A Healthy You: Compress your stress - The South End: Perspectives

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A Healthy You: Compress your stress

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Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 7:00 am

Wayne State Students are in the home stretch now. In about a month, the winter semester will be over. Some of you will graduate, others will take the summer off and several of you will continue into the spring semester.

Whichever path you decide, you no doubt have a lot of work on your agenda between now and the last day of exams on May 2. A light to moderate load of stress is a good thing – called eustress – and can help us all grow and mature. If things were too easy, we would never improve.

However, an overwhelming amount of stress – distress – only serves to distract, demotivate and can potentially end in things like feeling overwhelmed, missed deadlines or exams or worse. The Campus Health Center will offer you a few tips on facing stress head on during crunch time, and how to be resilient during finals.

Diet and Exercise

A proper diet and regular exercise should be applied year-round, not just during the weeks leading up to finals. But it is crucial during exam time so your focus can be on point. The occasional meal from Taco Bell or Panda Express will feel good in the short term and help relieve some stress, but your body will regret it in the long term.

Stick to MyPlate’s recommendation of making half your plate fruits and vegetables, with the other half grains and protein. Mix some dairy in on the side. While fast food is convenient, preparing healthy meals in advance will help avoid this problem.

Your exercise levels can dip during heavy periods of studying, but don’t neglect physical activity altogether. Even a little bit of movement can leave you refreshed and ready to hit the books when you’ve hit a wall studying.

When you start to fade after hours in the library, get up and walk a lap around the perimeter. Do some jumping jacks in place. Hop on the treadmill for ten minutes. You may think you will become fatigued, but you’ll more than likely become invigorated.

Don’t forget to hydrate! Dehydration causes a lack of focus.

Sleep

Should you pull all-nighters before an exam? Your brain needs sleep to encode information – meaning that if you choose not to sleep, chances are all the studying you did won’t be retained.

If you’re in an emergency situation, better to study less and sleep more so you can at least remember part of what you studied instead of none. Circadian cycles run in 90-minute increments, so try to time your sleep and wake ups accordingly. Waking up at the end of a Circadian cycle will leave you refreshed. Sleep Calculator is a free online tool to time your sleep is 

Use energy drinks with caution. Most energy drink labels have a cautionary warning telling individuals to consume only so many per day, usually two. Pounding Red Bulls, Monsters or Rockstars may seem appealing to keep you awake, but if you overdo it, you’ll wind up crashing instead of pushing on. Not only that, but energy drinks are bad for your heart as it is. A cup of coffee usually works just fine, but if you must have an energy drink, try the sugar free version so you’ll be less likely to crash.

Chill

If your burden begins to seem to be too much to handle, take a step back. Remove yourself from the stressful environment for a little bit. Listen to your favorite music. Try these meditation breathing exercises. Head to the gym. Play with your dog. Eat something. Your work will be there when you get back.

Drop by CHC for all your health needs, or call us at 313-577-5041 to schedule an appointment or if you have more detailed questions. If there is any health topic you want us to write about, please drop us a line at: campushealth@wayne.edu.

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