UNDER PRESSURE: HOW STUDENTS CAN COMBAT STRESS
You might not know about Stress Awareness Day (it was Wednesday, November 1, btw), but that’s okay. COLLEGE STUDENTS KNOW PLENTY ABOUT STRESS. Huge life transition? Check. New classes? Check. Major responsibility? Double check. But that doesn’t mean stress has to swamp you! Read on for simple ways to keep calm during college.
COUNSELING ON CAMPUS
Need help handling stress? The UCA Counseling Center is home to a team of counselors and psychologists – along with master’s-level graduate trainees – providing mental health services on campus. Their mission is to help students and faculty effectively meet life’s demands and challenges.
Each year for the last two years, the center has seen more than 500 students for one or more counseling sessions. Although students present a wide range of concerns, the five most frequent are:
- Feeling depressed
- Worrying too much
- Sleep problems
All costs associated with these services are included in tuition, so students don’t pay anything for visits. The UCA Counseling Center is located in the Student Health Services Building, Suite 327, and is open Monday through Friday during fall and spring semesters. Call (501) 450-3138 for details or to schedule an appointment.
5 TIPS FOR MANAGING STRESS
Get plenty of sleep
Pulling all-nighters is stereotypical college behavior, but sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on physical AND mental health. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night and keep a steady sleep cycle based on the sun. That means going to bed before midnight and getting up in the morning, rather than staying up into the wee hours and sleeping in the afternoon.
You’ve heard it a million times: a balanced diet is essential for overall health. But did you know that refined sugars, food dyes and fast food can zap your energy and leave you even more vulnerable to stress? Fuel your mind and body with plenty of fruits, veggies and whole grains. And don’t forget the H2O!
When classes and homework and tests are looming large, you might be tempted to hide under the covers. But heading to the HPER will actually help you manage the load. In fact, just 20 minutes of physical activity a day can reduce your stress levels – and UCA students have lots of activities to choose from! Take a hip-hop class, go swimming, practice yoga, play basketball or do whatever else is fun for you.
Say no to energy boosters
Artificial stimulants, including caffeine pills and energy drinks, might get you through an all-night study session. But the inevitable crash takes a real, sometimes scary, toll on your body. It should also go without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that you should NEVER take someone else’s prescription meds. It’s not just dumb. It’s illegal.
Seriously, put down the phone and just breathe. Constantly tuning into social media, texting and staying glued to screens can keep your mind whirring nonstop. Instead, take a tech break and go for a walk (have you SEEN our beautiful campus??). Read a book. Chat with a friend face to face. Working in calm, mindful moments will give you dedicated time to think, process, plan and dream.
Some content revised from Everyday Health: https://www.everydayhealth.com/college-health/college-life-10-ways-to-reduce-stress.aspx