Archives for category: Uncategorized

SAS Staff for Source Corner

By MATC Student Accommodation Services

Students with disabilities may be apprehensive about beginning college, but there is no reason to worry about attending Milwaukee Area Technical College. MATC’s Student Accommodation Services Department (SAS) is here to help.

 SAS ensures that students with disabilities receive equal access opportunities to all MATC programs, courses and services according to section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which protects students with disabilities from discrimination and assures full access to the college.

SAS wheelchair graphic

SAS provides reasonable accommodations and academic support to students with disabilities who demonstrate specific educational needs. The goals of the department are:

  • Support educational progress
  • Promote completion of educational objectives
  • Ultimately expect individuals with disabilities to acquire and maintain competitive employment

Under federal regulations, a student has a disability if he/she has:

  • A physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more of his/her major life activities.
  • Has a record of impairment or is regarded as having impairment.

Students must express the need for an auxiliary aid or service and give adequate notice of the need to the SAS. MATC will then request that the student provide:

  • Supporting diagnostic test results
  • Relevant medical documents
  • Professional prescriptions for auxiliary aid

Title IX

Title IX legislation protects students who are pregnant, have miscarriages or abortions, need childbirth leaves or suffer post-partum depression so that they can stay in school and continue their education. Students who apply for Title IX protection and provide documentation of their pregnancy can receive excused absences for documented medical appointments and childbirth leaves, which may allow them to make up the work missed without penalty. Or MATC may utilize a variety of strategies such as “incompletes,” rearranging assignment sequence, or substituting assignments to allow the students to fulfill the requirements of the class. The instructor’s role in initiating and facilitating this process is crucial to its success.

If you are a student who is missing classes because you are pregnant, please contact Cathy Bohte, bohtec@matc.edu or 414-297-6245, in SAS so that you can apply for this protection and we can work together. Title IX is not retroactive so it is important that you apply early.

Sign Language

Sign language interpreters help bridge the communication gap by listening in class and translating lectures and discussions into sign language. They also translate the student’s signed communication into spoken English when the student is called upon, has a comment or question, or makes a presentation. Interpreting is more than just knowing how to sign competently. Interpreters must process language quickly and accurately, and they must think about spoken English and sign language simultaneously.

Interpreters cannot answer personal questions about the student, interject personal opinions or assist a student with schoolwork. They are there strictly to translate what is being said. Interpreters should not be expected to hand out papers, take notes, participate in discussions, assist the instructor or attend class when the student is absent.

The Yellow Umbrella

MATC strives to make its campuses safe for all students. MATC’s Public Safety Department and SAS have established an ongoing dialogue with the d/Deaf* and hard-of-hearing student population to clarify district emergency procedures and to identify any special areas of difficulty these students may have with the current plan.

SAS yellow umbrellas

For most emergencies, MATC uses a mass notification system. Amber-colored strobe lights are used in common areas such as corridors and in areas that have a high level of ambient noise, such as shops and large labs. This visual alert is then followed by verbal instructions that specify the type of emergency and the procedure to follow. Amber lights are not in all classrooms, but the accompanying audio announcement can be heard through speakers in all classrooms, offices and common areas.

A fire monitoring system uses white or clear strobe lights with the word FIRE printed on them. This system broadcasts verbal instructions in corridors and common areas.

Depending on the circumstance, either system may be utilized to alert students, staff and guests of emergencies involving severe weather, active shooter situations, chemical spills, fire evacuation, shelter-in-place emergencies, etc.

A student with a hearing loss may see one of the flashing light systems depending on where he or she is, but unless an interpreter is in close proximity he or she may have no access to the verbal information and instructions that accompany the alert. This can lead to anxiety and confusion. The MATC Public Safety Department recommends that students rely on visual cues in these circumstances. If the crowd is exiting the building, for instance, d/Deaf students are told to follow. Once outside however, d/Deaf students should scan the crowd to find someone to explain what is going on.

A “yellow umbrella” plan was developed to help in this situation. Interpreters were given fluorescent yellow umbrellas with the interpreter emblem printed on them.  Interpreters carry these umbrellas on campus at all times. In the case of an evacuation emergency, interpreters proceed to the designated safe area following district emergency procedures. Once outside, the umbrellas are opened to indicate where a d/Deaf student can go for communication about the evacuation.

