Staying Healthy with Saloni: A new column on health and wellness


Saloni Shah (10) discusses health and mental wellness in her new column, Staying Healthy with Saloni.

by Saloni Shah, Columnist and Assistant Humans of Harker Editor

Dear Eagles,

Welcome back from your exotic vacations, summer classes, travel tournaments, research labs, jobs, volunteer projects or whatever else Harker students do during summer! It’s time to kick off another school year, whether we’re ready for it or not.

We are launching a new column on health and wellness. Some of the big issues in teen high school years are physical and mental well being. This column will navigate the tumultuous road of high school – we will share the anxiety, address the stress, overhaul the diet, watch out for long nights, fight the germs, follow the latest breakthroughs and trends affecting teen healthcare, listen and be there for each other, step up the exercise and learn to be safe.

Over the summer, tragedy struck with the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain and with Demi Lovato’s overdose. There are no easy answers to why these shocking events happened, and they raise sensitive issues. The main takeaway is to seek help if you need it and to seek help for others if you see someone in need, talk to them and support them. There is so much love to share.


Welcome! In hindsight, this may be your easiest year in high school. Explore, but only take on a manageable number of activities. Joining too many clubs can end up being a distraction, so limit your clubs, but definitely stay involved in the ones you are passionate about. Take advantage of office hours and extra help because we have amazing teachers who are here to support you. Link Crew is a remarkable resource in your transition to high school, so be sure to lean on them for advice and support.

Manage your email! Check your email a few times a day because it’s a convenient way for teachers and administration to contact and communicate with you. And last but not least, make amazing friends who will last a lifetime. I cannot thank my friends enough for helping me out during freshman year. Make sure you spend time with them because they will mean so much to you over the next three years.

Sophomore and Juniors,

Naps! Develop a knack for catching power naps at every opportunity presented. That is truly an art and 20 minutes is the sweet spot for nap length if you want to wake up feeling alert, cheerful and productive.

Additionally, although we all need the caffeine (trust me, I know), try to regulate your intake throughout the day. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that adolescents ages 12 to 18 should cap daily caffeine intake at 100 mg (the equivalent of about one cup of coffee, one to two cups of tea or two to three cans of soda).

There is one drink that I have not addressed – boba, also known as bubble tea or pearl milk tea. This popular drink amongst Bay Area teens recently gained attention with a parent claiming at a Millbrae city council meeting that it distracts students from their work and is connected to low SAT scores. This claim has been repeated on neighborhood social network app Nextdoor and seems to be stirring up waves in the Bay Area. I am sure you all will laugh with me when you read the claims about how the long lines and hanging out at boba stores are ruining teens’ lives.

Personally, I too love boba. Although it is a sugar sweetened beverage with high calories (according to the Public Health Advocate at Berkeley, 16 ounces of milk tea with tapioca has 300 kcal and 38 g of sugar), who can resist the flavor of tea mixed with the soft and chewy tapioca pearls heavily ingrained in the Bay Area culture with its predominant Asian influence? Easily available at boba shops near Harker, it’s hard to resist the sugary drink even when we know it’s unhealthy, but try to substitute this high sugar and calorie drink for herbal, low caffeine or decaf options, which are equally enjoyable.


You are in the end zone. You can almost feel it, sense it and grab it. You all need the last long push before you cross the finish line. By January, you will revel in your senioritis and will be the envy of the rest of the school. In the meantime, keep burning that midnight oil, and keep writing those torturous college essays. On the bright side, with all the reflection and brainstorming, you might truly discover a new side to yourself. We all look up to the strong leaders and mentors that you are and look forward to the amazing things you will accomplish this year.

In health and wellness,

Saloni Shah

This piece was originally published in the pages of the Winged Post on Aug. 31, 2018.