John Catton, Campus Carrier Features Editor
Leo Narrison, Campus Carrier Asst. Features Editor
How to de-stress this semester
It’s midway through the semester, a very busy time for most Berry students. This business can also lead to stress. According to peer educators Callie Whitesell and Trent Griner, midterms and finals are the busiest time for the Peer Educators, especially concerning stress.
As with most problems, the first step is to finding its cause. Stress’ causes vary from person to person.
“Stress is usually a multi-dimensional problem. It’s rarely a one-sided problem. Students usually bring with them stress from home and when that is combined with academics and student involvement, it can be really difficult to fight,” Griner said.
Griner also believes that the spike in cold and flu cases this winter was caused in part because of weakened immune systems due to stress. “If your stressed, its hard to fight of these illnesses,” Griner said. “Which can cause more stress because these illnesses are inconvenient. It’s a pretty vicious cycle.”
Over-involvement and overcommitment also contribute to stress according to Whitesell.
“I believe the greatest contributor to stress is students trying to balance all the demands they have with their involvements all over campus.” Whitesell said.
Whitesell believes that stress also causes additional heath problems. “If your stressed out you are less likely to make heathy choices such as diet, exercising, sleep, and social interaction. They are not a waste of time, they are important for your overall heath and can really help reduce your stress,” Whitesell said.
As for ways of combatting stress, Griner suggests finding activities that you enjoy.
“Find something that you love and let it take you away from your stress,” Griner said. “Make time for it. Do it regularly so you can take yourself away from what is stressing you.”
As for students that are overcommitted, Whitesell said, “I think that some people thrive from being invested in many different things. But there is no award for being miserable. Spread your time and energy with what you enjoy.”
Griner believes that limiting commitments can also be beneficial.
“Be able to say no and know the difference between being busy and proactive,” Griner said. “Be sure to know that what you are involved in, is something you really enjoy and that you take something positive out of it.”
Quiet alone time can also help with de-stressing. Turn off your phone for 15 minutes and plan out your day. It can help you reflect on what you need to accomplish for the day and set goals. Be sure to celebrate your small victories throughout the day!
Spend time with friends
Being with your friends is just as important as anything else on your list. They can really help take your mind off what is stressing you out.
Cut down on the caffeine
Most of us love the effects of caffeine, but if you have too much it can be a major stressor and make things much worse. Excess caffeine can lead to irritability, nervousness, heart strain and even nausea. These can worsen if you are already stressed. Also, the increased heart rate makes it very difficult to relax, which is crucial to combatting stress. If you are stressed already, it might be a good idea to cut down on coffee or go with a decaf.
Find an exercise that you enjoy
Exercise can be fun, just find a way to be active that is fun for you. Scientifically, exercise increases the production of endorphins in your brain. Unscientifically this is called “feel good neurotransmitters.” Often times, the repetitions and the rhythm involved in exercise can help remove stressful thoughts from your mind. You might feel more energetic and optimistic after working because you can clear your mind by focusing on a certain task.
We all love a good sugary snack every once in a while, but while we are stressed these can turn into very unhealthy cravings. It might make you feel better for the short term, but in the long term it leads to long term physical stress. This is because you are depriving your body of nutrients it needs.’
We all know we should try to eat better. However, when it comes down to de-stressing our lives, eating well makes a huge difference. Try to eat foods that include a variety of different nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. Take it to the next level by having meals that mix fats, proteins and carbohydrates.