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Take the Dive: Shake Off Stress – Sather Health
Mental Health Stress

Take the Dive: Shake Off Stress

There’s no doubt that during the school year, students tend to stop thinking about their health and allow their academic lives to take over, yet when grades become more important than taking care of ourselves, we can wreak serious havoc on our bodies. Instead of allowing the stress of midterms and papers to accumulate, try to split up the monotony of the school year with some safe but exciting activities!

  • Sweat at least once a day. While it is recommended to try to exercise at least half an hour a day, sometimes in our hectic lives, we cannot fit it into our schedules. But instead of just giving up on the idea of exercising, make sure you sweat at least once a day. This can mean dancing along to a song before you shower or just sprinting up some stairs. You don’t even have to go to the gym; just get your heart rate up! Besides being one of the best ways to combat low to mild levels of depression, exercise can help relieve stress and allow you to better focus afterwards when studying.
  • Go on an adventure. Whether it be skydiving or just going for a hike in the Berkeley Hills, breaking up the daily routine of work can help get your mind off the stress of school as well as give yourself a chance to get out and experience more than just the academic side of school.
  • Enjoy the sunshine. Vitamin D, an important nutrient that vegans need more of in particular, can be produced in our bodies through exposure to sunlight and have been connected to many health benefits, including reduced levels of stress. Make sure to soak up all the rays that you can, or at least take a vitamin D supplement if appropriate.
  • Breathe. As simple as this sounds, studies have found that focusing on your breathing, even for as little as five minutes a day, can be a major stress reducer. Having many of the same benefits as meditation, concentrating on only your breathing for five minutes a day can give you a more relaxed and stable mindset. Whether it be during your lunch break or right when you wake up, give your body and mind a chance to breathe without that constant stream of thought. A good way to help concentrate on only your breathing is to count the number of seconds it takes you to slowly inhale, hold in your breath, and then exhale.
  • Vent. Sometimes, everything seems to go wrong at once. You have two midterms on the same day and your computer crashes, or your friend and you get into a fight and you have a paper due. Whatever the circumstances, sometimes you just need to vent. Allow yourself to vent freely to a friend or family member, get a punching bag and go to town on it, or even just write down your feelings and frustrations. Get the negative vibes out of your system so that you can feel relieved and then get back to whatever you have to deal with. Be careful, though; don’t let yourself linger on the negative. Write it down, vent it out, and then try to move on.
  • Keep laughing and stay positive. Studies have found that even fake laughing can have positive effects on our mindset and health. Even if things seem bad and stressful, try to make sure you laugh for a couple of minutes each day. You can watch a funny show, or even just try to force it for a little bit, but the effects will remain the same. This goes along with trying to stay positive. A good attitude and a little bit of optimism can go a long way!

Article by Theresa Strenio

Feature Image Source: Glamour