How to Get Away with Murder…ing Stress!

I’ve found that stress is one of the easiest things to get but one of the hardest things to get rid of. Between school work, maintaining a social life, staying healthy, keeping a job, and keeping sane, stress is everywhere on a college campus. Being a chronic over-thinker, I often find myself stressing out and obsessing over every little detail. This is not only not a healthy way to live, it is also extremely counterproductive. The times when I am stressing the most just so happen to also be the times when I barely get anything done!

That said, over the past four years of being a college student here at Utica College, I have found a few perfectly reasonable tips on how to de-stress!

Tip #1: Mindless doodling.Stress Tip #1 PicThis is one of my favorite things to do when I have some spare time or when I need a break from all of the moving parts of my day! An added bonus to this activity: I never knew I was good a drawing until I tried – grab a pencil and try!!

Tip #2: Painting nails/self pampering.
Stress Tip #2 PicNot only does painting my nails or putting a face mask on take me away from the chaos of homework, it also makes me feel refreshed and rejuvenated!

Tip #3: Throwing a one-person, private dance party.

Stress Tip #3 Pic

Locking my door and tuning out all that is outside helps me practice my most embarrassing dance moves! (does this count as exercise? I think yes!)

Tip #4: Taking a break & hanging with friends.

Stress Tip #4 PicIf I ever need a laugh, I know who to do to. Sometimes the best way to relax is to laugh it up with the people you love!

Tip #5: Blindfolded silence.

Stress Tip #5 PicFinally, I think that this technique is the most effective. I love to take five or ten minutes to totally unplug, cover my eyes with a sleeping mask, and pretend like nothing else exists in the world!

BONUS – Tip #6: keep it to a minimum.

All of these stress killers take no more than a half hour. It is easy to take a small break and get carried away with it. So the best thing to do with these tips is time them. Set a time limit for your break and stick to it, once the time is up – get back to work!

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It’s Not too Late to Motivate!

No, a squirrel didn’t knock out your power… You’ve just lost your motivation!

Blog Post 5 - It's Not too Late to Motivate 1With finals week upon us, it is extremely easy to lose your motivation and slowly, but surely, slip into the Winter Break mindset. Nope, it’s not break just yet, and the finals won’t be going anywhere until they are completed.

5 classes, 5 exams, 3 papers, 2 presentations, and finals week. Stressed is an understatement and to go in typical college-student fashion, I’ll be running on mass amounts of coffee and Red Bull. And it’s true; anything that could go wrong, will go wrong RIGHT NOW.

 

However, there are ways around all of that.

If you find yourself struggling to regain your motivation, here are some tips that I have found to extremely useful in my own experience:

  1. Focus on what will impact your life the most.
    • That’s why we’re all here, right? We aren’t here to have a glorified, expensive gathering; rather, we are here to further our education. Rank the 5 exams, 3 papers, 2 presentations and the rest of your finals in order of importance. Then, re-rank them in order of the time that they are due. Finally, only take necessary breaks and get your work done!
  2. Create a new challenge.
    • For me, I find that if I challenge myself I am more likely to remain interested in whatever I am doing. Changing how I view something, such as an assignment, forces me to think about the assignment in a different way. Different ways of thinking will keep you interested in the topics and that interest will be what keeps you going.
  3. If you’ve met your previous goals, establish new ones!
    • Goals are essential to keep your motivation strong. For me, if I am struggling with something, such as writing a huge term-paper, I break it into smaller sections. I will designate a certain section to be “due” on a certain day of the week and by “due,” I mean that I want to have that section done by that set day so I can complete another section as a later time. Therefore, the entire term-paper gets completed in little sections and does not overwhelm me nearly as much as it would if I sat down and tried to write the entire thing in one sitting. Projects, papers, and presentations become much more easy to handle if they are broken into smaller sections.
  4. If you find yourself struggling, don’t dwell on it!
    • There are quite a number of people on UC’s campus that are here to help you. I have found that I lose my motivation more and more if I become discouraged about something. Rather than getting discouraged all of the time, I find people to help me with something I may not understand or something I need an opinion on. Sometimes it’s necessary to just talk things out with others. So, don’t dwell on it, learn to deal with it in meaningful and useful ways.
  5. When you accomplish something, acknowledge it!
    • If you accomplish an assignment, a final exam, a presentation, those 3 papers that are due all at the same time, acknowledge your successes. If I complete an assignment early, I usually reward myself by relaxing that night and watching Netflix. Therefore, by getting ahead, I open up more time for myself, which is also necessary when my stress level is at an all-time high.

