Tag Archives: Stress Relief

Time to Sleep

When was the last time you woke up feeling refreshed and well rested since becoming a college student? It’s not typical when we have many classes, assignment deadlines, group projects, and class discussions that we try to cram at 11:59 pm. No one said that college was going to be easy, but who thought it was going to be this difficult getting eight hours of good sleep at night—I’m lucky if I get six!

One thing we constantly sacrifice as students is our SLEEP. There are so many negative effects of not getting enough sleep though, and it has to change… like right now. According to the University Health Center of Georgia,“On average, most college students get 6 – 6.9 hours of sleep per night, and the college years are notoriously sleep-deprived due to an overload of activities.”  It goes on to say, “Recent research on college students and sleep indicates that insufficient sleep impacts our health, our moods, our GPA and our safety.”
Sleep is crucial for everyone. Although we are constantly dodging it for more ‘significant’ priorities like catching up with friends to unwind from our drowning week of assignments, exams, and just a workload of never-ending deadlines, we need to start jotting down in our calendars to try get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. That way, we live a more productive and healthier life. After all, as Dr.  Knepler says, “Half the reason you’re at college really is to learn and not getting enough sleep can keep college students from their goals of succeeding in school.”
So, let’s get some great night time sleep and pass our classes well-rested.
If you want to get more tips and advice on how you can get more sleep at night, the articles below have some wonderful pointers.
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Your Mental Health, You Should Care

Being a college student is stressful in itself due to deadlines, major projects, and weekly assignments. Many students work a full time job while juggling multiple courses and some students have families too that they need to take care of. Personally, I have had a terrible past year for my mental health due to a stressful job and major life events but I have recently been working on bettering my mental health by leaving that stressful job and starting a new one that is a lot less stressful with a lot of fulfillment throughout my day.

When trying to understand how to improve my mental health, I stumbled upon a study from the University of Michigan (www.uhs.umich.edu) that provides 10 ways to better your mental health and they include sub points as well. Such as, take care of your body by drinking more water, get enough sleep, or eat nutritious meals. There are so many important aspects to improving your mental health and even the littlest of steps can make a huge difference.

As a college student, I often stay up late working on homework or writing papers and then I work early in the morning so my sleep schedule gets ruined during each semester. Sleep is a very important factor in maintaining a adequate mental health routine. There are a lot of other factors associated with not getting enough sleep which are laid out in www.livingly.com

I wish you all the best of luck with improving your mental health because there is always room for improvement especially during the semester. I wish you all the best of luck and hopefully these links come in handy.

Mindfulness Matters

The past few weeks I’ve been feeling stressed from the demands of working full-time, going to school, volunteering, and staying connected with our four children (two live on the east coast). Adding to the mix is the need to clean the house, do laundry, and other obligations that pull my attention in too many directions. But, today I realized what was missing. I need to get back to practicing mindfulness meditation! When I practice mindfulness regularly, no matter what is going on in my life my stress level dissipates.

What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a way of being. When you’re mindful, you purposefully pay attention to your thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. Instead of rushing from one thing to the next, being mindful means you’re living in the present and awakening to your experiences. The practice of mindfulness meditation teaches you how to cultivate awareness, which reduces stress.

My introduction to mindfulness was through my employer’s wellness program. At work, they offer a weekly mindfulness meditation class over the lunch hour. The mindfulness training is compatible with the aim of the wellness program—to enhance employees’ well-being.

A small group of people meets weekly for a one-hour session of guided meditations, compassion practices, and breathe awareness. The instructors provide examples of ways to integrate mindfulness into our daily lives—which trains our brains to live in the present moment. Because the class is not offered over the summer months, I’ve gotten out of my routine.

Principles to start your day off on a positive note
While I’ve abandon my mindfulness practice for the last month, I continue to use the tips from The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living by Dr. Amit Sood, MD, to start my day with good intentions.

Dr. Sood says, “Your attention is like a muscle; working it out makes it stronger” (53).  He recommends beginning each day by focusing on one of the Stress-Free Living principles. So, I added them to my google calendar. I receive a reminder every morning at 8:15 a.m. They help me to start the day off on a positive note. The following list includes the assigned principle for each day:

Day of the week Theme
Monday Gratitude
Tuesday Compassion
Wednesday Acceptance
Thursday Higher Meaning
Friday Forgiveness
Saturday Celebration
Sunday Reflection and Prayer

 Benefits of Mindfulness
There are both physical and emotional benefits from practicing Mindfulness. The techniques help to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Lower pressure
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve symptoms of anxiety

Practicing mindfulness has been a positive experience, and many of the group members agree. When I practice regularly I am able to focus on and enjoy everything that I’m involved in. I feel more like I’m living life, rather than rushing through it.

For the Writing and Designing for the Web I course I designed a “Mindfulness Matters” website. We needed to provide a handout for the class on presentation day, so I created this one-page Mindfulness Matters Tip Sheet.

When I meditate, I find the practice beneficial for juggling a busy schedule. Give it a try! You, too, can reap the benefits of mindfulness meditation.

What tips do you have for dealing with the stresses of a busy schedule?

Relieve Finals Week Stress…

So, it’s finals week.

If you are anything like me, you are driving yourself crazy; finishing up stuff that you know you shouldn’t have put off; eating poorly; and avoiding sleep.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 2.08.21 AMThere are a variety of different stress relief methods which I have found to be effective to varying degrees. While some have been much less helpful to me, one has been exceedingly beneficial in helping me maintain my sanity during this high stress time of year.

I thought that this would be a prime opportunity for me to share one of the stress relievers that has been most helpful, in my experience…

Meditation.

The Mayo Clinic has published this guide to meditation on their website which clearly and succinctly explains what meditation is, several different types of meditation, and a step by step guide to the process and improving meditation skills. Follow these helpful tips and remember, we will get through this and be better equipped for it.

I hope that you find it useful.

What do you think?
Tell me in the comments section below.