Stress Much? Some Pointers for Getting Through It

After April, there is less than one month of school. It is important to maintain control over psychological stress, while putting effort towards finishing with a bang. Stress management is a valuable tool when faced with stress from a large amount of work. First, heal yourself. This includes exercise, a healthy diet, regular sleep, moderate to minimal alcohol intake, and no smoking. You cannot just sit down and work all day, so whenever you are feeling stressed, it’s good to take a time out (but don’t let this lead to procrastination). It is best if you can spend an hour working out or going to a yoga class – anything that will make you move. Exercise therapy controls the build-up of hormones and relieves some of the energy you gain from stress. Mental exercises like yoga meditation are a form of mind control exercise. By controlling the nervous system with relaxation classes and techniques, you claim back control of your life, your emotions, your feelings, and ultimately your actions. Another method is a simple breathing exercise: breathe in for four seconds, and breathe out for seven more. Mediating is a simple method done by finding a quiet place where you can sit comfortably and breathe slowly and naturally. Inhale through your nose and pause for a few seconds. Exhale through your mouth, again pausing for a few seconds. Watch every thought come and go, whether it is worry, fear, anxiety, or hope. When thoughts come up in your mind, don’t ignore or suppress them but simply note them, remain calm and return through your breathing. Finally, as the time you have set aside comes to a close, continue to be aware of your breathing but remain sitting quietly. Become aware of where you are, slowly open your eyes and get up gradually. Another approach to managing stress is aromatherapy. Lavender oil, which has a very soothing scent, helps ease stressed nerves. It can be dabbed onto a pillow or used in an oil burner to perfume the room or to help you sleep or calm down. Try mixing 2-3 drops in about 3 tablespoons of carrier oil, such as almond oil, for a massage. I would also suggest using lemon or peppermint just before an exam to wake up and refresh yourself. You can also consider alternative medicine using Bach flower essence. Put two drops in water and sip it in intervals; before using this method consult someone who is experienced with alternative medicine. All of these natural ways will help take your mind and body away from your stress. For those who find it difficult to sleep during exam time, drinking chamomile or valerian tea can be very helpful. It is also vital that you learn how to better manage your time so you can relieve your self-induced stress. Make a list of the things you have to accomplish each day, especially during reading days, so that you do not end up doing too much in one day. Also, take caution not to put too much on your plate and always include one thing that you can do to make you happy. Socializing is also a great way to de-stress, but it can be very tempting not to study and to sit about all day with friends. You need to impose some discipline, perhaps using socialization as a reward for a days study. There are resources around UVM that can help you deal with the stress of finals, so check them out. Health Promotion Services is offering two “De-Stress Events” during April. There is going to be a massage therapist, a yoga instructor, a bubble-wrapped room (to take out some of the frustration), tarot readings, mandala coloring, and free food. The events are taking place on Tuesday April 25th in the Christie-Wright-Patterson Rotunda on Redstone Campus from 7-9 pm.