By SARAH GALZERANO
It’s no surprise to say that college students experience significant amounts of stress trying to juggle massive amounts of homework, extracurricular activities, work, family responsibilities, relationships, and so much more. There’s hardly any time for sleep, and the pressure to be perfect and get an “A” in every class is reality. Much of the stress that students experience can be attributed to their changing lifestyles and newfound personalities. It can be difficult to find effective ways to relieve this stress.
Stress is defined, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, as a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, or something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety. Some of you are probably reading this right now and cringing, because you experience stress 24/7, but if you didn’t experience stress at all, you wouldn’t be normal. Stress can be positive; an extra burst of adrenaline to help you complete a feat. But stress can also be negative and cause headaches, mixed emotions, depression, increased anxiety, and more. Because too much stress can cause long-term effects on things such as our health, productivity, and relationships, everyone needs to find something that can return them to a relaxed state. Some ways that people relieve stress aren’t healthy at all, such as drinking or abusing drugs. A natural and very effective way to relieve stress is exercise, but as FITNESS Magazine states, “In a perfect world, we’d all have at least an hour a day to devote to our fitness. But in the real world, 24 hours a day doesn’t seem like nearly enough time to fit in work, school, and family.”
So why on earth would you want to make the time to exercise? Exercising is one of healthiest ways to relieve stress, and is really important for a healthy immune system. As I learned from Mayo Clinic, physical activity pumps up your brain’s “feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.” Exercise helps you to forget anything that irritated you throughout the day. Overall, it can actually improve your mood and self-confidence, and lower symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Now, it still sounds annoying to have to exercise, because it sounds like too much work. But, you don’t have to be an athlete or even physically fit to fit exercise into your day. Virtually any form of exercise can work as a stress-reliever. It can easily be worked into a student’s schedule by walking or biking to campus. Maybe you can wake up a bit earlier and do some stretches or yoga. Waking up earlier sounds like a pain, but it will help you out in the long run, and being a morning exerciser means you can cross working out off of your to-do list first thing. Exercising is also a lot easier when you have a friend to help you through it. You can simply try studying for your classes while taking a walk with a fellow classmate. While you’re catching up on this season of “American Horror Story”, do some simple exercises during commercial breaks. If you just can’t find the time outside of work and school, you can try stretching (not obnoxiously of course) at your desk to relieve tension and strain.
Some simple stretches you can do to relieve stress are as follows: To stretch/exercise your neck you can flex your head from side-to-side to relieve the muscle strain in that area. If your shoulders begin to hurt from being hunched over a desk all day long, you can roll them forward and backward. To help relieve bloating where your abdominal muscles are, try taking long, deep breaths several times a day. This can even help circulate the blood flow to your brain, so it’s not just helping you stay fit and relaxed, but it’s also helping you to think straight. If your wrists ever get tired from writing or typing for long periods of time, occasionally roll your wrists clockwise and counterclockwise. These exercises are explained in depth, and accompanied by others on http://www.sparqvalt.com.
Knowing that fitting in brief exercises isn’t as hard as it sounds, are you willing to give it a try? You can go from being an overly stressed student, to one that’s hopefully more relaxed, and overall improve your health.