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Stress Prevention

By Andronica Owens
Web Content Contributor

With finals around the corner, it’s important now more than ever for everyone to handle their stress in a healthy way. You’ve made it this far trying to handle stress and perhaps it has been working for you or maybe you’ve been struggling since the beginning. Unfortunately, the stress of finals can be enough to break the best of us or do more damage to those already suffering. Now is a time to continue your stress relief methods or find new ways to reduce stress that work for you.

Studies show that stress manifests in different ways. You’ve heard some of this before. Stress is your bodies’ reaction to challenges. It releases a hormone. There is positive and negative stress. You have the instinctual “fight or flight” reaction during stressful times. This is all true of course, but there’s more. There are physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms and signs. Meaning, stress affects people in different ways and everyone has their own way of reacting to the challenges we face every day.

With that being said, there are a multitude of ways to approach feelings of stress. What most people don’t realize is there isn’t one guaranteed way to handle it. Sometimes what works for your friends will in no way help you and vice versa. This is why it is important to take inventory of the signs for yourself and do a mental checklist whenever you get a chance.

Performing a mental checklist for yourself sounds silly, but have you ever found yourself in the midst of a busy week and realized you’ve barely slept for three days? Or you check your watch in the middle of the day and you’ve already had three cups of coffee? Have you been in a bad mood for a couple days straight? Do you still talk to your friends or have they stop inviting you out because you’ve been acting like a jerk to them?

All of these are signs that you’re under a lot of stress and not handing it well. Don’t feel bad if you answered yes to some of these. Personally, I’m prone to most of these things myself, so you’re not alone. Now that you know some of the signs, it’s time to take control of your body and mind. So, what can you do?

Work out. Try to be active for about 30 minutes in a day at the very least. Go to the gym, take a longer route on the way to class, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Most people carry stress in their bodies through tension which can lead to muscle aches. Implementing working out or a preventative method like yoga in your routine can help with some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Get some sleep. Staying up late to finish work or to study will can take a toll on your health. It may not be possible to get eight hours of sleep every night, but you should try your best. Not getting enough sleep leads to impaired focus, irritability, and decreased focus in work and school. We already have too much on our plate as it is, so we can’t afford to miss important information in class and see our grades drop.

Use the resources available to you. Much of the stress college students face comes from things we have to face daily. There are resources located throughout campus to help you get through those rough times. If grades are low, there is SLAC, SI sessions, the Writing Center or office hours you can attend. If money is an issue, you can visit the Financial Aid Office or look online to see opportunities for work. If it’s just a hard time in general, trust me it happens, then there is the Counseling Center located in LBJ.

Stress is inevitable. We can’t stop if from happening because we can’t control every aspect of our lives. These are tips to help stress in general, but if it is a persistent problem it’s important to seek out the help you need. Finals are coming and while the prospect of winter break is exciting, there are still obstacles to overcome before it’s here.

Featured photo by Andronica Owens.

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