Relieving stress (or downright avoiding it) while preparing to head back to school is key to actually having a good first week. If you go to school in a different city of state or if you don’t have your own apartment, back to school usually means packing and moving again.
Stress can cause an array of problems on your body and mind, according to the Mayo Clinic it can even contribute to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Moving stresses the crap out of me and I’m a total procrastinator when it comes to packing and gathering documents and doing all the crap you need to do before registering, attending classes and trying to fit all your stuff into a tiny dorm room. By senior year I finally found a rhythm to getting my shit together before the college chaos begins!
Make A To-Do List
Yes, making lists is as boring as it sounds buuuuut, whenever I make them as I’m writing, more and more things that I would have forgotten otherwise begin to pop up. Lists of what you need to pack, what you have to do and when you have to do it by are necessary reminders to staying on track. The most stressful thing for me is freaking out because I don’t have enough time to complete a task.
Some people can eat pizza and Mountain Dew and feel great. (Lucky mofos!) However, I have a whole bunch of food sensitivities and eating poorly not only affects my mood but my drive and will to do things. Eating a ton of sugar makes me lazy, sleepy and sad. Plus, when you’re eating better your body is functioning better, the last thing you want to do is get sick just before you have a bunch of stuff to do.
Eat Chocolate And Stress Fighting Foods
I’ve read this on more than one occasion but dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher) has stress relieving anti-oxidants. “Cocoa beans are rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant, which counteract the anxiety-producing hormone, cortisol. If possible, opt for brands that offer the purest form, preferably organic and made from “single estate” or “single origin” beans.” Other stress fighting foods include oatmeal, skim milk, salmon, walnuts, spinach, blueberries and sunflower seeds.
Sleep! Sleep! Sleep!
Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day will keep you sane. If your body and mind are tired all the time you’re not going to perform as well, think as clear or find the will to you know, research when you have to register, get a new student ID or pack.
Go Out, Have Fun!
Patch Adams wasn’t JK’ing when he said laughter was the best medicine. According to the Headington Institute, “Laughter and positive emotions release “feel-good” chemicals that act to undo the cardiovascular effects of negative emotions and help our bodies relax.” When you push yourself into only one thing you’re going to quickly begin to resent it. Planning ahead, with that to-do-list, will give you time to do a little over an extended period of time instead of doing a lot all at once. That means you have time to go out, have fun and enjoy the rest of the summer. What’s a better combatant to stress than actual pleasure?
Working out (or getting laid) releases endorphins in your brain which are the happy chemicals that stop you from getting into a shouting match with your mom because she was supposed to drive you to Target to get a shower caddy, omgaaaaawd.
If you’re in the middle of a panic or feel like the world is closing in on you: breathe. It actually works. When we’re stressed we actually breathe shallower breaths making it difficult to inhale enough oxygen. “Sitting up, close your eyes and inhale and exhale, nice and easy, then repeat 10 times. Or, lie down, place a pillow under your knees, and put your hand on your belly to feel your breath rise and fall. You can say the words ‘rising’ and ‘falling’ in your head as you take in and release your breath.”
Stress affects your entire state of being and there is nothing more stressful then moving or starting something new. Being aware that there is impending stress will help you prepare to stop it in its tracks and smoothly sail into a new semester. Relieving stress isn’t difficult, it just requires a more balanced approach to life.
[Image Via. Shutter Stock / Andrzej Wilusz ]