put DOWN the cookie

Finals are here… wait, WHAT?! How did that happen?! They always seem to sneak up on us.

In my family, I swear that our blood contains a stress-eating gene. Some people turn away from any sort of nourishment when they’re upset or stressed or feeling any strong emotion; I go to the fridge.

In college, I worked at a restaurant as a server. I’ll never forget one particularly challenging day that left me visualizing everything in my fridge that I was going to consume, one shelf at a time.
Luckily, I was able to calm down before I got home and that disaster was averted.

Another way that some people deal with stress is by calling on alcohol to “drown out sorrows.” It seems that alcohol, like food, can be used or abused in a multitude of ways. However, I can’t recall a time that either one solved my issue at hand.

Here’s the thing: there are SO many better ways to handle the stress you’re feeling. Simply put, eating due to extreme emotion or soaking up drinks will only end up giving you greater headache and heartache. Think about it; now you’re not only dealing with the stress of a test, a paper, or even a person… but now you might start freaking out because your clothes don’t fit like they used to. Or your concentration is “off” because you can’t stop thinking about an unfortunate decision you made while under the influence. It’s a vicious cycle. You’re smart- stay out of that loop in the first place.

I’ve found that one of the best things I can do when I’m stressed is to just go for a walk. The weather has been nice lately, and our days are long- take advantage! Even a 20 minute stroll around the block will help to clear and reboot your mind. Sometimes before a big test, I would pack up some notes and hit the pavement, walk to a quiet place and study there. The change of scenery always seemed to give me a renewed sense of “I can do this.” In the winter, I’d head to the Wellness Center with my notes and read while biking or walking (if that doesn’t make you dizzy). Time would FLY by, and I was accomplishing 2 things at once!

You can also just stop to take a breath and clear your head. Bear with me here… but I mean that you shut off the lights, sit in the quiet (or light noise if you’re like me and NEED noise), and just. breathe. It seems like such a simple thing, yet a lot of people struggle with the idea.
“There’s too much to do!” 
But is there…? Can you take 5 minutes (maybe skipping your hourly Facebook break) and do yourself a favor by clearing your mind? I think so.

One other suggestion that has helped me is reaching out to my friends and family. Pick up the phone, drop by their house, meet up for coffee… whatever it might be. Just connect with someone. Talk about what is stressing you out. Or completely avoid it and talk about the great things in life. Do what will help you.

The next few weeks will give you plenty of opportunity to make decisions. End the year right by being kind to yourself. If I was able to survive Chemistry in its many awful forms, I have full confidence in your ability to do the same!

Good luck with everything!

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Posted on April 30, 2012, in Emotional, Environmental, Intellectual, Occupational, Physical, Social, Spiritual and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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