How to relax when things get stressful

CAMMIE BAGLEY
Living/Athens Editor

Life, especially as a college student, can become very overwhelming at times. In a 2015 study conducted by the American College Health Association, 30% of students reported that within the past year, stress negatively affected their academic careers. Additionally, 85% reported feeling overwhelmed due to classwork, according to an article published by college.usatoday.com.

“College can be really stressful when trying to balance everything out,” Junior business major Mary Bess Skinner said. “I’m a double major. I play basketball and am in several different clubs. It’s hard to find time to hang out with my friends and do things that I want to do.”

Due to all of the activities and course work that college entails, as well as wanting to fit in social lives, students can become easily overwhelmed. That is why it’s important to take time to find ways to relax and manage excessive amounts of stress. Otherwise, one could become physically sick or even develop anxiety problems.

One tactic to manage stress is to keep a journal of one’s feelings. Many times this method of de-stressing can allow one to express things that one wouldn’t want to talk about with others. Another form of journaling is to keep a gratitude journal. This is a way to remind oneself about the things in life that are worth being happy about. This journal can be reflected upon later to remind the author of something that doesn’t cause them anxiety.

Finding time for physical activity is another common way to release one’s tress. This doesn’t necessarily mean having to do a tough workout or running three miles. Instead, this could include taking a walk for some fresh air or doing some jumping jacks to get the blood flowing. Physical activity is important for one’s health, regardless of excessive stress, but moving around does help relieve feelings of worry. According to webmd.com, physical activities “release feel-good chemicals” that help eliminate stressful feelings. One common form of physical activity that is used for relaxation is yoga. The fitness center at Piedmont College offers yoga classes on Mondays at 5:15 p.m., Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Fridays at 4 p.m.

Many students also enjoy getting outside and breathing in some fresh air in order to calm themselves down. In this technological age, nature isn’t the first thing on most students’ minds. It’s becoming increasingly more popular to stay inside and play on gadgets than it is to get outside and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. By getting outside, one develops a more positive attitude and a renewed sense of direction, according to crchealth.com. Setting aside time to spend in the environment can lead to a feeling of rejuvenation.

Piedmont College’s student counselor and case manager Evonne Jones agreed that these methods of stress relief work.

“Oftentimes, it may simply boil down to a matter of bringing our lives into balance by becoming more aware and accepting of our own limits and living within them, by asserting ourselves and learning to say no, and by spending more time with loved ones and removing ourselves from unhealthy associations,” said Jones.

Regardless of how a student chooses to spend his or her downtime, it’s important that the student is doing something to relieve the stress caused by academics. Being overwhelmed can lead to anxiety problems, which in turn can cause one to become physically or mentally sick. Keep these tips in mind on ways to reduce stress, but if a student is feeling overly anxious and doesn’t know how to manage the way he or she feels, the student should be sure to speak with a friend, loved one, a professor or Jones, whose office is located in the Lane Student Center.