Stress is something that we all deal with throughout our lives whether it be during final exams, starting graduate school, getting a first job or juggling the many demands of our complex schedules. Some stressors we encounter are controllable while others are not. In order to manage stress its best to first eliminate controllable stressors such as saying no to certain activities. However, when we are unable to control stressors, it’s important to learn ways to manage them.
Some tips to consider include:
Engaging in good self care: Sleep at least 7 hours per night and maintain healthy eating habits. Limit caffeine and sugar intake and eliminate any substance use. Try to get at least 3 days per week, 20 to 30 minutes per day of aerobic exercise.
Relaxation: Learn deep breathing, visualization or mindfulness meditation techniques. Try listening to music, taking a hot shower or reading for pleasure.
Take care with your thoughts and attitude: When stressed we might start to think self-defeating thoughts such as, “I’ll never handle this”, or “I’m just going to fail everything.” Instead try to substitute more helpful thoughts such as, “I’m going to take things just one step at a time so I’m not overwhelmed.”
Time management: Use a planner or scheduler, make lists of smaller tasks to feel more accomplished as you complete them, and try to do your most challenging work when you have the most amount of time and energy in your day.
Maintain your social network: It’s important to continue to keep up with friends and family even if you need to reduce time spent with them. Agree to send a quick email to vent or a phone call to problem solve your stressors.
For additional support, Student Counseling Services is available to all enrolled students to help with stress management or other personal concerns.