“I’m completely stressed out! I can’t possibly finish all my work! My finals are going to be impossible! I’m going to have a nervous breakdown!”
Sound familiar? And these are the professors!
No, seriously, just about every student I’ve spoken to this week shares these feelings. This is crunch time. Everything you have been putting off is staring you in the face, and those pesky finals are just around the corner. Here are some practical suggestions:
(1) No matter how much work you have, you can’t work efficiently around the clock. Take short, structured breaks and don’t try to get through this period without sleep - you won’t be thinking clearly.
(2) Use your planner and assign each item on your “to do” list to a specific time. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and more in control.
(3) Try to think about what you are doing when you are doing it, instead of thinking about the five thousand other things you need to do.
(4) Don’t skip meals or use food or alcohol to handle your stress. I promise you these strategies will backfire.
(5) Put the non-essential things off. You don’t have to rearrange your underwear drawer this week. You may not even have to do laundry - if you have enough clean underwear!
(6) If you are not sure if you are missing assignments, talk to your professors. It’s better to know, even if it is stressful.
(7) Use your healthy stress-relief skills, like playing with your dog, exercising, or listening to upbeat music.
(8) Be your own cheerleader. Tell yourself, “You can do it! It will be okay,” instead of “You’re never going to make it.”
(9) Call someone who thinks you are the cutest, smartest person on the planet (your Mom? your Grandpa?) and soak up the love.
(10) Plan to come to the Stress Free Zone, which will be held the afternoons of Thursday, May 6, Friday, May 7 and Monday May 10 and Tuesday, May 11 in the University Center. It is a great place to have some fun and let off some steam.
(11) Don’t forget that the easiest, cheapest, most accessible form of stress relief is just to do some slow, deep breathing. This helps your body to reverse the “fight-or-flight” stress reaction. Take a deep breath down into the bottom of your lungs, counting slowly to four as you inhale. Hold the breath briefly, then exhale fully and slowly, relaxing your muscles as you do so. Repeat this process three more times. There now! Don’t you feel a little better?
For more information on how to deal with stress, visit the professionals at the Counseling Center, located at 213 University Center.