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My Campus Survival Guide: Too Stressed to Impress

Top 5 ways to relieve stress, even in the most stressful times!

Do you ever feel like you have so much stress building up that it is interfering with the tasks ahead of you? Trying to balance classes, homework, jobs and a social life isn’t easy! Here are some quick tips to refreshing your mood and preparing you to brave the road ahead.

1. Set down the books and go for a walk

The best way to relieve stress is to let your brain take a break from the work you are trying to get done, but still keeping it active. This is so important because shutting down your mind will make it harder to keep yourself motivated once you start up your stressful activities again. Going on a walk is not only great exercise, but also a great way to let your mind wander to topics that make you happy.  While exercising, your body lets out endorphins, also known as the “feel good” hormone. These endorphins relax your body. The fresh air helps to send more oxygen to the brain, giving you a calming sensation. When you arrive back from your walk you will be refreshed and ready to finish the task you left off with.

2. Turn on some music

When braving a long paper or studying for a hard test, music can be relaxing and help you better concentrate. I’m not suggesting you throw on your favorite thumping dance tunes, (we can save those for the bars) however, find a band with a calming sound and let it play lightly while you do your work.  The mellow sound of the guitar will help keep you calm while you get your work done. One option for relaxing music is to sign up for Pandora on your computer, type in a song that you like and the site will automatically generate songs from the same genre. It’s a great way to listen to soft tunes and learn about new music you might like. Some relaxing bands are The Beatles, Jimmy Eat World, The Fray, One Republic and my personal favorite, the Goo Goo Dolls. Make a playlist on your computer and iPod that you can put on whenever you sit down to do your work or walk to class. Putting the playlist on before class can also put you in a more relaxed state before you get a bunch of new material thrown at you.

3. Play mind challenging games

Just like exercising, mind-challenging games will help take your mind off the stressful events in your life while still engaging your brain. Grab a magazine with puzzles in the back, a sudoku book, or even go on websites with different puzzles and take fifteen minutes to think about something other than your schoolwork. If the puzzle is extra hard, your homework or other stresses may even seem easy compared to it! My favorite game to play when I need a break from my homework is Tetris. If you find yourself stressed in between classes, grab a copy of the UMass Daily Collegian and find a quiet space to engage in the puzzles in every edition.

4. Go for a drive

Nothing is as relaxing as hitting the open road while clearing mind with your favorite tunes. When you are feeling extra stressed and need to leave your house and get out, grab the keys and find an easy route with beautiful scenery. Singing along to the music softly playing in the background will help you concentrate on the words instead of the stress. When you come back to reality, you will be ready to get back into groove and conquer that stress ahead.

5. Read your favorite magazine or blog

Taking a few minutes away from your work to read your favorite magazine or blog will help you relax and maybe even give you great ideas for your work. There have been countless times that I have taken breaks from essays and gone on my favorite websites to find creative ways of writing or even topics to write papers on. Reading these articles can also change your perspectives on your schoolwork by adding new views and information about everyday events. While reading your favorite article, you are feeding knew knowledge to your brain in a way you enjoy. My biggest suggestion is to avoid Facebook because it is highly addictive and will not give you the same benefits that other websites will give you. Some websites I love to check out are celebrity gossip, people’s secrets, sites suggested for me, and most importantly Her Campus. These websites offer an array of different topics and can keep you occupied until you are ready to get back to work.  

There are many things you can do to relieve stress, but just remember to always have your mind working while taking your break. You will feel better once you go back to your work and even do a better job. Taking the fifteen to twenty minute break will help you feel refreshed. Remember to always keep your focus because there is nothing worse than procrastination! Stress is a big part of life and learning how to manage it will help you live a happier and healthier life.

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