Kicking your stress to the curb

Sarah Rosenberg

If college were easy, you probably wouldn’t be cooped up in Arnold Bernhard Library all day. With finals just around the corner, the lectures in your classes are going faster, papers are being assigned left and right, and exams seem to be creeping up on you every day of the week.

Caught between the pressure to do well in school and the need to just relax, stress can sneak up on any student who overworks himself or herself during the most stressful time of the year. There are a number of things you can do kiss stress goodbye while still feeling accomplished with all of the hard work you’ve done throughout the semester. Here are some of the best stress tips to try out before you reach your breaking point:

You probably guessed it: get enough exercise. It may be hard to get to the gym in between classes, but taking a half hour to work up a sweat helps to decrease cortisol, a stress hormone. Exercising boosts endorphins in your body that simply make you feel good about yourself. Taking a hike up Sleeping Giant Mountain will relax your mind and get your body moving as you climb to the top.

Since you’re a college student, your dorm room is probably full of the clutter and garbage that won’t get cleaned up by your parents. Spending a few hours during the weekend or at night cleaning your room can help you relieve stress. Doing something other than work will take your mind off of that math quiz for a few hours, but you’ll still feel as if you did something productive. Your room will feel and look more organized, making it easier for you to catch up on homework at your desk instead of trekking to the library for a late-night study session.

Sometimes, your body just needs a break. Rest and relaxation is often necessary to keep your body healthy during times of stress. Taking a University yoga class in the Recreation Center, free of charge, will take your mind to a more relaxing place. Yoga’s combination of controlling your breathing and working out your muscles helps your body to release negative energy and revitalize itself. Check out the Recreation Center for a schedule of yoga classes that fits your own personal routine.

Isolating yourself in the library to read all day will get old. You need socialization and interaction with people to stay sane and connected to your community. Don’t neglect your friends! Take the time out to go to lunch with your roommates, play Frisbee on the quad, watch a movie in your room, or go dancing on a Friday or Saturday night. If you lose touch with your friends, spending all that time doing work won’t be as satisfying as you thought.

As elementary as it may seem, keeping a journal will help you maintain the thoughts, goals, priorities and lists that are a major part of your life. Reflecting on a day’s past events can help you keep track of what made you happy and what brought stress to your day. Setting goals will keep your head straight and keeping lists of tasks to be completed will make your priorities seem a little more realistic. Writing down how you feel is an outlet for expression that any person needs. The best part is no one even has to read it!

Listening to your favorite music when you wake up and before you go to bed will provide a little relief before and after a long, hectic day. Having a miniature jam session after waking up for an 8 a.m. class will set the right tone for the rest of the day. Blasting the songs you love the most or that remind you of exciting times will make you feel just as great the rest of your day. After a stressful day, listening to relaxing music before you get under the covers will keep your mind from racing. Listening to music will help you drift into a calmer sleep so you can awake the next morning for yet another 8 a.m.

Getting enough sleep may be the ultimate tool to living a stress-free life. Going to class or taking a test without sleep will only have negative effects on your school work, so think twice before pulling an all-nighter. Taking power naps throughout the day will also give your body that jolt of energy it needs to keep going-spending 40 minutes asleep will be worth it when you are more focused on your work afterwards. Having more energy throughout the day will make you feel more productive, and that is the most satisfying feeling when you’re stressed out to the max.

Following these tips will lead to a stress-free lifestyle that will make schoolwork seem like a breeze. It might even make the last few weeks of the semester more enjoyable. During your most desperate times of stress-induced breakdowns, don’t forget to treat yourself to a dessert. After all, “desserts” is “stressed” spelled backwards