While the yellow umbrella plan is a possible solution for only one type of emergency (outdoor evacuation), it is a clear example of MATC departments collaborating creatively to make the college a safe and accessible environment for all students. Look to future issues of disAbility Focus for more proactive, innovative ideas on this topic.

Service Dogs

What is a service dog? According to the ADA, a service animal is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. The dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability, such as recognizing the onset of a seizure or picking up a fallen object. According to the ADA, the dog does not need to be formally trained and does not need to have a certificate stating that the dog completed a training program. The service dog does not need to wear a vest or other indicator that it is a service dog.

SAS service dogs

How do you know if the dog is a service dog? When it is not obvious what service(s) the dog provides, MATC personnel are only allowed to ask two questions:

  • Is the dog a service animal that is required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

The student should not be asked what his/her disability is and does not need to divulge that information. If the student answers “yes” to the first question and states a task, the student should be allowed to resume his/her participation in the activity. If there are questions, Public Safety can be called or the student can be referred to SAS.

What are the responsibilities of students who have service dogs? Students with service dogs are responsible for the care of the dog, which includes: being kept on a leash and under the student’s control, hygiene upkeep, and ensuring that the dog is housebroken, up to date on all immunization requirements and pest-free. The dog should not be left in classrooms/offices unattended while students are participating in college activities. The owner should discourage classmates from petting and feeding the dog.

Tips for instructors are: treat the dog and its owner as a team, allow the dog on field trips, seat the student and dog on the opposite side of the classroom if another student has pet allergies and call Public Safety if the dog is being disruptive.

*The use of the capital D in this article is intentional. A small d refers to someone who is audiologically deaf but may or may not identify culturally with the Deaf community. A capital D is used to refer to people who use American Sign Language and for whom Deafness is a cultural identity.

SAS Locations & Contact Information

Downtown Milwaukee Campus
414-297-6750
Room C219 

Mequon Campus
262-238-2227
Room A282—enter through the Learning Commons   

Oak Creek Campus
414-571-4525
Room A211

West Allis Campus
414-456-5352
Room W217                                                                                                  

SAS Contact Information

Gahan Source Corner photo

By Jeff Gahan, MATC automotive instructor

Summer is well under way and many of us are planning getaways for some much needed rest and relaxation. Unless you are planning a stay-cation, all of us will use some method of transportation to get to our destination. If you like to hit the open road and see the country, preparing your vehicle is as important as packing your toothbrush.

A good option to be sure your means of transport is safe and ready for the getaway is a vehicle inspection at your local dealership. Vehicle inspections are a good way to give your car a low-cost “once over” to prepare for the trip.

These inspections typically range from a 21-point up to 40-point inspection, depending on the type of vehicle you drive. Inspections have a color-coded scale to simplify determining the condition of the components being inspected. They look similar to this:

Green means it has been checked and okay

 Yellow means this item will need future attention

Blue means “does not apply”

Red means requires immediate attention

Vehicle Inspection jpeg

The number of inspection points determines the intensity of the inspection. Common areas for the inspection focus on the safety of the vehicle and maintenance items. These areas include fluid levels, under-hood items, under-vehicle checks and tires.

Fluids

Engine Oil
Regular oil changes are the best protection against internal engine damage.­ Clean, quality oil also helps reduce emissions and improve fuel mileage.

Coolant
Replacing engine coolant renews corrosion protection for the radiator, water pump and coolant system gaskets while maintaining both freeze and boil-over protection.

Transmission Fluid
Regular replacement of transmission fluid protects the transmission the same way that oil changes help protect your vehicle’s engine against costly repairs.

Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid replacement removes built-up deposits that can cause premature wear to rubber seals and metal power-steering components.

Brake Fluid
Replacing the brake fluid helps maintain correct pedal pressure and prevent corrosion deposits from forming on anti-lock brake system pumps and other brake hydraulic parts.

Window Washer Fluid
Topped-off window washer fluid reservoirs are necessary for clear visibility in all types of driving conditions.­ Washer fluid is a must-have for clearing everything from bugs to road salt.

 

Under-the-Hood Items

Battery/Cables
Corroded battery terminals or cables rob your engine of starting power. ­Missing battery hold-downs or insulation may cause premature battery failure.­ A battery not meeting CCA (cold cranking amp) specifications may leave you stranded without warning.

Radiator
Corroded, clogged or leaking radiators are a significant cause of vehicle breakdowns.­ Overheating often causes severe damage to modern engines.

Water Pump
Visible leakage or abnormal noises are usually a sign of internal pump damage. Poor coolant flow may damage the cooling system and other engine components.

