By Rowdy Teaff, News Editor
Once the semester gets going, it seems like everything hits you at once.
For about four weeks, there are few assignments, no exams and no essays due, but as soon as weeks four and five hit, every class seems to magically have a hundred things due, which leads to the eminent feeling of stress. Whether stress comes from an unexpected expense, the pileup of procrastinated work or perhaps even clinically diagnosed anxiety, there are ways to help manage all types of stress.
It’s funny how you notice things in your life once you learn the name for them. At Beltway Park Church they’re going over anxiety and mental illness, which I brushed off at the beginning. “I don’t get anxious, so I don’t need it,” may have been an exact quote of mine. Now that I’m learning more about stress and anxiety, I notice it a little bit more in my day-to-day life.
Ignorance may have been bliss, but how long does that really work? Ignoring your problems doesn’t make them go away, it just allows them to grow. The past couple weeks of this semester have naturally become more stressful, and it is only going to continue as the courses progress until finals week. There are a lot of ways to combat stress, but my favorite way is to just take a moment to slow down.
Sitting still and focusing on breathing is one of the simplest ways to combat stress. Breathing slowly through the nose helps put the body in a restful state, and when you focus on your breathing the rest of your problems seem to fade for a second. This also allows for you to slow down your thoughts, which seem to move at a thousand miles per hour when your assignments are due. Taking a moment to stop thinking about what you have going on in your life helps you reassess the situation that is producing the stress.
Technology is making it increasingly easier to have these moments through apps about breath, meditation and mindfulness. Apple has added a function to remind you to take a few deep breaths throughout the day on the apple watch, and apps like Headspace are available for a $10 subscription for a year to take advantage of mindfulness and breath. There are even free apps that give you a variety of different types of breathwork, mindfulness and meditations to explore to see what works best for you.
Just because classes are picking up doesn’t mean your stress automatically has to also increase. Find someone to talk to, start journaling, do a Bible study, sit still, meditate or find some other way to positively reinforce yourself to help combat stress. Although stress is inevitable in college, it doesn’t mean that you have to constantly make it a part of your life. Take a moment, take a few deep breaths and focus on what you have in your control.