Combatting Stress: Exercise, Nutrition and Sleep

Combatting StressPosted by Amber Charette It's finally that time of the year again! The only things stopping us from summertime fun are those dreaded (but academically enriching, of course) final papers, projects and exams. Many of us are beginning to feel the rush of anxiety coming our way, which means it's time to send out a reminder on how to reduce this along with the general stressors present in everyday life. As such, here are some tips on exercise, nutrition and sleep, and I hope you may find these strategies useful for the last few weeks of the semester.

It's understandable to feel as though there is just no opportunity for exercise during this busy time of year. But believe it or not, sometimes taking 15 to 30 minutes out of your day to be active is just the boost you need to keep going. And who knows, maybe it will help you cut down on that nasty coffee college students seem so addicted to (and yes, I am biased against drinking coffee...just think of how it stains your teeth!). You may also wonder how you can possibly get exercise in with just 15 minutes of spare time in your day. No worries there. The Harvard School of Public Health website covers this very well.

This site provides 20 tips on how to incorporate exercise into your busy schedule. I encourage you all to take a closer look, but here are the 20 tip headings: ? choose activities you like ? piece your workout together ? exercise with a friend ? keep it brisk ? take lunch on the move ? try a pedometer, take the stairs ? turn off the TV, computer and smart phone ? walk an extra stop, hunt for the farthest parking space ? make it your own ? make it fun ? make it social ? sign up for a class ? turn sit time into fit time ? keep an exercise log ? walk or bike for errands around town ? ask the experts ? plan exercise into your day ? reward yourself

Nutrition also plays a crucial role in how much energy you have throughout the day to be productive. Eating junk food with high amounts of sugar and sodium and carbohydrates and fatty foods are not going to keep your energy up for very long. For anyone who wants a good laugh and to learn some useful information on eating healthy, take a look at this link. It has some humor in it, but overall provides good advice on one of the most recent diets on the rise: the paleo diet. Essentially, the paleo diet revolves around eating a diet rich in certain meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts and natural oils (in moderation of course).

Finally, sleep must be brought up when discussing the horrors of finals. It's a no-brainer that concentration, memory and general decision-making skills are all negatively affected by lack of sleep. Yet almost every college student can attest to pulling an "all-nighter" at least once or twice throughout their college career. While I cannot say that I've never pulled an "all-nighter" myself, I do know that when I have gotten adequate sleep, I have felt much more capable of operating during finals. So I just urge you to take this risk: allow yourself to get enough rest during finals.

And try not to worry too much about whether you will have enough time to get things done. Don't oversleep, but try and get at least seven to eight hours of rest each night. And remember, finals week is an important time to consistently remind yourself to be kind to your body and mind. Good luck to everyone in these last few weeks of the semester!

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