Feeling stressed? You are not alone.....
Smaller amounts of stress can be helpful. For instance, it can help you develop and use skills needed to manage threatening situations or help you get many things done in a short amount of time. However, stress can be harmful when it is severe enough to make you feel overwhelmed and out of control or when it becomes chronic. At that point stress can interfere with being able to learn and retain information, making it a roadblock to academic success.
Stress can hit you when you expect it — before a test, after leaving home, or during conflict in a relationship. Stress can also build up gradually during a busy semester when papers, tests, and other commitments pile up on your calendar. While everyone experiences stress at times, a prolonged bout of it can affect your health and ability to cope with life. That’s why social support and self-care are important. They can help you see your problems in perspective… and the stressful feelings ease up.
Five Stress Busters
Expand all | Collapse all
We have a tendency to not make sleep a priority based on our busy schedules and a belief that we can make it up later. Think of sleep as #1 on your “to-do list.”
Strategies for a Better Sleep
- Set Your Body Clock: Light helps restart your body clock to its active daytime phase. So when you get up, get some sunlight in your room. If that's not possible, turn on all the lights in your room and walk around for a few minutes.
- Never Oversleep: Get up at about the same time every day (weekends too!), even on a morning after you have lost sleep. Sleeping late for just a couple of days can reset your body clock to a different cycle – you will be getting tired later and waking up later.
- Take a Nap: A 20-30 minute nap have been shown to be beneficial as a supplement to getting your 7-9 hours of sleep. Naps can boost energy and help increase memory. If you find that you are unable to wake up after 20-30 minutes, it could be a sign that you are not getting enough nighttime sleep.
Develop a bedtime routine:
- Stop studying and don't get into any stimulating discussions or activities a half hour or hour before bed.
- Some people find that a gentle stretching routine for several minutes just before getting into bed helps induce sleep, while others practice relaxation techniques.
- Cut down on alcohol. Alcohol might help you get to sleep, but it results in shallow and disturbed sleep, abnormal dream periods, and frequent early morning awakening.
- Some people seem to sleep better if there is a white noise -- a fan running, for example -- in the background. For others, noise can interrupt sleep.
Physical activity is a great stress buster! It’s a good idea to do more than one kind of exercise to keep it interesting and to add a social component. Here are a few options:
- Aerobic exercise like running, brisk walking, swimming, or biking for at least 30 minutes per day will increase your endorphins and make it easier to manage stressful feelings.
- Enroll in a fitness class or join a club sport.
- Yoga classes can also be a nice addition to your week
Healthy meals and snacks
Eating on an inconsistent schedule and missing key ingredients can leave you feeling jittery, tired, and irritable. You may also notice that studying is less productive and your memory and concentration aren’t where they need to be.
Try these tips:
- Try to get 3 meals and 2 snacks every day to keep your energy levels steady and hunger under control.
- Drink water instead of sugary sodas and energy drinks.
- Eat at least two fresh fruits per day.
- Control your caffeine use to 1-2 drinks per day. To prevent insomnia, skip caffeine after 3 p.m.
Check out Marquette Dining Services for more ideas or make an appointment with the dietician at the Marquette University Medical Clinic.
Relaxation techniques are “quick links” to your brain’s built-in ability to relax you. There are many types of relaxation techniques. It is primarily a matter of finding which are most effective for you. So try out a few and see which ones work best.
Then practice, practice, practice. The more you practice a technique before you need it, the easier it will be for your brain to quickly recognize that you want it to relax. That way you can counteract periods of high stress with your favorite relaxation technique when you need it most.
Don’t wait until you hit a rough patch before you decide to learn a technique. When you are already “stressed out,” learning a new technique is much more difficult.
Try a few of these relaxation techniques:
Some of the best ways to manage stress in hard times are through self-care:
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. They may seem to be a temporary fix to feel better, but in the long run they can create more problems and add to your stress — instead of take it away.
- Find support. Seek help from a family member, a good friend, counselor, clergyperson, or mentor. Having a sympathetic, listening ear and sharing about your problems and stress really can lighten the burden.
- Connect socially. After a stressful event, it is easy to isolate yourself. Make sure that you are spending time with people you enjoy being with. Consider planning fun activities with your friends or family.
- Take care of yourself.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Get plenty of sleep
- Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out
- Maintain a normal routine of sleep, exercise, and study breaks
- Sometimes stress and anxiety can take over, no matter what you do, making it difficult to function. At that point it is a good idea to enlist professional help. For on campus support make an appointment at the Counseling Center.