School and stress – find what works for you

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bio picAs summer comes to another close, the school year comes to another opening.

This is year 16 of my academic journey. When I think about the fact that only four years of my life have been spent outside of the classroom, it doesn’t seem real. School is what I know best.

However, with school comes a lot of another s-word.

I’m talking about stress.

I work two different jobs, go to school full time, write for my school newspaper, The Criterion, and I am part of PR club. You could say I like to keep myself busy. It feels like I am on a carousel that never stops spinning at high speeds, so jumping off isn’t really an option either.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the path my life is on. I thrive under stress, it motivates me. That being said, I know it doesn’t motivate everyone else. Some find it more of a hindrance. It’s important to find what relieves you. Figure out what clears your head.

So yeah, you can start with the classic textbook answers: take deep breaths, drink some tea, exercise and get a good night’s sleep.

I’m not saying those things don’t work. Science is proving that they do. They just don’t work for everyone. For instance taking deep breaths does help me- but only when I can remember to do it. I’m also a coffee addict. I can only drink tea if I am in the mood for it, and most of the tea I drink is black and caffeinated, so I’m not sure it meets the criteria. I love taking walks, but exercising isn’t my favorite thing to do. As for sleep? I can only laugh. Did you read my to-do list up above? Like I have time to make sure I am getting my eight hours.

Here’s the thing, I will go on a run, but I absolutely hate running. With a burning passion, I hate it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I feel good after it but it doesn’t make up for the burning in my chest the entire time I am pushing myself. So although it brings down my stress levels, I won’t do it enough for it to work for me on a regular basis. I’m a swimmer without a pool.

Here is where exploring your personal stress relieving options comes in handy.

My main stress reliever is dancing it out. I put on my favorite song on my iPod and dance like my life depends on it. I jump around in my room for as long as it takes for the weight to fall off my shoulders. I am pretty sure this is doing exactly what a more structured form of exercise would be doing for me, but I have a lot more fun dancing during a homework break than I do going for a run.

I go on walks. I feel the air on my face and I escape my reality for just a minute. I don’t think about that paper I should be writing, instead I think about how my feet sound against the pavement.

I call my sister and talk about her dogs. I talk to her about that embarrassing memory I have of her and I laugh until I forgot what I was worried about.

It doesn’t matter what you do, it doesn’t matter if you are following the typical stress relief rules. If it makes you feel good after a long day, do that.

School is one of the most challenging aspects of my life, but I figure it out as I go along. So get out there and find your own set of stress management policies.

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