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Thursday, September 19, 2019

All-Natural Ways to Manage Stress This School Year

School can be incredibly stressful. Between juggling a full course load, studying for exams and writing papers, students have a lot on their plate. It can be hard to make time for yourself, but planning stress relief into each day is crucial to avoiding student burnout. With that in mind, here are seven drug-free stress management techniques to try when you feel overwhelmed.

1. Exercise

Exercise strengthens both your physical and mental health. It’s one of the best ways to combat stress. Vigorous aerobic exercise triggers the release of endorphins in your brain, creating natural feelings of euphoria. Exercise also lowers your body’s stress hormones and helps improve your sleep quality. Activities like biking, running and walking can be particularly stress-relieving, but any activity that you enjoy and that gets your heart rate up can be beneficial.

2. Keep a Gratitude Journal

If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, it can be hard to maintain a positive outlook on life. Get in the habit of jotting down things you’re thankful for, and try to come up with at least one journal entry each day. If the idea of maintaining a daily gratitude journal sounds like too much of a burden on your already jam-packed schedule, keep your entries brief. You could write something as short as, “Today, I saw beautiful wildflowers growing by the side of the road.”

3. Spend Time With Friends and Family

When you’re stressed and overworked, your relationships can fall by the wayside. However, don’t underestimate the importance of your support network to help you get through difficult times. For additional stress relief, do something that makes you laugh, like going to see the latest hit comedy. It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing.

4. Don’t Procrastinate

Another smart way to maintain healthy stress levels is to keep up with your task list according to priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list. Carve out chunks of uninterrupted time to work on the things you need to get done today. Avoid the temptation to multitask, which can make you less productive.

5. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness describes practices that help you live in the moment, such as yoga and meditation. Some forms of therapy can also help you be more mindful and resilient, turning negative thoughts into positive ones.

6. Spend Time With a Pet

Interactions with pets may help release oxytocin, a mood-improving brain chemical. Having a pet can also help you stay active and provide you with a source of unconditional, judgment-free love.

7. Listen to Music

Listening to music can help you loosen up if you’re feeling anxious. Choose a slow-paced instrumental selection if you need to relax and lower your stress levels. However, any music you enjoy can be an effective mood enhancer, especially if you get up and move to it.

Be Healthy and Happy

Although stress is a natural part of life for students, there are many all-natural ways you can help yourself feel better and improve your quality of life. Next time you feel overworked, stop and try one or more of these strategies.

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