October is stressful, taking care of yourself deconstructed

Oct 13th, 2017 | By | Category: 2017-2018, Lifestyles

By Raquel Reynolds
Contributor

October brings death — both in the celebration of holidays and the accumulation of stress from the school year. It signifies the beginning of a high stress point brought on by tests, senior proposals, built-up homework and general emotional exhaustion. We begin to prioritize our schoolwork over ourselves, cutting out all but the “essentials.” Some feel like the necessary thing to do is to shave off time spent eating, sleeping and relaxing to complete assignments. This leads to the unhealthy cycle of stress that plagues our community.

Many students cite different reasons for the source of their stress.

An anonymous student said, “This is the time of the year that all teachers pile on work, you got family in town, work to be at and somehow you are expected to maintain a balanced lifestyle. Me, first thing I do is when I see all this work is I ignore it and make bad decisions till it grows into a monster pile that I gotta skip school to finish. It’s a wonder I absorb anything in at all.”

Joy Ogasawara, an MBA student, cited the source of her stress as, “having to do schoolwork and not getting a lot of sleep and still having to do schoolwork. The system has overworked us in some way. There are a lot of high expectations but I like to think it will be worth it. But yeah, there’s just a lot of stuff, especially in October.”

As midterms loom in the distant future, we as a community must find relief from the stress in healthy ways. Fellow anonymous classmates offer their advice:

  1. Get your full 8 hours of sleep — “A good rest can do wonders for the system.”
  2. Exercise — “It helps burn stress and boost endorphins, making me feel better.”
  3. Soothing music — “There are plenty of playlists available designed for anxiety.”
  4. Meditate — “To find inner peace and restore calm.”
  5. Make lists — “In order to prioritize and visualize your goals and better plan your time.”
  6. Eat a good meal —“Sometimes all you need is to eat properly to boost brain power.”
  7. Clean your room — “Having a tidy room helps you to focus more. Cleaning can be stress relieving.”
  8. Find an animal and touch it — “Animals are good pure things that make you feel whole.”
  9. Social interaction — “Sometimes talking or being with people can make you feel better.”
  10. Write — “Pouring out your emotions onto paper really helps.”
  11. Read something you find fun — “Laughter is the best medicine.”
  12.   Watch something funny — “Cat videos and vine compilations are great.”
  13.   Do a puzzle — “Concentrating on one problem for a while lets me feel more grounded.”
  14. Drink tea — “Tea brings peace and clears out all the sadness.”
  15. Dance — “Just let loose for a while and shake the worries away.”
  16. Smell nice smells — “Lavender is very soothing for anxiety.”

There is a difference between tenacity and overworking one’s self. Instead of saying “take care of yourself,” what we really need to encourage is that it is okay to take breaks, sit down, decompress and start over fresh. Deadlines and poor planning can give anyone a bad day, but it is important to take a break afterwards and let yourself rest. If we all can maintain our health and manage our stress, it will result in all our lives improving and add to a safe and healthy experience.

 

rreynold@willamette.edu

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