by Colleen Baker, mental health blogger
I feel like this week is insane for everyone around here, so here’s a little pick-me-up, “you can do it!”, stress-relieving post for you:
I am currently pretty sick. Yesterday around 5:30 p.m. while sitting in my counseling class, it hit me like a sharp wave. My head pounded, my body shook with the chills and it felt as though every joint and muscle in my body was aching. I generally felt as though everything was hazy and I was on another planet. Know the feeling? Now let’s look at the past couple of days: five or six hours of sleep a night, a full and insane schedule, and exams or assignments hanging over my head…and for Crazy Colleen, anxiety is just bound to be a part of all that. My body is simply crying out for help!
As adolescents we like to believe that we are invincible. Three days straight studying for Psych? No big. That’s why God made Red Bull and coffee. But just because we feel awake and healthy doesn’t mean we are. We freak about assignments, so we do them, regardless of the stress we’re putting on our bodies and minds. It has been proven time and time again that our brains’ work better with sleep and food, but it almost seems as though all of our natural needs are put aside as college students. We need to work on this.
There needs to be someway to keep that anxiety/stress level down below the point of freaking out and making your body feel like the only way to make you stop is to give you flulike symptoms. So, here are a few unofficial, Syracuse-oriented stress relief tips and tricks from Crazy Colleen:
1. Put down the book and sleep. I am a severe napper, always trying to find an hour or two to doze off and take a break. Then, I wake up and feel slightly rejuvenated.
2. Make “me” time. Seriously—schedule relaxation, TV, or Facebook time into your schedule.
3. Keep yourself healthy. If you can’t, Advil does wonders for headaches almost right away and Dayquil will take all of your daily cold symptoms away.
4. If you are prone to anxiety, have clinical anxiety, depression, or any of my “fun” disorders, do not let it control you! Especially when we are stressing out, we are going to take it out on ourselves. Bulimics will purge more, anorexics will fast, and those suffering from anxiety will have a hard time even completeing a task on time. Try to keep your schoolwork and disorder separate. Study in a new location that won’t remind you of a dark time in the past or listen to music.
5. Study in different areas on campus. There are so many hidden treasures at Syracuse. Ever heard of Panasci? Carnegie Library? Little nooks can be found in just about every building. Find one you like and make it your work spot. When you’re there, you are focused, even if everything else is in shambles.
6. Stay/get organized! Get a white board. Make that two, one for your month and one for your week. Write everything due down and everything you have to go to down as well. This way you can see what the month will be like and then indivdual weeks. Taking things day by day or week by week will make the larger tasks seem less terrifying.
7. SLEEP IN WHENEVER YOU CAN. I am proud to say that on some weekend when I have had the rare occassion of a free weekend day, I have slept to 5 or 6 p.m. Even though you may not be able to “make up” the hours lost throughout the week, your body and brain will love you for giving them some downtime.
8. Appreciate the little things. Cliche, but true. You got a B on a paper? Score. You made it to all of your classes this week? Double score. You made it to a single class this week. Whatever, you did something! I find myself feeling like a “waste” if I get less than expected on a test and end up saying something like, “I wonder if psychologists ever got an 80 on a Psych exam?” OF COURSE THEY DID! You are not perfect, no one is, so don’t expect that. You’ll give yourself a heart attack if each B you get makes you feel like you don’t deserve to be here.
9. Join a fun organization—one that is all about doing something you love to do, not one you feel you SHOULD do because it would look good.
10. Finally, know that all projects will eventually get done. The tests will be taken no matter what. You will still wake up the next day. Nothing about being a student means the end of the world for you. Eevrything you do is just bettering who you are—even when you think you’ve failed, you learned.
We’re all a little crazy, so just move on.
Counseling Center: 315-443-4715. Help is never out of reach.
Editor’s Note: What the Health Online and What the Health magazine are not licensed to give medical advice. The tips above are simply tips from a student with experience. If you are struggling with a mental disorder, please refer to your doctors to seek options that are right for you.