 Belts (Except Timing Belts)
Badly cracked or frayed belts should always be replaced. Most modern vehicles use just one belt to operate the water pump, alternator, power steering pump and air conditioning. ­Broken belts can cause overheating, electrical and steering system failure, leading to roadside breakdowns.

Air Filter
Dirty air filters contribute to poor engine performance and lower fuel mileage. Missing or damaged filters allow dirt directly into the engine and may cause premature engine wear.

Coolant Hoses
Hoses that are cracked, brittle or spongy are likely to fail soon. ­Ruptured hoses cause leaks and engine overheating. Technicians also are trained to look for hoses that may be damaged, restricted or misrouted.

Under-the-Vehicle Items

Shocks and Struts
Worn or badly leaking shocks and struts can cause braking problems and premature suspension wear.­ A cracked or broken mount will cause noise over bumps.

Brake Line/Hoses
Road conditions and undercarriage corrosion can cause cracks or wear in the steel lines and rubber hoses that carry brake fluid underneath your vehicle.­ A leaking brake line may cause loss of brake pressure to the entire braking system.

Fuel Lines/Hoses
Road conditions and undercarriage corrosion can cause cracks or wear in the steel lines and rubber hoses that carry fuel underneath your vehicle. ­Leaking fuel lines are potential safety hazards.

Exhaust System
Leaks, rattles, broken clamps or hangers all point to potential exhaust system problems. ­The entire system from engine manifold to tailpipe should be inspected.­ Leaking exhaust fumes can enter the passenger compartment. ­Even a small exhaust leak can affect engine performance and result in higher pollution emissions.

Driveline
Unlubricated, noisy CV joints or U-joints are likely to fail soon.­ A torn CV boot indicates probable CV joint damage. ­Cracked boots or missing clamps may be repairable. ­A broken driveline component will allow the engine to run, but the vehicle may not move.


Tires

Proper inflation, regular rotation and frequent evaluation are your best defense against premature tire failure. ­Worn, damaged or improperly inflated tires may cause longer braking distances, decreased fuel mileage and even alter your vehicle’s ride and handling.­ Always follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for proper tire size, inflation rates and rotation intervals. Frequent tire evaluation can spot tire wear or damage caused by road debris, alignment conditions or improper tire maintenance.

 

Planning ahead with a vehicle inspection will save you hours of waiting for roadside assistance if you should experience a break down. Let’s hit the road!

 

Damion Draeger

By Damion Draeger, MATC landscape horticulture instructor

With summer just around the corner, no doubt many of us are busy planning our vacations. How many of those vacations are spent near the water? Whether it is a big trip for fun in the sun at a luxurious beach or a fishing trip to your lakeside cabin in northern Wisconsin, water draws you there. Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring some of that relaxation home with you? Many people may not realize this, but you can!

What is a Water Feature?

There are a variety of options when it comes to adding water to a landscape. The simplest and best option for a small area is a bubbling rock or vase. This is a large rock with one or more holes drilled, which allow water to bubble through the holes and trickle back down into a basin.

The second option is a pondless waterfall system. This system has a reservoir below ground that holds the water and pump. The water is pumped through piping to an origination point where it pours out and cascades over various drops created with rocks to mimic a natural waterfall. Gravel covers the liner and helps beautify the stream that allows the water to return to the basin.

The third option is a pond. When building a pond, the installer uses rocks to create ledges for visual interest and safety. Because there is a body of water, owners are able to enjoy many types of fish varying from simple goldfish to beautiful koi.  Waterfalls are generally created with the pond to create a natural ecosystem pond. 

Landscape Horticulture Students Transform Mequon Campus East Entrance

At Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Mequon Campus, landscape horticulture students in the fall 2016 “Irrigation, Lighting and Ponds” course were able to create a miniature mountain stream at the east entrance. The class of nine students spent four weeks learning the ins and outs of various water features. After working with all the MATC landscape horticulture instructors to be sure the installation would not interfere with any of the other learning installations on campus, we chose to build an eight foot pondless waterfall system.

 

Water Pieces Source Corner 1Here is the location was chosen for the pondless waterfall installation. It sits in the center of the east entrance at the MATC Mequon Campus.

 

Water Pieces Source Corner 2

With our site selected and a kit with all the necessary parts and pieces, the students began mapping out the footprint of the project.

