6 Tricks to Surviving Finals Week the Healthy Way

December not only brings holiday cheer and home cooked meals with relatives, but for those of us in the throes of higher education, it means… FINALS. A time when college folks bury their heads in books and pull all nighters trying to remember everything they learned in the past semester. (We certainly don’t miss those days!) With all that stress, it’s easy to resort to making unhealthy choices, which only result in a short-term gain. Follow these simple tips to survive finals week and in the end you’ll be healthier for it (and hopefully get those straight A’s):

1. Go bananas!

Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, which help deliver oxygen to the brain to keep your mind sharp. Avoid energy drinks and sugary foods that make you crash. Put down the Skittles!

2. Light a rosemary candle

Turn your dorm room into an at-home spa by lighting some aromatic candles. Natural scents have a direct path to the brain and increase oxygen flow. Rosemary is recommended for increasing memory and help disguise that mysterious odor you’ve been trying to identify for months.

3. Stay awake with peppermint or cinnamon

Feeling yourself dozing off? Put the Red Bull and your friend’s Adderall down… that is no good for your body. Try taking a whiff of peppermint or cinnamon to awaken your senses! Check out some of the other health benefits of cinnamon from Dr. Wendy Bazilian’s Cinnamon Challenge.

4. Do some simple yoga moves

Before you hit the books, hit the mat. Yoga helps you concentrate and stretch out those other muscles you aren’t flexing by sitting at your desk for hours. Try the Warrior III Pose (pictured above), and these 5 yoga moves to stretch out the stress.

5. Get a massage

Your brain can only absorb so much information, so take a study break at the spa. Getting a massage creates chemical changes in your body that reduce pain and stress. It can also help you avoid getting sick while your body is under a great amount of stress. After a 50 minute massage, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to face those exams. Check out our December Spa Deals for some options near you.

6. Get 8 hours of sleep

You may think your brain is turned off while you’re sleeping, but it’s working just as hard. A process called memory consolidation occurs during sleep. While your body may be resting, your brain is busy processing the information you obtained throughout the day. There’s no point in cramming for a test if you aren’t going to retain anything!

And remember…

Good luck!

Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Dr. Wendy’s Cinnamon Challenge: Completed!

Over the past two weeks, close to 100 of you RSVP’d to Dr.Wendy’s Cinnamon Challenge on Facebook and commented on the event wall with the healthy and delicious ways you incorporated cinnamon into your diet every day for two weeks! From coffee and teas to yogurt, apples and squash, we were blown away by all of the different recipes you shared with us! We were so inspired by your suggestions that we brought you even more cinnamon-themed goodness with our DIY Mulled-Cider Cinnamon Sachets (which triple as a aromatherapy pack, cider drink mix and a lovely holiday gift) and we showed you how to fight acne with a Cinnamon and Nutmeg Masque made from holiday leftovers.

It was great to see how many of you participated in this festive challenge by keeping a cinnamon shaker on your stove/counter top to as a constant reminder to spice up your health. Not to mention, lots of you said you were so inspired by Dr. Wendy‘s challenge that you even went out and bought cinnamon scented air freshener!

The best part of this Spa Week Daily Health Challenge (besides the added health benefits) was that Food and Wellness Expert, Dr. Wendy, was right there along with us offering 15 Guiding Practices for a Life of Wellness along with supportive and informative tweets, likes, comments and tips. A great question came from Susan K. on our Facebook Event wall asking:  What are the key things to keep in mind when buying good cinnamon? Dr. Wendy offered her expert advice, saying:

Aroma and taste are the good indicators of ‘freshness’. . .so if your cinnamon loses the aroma or flavor, it’s time to replace it. When buying cinnamon, choose a trusted brand or try to know the ‘source’. If it’s in bottle, the top should be safety sealed for safety AND freshness. If it’s in bulk, put a little in the scoop and waft to smell the aroma. If it lacks in that ‘tingly, aromatic spiciness’, it may have be less fresh. Saigon cinnamon will have more of the ‘red hots’ cinnamon flavor (like cinnamon candies) due to the levels of a certain cinnamon compound; Korintji cinnamon (the usual one most of us commonly buy and it’s often not labeled as to origin), it’s a bit milder, but also delicious and antioxidant rich.

