With the midpoint of the semester upon us and finals/graduation around the corner, stress can snowball and cause negative effects on physical and mental health. Below are some techniques and tips to help you get through this potentially challenging time.
Regular practice of relaxation techniques can help bring down stress levels. It’s recommended you try to practice one of these techniques at least once per day. Set aside 10-20 minutes, free of distractions to dedicate to some relaxation time.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
Progressive Muscle Relaxation pairs the tension and release of muscles with regulated breathing to help cultivate a sense of calm throughout your entire body.
Mindfulness exercises have been scientifically proven to help with stress, anxiety, and a multitude of other mental and physical health problems. Some of our favorite free or low-cost apps to help you get started with a mindfulness practice are below. You should find plenty of guided mindfulness exercises tailored to your unique needs.
Coloring or Journaling
Coloring is a great mental break and can help with focus, managing stress and anxiety. Grab a set of colored penciles, markers, or crayons and check out this free coloring page.
Journaling helps you get out of your mind and put your thoughts on paper. Try taking a few moments to check-in and journal about how you are feeling and what is going on. For more information about journaling and stress management check out this page from Verywell Mind. Also, the video below includes tips on the different types of journaling from our very own Counseling Services Staff Therapist, Gricel Serrano.
Take Care of Yourself:
Basic needs can often be neglected when we are stressed. Remember that body and mind are interconnected and it’s important to take care of your physical health needs as well. Try to get plenty of rest, make sure you are eating regular meals (nutritious if possible) and get some exercise when you can.
Sleep is so important in keeping the mind and body well. If you find your mind is racing or you can’t wind down, check out these tips for mindfulness and sleep from Mindful.org.
If you feel like your sleep patterns need a larger overhaul, this article from the Sleep Foundation provides information on the main elements of good sleep hygeine.
Believe it or not but good nutrition is another stress management tool. Check out this simple guide from UNC for reminders on how to eat well during stressful times. Try to stock up on healthy snacks to help keep your stomach and brain fueled.
Did you know that even simple ten minute walk can have a big impact on mood and stress?
Give it a try. Rate your mood and stress levels on a scale of 1-10 (10 = feeling the best and 1 = the worst), take a brisk 10-15 minute walk and then rate your mood and stress level again. Chances are you will see even a small change for the better in that rating aferward.
Say it's snowing, give a YouTube workout a try or drop into a virtual class through Kinema Fitness, the gym at the Student Center.