So when you think you’ve lost your mind and that you may have lost all of your motivation, just remember… it’s true that finals week can be extremely overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time going through finals week. However, with the right tips and tricks, it’s easy to overcome. Stay strong, stay motivated, and finals week will soon become a thing of the past.

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‘Tis the Season (For Stress)

Have you ever noticed how filled the library becomes when December hits? Well, it’s that time of the year again. The library is mobbed, the lines to get coffee are longer than usual, and the printers are heating up.

Tis the Season-2There is always that really, really thin line between being extremely stressed out or just officially checked out by the time the end of the semester comes around. You’re either zombie walking to your classes or leaving the library with bloodshot eyes from intensely studying. Or there are the complete opposite types of people who basically have just reached the end of caring. They either feel very confident or just cannot take the overwhelming feeling of the term “end of semester” gives them.

What does help the anxious feeling of finals are the events Utica College has during the final weeks of classes. As classes come to an end, Utica College’s Greek life throws an event called “Midnight Breakfast.” Midnight Breakfast is something I look forward to during the last weeks of hell. The cafeteria serves the most delicious breakfast at midnight on the last day of classes. At some point each student who attends Utica College makes their way to enjoy waffles loaded with syrup and Oreos or anything of your choice. It is something to take your mind off exams, and students are able to take a break from studying.

Because it is the last weekend of the semester, of course it would not be a great weekend without a Chi Beta Sigma bar night. The girls host the final bar night of the semester, “Naughty or Nice” in honor of the holidays approaching, which is another way students take their minds off the books and focus a little more on themselves. Over-studying is never a good idea, so why not celebrate the closing of yet another semester with friends?

But, if you’re not in the mood to get out of the dorm but you need something to take your mind off of the books, Jakki Pickett, a counselor from the UC Counseling Center gave me some good advice on how to manage stress and relax. She said, “It’s all about balancing your time with making sure you take a break for self-care: eating, sleeping, and exercising and setting out specific study times.”

After talking with Jakki, I tried some of her tips. When I feel a little overwhelmed, I take time for myself and nap. When I eventually wake up, I feel motivated to get more done. I also really enjoy exercising; I believe it is a great way to relieve stress and get one’s mind off of finals. Jakki also gave me a pamphlet that I thought was very useful. It gives students a couple of more tips such as diet, sleep and exercise plan. Students should visit the health center during a break to learn how to take care of themselves during this time of year.

The most important thing to do is to remember to be happy. Though it may not be the best time of the year, remember that everything comes to an end and to take time out for yourself.

“May the odds be ever in your favor.”

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How I Relieve Stress

College is stressful, duh. I honestly believe these years will be some of the most stressful in  my life. I am at a age where I’m kind of an adult, but not really. I am obviously not a kid but still need my parents for certain things but I am not really an adult but I do have adult bills but I am not making adult money. Let’s not forget about classes and extra-curricular activities. You don’t even need to be a math major to add it all up, it equals STRESS.

Stress is natural, it going to happen regardless. I hate stress, my tolerance for it is incredibly low. I try to avoid it at all costs.

Me dodging stress.  *kidding* it's Keanu Reeves in The Matrix The Matrix, 1999. [film, DVD]. Directed by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski. USA: Warner Bros.
Me dodging stress. *kidding* it’s Keanu Reeves in The Matrix; The Matrix, 1999. [film, DVD]. Directed by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski. USA: Warner Bros.
Not all stress is bad, when necessary it can get you out of a dangerous situation. According to the National Institute for Mental Health website, when you face a dangerous situation, your pulse quickens, you breathe faster, your muscles tense, your brain uses more oxygen and increases activity—all functions aimed at survival. In the short term, stress can even boost the immune system. Although it might feel like it is, college is not life threatening.

Routine stress is related to the pressures of work, family and other daily responsibilities (i.e, college). Over time, continued strain on your body from routine stress may lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety disorder, and other illnesses (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml).

This time of the year can be very stressful, graduation, finals, finding summer jobs. Here are three tips to help cope with stress:

1. Yoga – Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety.

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Jeff Percacciante ’12 Photo by Ramon Aiello

Yoga is offered as a one-credit course here but if you’re interested in taking additional classes, Jeff Percacciante, UC alumn and Area Coordinator teaches Monday and Thursday evenings at Body by Design in New Hartford.

2. Talk to someone!

 

The Counseling Center is available Monday- Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm, a counselor is available on-call after hours. For more information on the counseling center visit their website. If you think the counseling center is not for you there are other options. The great thing about UC is the number of faculty and staff members who have an open door!

3. Exercise

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Studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. My personal preferred form of exercise is swimming. For pool hours visit the Harold T. Clark Athletic Center.