Water Pieces Source Corner 3

Pictured above: Mary Blaylock, Robert Caspari, Lynn Christiansen, Brennan Delap, Scott Jeffrey, Derek Kolthoff, Trent Neumann and Tyler Tschetter (not pictured Michael Richards)

 

Over the course of three class periods, the students created a living and breathing work of art. Every time I am at MATC’s Mequon Campus, I see students, instructors, and especially the children on their way to the Child Care Center, stop to look at this feature. Hopefully, you can visit the campus to see this relaxation spot created by our students and enjoyed by so many.

 

Ted Wilinski

By Ted Wilinski, MATC automated building systems instructor

MATC will host the 14th annual Sustainability Summit at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus May 3-4. The theme of this year’s summit is “Building a Sustainable Future: Making it Work!  The event is free and includes a job fair from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on May 3.

The summit will feature speakers and breakout sessions that address emerging global realities. Topics include energy, water, lifestyle, business, workforce, education, energy efficiency, financing, green agriculture, green building, green business and manufacturing, green careers, innovation, recycling, renewables, social responsibility and transportation.

Among the major speakers are Dr. Vicki J. Martin, MATC president; Peter Feigin, Milwaukee Bucks president; Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power; Dr. Mark Mone, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee chancellor; Richard Appaiah Otoo, chief manager, Ghana Water Company, Ltd.; Stephen Hargarten, associate dean, Office of Global Health at the Medical College of Wisconsin; and Momodu Maligi, minister of water resources, Sierra Leone.

For a complete listing of speakers, events, and to register, visit the summit website at http://www.sustainabilitysummit.us/

There are many actions we can all take at a personal level to help reduce costs and our carbon footprints. Here are some suggestions:

 If you are not using it, turn it off:

  • space heaters
  • extra refrigerators or freezers
  • televisions
  • lights
  • Always use the energy saving mode on your computers (for monitor and the CPU), and always turn both off when not in use! The saving mode is available for those times you forget.

Transition lighting to LEDs: 

  • You may prefer warm white to soft white or day bright bulbs, because they are are closer to color of incandescent lights.
  • If choosing lighting by color temperature, the lower the number (3000K or less), the closer to an incandescent bulb color.
  • Often, the less expensive bulbs don’t “put out as much light” as people are used to seeing. You may need to buy a 75W equivalent as opposed to 60W equivalent to get the same effect.
  • Sometimes the less expensive bulbs hum, although this problem is becoming less prevalent.

Other lighting tips:

  • Use motion sensors.
  • Use photo sensors on outside lights.

Water savings:

  • Use rain barrels instead of city or well water for watering plants in the summer.
  • Let yard go dry. Dry grass naturally goes dormant.
  • Install low-flow toilets. These work well and are quieter than the old style units.
  • Buy high-efficiency dishwashers and washing machines. This saves both water and energy.
  • Use low-flow shower heads.
  • Limit the time you are in the shower to less than 10 minutes.

Saving on heat and air conditioning:

  • Seal all leaks around doors, windows, foundation, etc.
  • Space heaters – When using space heaters in the house, use only electric heaters for safety. Use them sparingly. These are best used when staying in one room, so you can keep the rest of the home at a cooler temperature.

Appliances:

  • Always try to buy high-efficiency Energy Star appliances.

Solar power:

  • Consider using solar power after making your home as energy efficient as possible. Many financing options are available and the price has dropped tremendously.

 

 

Megan Rosa

By Megan Rosa, MATC public safety specialist

 April is Theft Prevention Month at MATC. The Public Safety Department will offer a series of campus events to raise awareness and help the college community prevent theft.  Stay tuned to MyMATC or MATC’s social media for more information.

Theft is the most common crime that occurs at many colleges and universities. It also is the most preventable. Students, instructors and staff members often carry valuable and portable items that criminals target. To better understand how to avoid becoming a victim, we should think of theft in terms of a “crime triangle” in which three elements are needed for a theft to occur:  motive, capability and opportunity.

Motive refers to the desire to commit a crime. While it is difficult to influence someone’s motives, you can make yourself a less attractive target by conducting yourself in a way that increases the likelihood of a thief being caught.  If the risk outweighs the reward, offenders are not likely to commit a theft.

Capability refers to the ability to commit a crime. By taking steps to make theft as difficult as possible, we can all reduce the ability for thieves commit crime on our campuses.

