January 19, 2012
Keep Calm and Carry On
Pi Beta Phi
The holidays are over and that nice long break two weeks ago seems to be forgotten. We’ve gotten back into the grind and back to what we are supposed to be doing here; no not partying—haha—but hitting the books. This unfortunately, can be a very stressful time for many students. Winter especially seems more stressful with the colder temperatures and lack of sun. Many people have a hard time keeping their head up and making good choices, which can cause lots of stress. Some great stress relief is exactly what they need. So keep calm and try some of the following:
Don’t stress about being stressed
The first thing that happens when you realize you are stressing out is stressing out even more because you have realized you have a lot on your plate and don’t know what to do with it all. Don’t stress about the stress, just take your time to take it all in and get started.
Get something to eat
Eat some balanced healthy fruits and veggies. Most people come to school and eat whatever they want whenever they want which leads to what they call the “freshman fifteen.” However, a healthy diet can bring greater physical and emotional wellness so it is better to get some healthy snacks instead of going to Taco Bell every night. Drinking water is also a good way to relieve stress. Your body is 80 percent water. Drinking lots of water will help keep the body in equilibrium and good health.
Get some sleep
Sleeping is when your body recharges, refuels, and rebalances itself out. In college, most people do not have the ideal sleep schedule. Many stay up all night doing homework and miscellaneous things then wake up with a full day ahead of them. Taking a nap or going to bed early once in awhile will help your mood and your body.
Friends can help relieve stress – especially the funny ones. A good laugh will always make you feel better. If none of your friends are around pop in a funny movie. Or if you just don’t have any funny friends grab a group and go dancing or out on the town. Taking a break will help you focus when you get back to that study session or 10-page English paper.
Sometimes being in a loud environment or a place that makes you uneasy can cause your stress levels to go up. Focusing can sometimes take a lot when you have a boring assignment you just need to get done. So why not go to the library, the union, or maybe even just a quiet place in your house, just to get away from the social aspect and get things started.
If you need help, get it! When you are stressed it is good to just take 30 minutes and talk it out. Call a friend or meet one for coffee. If there is something you don’t understand or just can’t do alone, find some help. Just ask or go in to your professor’s office hours and get to work! Sitting and staring at your computer screen or pinning just one more pin on Pinterest because you don’t know where to begin, is a bad idea. Procrastination leads to nothing and when nothing is getting done it can lead to more stress.
Make a list
When you have many things to do and just aren’t sure what is more important or what to even begin with, make a list. Keep your planner clean and neat and write when assignments are due, when you are working, and when you have time to relax. Keep everything straight for a few days that way you won’t get behind and you won’t have a heavy load by keeping everything for last minute. When you complete your list for the day or week and see the checkmarks, you will feel accomplished and ready to tackle the week ahead. It may help you process what you need to do, and help you realize that the things you are so stressed about are actually pretty manageable.
I can’t believe I am saying this, because I hate exercising, but exercise is good. Even just taking a walk can clear your mind. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Walking is a great way to get started. Stretching can also relieve muscle tension. I have to include this possibly superficial, but significant, benefit of exercise: it helps you lose weight, tone your body, and maintain a healthy glow and smile. It will increase your confidence and strength. Don’t call me shallow, but this does impact many people, and can relieve stress for those who are concerned with their appearance and worry that they don’t look as healthy as they could.
Listen to Music
Music can have a calming effect on the brain, especially while you're facing down a major stressor. Make a great iPod mix. If you listen to music you consider relaxing it will help to reduce your stress. If you think nature, for example, the sounds of the ocean or rainfall is peaceful, listen to that; if you think rock music is peaceful and puts you in a good mood, listen to that. It’s all about what you like and what makes you feel better.
Next time you feel stressed, take several long, deep breaths. By slowing your breathing you are actually relieving stress. It will also help you calm down. Crying also helps. Believe it or not crying can be very beneficial and can help calm the spirit. It is a great way to release strong emotions bottled up inside. It doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman - a good cry can be very stress relieving. So breathe, calm down, and have a good cry and everything will be better.
I know what you are thinking – “This girl is crazy, I don’t have time to exercise, take a nap, or any of this.” I know exactly how you feel because quite frankly I feel like that all the time. But look at it this way, in a little over an hour, you can 1) walk 15 minutes to your favorite restaurant downtown, 2) eat a quick and healthy meal, 3) walk back, and 4) take a power nap. Imagine how much better you will feel and stress free too!
Kaila is a sophomore studying broadcasting. You may contact her at email@example.com.