Isabella Abbott | Features Editor
Oct. 20, 2022
Amber Lasure is committed to well-being, and strives to share that commitment with Duquesne’s student body.
“Well-being is so important in finding ways to recharge,” said Lasure, the assistant director of wellness and fitness within the Center for Student Wellbeing’s recreation services department. “It’s so stressful being students. Take some time to reflect by using a meditation room, or recharge yourself by coming to the Power Center and just jumping on an elliptical or lifting a few weights.”
Although going to the gym offers a great way to relieve daily stress for college students, the first step in maintaining well-being is making sure sleep is a top priority. Lasure said getting enough sleep is crucial for the mind.
“There’s no set way to sleep,” Lasure said. “Everyone’s got something that works for them, but getting enough sleep is so, so important.”
Since there is no perfect way to sleep, Lasure discussed the idea of taking naps during the day in more than two periods, which is known as a polyphasic sleep cycle. Some students have big schedules with early classes and/or large gaps between classes, so Lasure said this cycle can be incorporated and is doable in their busy lives.
Along with sleep, mental breaks are of utmost importance when it comes to college students and their studies. Since students tend to want to get all their studying done in one sitting, taking short breaks allows them to refocus and come back with new eyes.
Lasure said something as simple as taking a five-minute break can help.
“Taking breaks while you’re studying to not think about the content material is crucial, because then you’re coming back to it with new eyes,” Lasure said. “So giving yourself every hour of studying five minutes of time away to focus on literally anything else takes some anxiety out of the equation.”
Focusing on breathing while sitting down to study can also help to improve study habits. Since bodies need oxygen to concentrate and think clearly, Lasure said taking time to focus on breathing and getting up every once in a while can help students retain test subjects better.
“It’s really easy to get into that slump of just sitting and studying and not moving, so really getting yourself up and moving is so beneficial because it gives you energy,” Lasure said. “So making sure that you allow yourself to get that blood flow, taking breathing breaks and getting your heart rate up can really just make you feel better.”
However, during Covid, getting out of this slump was not easy for some students, causing overall well-being to decrease. Lasure said that a good first step in maintaining well-being is allowing for a change in life, especially in a world that is transitioning out of the pandemic.
“Well-being looks different to everybody,” Lasure said. “So, first of all, allowing yourself not to be strict and rigid and just sticking to one thing because that’s what you believe is the best path forward.”
Lasure also said that finding things that are enjoyable and using those things as a way to reflect and recharge are essential.
Not only does she give advice to students whenever she can, but she also helps them with whatever they may need. Student Jeffery Brown said that Lasure is always there when he needs assistance with anything.
“Anytime I need anything, I’ll just shoot her a text like, “Hey, can you help out with this?,’” Brown said. “She’s my go-to person on campus to help out with anything.”
Since she’s typically found in her office on the second floor of the Power Center, Brown said she is always willing to help out with anything related to fitness. Brown said that from the first time he met Lasure and visited the gym, they went over some “really helpful” fitness goals that he had in mind.
Lasure tries her best to get students like Brown used to the gym atmosphere at school. Although the gym can be intimidating, she said it’s a great place to stay fit, especially if students are coming into college after having played a sport during their high school years.
“Most of our students are between 18 and 22, and a lot of them are coming from places where they had regular sports practices,” Lasure said. “If they’re not involved in an actual sport, they have to figure out some way to stay active, and that can be intimidating.
“I like working with people, getting them on a different program, or maybe helping them get involved in intramural sports.”
She’s willing to assist anyone with their overall fitness journeys.
“I really like helping people design their new wellness path as they’re transitioning into their own independent lifestyle,” Lasure said. “There are just so many things that you can do and try, and helping people find what they like is a lot of fun.”
Lasure began in her position at Duquesne 10 years ago. She’s the perfect person to go to for fitness advice, as she occupies her leisure time with a mix of cardio, yoga, lifting and hiking. One thing she loves about her job is having the ability to talk with other experts in her field.
“One of the benefits we have here at Duquesne, or any higher-ed place is [that] so many of the people that we’re surrounded by are experts in something, and it’s a diverse group of expertise,” Lasure said. “Here, you’ve got people in business, you’ve got people in medical fields, you’ve got people in education. You can learn so much from so many people.”
If students or staff want to learn anything from Lasure, have any questions about well-being or even just want to learn some new workouts, they can reach out to her via email or through the @duqcsw’s Instagram page.