Stress Relief

It’s finals week. You have three final exams in the next two days, two final papers due and youíve waited until the last minute. If you don’t make A’s on everything you’ll lose your scholarship. Your roommates are getting on your nerves, you’re boyfriend or girlfriend just broke up with you, you haven’t eaten all day and haven’t slept all night and your parents are calling wondering why your grades aren’t what they should be. All the while all you’re thinking about is how you’ll make it to the weekend alive. Welcome to college.

There are so many new stress factors that come into play when a student enters college that they have never experienced before. These factors include: leaving home, new responsibilities, loss of familiarity, bigger workload, loss of sleep and unhealthy eating habits among other things. Every student goes through this, and the key to getting through it healthily is finding the right stress reliever. Every student releases stress differently and there is no uniform answer to what every student needs.

One thing is very important to all students, however, and that is that the stress they are experiencing must be relieved. Hundreds of tests show that if stress is prolonged it can lead to depression, weight gain and loss and can even cause illness. According to Jay Winner in Stress-Free Stress Management, Stress is associated with a wide variety of medical problems including heart disease, obesity, IBS, headaches, high blood pressure and the list goes on and on.

Some ways to avoid or lessen stress is to get the proper amount of sleep every day and to eat healthily. For many students, sleeping and eating are the first things neglected when there is too much work and not enough time, and this alone can make stress much worse. This often has the opposite desired effect for the student. A rested and nourished mind is much more likely to retain more information that a tired, starved one.

There are many suggested ways to relieve stress. Some include exercise, shop, sleep, sports, talking to a counselor and even partying. Basically anything that takes the studentís mind off of the problem causing stress and encourages relaxation is a good outlet. A short break from the problem to go do something enjoyable will help the student come back refreshed and relaxed. Winner suggests that students learn to change their thoughts. Two people can be in exactly the same circumstance, and one will be very stressed and the other will not be. One of the differences is how we think about things.

Another key factor is to avoid procrastination. The less a student leaves to the end the less stressed they will be when the workload gets bigger. Doing assignments as early as possible and not waiting until the last minute leaves the option open for something else to come up, and thus, stress levels are not so altered when a student is given an unexpected assignment.

Following these simple tips will make life so much easier in the long run and will make this year of college so much more enjoyable.

USF has an office dedicated completely to helping students find they’re right stress reliever. Counseling Center Services are available to all currently registered USF students Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Students may initiate services by visiting the Center located on the second floor of the Student Services Building (SVC) in suite 2124 or calling (813) 974-2831.