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Stressing Out

Stress (n.)- a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances As college students we can all pretty much agree that stress is a fact of life.  It’s pretty much inescapable.  I am the kind of person who is ALWAYS stressed about something.  I even get stressed for other people.  If I find out one of my friends is procrastinating on a paper or something, I will be stressed out about it for them until it gets done.  Literally, other people’s lives give me agita. The thing is, we are all so stressed all the time that it seems like we’re getting to the point where we almost can’t function without stress.  I know I leave things to the last-minute even when I have plenty of time to get them done, and so do my friends.  Ask any chronic procrastinator and they will respond, “I work better under pressure”.  But is that really a good thing? The short answer is obviously no.  Stress can lead to a lot of mental and physical problems, but yet we seem to constantly put ourselves in stressful situations and stress out about things we can’t control ( i.e. my friends’ study habits).  In my opinion there are a lot of factors contributing to this, but one of the major ones is also one of the hardest to avoid. One of, in my opinion, the best things about Utica College is the variety and multitude of things happening on campus.  We have numerous clubs and organizations. with new ones forming all the time.  We also have varsity and intramural athletics, on campus job opportunities and internships, as well as events happening nearly everyday.  (That’s not even mentioning the classes, homework, and friends you’ll have)  Any time a group of students here is asked to give advice to incoming first years the most common answer is “get involved”.  And how can you not?  With such a range of exciting things happening, getting involved is easy and lots of fun.  The stress part comes from over-involvement.  It’s easy to look at all the groups on campus and want to be a part of everything.  And at first it might seem easy to balance them all too.  But as the semester goes on and workloads increase you’ll soon find yourself running between classes and meetings and getting a lot less sleep than you should be. I’m definitely not saying don’t get involved.  I’m involved in a bunch of orgs and I work on campus while balancing a double major and minor.  It’s definitely possible.  As a Junior here I feel like I can offer some valuable advice though… slow down and breathe.  Take some time for yourself at least once a week.  Time when you’re not thinking about everything you have to do when you can just relax a little bit.  Personally, I drink a lot of tea, go for runs, and do yoga once a week with my friends.  Find something that works for you and do it!! IMG_0330

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How To Be Stress-Free.

Being stress-free may be a challenging goal for most people, but there are ways to decrease the amount of stress you feel on a daily basis, especially with midterms right around the corner.

Personally, I do not handle stress well. I know this and live up to it. I do, however, try to reduce the amount of stress I feel on a daily basis. Here are some quick (and easy!) tips I have learned and have asked of others for how to reduce how stressed you feel.

1. Exercise!

Photo: Yoga with Jeff today was a success! Thank you to everyone who came out to support. Keep a look out for the next class.

(A picture from the yoga class I attended that the Utica College Medical Society, and Alpha Epsilon Delta put on.)

I find yoga incredibly relaxing. (And if you’re like me, there is going to be another charity yoga class put on soon, which you can attend!) However, if “namaste” really isn’t your thing, you can run, walk, lift weights, go crazy with the Insanity program, or do anything that gets you moving more than usual. Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t go crazy from stress.

2. Make Lists!

Write down what you have to do. I’m one of those people that writes down every. single. thing. I would forget something if I didn’t have it down on a post-it, or in a list. Also, you feel extra great when you get to cross something off your list. Being productive makes people feel happy. Happy=less stress.

3. Schedule Free Time!

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(A picture I tweeted last year from my personal planner)

This is a joke, I obviously don’t have to plan to be spontaneous. However, sometimes people forget. When you have so much to do, and so many classes requiring different things, you sometimes get so caught up in doing all the work. Take a break. Breathe. Watch some TV. Go creep on Facebook for a bit – whatever you can do to take your mind off of the work for a while;  just that small time off can help you destress.

4. Sleep!

(Brittany Thompson taking a nap in public.)

Take some time to sleep. Write it in your schedule if you have to. People get mean when they’re tired. Or people who are tired….are tired. When you’re tired you’re more susceptible to being irritable, being depressed, and increasing your stress levels. So, destress, take a nap.

5. Eat! (Regular Meals!)

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(When you’re stressed you should vary your diet. Eat fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates, and be sure to get good sources of protein.)

When I’m working along, I tend to forget to grab a meal, and when I’m hungry I just grab a quick bite by eating a granola bar or an apple. When you’re stressed, you should vary what you eat. Eat a wide variety of foods. Make Michelle Obama happy and choose foods from each part of the pyramid.

So, may the force be with you this midterms (and extra stressful) season, you can do it.

 

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