all of our diverse programs,” Duren said.

During the holidays, Duren said it is important to allow yourself time to step away from the pull of everyday life.

“Designate a period of time, either a full day or several hours, that you are able to disconnect from your phone and enjoy being with family or friends,” Duren said. “Being in the moment will allow you to feel more grounded and relaxed.”

Galloway said many people struggle with mental health this time of year.

“Anxiety and depression can hit hard this time of year,” Galloway said. “People have lost friends, family and loved ones.”

Galloway recommended focusing on gratitude to help deal with negative feelings.

“Write one thing today you are grateful for,” Galloway said. “Tomorrow write two things. Work up to five things you are grateful for. The mental health care providers have found when you practice gratitude even your medication for anxiety and depression work better.”

Galloway said to also remember it’s OK to say no to plans or gatherings if you aren’t feeling up to it.

“If you are not good to you, you cannot help anyone else,” he said