Ask a Simmons Nurse: It’s time for me time: stress and school

By Vanessa Poirier
Ask a Simmons Nurse

Q: When was the last time you had “Me Time”? When was the last time you felt relaxed?
A: In a recent study about the relationship of stress and college students found that 60 percent or more of college students report having high or very high levels of stress. As college students we have so much to do  – endless papers, endless meetings, endless studying – that we forget to eat, sleep, or simply have fun.  This is the time that is going to be one of the best times in our lives so we need to start enjoying it. Stress is a major roadblock in that journey.

What is stress?  Stress is the body’s response to any demand made on it. Stress can be good or bad. Good stress provides the means to express talent and energies and pursue happiness. When it is bad, stress can cause exhaustion and illness. The important thing to remember about stress is that certain forms are normal and essential. When you are stressed, your body reacts by increasing your heart rate, blood pressure, and secretion of stimulatory hormones. As many know, this is called the “fight or flight” response.

When we experience continuous stress, this can lead to a disruption in one or more areas in our life: physical, emotional, spiritual, and social. The best way to deal with stress is prevention.

Here are six tips to deal with stress:

1) Know thyself: know what makes you stressed, know how to deal with stress and how you feel in those moments. Do a self-inventory and find out what those triggers are.

2) Take action: make a good effort to avoid stress to deal with it. Make “Me Time” every day or at least once a week.

3) Find your happy place: find something in your life that makes you the happiest and allows you to forget about all the worries and stress in your life. Is it dancing, being part of a religious group, journaling, working out, meditating, or reading? Find out what works for you and make it a part of your daily routine.

4) Find your passion: when you realize the philosophy of your life you’ll be about to keep yourself in check. Remember why you do the things you do and what they mean in the big picture of your life.

5) Say no: it’s all about quality versus quantity. Do not be afraid to say no to an extra meeting or involvement; your time is precious. Remember it is your life and do what makes you happen.

6) Ask for help: when stress gets too overwhelming to handle on your own, talk to a friend, mentor, professor, or family. Also, the Counseling Center is always there with open ears and supports.

Finally, my challenge for you is to make “Me Time” and enjoy what life throws at you.

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