Thank you to all who participated in the Cinnamon Challenge; we’re so happy you enjoyed it! As per the usual, here are the winners of the $50 Spa & Wellness Gift Cards by Spa Week (who shared their experiences on the event page):

Susan G: I keep a bottle of cinnamon on the stove…it goes into and onto everything! But i am not really sure about all the facts, so I am excited for this learning opportunity.

Kimberly Y: I start with whole wheat bread, drizzled with butter or flax seed oil, honey, and then heavily sprinkled with cinnamon. Toast, lying flat, until golden brown. Also, stirring hot chocolate with a cinnamon stick really gives it a delicious taste- YUM!!! But my favorite way is by adding cinnamon to breakfast cereal to help start my day a little healthier, and it makes the cereal a lot better, especially oatmeal or rice.

Congrats you two, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, and please contact michelle at spaweekmedia dot com within 3 business days to redeem your prize!

15 Guiding Practices for a Life of Wellness – By Dr. Wendy

Our sixth Spa Week Daily Challenge, The Cinnamon Challenge comes from quadruple threat Dr. Wendy Bazilian. Her slogan, Eat well, Move daily, Be Healthy® can truly be applied to every area of her expertise. Dr. Wendy is a Doctor of Public Health, a registered dietitian, a best-selling author and the Nutritional Advisor to the famous Golden Door Spa.  Just like her Cinnamon Challenge, Dr. Wendy looks to create fun, interactive and informative ways we all can better our lives through knowledge and realistic application. Join the challenge on Facebook and experiment with adding cinnamon to your plate. Track how it affects your body and mood by sharing on the event wall. It could even get you a $50 Spa & Wellness Gift Card and a copy of Dr. Wendy’s book, The SuperFoodsRx Diet and a bottle of cinnamon!  In the below list, Dr. Wendy reminds YOU to spice up your life and harness your own sparkling potential!



For more from Dr. Wendy on Spa Week Daily:

Spa Week Daily Challenge: Dr. Wendy’s Cinnamon Challenge

Spa Week Daily Challenge: Dr. Wendy’s Cinnamon Challenge

Did you know Americans purchase more than 16 million ounces of cinnamon during the months of November and December? That’s more than 174 million teaspoons and enough to make a whopping 682 million cups of flavored sweet potatoes! Cinnamon is warming and mildly sweet in flavor and packed with antioxidants. In fact, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon has as much antioxidants as a half-cup of pomegranate juice!

From the inner bark of the cinnamon tree, this spice has been used for thousands of years for its flavor and potential health benefits. Today’s modern research shows cinnamon may help regulate blood sugar levels, decrease risk of insulin resistance, lower cholesterol, and may even play a role in helping us manage our weight. While most of us know cinnamon easily pairs with bakery favorites and sweet foods, it is widely used to season savory dishes in Asian, Moroccan, and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Are you ready for CHALLENGE #6?

Here’s what to do:

Pledge to boost the flavor and nutrition of your meals by adding cinnamon to your plate (at least once a day) for TWO WEEKS.


Tuesday, November 22-  Monday, December 5

Who Says:

Dr. Wendy Bazilian, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet, Nutrition Advisor at the world-renowned Golden Door Resort and Nutrition Editor of Healing Lifestyles & Spas


Did you know that spices, like cinnamon, contain powerful antioxidants—many rivaling familiar and nutritious fruits and veggies?! It’s true. In fact more than 2,000 phytonutrients have been identified in our flavorful friends.  That’s why they’re superfoods, too!  It’s the holiday season in fact, so how about bumping up the seasoning, flavor, and antioxidant power of your meals by adding a dash of cinnamon? (You might just find yourself using a little less sugar and salt, too!)

