The notion of a healthy lifestyle often centers primarily on how we exercise and how we eat, especially to us nutrition majors. It’s important to remember however, that these factors only make up a portion of our overall well-being. Even with a “perfect” diet and exercise regimen, other lifestyle factors are just as vital and deserve just as much attention. One of these factors include how we deal with stressors. Whether it be an upcoming midterm, a tight budget during the holidays, or an uncertainty of life after college, stress is an inevitable part of life that must be dealt with.
One of the best tactics I’ve found for taming these sorts of worries is to keep the big picture in mind. Reminding yourself that your biology exam will not set your life in stone can help you tackle it much more calmly and productively. If you’re stressed about classes, remind yourself of why you’re in college in the first place and how it will get you to where you want to be. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the small stuff that we forget how lucky we are to be here.
Exercise, of course, is another stress buster. Try waking up 30 minutes earlier to go for a jog, or try a group exercise class like Zumba or Spinning at the Bronco Fitness Center with friends! The key is finding something that makes you feel good that you can stick with. One study found that regular physical exercise contributes to a better self-perception and satisfaction with life, and therefore a greater state of mental health!
Another trick to try when you’re feeling overwhelmed is a short breathing exercise. Find a comfortable place to sit with your back straight and your feet on the ground. Close your eyes for about three minutes, place your hand over your abdomen, and focus on breathing through your nose. As you breathe in slowly, feel your belly expand as its filled with air. As you breathe out, feel it compress. I’ve done this many times when I’ve felt stressed and you’d be amazed at how effective it is. The next time you feel under pressure, take a few minutes to give it a try!
No matter what comes your way, try thinking of it as a challenge and not a roadblock. Play around with different stress busters until you find what works for you. Then, put on a smile and go tackle that exam!