It’s that time of year again. It’s the middle of the semester, professors are assigning projects left and right and students are mixing their coffee with 5-Hour Energy in an attempt to get all of their work done.
As someone who has struggled with severe anxiety and panic attack disorder since the age of 9, I know how terrible this period of time can be. It feels like everyday, I wake up with a list of things about a mile long that I need to get done. In-between classes, an internship, a job and clubs, it’s nearly impossible to find time to do my assignments, let alone eat, sleep or take a deep breath.
I know I’m not alone with this. A study from 2001 taken from the “Journal of American College Health” showed that only 11 percent of college students feel well-rested. In a survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 64 percent of students that dropped out of college said they did so for mental health reasons.
So, how do we cope with this stress? College is not magically going to stop being difficult, and professors are not going to decide to give their students a break for the rest of the semester.
One term that has grown popular over the last few years is “self-care.” Although this term carries different connotations for everyone, GoodTherapy.org defines it as “the actions that an individual might take in order to reach optimal physical and mental health.”
The most common ways that people take part in self-care is by trying to exercise regularly, sleeping seven to nine hours each night, journaling and meditating.
However, most of us have heard of these remedies for stress before. What if we don’t have time to incorporate these things into our over-packed schedule and what if they, quite simply, don’t work for us?
After a little bit of research, I was able to come up with a short list of some simple self-care activities that will not take time out of your schedule. Hopefully you will find some tricks that you haven’t tried yet.
Smile at people or give them a compliment:
According to Shannon Battle, a life coach from North Carolina, complimenting someone else makes you feel good and like you are making a positive impact in the world. And who wouldn’t feel great after making someone else’s day?
Listen to your favorite music while you are getting ready in the morning or running to class:
It should not surprise you to learn that hearing a certain song or artists can trigger certain emotions. However, listening to music can also do a lot for your physical well-being. Researchers in Europe have recently discovered that playing your favorite song can actually decrease your risk of heart disease because it triggers changes in your body that refine the lining of the blood vessels.
Take a short break by watching a YouTube video:
It is important to give your brain a rest every so often when you are doing homework. Although this tactic is a bit dangerous because one video often turns into two, then five, and then you’ve wasted an entire night, limiting yourself to one YouTube video while you relax is excellent for getting out of your head. When we get stressed, we tend to ruminate over the things that are bothering us, which in turn makes us more stressed. Taking the time to think about nothing at all for a few minutes is a great way to reassess your situation and come back to your assignments with a clear head.
Let those F-bombs explode:
Now, you probably shouldn’t stand up and scream a swear word in the middle of your lecture. However, according to Dr. Neel Burton, expressing your frustration through a few choice words when you are struggling through an assignment can actually help you calm down and gain higher self-esteem. It can also make you feel like you have more control over a situation.
I hope everyone has a great rest of their semester, even if it is a little stressful. Don’t worry, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!