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Mental Health

Here are a few tips and tricks to minimizing stress and your resources.

By: Maria Mancera

It’s Stress Awareness Month so we sat down with Brooke Powers, a counselor from University Counseling Services to get facts and advice on handling stress. Being a college student comes with stress, but it’s more than just due dates causing it. We feel stress when our energy level doesn't match our responsibilities. Stress comes in four levels. A good level of stress can positively impact our performance, however, The final level will cause burn-out among other negative health impacts.

Many have probably heard this before, but eating well and getting enough sleep can help with stress. Create a sleep ritual, and find out how sleep hygiene can help your quality of sleep. Practicing good sleep hygiene includes things like not eating heavy meals before bed, avoiding screens, and surprisingly it can mean not working on an essay right before bed. While working on an assignment our brain is racing with thoughts and ideas, so it’s not ideal to go to bed this way. Instead try doing activities that don’t require a lot of focus. This can be cleaning, petting your dog or reading a book. Check out our article Staying Healthy on Campus to get some advice on healthy eating.

Among sleep and diet you can also control procrastination. Putting things off will cause stress as the deadline gets closer. If you’re having a hard time getting started on a task try an emotional to-do list. Next to all your to-do list tasks write how each one makes you feel and why. This will help you figure out why you’re avoiding certain task or remind you that there are some task you actually look forward to doing. Include your fun activities on your to-do list as well, like dinner with friends or yoga class. It’ll be a reminder of the good times ahead.

Practice self-care; that’ll mean something different for everyone. It can be a relaxing bath but it can also be working out, attending a religious service or meeting up with friends. Counselor Brooke Powers suggest we check if our friends are draining us or giving us energy. If they are draining you, then maybe cut down how much time you share with them.

If you have been struggling with stress long term seek help. Men are less likely to seek help because they are taught to express emotions through anger or frustration. “Societally we are often teaching them from young ages to do the things that actually might cause psychological distress over time,” said Brooke Powers. Regardless of gender, encourage your friends to seek help. Sometimes that’s all the motivation they need.

University Counseling Services offer a Mental Health Series which is free to all students and cover multiple topics. To make an appointment for one-on-one counseling you can call (405) 744-5472 or go during walk-in hours to meet with a counselor. Services for students who are going through grief and loss can see a counselor free of charge.

Photographer: Abigail Evans


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