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Reducing Stress: Your Guide to Conquering Chaos and Sleeping Peacefully!

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Purdue chapter.

Life can often feel like a high-speed roller coaster, filled with responsibilities, deadlines, and unexpected twists and turns. Stress can be a constant companion, lurking around the corner and ready to pounce when you least expect it. Stress feels like it is an almost unavoidable part of life, and we all deal with it at times. It can become especially frustrating when it messes with our health and sleep. Once you mentally take a step back from the overwhelming environment or commitments you face, there are ways to handle it like a champ. We unveil the ultimate guide to not only understanding the havoc stress can wreak on your body but also mastering the art of relaxation and restful sleep.

What Stress Does to Your Body:

When stress kicks in, it’s your body’s way of saying, “Hey, we need to deal with this!” It pumps out adrenaline and other stress hormones to get you ready for action. Your heart races, you breathe faster,  and your muscles tense up – all parts of the “fight or flight” response. A bit of stress is totally normal; it keeps you sharp and alert. But if it’s non-stop, that’s when trouble can ensue. Chronic stress can lead to headaches, high blood pressure, and sluggish metabolism. It even messes with your immune system,  making you more prone to getting sick. Plus, it’s a party pooper for your mind, causing sleep troubles,  low focus, and mood swings. So, it’s a big deal to handle stress the right way and unwind before bedtime.

5 Tips to Reduce Stress:

Deep Breaths: When a person takes slow, deep breaths. It tells your brain to calm down, and your body listens. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest to feel the rise and fall of your abdomen with each breath. The breath focus technique combines deep breathing with mental imagery and a chosen word or phrase to enhance relaxation and alleviate stress and tension.

Get Moving: Regular exercise is like a superhero for stress. It lowers your stress hormones and pumps out endorphins, the feel-good chemicals. A 20-minute walk alone can clear your mind and ground stress. Trying a class at the CoRec to expand your current workout routine is also very beneficial and can increase mindfulness.

Effectively Manage Your Time: Effective time management involves both organization and the ability to decline commitments. Organizing your time with tools like planners, calendars, or priority charts can help reduce stress. Prioritize tasks, giving proper time for each, including study, work, family, and personal activities. Remember to make time for relaxation and hobbies. Learning to say no politely when necessary is essential to prevent overwhelming yourself with too many commitments, which can ultimately lead to increased stress. You are just one person! You can’t be everywhere doing everything at once!

Say Bye-Bye Caffeine: Laying off caffeine in the afternoon, even if you’re dragging through the day is a  huge help to reducing stress. While that mid-afternoon jolt may help you power through the day, it could be setting the stage for a restless night. By being mindful of when and how much caffeine you consume, you can secure a better night’s sleep and improve overall well-being. Don’t let that afternoon pick-me-up turn into a nighttime sleep setback – choose wisely and rest peacefully!

Sleep Routine: Supporting proper sleep hygiene in college is a barrier many people face. A regular sleep schedule helps you fall asleep faster and affords you with good habits. Also, avoiding your bed during the day and doing homework in bed is a huge part of this. Your bed should be a place for sleeping and relaxing, don’t bring your laptop with you! The comfort of the bed can easily lead to a loss of focus, with distractions like TV, phones, or chores in the room. It will also limit productivity due to the lack of space to organize study materials compared to sitting at a table. Working in bed can disrupt sleep patterns, as the brain associates the bed with work, making it harder to unwind and sleep restfully. Separating your bed and the place you do homework will reduce your stress and improve your sleep.

If you’re feeling the stress of school, don’t just tough it out! Try these tips and make stress your minion,  not your master. You got this and the path to serenity begins now.

This is an anonymous submission on behalf of a contributor for Her Campus at Purdue