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What is stress? Merriam Webster defines it as a “physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.” We know it by a number of different names. Some people call it panic attacks, others might say you’re having a nervous breakdown or that you look depressed.
Symptoms of stress can show up in many different areas of your life – personal and professional. Whatever the case may be, all students go through bouts of stress and anxiety at some point in their lives, and during school it always seems to pop up at the worst possible times – before a big test, in the middle of writing a paper or during a project that counts for half your grade.
In honor of National Stress Awareness Month (April), we’ve decided to provide a few tips to help students manage their stress and anxiety attacks before they happen. By paying attention to a few key areas of your life, students can steel their mind and ready their body to fight against the effects of stress.
You’ve heard it before, but it remains true that too much or too little sleep can be detrimental to a students' mental and physical health and contribute to your stress level. Lack of sleep can make it more difficult to learn and focus in class and at work. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Short naps during the day can also help you regroup and regain much needed energy. We suggest setting an alarm to go off 30 minutes before you need to go to bed as a reminder. It could help you avoid those nights where you look up from the TV only to realize that you’ve sacrificed an hour of sleep for an hour of American Idol.
Does relaxation ever sound like a foreign word? It could be a result of a students' environment. It’s a known fact that unorganized areas can cause your stress levels to rise. Whether you’re walking into an untidy home or sitting down at a cluttered desk, your brain becomes immediately distracted by the mess. As humans, we want to simplify, categorize and organize everything. It’s no wonder that when we find ourselves spending time in a disordered setting we start to experience symptoms of anxiety.
One of the best stress management/relaxation techniques you can practice is to stay organized. Develop a system and stick to it. It can save you time, make you more efficient and give you less to worry about in the long run. You might even be able to find your keys on a regular basis. Wouldn’t that be something?
Believe it or not, the benefits of exercise don’t stop at washboard abs and a glowing self-esteem. Exercise helps you in other areas of your life too. In addition to helping you blow off steam after a hard day of studying or work, rigorous exercise releases endorphins, which can boost your mood. If you don’t regularly exercise already, try starting a new program. Run a couple days per week and hit the gym to mix it up. There are a variety of programs a student can purchase and even more available online for free. Heck, ask a friend who knows a thing or two about exercise – anything to get moving.
Do you suffer from mood swings, headaches, chronic fatigue or lightheadedness? Your diet could be partly to blame. If you don’t regularly eat healthy, natural foods and instead rely on processed foods and snacks, you could suffer from negative health effects, including stress. To start eating healthier, start simple. Buy more fruits and vegetables. Cut out the chips and crackers. Eat more lean meats like chicken, turkey and fish. Aim for a more well-rounded diet. When you feel like snacking, grab a bag of mixed nuts or yogurt. You’ll start to feel better sooner than you think.
Let's recap the 5 stress management techniques a student can use to help deal with school related stress. Rest, a student can manage stress by regular sleep and napping. Organization, a student that keeps in control by simplifying, categorizing and organizing everything. Exercise, for better stress management a student can routinely get exercise to release endorphins. Healthy Eating, the student can manage stress by eating healthier and cleaner to reduce fatigue or going into a food coma.