I don't know about you, but I feel like ever since I bid farewell to summer break, my stress level has been at an all-time high. Between a part-time job, internship, and the regular demands of school, I'm frazzled at the end of every day.
Unfortunately, the very same stresses that often define the college experience can make you physically ill - stress is associated with a lowered immune system, meaning a higher chance of getting sick. Stress can also interrupt your sleep, destroy your skin, and even contribute to weight gain.
To nip stress in the bud and stay balanced during all that college throws at you, follow a few simple tips:
1. Get Moving
When you're stressed out, it can feel like your energy level is zero. While making the trek to the gym may not sound appealing, exercise can actually raise your energy level, while helping you de-stress. You don't even have to do a high-intensity cardio workout: Anything from beginner's yoga, to tossing a frisbee with your friends is enough to get your blood pumping and your stress level dropping.
For optimum stress-busting benefits, try to squeeze in 30 minutes of activity a day (walking to class doesn't count) to take your mind off things and give your body a chance to reboot. If you have an hour to spare for Gossip Girl or Glee, then you definitely have 30 minutes you can devote to your own well-being.
2. Get Together
While staying out all night partying before your 8am midterm is a surefire way to increase your stress level, setting aside some free time to socialize is a great way to feel refreshed and centered. Humans are social creatures and as much as you might think slaving over your computer all day benefits you, taking a coffee break or having a TV night with your friends is just as important. It doesn't have to be much, but getting a chance to chill out, socialize, and chat is a wonderful release for an over-stressed chick, and helps you return to your work more focused and energized.
Only have five minutes to spare? Quit texting and give your BFF an old-fashioned phone call. Hearing her voice and laugh could be enough to take your frazzled-brain down a notch or two.
3. Get Eating... Healthy
Many girls react to stress by stuffing their face with high-fat, high-sugar comfort foods. While this may quell your frazzled nerves for a half hour or so, you'll soon crash and feel even worse than you did before you scarfed down that plate of cupcakes.
Instead, nourish your body with healthy foods that break down slowly and keep you full. Whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies, and lean protein are key, especially when you're feeling on edge.
Eating healthy foods may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn't have to be. Try noshing on whole grain crackers and peanut butter instead of chips. Baby carrots come pre-cut and washed - dip them in a low-fat ranch dressing for a tasty treat. And whole fruits that come in their own wrapper, like bananas and oranges, are easy to tote with you during your busy day and can satisfy your sweet tooth better than a chocolate bar.
What Do You Think?
Are you feeling frazzled? What are your best ways for dealing with stress, without having a meltdown? Leave us a comment and share your thoughts!