We can all relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed by the demands of student life, whether it be exam-time crunch, dealing with relationship issues, or simply trying to maneuver through the London transit system while carrying heavy bags of groceries--excessive stress takes a toll on our health and happiness! Chronic stress is correlated to negative health implications such as depression, anxiety disorders and heart disease. Health issues such as these can be avoided if you learn how to manage and cope with your stress effectively.
Exercise and Diet
At Western, the gym membership is included in our tuition, so why not make use of it! Bring our workout clothes with you when you head to campus and walk on over to the Thompson Recreation Center after class. Even half an hour of exercise everyday can greatly improve your mood and help relieve accumulated stress. Our recreation center offers great group drop-in fitness classes as well, take a look at the schedule here http://www.westernmustangs.ca/documents/2012/1/6/2012dropinschedule-web.pdf
Choose a healthy and balanced diet. This is something that is easy to lose sight of when you’re eating on campus all the time and spending your days studying away at Weldon. But, it’s important to remember to consume three well-balanced meals a day. If you’ve been skipping out on breakfast to make it to that morning class…stop and just wake up ten minutes earlier to get that meal in. If you’re on campus and itching for a snack, consider visiting the UCC grocery store located on the lower level of the UCC and pick up something healthy. A nutritious diet helps to boost our immune systems and build resistance against the effects that stress puts on our bodies. Make sure to get those daily nutrients in because when you’re under stress, your energy will be drained at a much higher rate than usual.
Take sometime for yourself and relax!
Make time for the most important person in your life…you. Relax and go for walk; take in and enjoy the lovely scenery that nature has to offer. Spend some down time with your friends-- go out for lunch or enjoy a romcom; Western films on the second floor of the UCC offers cheap movie nights on Tuesdays, if you’re ever interested click here http://www.usc.uwo.ca/wfilm/index.html. If you’re feeling stressed, take a long bath, light some scented candles or curl up with a good book and a glass of wine or tea. Also, make sure to pamper yourself every now and then; go for a massage, throw on a face mask, or listen to some relaxing music.
Get a good night’s sleep
I know, we’ve all done it; 8 am class tomorrow morning but decide, “Hey, I can make it to class AND go to Jim Bobs tonight”. However much fun you might have throughout the night, the next morning,
we usually end up hating life and have to fight to keep our eyes open during lecture. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep in a night. The fact is that an insufficient amount of sleep negatively affects our mood and stress level. Adequate sleep is imperative for proper brain functioning; it fuels your mind, as well as your body. In turn, stress can affect your ability to sleep. So if you’re having troubles falling asleep, do an activity before bedtimethat puts you in a relaxing mood. Stay away from using consumer electronics that emit bright lights such as laptops as this can stimulate your brain making it difficult to fall asleep, and make sure to steer clear of caffeine or exercise right before bed.
Take charge of your life and avoid stressors
It’s important to take charge of your thoughts and emotions, your schedule, your surroundings and the way you deal with the troubles in your life. Sort out your schedule in a way that works for you, and try try TRY to avoid procrastination (as this tends to increase stress). If something is bothering you, it is OKAY to take a time out every once in a while to stop and think about your life and reflect on issues at hand. In fact, I find reflection quite effective in managing stress, go for a walk, think about the issue that is causing you stress and once you’ve gathered your thoughts and have put aside those initial irrational emotions, DEAL WITH THE ISSUE, don’t let it slide to the farthest depth of your mind. It is possible to enjoy a balanced life with time for relationships and socialization, relaxation, work, and fun.
As students, it’s important that we know how to access resources that are available to us, so check out the workshops offered by the UWO to help you deal with managing your stress and emotions! Follow this link to register for free https://studentservices.uwo.ca/secure/workshops/psychWorkshops.cfm