Right around the time of the first wave of midterms, you start to see a change on campus. Once fresh faces start to look tired and stressed, caffeine consumption goes through the roof, and late night orders to insomnia are at an all-time high as students try, through any means necessary, to prepare for their exams. Stress is a natural part of college and will likely continue to be a part of our lives after we graduate. It can push us to be more focused, work harder, and accomplish incredible things. Too much stress, however, can negatively impact academic performance, mental health, sleep patterns, immune function, and many other aspects physical health. Worrying about an exam is one thing, but when your stress levels spike to a nine out of ten for your first midterm and then stay at a nine until winter break, it becomes very likely that you’ll start to see some of these negative side effects. Studying is only a part of college, and it’s important to remember to enjoy your time here at UConn. So, on that note, here are some on-campus resources for stress management:
- The Relaxation Station. Health Education offers a relaxation area that includes full body massagers, massaging back rests, and more. They also offer resources on how not to sweat the small stuff, such as aroma therapy and relax packs. Stop by Wilson Hall to visit the relaxation station.
- Special events. Also provided by the Health Education Office in Wilson arespecial events like free massages, pet therapy days, and progressive muscle relaxation workshops. Check out their calendar for more info.
- Clubs. There are plenty of clubs on campus that focus on activities that relieve stress including the Yoga Club, Knitting club, and the Stamina, Energy and Exercise Club. You can find more information on UConntact.
- Recreation. Exercise is a fantastic way to relieve stress. Student Recreation Services offers Intramurals, hiking and camping trips through UConn Outdoors, and Bodywise classes that include Yoga, Spinning, Cardio-Kick, Zumba, Pilates, and Stretch and Sculpt. Go to the Recreation website for more info.
And here are some things you can do on your own:
- Remember to give yourself a break. You are human and you cannot be 100% focused all of time. Everyone needs time to recharge. Let yourself go on Facebook or Reddit for a few minutes every hour.
- Spend time outside. Our campus is beautiful, so go enjoy it! Take a walk or go for a run, explore the trails behind Mansfield Apartments or in the UConn Forest, or take a walk up to Horsebarn Hill to watch the sun set.
- Listen to music. Music that is instrumental or in another language has been shown to increase both focus and relaxation. I personally cannot write a paper without jazz music or Explosions in the Sky in the background.
- Guided Meditation. Meditation can help your mind “reset,” increase focus, and decrease stress levels. Recordings are available on the Health Education website.
- SLEEP. It is impossible to over exaggerate the importance of sleep. When you have a paper to write, an exam to study for, and a shift at the café to work, the most important things is a good night’s sleep. However, cutting back on sleep can make it harder to focus, fight off that cold your roommate caught the week before finals, or keep a positive attitude.
Stress is unavoidable in college, but it should not ruin your semester. Luckily, we have plenty of resources on campus to help you have a successful, happy semester here at UConn. Good luck!