Defeat stress before it defeats you

Your bank account just over drafted, three exams are coming up this week and there is a parking ticket on the windshield.

Pulling your hair is not the way to alleviate stress. As a student, the pressure of maintaining good grades, finding ways to pay for tuition among other expenses and managing somewhat of a social life can bring about stress.

Instead of doing something irrational or having a nervous breakdown, try these stress-reducing objectives.

Manage your time:

Time, or the lack thereof, is a large contributor to student stress. Deadlines rapidly approach and hang over one’s head like a storm cloud, increasing stress levels. Poor time management can lead to a lack of preparedness and cause unnecessary and easily avoidable stress.

Give yourself ample, but a realistic amount of time for studying and assignments as well as work and personal time.

Making a schedule or keeping an agenda can help itemize every objective and event. Simply making a “to-do” list can allow you to see and prioritize the importance and deadline of each task. To divide and conquer your objectives will provide an easier alternative than tackling one giant objective.

Sleep it off: 

Stress does not only cause sleep deprivation, but it can cause several other sleep disorders as well. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, continual stress and a lack of sleep can lead to insomnia, as well as anxiety and an increased risk for heart disease and heart attacks.

Therefore, getting a good rest is vital to one’s physical and mental health.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to 10 hours of sleep for adults age 18 and older. Set aside an extra hour in addition to sleep time for a period of “winding down.” Avoid doing work or any other stressful activities during this period. Dim the lights, play music if desired and ease yourself to sleep. Consider waking up at the same time everyday to even out sleep patterns.

Sweat it out: 

Exercising your body is important in reducing overall stress. By working out, the body will release endorphins causing what is known as a “runner’s high.” Endorphins also help promote sleep, which can aide those with sleeping disorders.

The ADAA states that exercise can also improve mental alertness and concentration, as well as reducing fatigue. In addition to these benefits, regular aerobic exercise can stabilize your mood and improve self-esteem.

If finding the time to workout is difficult, simple exercise, such as walking or taking the stairs over the elevator, can be a partial substitute.

Cut loose: 

Social activities can help alleviate stress by ultimately distracting you from what is stressing you. However, ignoring your stressors altogether with social activity is poor management and can come back to bite you.

In your downtime, grab a drink and smoke some hookah at Anatolia, catch a flick at CineFest or just take a walk in Piedmont Park. Alone or with friends, social activities remind you that there’s more to life than school and work.

By having a strong social connection with friends, family and a significant other, these groups act as a reinforcement agent. Simply talking or explaining one’s problems to someone willing to listen and provide positive feedback can make a stressor less effective.