Keys to College Success: Find Your Stress Relief

Bella (left) and Mollie (right) watch Cinderella with me on a Saturday night. This is how we spend most Saturday nights and we're all okay with that. Photo credit: Stephanie Kawula.

Bella (left) and Mollie (right) watch Cinderella with me on a Saturday night. This is how we spend most Saturday nights and we’re all okay with that. Photo credit: Stephanie Kawula.

If you didn’t already know from my post last semester regarding all the things I learned while being an first semester “RA,” I love guinea pigs. While they haven’t been life saves, I’m glad that I’ve had them in my life this year. I’ve found out that they calm me down when things get rough (and last semester they were rough). I’ve also found that they are the best stress relief method for me.



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It’s Time For Some Fun!! :)

So, as I’ve said a couple times (at least, I think I have)…this semester has been extremely stressful for me. Most of this stress has been because I’m enrolled in a drawing class that meets every Monday and Wednesday night from 6-9  and I can’t really provide the results that my professor expects from me since…I can’t draw. Lol. Lately we’ve been working on drawing a self portrait in charcoal and, for some reason, after I finished mine I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders in regards to my whole life. I mean, yesterday I actually sat down on the couch and watched 3 hours of TV (something I haven’t done since winter break last year). It felt so great to reminisce about watching CSI: Las Vegas with my mom while actually watching it. 🙂

I think because I’ve been so stressed I’ve forgotten to take a step back and appreciate the little things in my life…like TV and sleep and the beautiful weather outside. I feel like a completely different person right now…and I know it sounds crazy, but it’s the truth! Maybe it’s because I feel like I’ve got a handle on things right now. Maybe it’e because things have slowed down with school and work. Maybe it’s because I don’t have the stress of trying to figure things about with my “social” life (aka the guys in my life) and extracurricular activities.

If anyone gets anything from this blog I think it should be that people need to step back and take a breath. If you see things are getting tough, find someone to talk to, get another look at it, do something that you love to do (I would take pictures or watch TV, but that’s just me). My mom has been telling me (since August) to take it one day at a time…maybe even an hour at a time if things are that bad. I’ve started doing that and it’s remarkable how fast my day goes by…even my week seems to be going faster. I can’t believe it’s Thursday already!!

P.S.- If you’re curious about how my drawing turned out I’ll attach the photograph I drew from as well as my final product. I named it “Lonely Without My Nikon” because that’s how I feel when I can’t take pictures.

Got Stress?–You Bet!!

First of all, I’d just like to apologize for not blogging last week. I’d like to say that the reason I wasn’t able to blog was because every aspect in my life decided to go haywire, which made me stressed. With respect to that I thought blogging about stress relief would be helpful, not just to me but to everyone else as well.

Normally, I wouldn’t have time to look up articles like the one below because I would be so busy with homework, but this is actually part of my homework so…it all works out.

I think it’s interesting that the first tip to relieving stress is to listen to calming or classical music. I mean, it makes sense that you would want something with a slower rhythm to slow your heartbeat and therefore lower your blood pressure. Looks like I’ll be downloading some Yo-Yo Mama for my iPod. 😛

I don’t really agree with the second tip, which is to call a friend. Most of the time our friends are around our age, and, if you’re like me, they’re in college as well dealing with their own stress. I think this would work better for college graduates. Oh but wait…if you keep going through the tips, the third one is to talk yourself through it if your friends aren’t available. What if you’re pessimistic like me and think the world is out to get you? This part of the article suggests analyzing WHY you’re stressed and making a list of what you have to do to complete the task. Sounds like a good plan for everyone but me though. When I get stressed and try to make a list of what I have to do (and yes, I have tried to do this), I get overwhelmed.

The next tip (the tip to choosing healthy foods over junk food) honestly surprised me a little. I mean, being a woman I’m used to going for whatever I’m craving because…I can. I always thought that chocolate would make me happy because there’s a chemical in it that makes my endorphins in my brain go “weeeeee!” Of course, afterwards you always have guilt about eating chocolate so you have more chocolate to cheer you up and it’s a vicious circle.

Apparently this article knows what my responses are going to be because the next two tips are breathing and laughing to release endorphins. I swear, HealthLine, you really thought of everything.

Drink tea. Now I’m a little confused. Is this the legit tea where you have to boil water and put a tea bag in it or can I cheat and drink my water with peach iced tea mix-in powder? I guess the point of this tip is to stay away from coffee and caffeinated drinks (ie. no diet mountain dew for me) because caffeine increases adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and blood pressure.

Changing your lifestyle and exercising are the next two tips. Changing your lifestyle (I’m assuming) means making time and meditating.  That’d be great if you had time…normally that’s not something you see in college. Exercising…I never understood why people got excited to exercise. I’ve never been able to do that because I see it as a chore (probably because I’m a Weight Watchers member).

Ahhhh, this website saved the best tip for last. Sleep. Period. I can actually attest that this does reduce stress. There is a MAJOR difference in my stress levels between when I get 5 hours of sleep and when I get 8-10 hours of sleep. Thank goodness for weekends!