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​Stress Relief

Stress, for many people, results from poor time management.  Often, stress occurs during crucial times of the semester, such as midterms and finals.  What can you do to avoid the feeling of hopelessness, when you think you will never finish everything you need to do?  Take a break from your crazy life and read the following tips to reduce stress.

 



Do You Feel Stressed?

Print out and take this inventory

 

Academic Tips to Relieve Stress:

  • You have to be organized and stay on top of work.  Try not to procrastinate too much because the work will become overwhelming.  As a result, you could become overwhelmed, rushing at the last minute to complete and it will not be the quality work you are capable of.
  • Try to go over the work the day you have the class!  The more you prepare for class, the less stressed you will be during the lecture. 
  • It is much easier to read one chapter of a textbook per week than trying to read five in one weekend in order to cram for a test.
  • By reading ahead of time, often all that is needed is a few hours to review highlighted topics and class notes, making a large amount of information much less overwhelming.
  • Create Question Notes:  Go over your readings/notes (the day you have the class), fold a piece of notebook paper in half, and write down questions that you feel would be on the exam...without answering them (you now have created a quiz for the week), take it over the weekend and fill in what you missed or got wrong (now you created a review sheet for the week).
  • Review the new material and the old material the day you have the class.
 

Buy A Large, Long-Term Calendar

  • The best time to start is before the stress kicks in.

  • A large wall calendar can serve as a visual timeline and help you plan in advance when the best time is to start studying or begin a long-term project.

Make Lists That Focus On Priorities

  • Is everything that is on your list something that has to be done?

  • Does everything on your list have to be done to the extent you are planning on doing it?

  • While we are not advocating anything less than working your hardest, there are times when perfection is not required.

  • Stress can also result from a lack of physical activity. Be sure to schedule some sort of physical activity into your week, whether it is a trip to the gym, a pick-up game of Frisbee, a walk with a friend, or playing with a group of kids while you volunteer at a local school.

Need to Relax?

Plan For Fun

  • Be sure to schedule in some pleasure activities, especially those that involve physical exercise.

  • A short break, a walk, a snack, or a phone conversation all offer a break from the monotony of studying and clear the head before the next stretch begins.

Sleep

  • Your head will be a lot clearer and you will be able to get through your work faster if you are awake and well rested.

  • All-nighters actually hinder your performance, causing the completion of work to take even longer. Your brain actually works very hard to organize information while you are sleeping.

Exercise

  • Go out for a walk or a jog this can help you clear your mind of the upcoming responsibities and/or assignments coming up.

  • Alternate relaxing and then tensing up your muscles. Start by clenching (for approximately 5 seconds) your fist and relaxing them (do this a couple of times). Then tighten up the muscles (for approximately 5 seconds) in your shoulders, then your thighs and finally, your lower legs and then relax them. This is a great exercise to do in your dorm room as well as in your chair before you take your exam.

Final Tips

  • Stress, although for college students are usually related to academics, can also come simply as a result of the college experience. Many people have a hard time adjusting from having their own room at home to sharing close quarters with three strangers almost overnight.

  • While these can be fun times, be sure to take time for yourself. Being constantly surrounded by people without a significant amount of “alone time” can cause stress, as a person never gets a chance to let go. Try to find time when you can be in your room by yourself, while your roommates are at class or meetings. Take this time to do something you enjoy such as watching your favorite show, reading a book, taking a nap, or writing a letter. Enjoy your time.

If you are still feeling stressed, would like some additional tips, or just need someone to talk to, contact a counselor in the Personal Counseling Center (Extension 2343) in Bedford Hall.

Remember:

Being Prepared + Lower Anxiety= Better Grades!

For additional information you may want to visit these sites:

http://www.ic.ac.uk/healthcentre/exam.htm

http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/?page_id=194
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