Student Stress Relief13 October 2014
We’ve all been there, that moment when your adrenalin surges and your brain goes into hyper-drive. How about the time you looked at your to-do list and nearly fell over thinking about the practicality of completing everything listed on it? Stressors can occur in every aspect of life, and bleed across them from home to work to school. Your body’s reaction to stress can be helpful in some cases, spurring you to complete a task, and detrimental in other instances, causing you to freeze up mid task and ultimately causing even more stress. As a busy student, it’s important to manage your stress in the most effective and healthy way possible. Learning not only how to manage stress but also harness it, can actually make it a beneficial reaction to your busy life.
First, stress is greatly impacted by your attitude. If you go into a situation thinking about how hard it will be to complete a project or worrying about the challenges of reading an entire chapter in an hour, your stress levels will spike and likely paralyze you, making it an even more unpleasant experience. The key to controlling your reaction to stress and therefore managing it effectively is essentially how you look at it. You may be asking, how can I tell myself not to stress when I have a hundred pages to read, a paper to finish editing, a full work day and a night class – not to mention laundry? There are a number of things you can do to help ease your mind and change your attitude before it gets to the overwhelming tipping point when panic sets in.
- Fuel your mind and body – By putting in healthy nutrition, you are setting yourself up for success. Avoid excessive amounts of pre-processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, and added sugar. By giving your mind and body the fuel it needs to function properly, you have set yourself up to be able to process your stress and manage it effectively. Easier said than done, right? Especially when you’re running around all day. Plan ahead and pack an apple, some raw almonds and a refillable water bottle so that you can snack between meals. Additionally, a hardboiled egg or grilled chicken on a bed of greens makes a great lunch that will fuel your mind and body without weighing you down.
- Take out your stress through physical activity – Many people find it helpful to relieve stress through physical activity. Whether this is a cycling class, kickboxing or lifting weights, find what exercise best suits your personality type and allows you to let go of your stressors. Just sixty minutes a day can be immensely beneficial to both your mind and body. No time to spend an hour at the gym? Why not take a walk over lunch? Splitting up the time can be just as beneficial. So if you have 15 minutes here and there, take advantage of it!
- Get adequate rest – Generally between 7-9 hours is enough for the average adult, but we all know that’s a pipe dream some nights. The key is sticking to a sleep schedule. Even if you aren’t tired, getting into bed and resting at the same time each night and waking at the same time each morning helps your body to recover and regain control. Having trouble sleeping can also be a symptom of stress. Take steps to clear your mind before bed each night. Try to mentally let go of your to-do list and let yourself focus on the much-needed rest. Sip on chamomile tea or a supplement like melatonin to promote a full nights rest.
- Don’t let your schedule get out of control – Of course, it’s tempting to accept each invitation for coffee, drinks, shopping, studying and enjoying the outdoors but over-booking yourself can cause major time crunches and therefore exacerbate stress. By keeping a calendar, you will be better able to assess when you have free time and how you’d like to use it. This may mean a Friday night spent cleaning the house and going to the grocery store, but at least planning time for these things means they won’t sneak up on you mid-week when you have zero milk and no time to go get a new gallon. Of course, stress will never completely resolve itself. There will always be unexpected occurrences that take away from your ability to successfully plan your life. Fortunately, learning to manage stress using the techniques above can help you to harness your stress and use it as a motivator instead of a hindrance. By getting a handle on your stressors and learning management techniques that work for you, you not only set yourself up for a less stressful experience but you do your body loads of good physically. Recent studies have linked stress to a wide range of ailments from hair loss and depression to chest pain and weight gain, making it even more important to learn proper management techniques early on in life as to avoid these other negative side effects.
At Pioneer Pacific College, we know our students are busy people and we understand the stressors that can contribute to rough days. Our goal is not only to educate you in your chosen field but also provide access to these secondary skills that can come in handy throughout your career and lifetime. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by your course, we encourage you to reach out to our guidance department as well as your instructors and discuss ways to reduce and manage your stress. Learn more about the Program Directors and how to set up an appointment here.