Keep Your Stress Levels Down and Motivation Up

It’s that time of the semester again. The dreaded finals week is approaching, causing a rise in stress levels as high as the amount of students flooding into the library with textbooks and coffee in hand.

With both the holidays and exams coming up, feeling at least a little stressed out might be unavoidable, but there are plenty of ways to reduce the amount of stress you feel by making some small changes in your daily routine.

While it may seem difficult to accomplish with only a couple of weeks before winter break remaining, one of the most important ways to lessen the amount of stress is by managing your time. WebMD suggests that by prioritizing tasks and activities, controlling procrastination, and managing commitments, life will become easier to deal with.

When there are so many other distractions to whisk you away from your concentration while doing homework or studying, putting off your work for just a little bit doesn’t seem like a bad idea at the time. But in order to control your habits of procrastination, making schedules and structuring time is essential.

Ramapo students find that they combat stress in many different ways.

“I deal with stress by eating a lot,” junior Monica Jimenez said. “I eat a lot of chocolate, and I drink a lot of coffee because I want to get everything done, so I try to get as much caffeine in me as possible.”

Junior Caitlin Connolly takes a bit of a different approach.

“Often when I become stressed out with my workload, I take a break and watch TV or listen to music to ease my mind,” she said.

“I also listen to music a lot,” Jimenez added. “Usually when I feel overwhelmed, I go on YouTube and listen to random songs.”

Methods to ease stress are different for everyone. Techniques to relax your mind, like writing, can help. Venting to friends and family or just doing something you find enjoyable, such as volunteer work or creative activities, can work as well.

Others may find that exercise is the best choice when dealing with stress and anxiety. Everyday activities like housecleaning or yard work can reduce stress as well as walking and stretching to relieve muscle tension. Breathing exercises, yoga and meditation are other alternatives that can help alleviate constant worry.

According to WebMD, frequent anxiety can produce many changes within your body and also affect your emotions. Over time, it can impact your immune system, making it easier to get sick.

In addition to that, it can create muscle tension, skin trouble, worsen any stomach issues and is even linked to heart problems. In order to make sure stress doesn’t influence your health, it can be managed by figuring out the challenges that cause it and setting both short-term and long-term goals that will help you reduce tension in your life. 

“I just take it one day at a time,” senior Matthew Cialone said. “I only control what I can, and I go with the flow.”

Even though it’s his senior year, he said that doesn’t make it any more stressful.

“I treat every class like it’s any other year,” he said.

“Since the semester’s ending and all the projects are due at the same time, it’s very overwhelming,” Jimenez said.

Still, by changing just a few aspects of your day-to-day routine, that overwhelming feeling that appears from the onset of final exams can be greatly reduced.