The Paw Print
One of the biggest challenges in college is not what many would think it is. It’s not studying, balancing a social life, or eating healthy; it’s managing stress. As people become more stressed, they are unable to do the other challenges they believed they would face. However, managing stress is easier than it sounds.
The first step to managing stress is identifying what’s causing it in the first place. Oftentimes, once you isolate the issue, you can easily solve the problem and move along. Once you identify the source of stress, you must make one of two conclusions. The first is to figure out if you’re stressed because you are avoiding the issue and the second is to figure out if you’re stressed because of the issue. If the first conclusion applies to the situation, then the easiest way to relieve stress is to stop procrastinating. However, if the second conclusion applies to the situation, there are a variety of ways to relieve stress.
One of the best ways to relieve stress is to take a nap. Not only does it allow your mind to relax, it allows your body to relax as well. The only downside is that if you take too long of a nap, you’ll be more tired than before, which can lead to even higher stress levels. Studies have shown that the ideal amount of time for a nap is 15-30 minutes. If sleep is not one of your strong suits, sometimes the exact opposite is an ideal way to manage stress: exercise. Even just a 30 minute workout can work miracles on stress. According to several studies, exercise releases endorphins, which elevate mood and help to eliminate stress.
A personal favorite of stress relieving techniques for me is reading. While reading is not for everyone, it is soothing to escape from reality for a bit before challenging stress head-on. Some of my favorite books are:
1. The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani
2. The Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater
3. All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven
4. The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black
5. The Lorien Legacies, by James Frey, Jobie Hughes, and Greg Boose (all of them collectively known as Pittacus Lore)
All of these books appeal to different genres, but all allow for an escape to someplace that is free of your own stress.
I also enjoy listening to music to relieve stress. It helps to focus on what instruments are used, what the words mean, and to listen to how/when/if the beat changes. Focusing on these can distract from whatever it is that’s stressing you out. Some of my favorite artists (and my favorite songs by them) are:
1. Billie Eilish, When the Party’s Over
2. Halsey, Without Me
3. Khalid, Better
4. Florence + the Machine, Hunger
5. Corrine Bailey Rae, Put Your Records On
All of these artists are either R&B artists or alternative artists, but their music is very calming and easy to analyze.
While not all of these techniques work for everyone, they can at least contribute to lessening stress levels.