On Wednesday evening, during my Management night class, my professor made a statement that considerably made my over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived, emotionally exhausted brain arise. “Stress is good,” she stated, “If you’re looking at stress from a scale of one to ten, you should be at about a seven.”
I guzzled down the last few drops of my fifth 16 oz. coffee that day, and started to consider the way stress affects my body, my brain, and how I perceive things, interact with others, and look at myself.
I’m a firm believer that people work best under when they have a lot on their plate. Maybe it’s the sense of urgency (to finally get in bed, that is), or maybe people simply derive motivation from knowing that if they don’t complete something at this moment, that the problem will only grow bigger and become significantly more overwhelming.
I consider myself a high-stress person, simply because I place high expectations on myself and sometimes I have quite a bit on my plate. I revel in the satisfaction of crossing something off my to-do list, and I admittedly often write trivial tasks in my planner just so I can cross it off. I’m motivated by my desire to succeed, and I often like to think that I handle it well. However, at what point is our stress healthy, and at what point is it causing us to transform into emotionless, tense, vegetables?
Everywhere on campus, a Loyola student can be found studying or rushing off to another class. Think about it – how many times a day do you see a student speed-walk through Damen, coffee in hand, eyes focused on the shuttle that they’re praying won’t drive away? Granted, this is me every single day, but why are we so stressed? Why are we always in a hurry to move on to the next thing?
Yes, we are college students, and yes, we are all taking rigorous courses. Pile on extracurriculars and personal responsibilities, like working out, cleaning the apartment, picking up a perscription, doing laundry, etc., and it only seems natural that undergraduates are in a constant state of panic.
However, think of campus during finals week. It’s draining, depressing, and bleak. Everyone stresses themselves out so much that we drain ourselves of energy, and consequently, it has a domino effect on those around us.
For the remainder of the semester, let’s all try to take at least 30 minutes each day to relax, whether that be going for a short run, reading a book, watching an episode on Netflix, or even taking a quick power nap. “Cura Personalis,” or “Care for the entire person,” is deeply embedded in the foundations of this university.
If we stress ourselves out to the point of exhaustion, nothing will be accomplished. As obvious as this sounds, it’s so simple to focus on the tasks we need to complete without even realizing our own physical and mental state. Care for yourself, care for others, and care for your community by allowing stress to only inspire you, not overcome you.