When stress grips your body, you know it. Your heart starts pounding, your muscles tense, your stomach feels tied in knots. We all are affected at some point. Sources of stress are everywhere. Some of us have financial worries, concerns about the future, or stress that involves our classes, jobs or relationships.
Whatever the source, the results of stress are much the same. It can lower the body’s immune system, increasing susceptibility to illness. It also may worsen or contribute to some health conditions.
Try and focus on the things you enjoy, and use these tips to help cope with everyday stress:
- Try some deep breathing. Take a slow, deep breath. Hold it for five seconds. Then, slowly exhale. Breathe through your nose and count slowly, focusing on the rhythm of your breathing. As you exhale, feel the stress flow out of your body. Repeat as necessary.
- Take a mental health break. Make some time each day to devote to yourself. Read a book, write in a journal, listen to music, go for a walk around campus – take a look at 70 Ways to Stress Less at Maryland for more ideas.
- Plan ahead. Look at the syllabi for your classes and make sure deadlines and due dates are noted in your calendar. Taking a long-term view of the semester can help you schedule around major papers or exams in the pipeline.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Find what makes you laugh. It could be as simple as watching funny YouTube videos or listening to your favorite comedian. When you’re laughing, you don’t have time to be stressed out. Don’t take yourself too seriously – learning to laugh at yourself may change the way stress affects your life.
If you still cannot get a handle on your stress, don’t be afraid to seek help. There are many resources on campus that can help you manage stress:
- Talk to a trusted advisor.
- Make a visit to the Center for Health and Wellbeing.
- Make an appointment with the UMD Counseling Center.
- Reach out to the Mental Health Services at the University Health Center.
- Call the UMD Help Center at 301-314-4357.
This year, Wellness @ Maryland is taking aim at stress and encouraging Terps to take charge of managing the stress in their lives with the KEEP CALM AND STRESS LESS campaign.
Learn more about how to identify good stress vs bad stress, the symptoms and effects of stress, stress management techniques, and knowing when and where to get help.
This monthly blog series is brought to you by UnitedHealthcare. Follow them on Twitter for more health and wellness tips.