Healthy Stress Relief

School can be stressful, even more so when you add a job, social obligations, family matters and trying to stay healthy. We all start to reach a point of feeling like stress is taking over: whether it’s due to a hard assignment or exam, a personal problem or just feeling like you can’t catch your breath, there are ways to combat stress in a healthy way.

Lucky for BSU students, the Wellness Center offers counseling for free: you can go weekly or just once, but no matter how much time you spend there, it will be worth it. If anything, it gives you a safe place to talk about what’s on your mind with a professional. The Wellness Center is located in Weygand Hall and can be reached at 508.531.1331 for counseling services. Don’t feel embarrassed about asking for help, more people ask than you realize.

Exercise is another way to help you relieve stress. Even a short walk, when you start to feel overwhelmed, could take your mind off of everything for a bit. Not only does exercise lower your body’s stress hormones, it releases endorphins that improve your mood. There are so many benefits to exercise—it helps with sleep, builds confidence and makes a positive impact—reducing stress is just the beginning. Try out a yoga class, go for a jog, you could even use YouTube, and follow along with a video.

Reducing your caffeine intake could also help decrease your stress levels if—like me—you feel that you need caffeine to get through your day. The reality is, caffeine can lead to an increase in anxiety and feed into your stress level. Start off slowly by reducing your intake to only one cup of coffee per day, or try replacing an energy drink with tea.

One thing you can do that doesn’t take a lot of effort is to write things down while playing some soothing background music. Write down what you’re feeling, what you need to get done or what goals you want to accomplish this week and month. Write down anything: seeing that list you will help you focus on what’s most important, and having your goals listed in front of you will give you motivation. Writing down your feelings can also help you vent, even if you’re not comfortable telling anyone yet.

It’s hard to believe how little we laugh when we’re stressed out, despite how simple and easy it is. If you’re having a particularly stressful day try watching a funny episode of your favorite tv show or an old video of you and your friends. Laughter can help you feel some relief and distract you for a bit.

There are many ways to relieve stress that are not only beneficial to you, but are actually quite simple. Take a deep breath when things start to pile up and get hard, and know that you are capable of getting done what you need to do.

This article was written by Catherine Rafuse, ’19, a psychology major.