Friday, April 3, 2009

Stress Management

It's that time of the semester: Mid-term exams are happening, projects are due, extra-curricular activities are eating up a lot of your time. Spring break is still a week away. The pressure to succeed is greater than ever. What's a stressed-out student to do?

Stress itself is neither positive nor negative; it simply "is." However, how we deal with the stress in our lives is what matters. Some people choose to deal with stress negatively; they smoke, overdrink, overeat or eat unhealthily, or otherwise engage in activities that are not helpful. There are, however, positive ways to deal with stress. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important ways to deal with stress. With homework and assignments piling up, it might be easy to rationalize "pulling an all-nighter." But good time management skills will solve this problem. Knowing when your assignments are due and when your exams are scheduled, and working/studying a little bit each day, will help you avoid the "all-nighter." Exercise is another positive way to deal with stress. You don't have to spend hours in the gym, or even break a sweat; just going for a walk or jog can help your body work out the tension caused by stress. Finally, eating properly is vital in maintaining your health in stressful times. Avoid fast foods and processed products. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, protein-rich foods, and other nutritious options. And drink plenty of water; dehydration will cause headaches and other aches and pains.

And on a final note, while over-socializing can contribute to poor time management, and thus cause you to neglect your responsibilities as a student, having a good social-support network can de-stress your life. A good time manager will schedule time for fun and relaxation; do something that you enjoy with someone whom you enjoy being with. You could even combine strategies by exercising or sharing a healthy meal with a friend.

For more information on stress management for college students, refer to this article on stress and students at