How to get started:

Join the Challenge Event on Facebook and share your experiences with flavorful hits –or misses!

What’s in it for me? (WIN!)

Join Dr. Wendy’s Spa Week Daily Challenge Event on Facebook and share your success story or struggle. Once you RSVP and start sharing, you are automatically entered to win one of two $50 Spa & Wellness Gift Cards by Spa Week.

More on Dr. Wendy:


“I love great food; it’s where flavor and health collide. They can be pals on our plates and our palettes!”

Writer, researcher, educator, and real foods enthusiast, Wendy Bazilian is a doctor of public health, registered dietitian and American College of Sports Medicine-certified Health and Fitness Specialist. Dr. Bazilian graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor’s Degree from Tufts University, and received her Master’s Degree from the University of California, San Diego. She has her doctorate in Public Health and Nutrition from Loma Linda University, graduating summa cum laude and received the highest academic honor, the prestigious Chancellor’s Award.

Education and honors aside, Dr. Wendy loves food—real food that tastes great and makes the body feel great too. As a nationally-known health and wellness expert, her focus on food and fitness, alongside healthy living behaviors, drive her philosophy on the bonus of PLUS instead of minus when it comes to healthy, vibrant living. Insisting on accentuating the positive and what’s valuable about our healthy living allows us to seek health daily as a dynamic, exciting and constantly evolving state.

No stranger to the spa industry and spa wellness, Dr. Wendy is the Nutrition Advisor at the renowned Golden Door Spa in California since 2003, and is the author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients (Rodale). She is also a contributor to the James Beard- and IACP-nominated Golden Door Cooks at Home (Clarkson Potter), and the New York Times Bestseller SuperFoodsRx (Harper Collins).  Wendy is also a frequent contributor to ABC’s Good Morning America Health and ABC News, and has appeared on NBC’s TODAY show, Live with Regis and Kelly, ABC7 in San Francisco, Telemundo, Univision and many shows. Wendy lives in San Diego with her husband and business partner, Jason Bazilian, where they co-own and run Bazilian’s Health Clinic. She is also Nutrition Editor of Healing Lifestyles & Spas magazine and has written and contributed to a variety of major media outlets.

Dr. Wendy is committed to helping us all enjoy real, whole foods in abundance with the promise that flavor and nutrition do unite—in our delicious meals we consume. And the fitness and wellness practices ensure we enjoy well-lived days in good health. Hard pressed to name only one favorite food (she has so many depending on the season and whim), she can name her current favorite herb—oregano, which she affectionately refers to as a ‘mini-salad’, and her favorite spice is cinnamon for its flavorsome versatility and aroma—as well as their antioxidant powers.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Sprinkle cinnamon on your coffee grounds before brewing for a tasty and aromatic morning cup of Joe.
  • Swirl some cinnamon into your morning oatmeal.
  • Add cinnamon to chunky applesauce and spread on your morning toast instead of sugary jams and jellies.
  • Make some baked apples with cinnamon and dried cherries for snack, dessert, or serve with yogurt for a breakfast. . .’tis the season!
  • Whirl some cinnamon into your fruit smoothie.
  • Make a mulled-cider or wine beverage for the holidays with cinnamon and other spices.
  • Power up peanut butter by stirring in some warming cinnamon.
  • Add some cinnamon to your favorite homemade or store bought chili.
  • Hot cocoa sprinkled with cinnamon is a special flavor treat.  Add to that a little chili powder and you have yourself a Mexican hot chocolate!
  • Sprinkle away on pumpkin dishes, sweet potatoes, butternut and acorn squash.
  • Add a stick of cinnamon to the water as you cook your rice.
  • Make up warm cup of Dr. Wendy’s Cinnamilk—on stove top, warm low fat or fat-free milk (using a double burner or on low) with a stick or two of cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey per 8-10 ounces.

Let us know how YOU are taking on this challenge and spicing up your day!