Opportunity is the opening a thief needs to obtain his/her objective. The majority of thefts are crimes of opportunity. Offenders generally aren’t hatching elaborate plans to steal your property.  It’s more likely someone saw your belongings unattended, decided he/she wanted something, weighed the risk of getting caught, and decided the risk was worth the reward of a “free cell phone” or other property.

When we reduce or eliminate any of these elements, we can greatly reduce the risk of theft on campus. The following are easy and effective steps to keep you and your belongings safe.

Keep belongings secured or out of sight

NEVER LEAVE YOUR VALUABLES UNATTENDED. Most thefts are the result of property left out in the open or in unsecured classrooms and offices.  If you’re not using an item, secure it in your backpack, locker, desk or cabinet. Or store valuables and “evidence of valuables” out of sight in your vehicle. Use your trunk or other compartments to store valuables, including docking stations or charging cords.

Use appropriate locking devices and security

When securing valuables in a locker, be sure to use a sturdy lock.  When you secure the lock, double check to ensure that it is properly positioned. Give it a firm tug to ensure it has properly latched before walking away.

This also applies to bicycles. MATC provides areas for individuals to secure their bicycles, however you need to provide an effective lock.  We suggest “U-locks,” as they are difficult and time consuming to breach.  We also recommend securing the bicycle using two security points, such as both the frame and a wheel.

When securing valuables in a desk or cabinet, consider also placing them out of sight.  In other words, don’t let your valuables be the first thing an offender sees if he/she does find a way into a locked room, desk or cabinet.

Be alert and aware of your surroundings

This is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent theft on campus. Keep your attention focused on your surroundings and don’t be distracted by your cell phone or other electronics. Offenders are much less likely to commit thefts if they know someone is watching.

Report all thefts or suspicious activity 

Reporting detailed information quickly and accurately can make the difference in an offender being deterred or caught. Contact MATC Public Safety as soon as possible if your property is stolen or if you observe suspicious activity or unprotected property. Public Safety can always be reached at 414-297-6588.

We can all contribute to a safe campus environment by following these simple steps. Public Safety has offices at all four campuses and looks forward to working with you to eliminate “crimes of opportunity” on all of our campuses.  We are available to demonstrate safety features or assist with risk assessments. Contact us at PublicSafety@matc.edu for more information.

 

 

jennifer-mikulay

By Jennifer Mikulay, MATC associate dean, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Every March each of us has an opportunity to learn more about what we can do to improve conditions for women by participating in Women’s History Month events. The events below represent my “top 10” selections:

March 2 at noon, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Women’s and Gender Studies Brown Bag Series will host Fran Kaplan of America’s Black Holocaust Museum. Kaplan’s presentation is entitled “Bread & Roses: The Birth of Feminist Healthcare in Milwaukee.”

March 8 is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange. The focus for this global event is gender inclusion and acceleration of gender equity. On March 5, a local celebration of International Women’s Day will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Milwaukee from 1-4 p.m.

March 9 at 6 p.m., Marquette University will host a forum “Celebrating Women: Lesbian, Bi and Queer Women” at the student union.

March 11 from 2 -5 p.m., the Madison Public Library will host the “Art + Feminism Edit-a-thon” where anyone can use library resources to improve the quality of Wikipedia’s coverage of topics related to women. In 2011, a researcher found that only 10 percent of Wikipedia content was contributed by women. Efforts like the “Art + Feminism Edit-a-thon” seek to remedy this disparity by providing support and assistance to women who’d like to learn to contribute to one of the most popular websites in the world.

March 15 at 7 p.m., Boswell Books will feature Debra Majeed, a religious studies professor at Beloit College. Majeed will discuss her new book, Polygyny: What It Means When African American Muslim Women Share Their Husbands, which addresses a complex set of emotional, spiritual, relational and legal issues.

March 18 at 1 p.m., the Milwaukee Art Museum is hosting a tour for members to look at significant works made by women or representing significant female subjects. Examples may include contemporary works by sculptor Eva Hesse, conceptual artist Kara Walker and street photographer Helen Levitt.

March 21 at 6 p.m., stop by the Milwaukee Public Library’s East Branch to learn about how women operate in one male-dominated field: the beer industry. Tami Plourde, part owner of Pearl Street Brewery in LaCrosse, will explain how women are making inroads, including through ownership at New Glarus Brewery and leading as brewmaster at Capital Brewing Company.

March 27 at 4 p.m., MATC’s women’s softball team will play Concordia University. Women are still underrepresented in college and professional sports, so joining Stormers fans in the stands is a great way to show your support.

