Stress-less Semester

Welcome back undergads!

As the second week of classes comes to an end we have finally been introduced to all of our new courses and professors, plunged head first into our various clubs and extracurricular activities, and began our hunt for employment.

Coming from four blissful weeks of vacation, with days of nothing but Netflix and home cooking, all of this may seem overwhelming. Which info session should I attend? How do I prepare for the job fair? How do I prepare for the interview? Wait, I have a quiz tomorrow?!

You all know how stressful being a student can be, and as juniors and seniors I am sure you have all come up with a variety of different ways to cope with your stress. Though you may know what you should do, applying these practices to our lives, especially when they seem to be spiraling out of control, is not always that easy. Today I want to share with you a couple of my easy go-to strategies for keeping my worries in perspective and dealing with stress. Though simple, don’t underestimate how effective they can be.

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Image courtesy of tryenerc.com
  1. Drink lots of water: All of your organs needs water to function properly, by keeping them well hydrated you help make sure your body is running well leading to decreased stress levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone whose levels increase when you are dehydrated. Keep your cortisol levels in check by drinking up!
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Image courtesy of dietdoctor.com
  1. Get more sleep: I’m not saying 8 hours a night is always possible, but by consciously making an effort to get to bed earlier you will be less vulnerable to stress. Tips to improve sleep quality include creating a dark, quiet, comfortable sleep environment, establishing a calming routine right before going to bed, and maintaining a consistent sleep-wake schedule.
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Image courtesy of drleonardcoldwell.com
  1. Exercise regularly: Physically activity produces endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, making you feel happier and less stressed. Focusing on your body’s movement while exercising helps you forget and let go of the day’s frustrations. Plus if you are exhausted from a good workout you will sleep more soundly at night, lowering stress levels.
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Image courtesy of jsparkblog.com
  1. Be grateful: We often forget how fortunate we are just to be alive. Gratitude research shows that feelings of thankfulness are extremely beneficial in helping people cope with stress. Some ways you can practice gratitude in your everyday life are by saying thank you to people that make your life better, keeping a journal of things you’re grateful for, or remembering times when you felt exceptionally happy.

As easy as this advice is to give, it is not always that easy to apply to our own lives. Given that you are all driven Berkeley students who don’t back away from hard work and who love a good challenge, I challenge you to pick one of these stress-reducing tips to apply to your lives for the next month. I will be working on getting to sleep at a decent hour, drinking more water, and letting my loved ones know how grateful I am for their impact on my life.

I would love to hear all of your tips for reducing stress! Please leave a comment sharing a tip of your own, a success story, or one goal you will be working on to reduce your stress over the next month.

Kendal Madden

Class of 2016

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