Reading Period: A time of the semester that is synonymous with lack of sleep, large intakes of caffeine and STRESS. Sounds like fun, eh?
If you’re a fan (and by fan I mean procrastinator) of waiting until this “special” time of the year to start studying, then you know the routine: all-nighters, nail biting and STRESS. Are the words on the pages starting to blur? Here, let us turn on that light at the end of the tunnel for you. You will be all right.
For many of us, stress is normal. It helps us stay focused and alert, giving us the rush we need to finish the task at hand. But too much stress -- or poorly managed stress -- can damage your health, your mood, your relationships and your productivity.
But you knew that. And you don’t want that to happen (again). So here are 8 ways to manage your stress during this (and any) time of year:
1. Nap your heart out.
If your eyes are getting heavy staring at the computer screen, give in to a short nap. A few naps throughout the day will clear your mind and reset your focus. Set the timer on your phone for 15-20 minutes per nap.
2. Healthy snacks.
Simple rule of thumb: If it comes out of a coin-operated machine, it’s probably not healthy. Processed foods (including those “healthy” pretzels and Sun Chips) spike your energy for a quick burst only to leave you crashing an hour later (and that 15-minute nap isn’t going to help). Grab some celery sticks or nuts to have handy when the munchies arise.
3. Get a massage.
Well, of course I’m going to say that -- I’m a massage therapist. But there’s a reason WHY I’m a massage therapist: It works. Massage not only helps to loosen up those tense back and neck muscles you’ve been overusing while hunched over your laptop, it might also help you achieve the elusive Reading Period Good Night’s Sleep. To read more about why massage is awesome, click HERE.
A lot. Get up. Yes, right now. Get up and do what the woman in the picture below is doing. Stretching and movement increases circulation (so does massage!) and helps you refocus your attention back to the task at hand. Taking a longer break and hitting a yoga class is even better.
5. Pick the right tunes.
432 Hz, to be exact. Music tuned to 432 Hz is softer and brighter, giving greater clarity and is easier on the ears. Many people experience more meditative and relaxing states of body and mind when listening to such music. YouTube has a great selection of 432 Hz ambient music that lasts for hours and hours.
6. Breathe, specifically Pranayama style.
Pranayama breathing creates a sense of calm in your mind and body, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which reverses the stress response in your body. Deep breathing stimulates the main nerve in the parasympathetic nervous system—the vagus nerve—slowing down your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure, and calming your body and mind.
Click HERE for a step-by-step Breathing Guide.
7. Set much more realistic goals than you normally do.
You’re not going to finish that paper today, and you know it. So set a realistic deadline. You won't actually be accomplishing any more or less than usual, but you will remove the guilt from believing you should have done more.
8. Drink water.
Lots of it. Drink a huge glass first thing in the morning. Drink it throughout the day. Carry a big bottle of water wherever you go as a constant reminder to drink, drink, drink!
You will get through this, we’re certain. Just remember where you are, how far you’ve come and leave the door to the future wide open. You’ll be just fine.
Want to take preventive measures to ensure this won’t happen again next semester? Click here to read The 20 Daily Practices That Changed My Life. Because it’s good to have goals, right?
Elm City Wellness can help you with stress management! To learn more about their services, visit www.elmcitywellness.com.