Tips for Stress Management as Finals are Upon Us

So this is will probably be the least-read post I will ever write because it unfortunately falls on the first day of finals (*dun dun dun*).

Therefore, I will keep it short and sweet by providing you lovely readers of ours with some Tips for Stress Management, provided by Student Academic Success Services (SASS), located in 340 Appleby Hall, number (612) 624-3323. Some tips are more long-term (try them out winter break), while some are short-term and can help you out during finals. Any comments I decide to throw in will be in bold. Simple enough? K, let’s do this!

Tips for Stress Management (presented by SASS)

Stress is not inherent in any event; it lies in how we perceive that event. For example, if the resources we bring to an event are equal to or greater than the demands of the event, we will not perceive the event to be stressful. On the other hand, if our resources are less than the demands, we do experience stress.

The key to effective stress management is to balance resources with demands. You can do this in 2 ways: 1. increase resources, or 2. decrease demands. The following tips are intended to help you find some balance and manage stress effectively.

1. Eliminate pseudo stress “solutions” that impair your health such as tranquilizers, sleeping pills, alcohol, and cigarettes. Yeah…just don’t be about that life, in my opinion.
2. Recognize short-term solutions such as shouting, crying, or taking a hot bath to be what they are – short-term (use them as needed but not on a regular basis). They only cover up the real issue temporarily.
3. Prioritize your tasks into “essential”, “important”, and “trivial.” Follow that order for completing tasks. Consider dropping all the “trivials”. Take one thing at a time. Google Tasks in the Calendar or Sticky Notes on my computer do really well for me, as well as the Reminders app on my iPhone.
4. Try to be satisified with a less than perfect performance from yourself. I know, it’s hard…but your best is most valuable.
5. Change your internal language. Instead of saying, “I have to…,” say I choose to …” Instead of getting down on yourself, support yourself the way you would support a close friend. It also increases your ownership in a positive way.
6. Learn to organize your time. There are many classes, services and books available on time management. Google Calendar. Color coordinate. ‘Nuff said.
7. Take care of your body. Eat well, sleep enough, exercise regularly, and … breathe. I don’t play about my sleep, and you shouldn’t either. Oh yeah, and the eating and exercising too…
8. Learn to accept what you cannot change. If the problem is beyond your control now, try to let go of it until you can change it. So that quiz you bombed? If you got all the extra credit you could and your grade still isn’t going up, well…yeah.
9. Recognize stress signals. When you feel stress setting in, observe your body and learn where it hits (what happens first? … tension in your neck or back, headache, frustrated more easily, less motivated?). The earlier you can recognize stress signals, the easier it is to change your behavior and stop the progression of the stress. And have massage sessions with your friends if your bodies tense up!
10. Choose wisely. There are many ways to manage frustration & anger. Hiding your anger is more stressful than expressing it – know the trade-offs each option has when expressing anger. Consider the kind of situations it is worth hiding anger and situations when it would be better to express it. I like to vent to a close friend or my mom as well as write in a journal. Getting it off my chest helps me not build up anger.
11. Work off stress. If you are angry or upset, try to blow off steam physically by running, biking, etc. Physical activity gives you a “fight” outlet for mental stress. Wish I knew what that was like…lol
12. Learn relaxation techniques and practice them regularly. Bio-feedback, diaphragmatic breathing, and meditation are two useful routes. Truuuuu.
13. Keep a journal. Observe when you are stressed, the causes, your responses, and the outcome. Make some observations about which techniques are most helpful. Hey I said that 3 tips ago! See look at that. 🙂
14. Share your concern with someone – a friend, a family member, or a counselor. Groups can be an effective option. Hey I said that too! I’m saying y’all.
15. Do something for others. Sometimes when you are too distressed, you tend to focus on yourself. When you find this happening, consider doing something for someone else to get your mind off yourself. This does work, and teaches humility in a sense at the same time.
16. Develop a hobby or interest that you really enjoy and one which is totally separate from your academic or professional work. Allow yourself to pursue it. If you don’t have one now, try to pick one up during winter break.
17. Develop preventative, long-term strategies for dealing with stress (ie., nutrition, relaxation, regular exercise) and immediate, responsive techniques (ie., assertiveness training) to deal with events and episodes that come up. Winter break is the best time to re-evaluate your regimens and routines.
18. Don’t wait for the time “When you can relax” – That ‘time’ may never come. Learn to relax now (before the day comes) – then it will already be here. When you feel like you need to take a break, take it. Make it quick, but take it. Short, frequent breaks are often better than long, less frequent breaks.

Again, thanks to Student Academic Success Services for the quick tips for stress management, and good luck on finals from your friendly neighborhood Women’s Center!

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