March 29 at 7 p.m., hear legendary activist Angela Davis speak at Marquette University’s Al McGuire Center. Among her many amazing contributions, Dr. Davis is a leading voice advocating intersectionality as a way to understand contemporary women’s experiences as simultaneously informed by race, class and gender.

womens-studies-vel-phillips

MATC “Introduction to Women’s Studies” students, instructor Rose Lee and associate dean Jennifer Mikulay join Milwaukee-based civil rights and community pioneer Vel Phillips, family and guests to celebrate her birthday. (Phillips is at the head of the table with Mikulay to her immediate left. Lee is in the gray sweater and head band.) Photo by Mark Duerr.

I hope to see you at one of these events. Please say hello if you attend. If Women’s History Month sparks continued interest in learning about women’s issues, consider enrolling in “Introduction to Women’s Studies” (SOCSCI 211) at MATC–it’s a new transferrable course developed by instructor Rose Lee. The course gives students an opportunity to explore the ways in which gender influences our experiences, with special attention to differences shaped by race and class.

Happy Women’s History Month!

 

 

 

kate-cunningham

By Kate Cunnigham, MATC counselor

Ah, winter in Wisconsin! Like many who reside at our particular latitude, we’re starting to feel the drag right about now – the holidays are over, the snow isn’t “festive” anymore, driving can be hazardous, and it’s cold/dark/nasty out. If the winter blues have come your way, you’re not alone; fortunately, you’re not helpless either. There are some simple things you can do to help combat feeling down or depressed during the winter months. Give some of the following a try:

Stick to a routine

Get out of bed at a certain hour every day and do something (go to class, exercise, clean, call a family member, etc.). Even if you’re not really feeling it, keeping up with your regular activities can help keep the blues from getting worse.

Exercise

Exercise can be a powerful tool in managing symptoms of depression or anxiety. In fact, there’s good evidence that suggests that over time a moderate, regular exercise routine can be as effective in treating mood disorders as a low-dose antidepressant. The Downtown Milwaukee Campus gym is accessible to current MATC students, faculty and staff alike; if that doesn’t appeal to you, go the DIY route. Find a spot you can dance around, do some sit-ups, or just take a walk a few times a week. If you visit the Main Building during the lunch hour, you may notice some resourceful folks with step trackers making good use of the hallways and stairwells – there’s no wrong way to do it, so long as you move.

Get into the light

The winter months bring some dreary days to Wisconsin, and yes, this can absolutely affect your mood. Take advantage of when we do get a little sunshine to find a window to sit in and soak up some of that light. Some people are so affected by the reduction in sunlight during the winter that getting a sun lamp can be a worthwhile investment.

Boost your nutrition

What you eat – or don’t eat – can affect your mood, too. If your regular diet is short on nutrients (even if it’s not short on calories), this can contribute to feeling down or sluggish. You don’t need to go crazy to make an improvement in your daily nutrition – you can eat a carrot, an apple, or whatever produce is in-season and cheap. While you’re at it, drink a glass of milk with that doughnut and get a little more protein and Vitamin D in your life. If you can get your hands on a multivitamin (it doesn’t need to be fancy – generic works just fine), that can be helpful as well.

Grow your altruistic side

Take time regularly to focus on helping someone else. Believe it or not, one of the surest ways to feel good yourself is by doing things for others. You can volunteer formally at one of the many local organizations that would be happy to have your help, or do something casual like shovel your neighbor’s walk. If there’s a particular social issue that you’re especially drawn to (homelessness, domestic violence, food insecurity, etc.), find out how to get involved and make an impact at the community level.

Connect

Make plans with people you enjoy spending time with. Don’t just agree you’ll hang out “sometime.” Put it on a calendar so you remember and you’re committed. Many people want to isolate themselves when they’re feeling down, and this can make mood issues worse. You don’t have to pour your heart out to your friends and loved ones if you don’t want to, just plan some time to see them. Even if you’re not feeling especially social, don’t flake out. Chances are you’ll benefit from the effort.

Remember, if you start to feel so down that it’s affecting your ability to work, learn, care for yourself, or parent, this is when it’s time to seek out some professional help and support. Talk to your doctor or seek out counseling on your own. If you need help getting a referral, you can call your insurance company or call 211 for a list of community resources. And if you’re having thoughts of self-harm, harm to others or suicide, don’t wait – get to a hospital emergency room right away, or call 911.