Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bah Humbugs and Study Stress

This time of year is stressful for everyone, but can be even more so for those of you who are wrapping up end of semester projects and studying for finals. Below you'll find some simple stress relief techniques to help you through finals week and beat the stressors of holiday family and fun while you're on winter vacation.

Stay Healthy. Don't abandon your healthy eating and drinking habits while you're studying. Stay hydrated and take time out to eat nourishing snacks and meals. Eating well will help your mind stay focused and body fight off infections. You don't want to spend your time off sick in bed!

Take time out for yourself. It's possible you're doing too much and have a lot going on: school, homework, studying, work, chores, extracurricular clubs, etc. All of that work can pile up and it's important to make time for yourself so you don't overstress and freak out on your family or friends. Even if you don't think you have the time, take at least a 15 minute break from your studying. Lean back and close your eyes and think of a peaceful place, take a walk in the brisk air to look at holiday lights or see the stars, or simply tune-out and listen to some music for a bit. You'll feel re-energized and will most likely be able to focus better once you've had some time to regroup.

Get up and out. Feeling drained, tired, and unmotivated? Can't write another word? Get moving! Exercise helps lift your energy levels and decreases your level of cortisol, the stress hormone. It also increases your endorphins and serotonin levels, which will elevate your mood. Don't think you have the time? Just do it at 5 or 10 minute intervals, during breaks from studying. You're levels of concentration will soar and you'll find your writer's block might have lifted.

If you still are feeling stressed, try some of these:
  • Pet a dog or cat. Many people find interacting with a pet therapeutic.
  • Control your "what-ifs". Worrying will not change the outcome of your situation.
  • Scream into a pillow.
  • Take a hot shower.
  • Plan a reward for finishing your task at hand and keep your eyes on the prize!
Good luck with your test, projects, papers, etc! Keep these stress fighting techniques in mind over the holidays. They might be helpful when dealing with your crazy cousins or overly affection grandparents.

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