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Tips for Lightening Your Stress this Semester

Once again, another school year is here, and whether your classes are online, hybrid, or in-person, we all could use a little help getting used to the new schedule of our world.  After all, gyms are closed, and social events are too few and too far between.  It’s imperative to find a schedule that works best for you, but there’s a couple of constants that you should consider when finding a fall plan that works for you.

Get enough sleep

There seems to be a competition on who can do the most amount of work and get the least amount of sleep.  A sick sort of reward is at the end of the tunnel of those long all-nighters: the applause and horror of your friends and family.  This is a trap I fall into frequently, convincing myself that all the late night work will get me closer to reaching the end of the tunnel.  However, studies have shown that despite a couple of myths that still surround our culture (some of which you can check out here), sleep and the quality of sleep we get affects our mood, health, brain, and focus throughout the day.  Every person is different, and sometimes the recommended 8 hours will leave you feeling groggy and tired (I know it does for me).  After experimenting, I found that 7 hours keeps me functioning and happy, though some of my friends need to get as much as 10 hours a night to feel refreshed.  If you don’t know what’s best for you, find a time when tests aren’t coming up and life isn’t too hectic to change when you go to bed and when you wake up.  Your body has its own Circadian Rhythm (the internal clock that tells you that it’s bedtime or time to wake up) and finding  and listening to it, is so important. .  You don’t want to be experimenting on yourself with sleep when you’re stressed and busy.  Be sure to stay off electronics for the recommended 30 minutes before going to bed and get that beauty rest! You deserve it after all.

Work out!!

I’ll level with you: this is one of my BIGGEST pitfalls! Getting your body moving, especially when you’re sedentary at a computer all day, is crucial to a having a healthy mindset. However, working out is something that  can easily slip your mind if you get too caught up in work.  If you were on campus would you be walking in between classes? Think of being off campus in the same way and take a socially distant walk around the neighborhood (if possible) and get the creative juices flowing for your design project.  A hard HIIT workout might be what your body needs to put the pieces together on those tricky  economic problems .  Some simple yoga poses or stretches can allow your brain to take a break from your chemistry lab.  Working out and getting those endorphins going for the day will make you feel alert and happy about the work you’re doing!  And, let’s not forget, there’s some aesthetic benefits to it to ?

Socialize and Talk to People

The social life of students at ASU is world-renown, and with the state of the global pandemic, it can be hard to feel comfortable going out even with a mask.  But that’s no excuse to compromise your social time altogether.  Getting together via Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, or whatever you want to use and joking around with other people is healthy.  This past summer, a group of my friends created a PowerPoint party and we presented PowerPoints on topics that we found “important.”  Topics included which Disney Channel Original Movie is the best, the importance of good boat care, how to study for a Professional Engineering test, and whether or not the moon is made of cheese.  And you’d think I made that up, but that’s what quarantine has brought us to.  /GIF OF FACEPALM  In all seriousness, movies, dinners, drinks, and so many activities can be held via online servers.  ASU even has a Discord server of people who plan trivia nights, nights out, and so much more.  You might feel alone with social distancing, quarantine, and the fear pervading our world.  However, your friends and family can build you up and help you to see that there is light and hope in the world and the community of love that you’ve built will always help to bring out the joy you so desperately need.

Make a Reasonable Schedule -- Then Stick to It

There’s a reason we gravitate toward beautiful planners with sections and tabs (or that might just be me).  Humans  tend to want to follow a schedule.  As free-spirited as some people are, there has to be a framework in which we operate.  It can be as loose or as rigid as you like, though be sure to give yourself some wiggle room.  You don’t have to set hard and fast deadlines (this isn’t school after all, it’s your life).  Rather, build a schedule around your life (and not the other way around) that allows you to live your life, see the necessary tasks that need to be accomplished, and find comfort in the knowledge that you do have a plan can be a beautiful scaffold on your way to success.

Times are crazy and trying to learn how to cope with our world can be stressful.  But, if the past 10 months have taught us anything, it is that we are strong and capable of exceeding our own expectations.  We can set the bar high, achieve, and shine despite the darkness around us.  So, attack this school year with drive, dedication, and hope.  I promise you, I’ll be right there alongside you in the trenches and in the Zoom calls.

A senior in Electrical Engineering at ASU
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