With midterm exams coming to and end and a long weekend upon us, it is the perfect time to learn about stress relief. Stress is a very elusive term, especially when looking for a true definition. The American Institute of Stress published an article quoting the original definition to be, “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” They go on to explain that the word, almost immediately after it was originally coined, was used in the wrong context very commonly. This only added to the confusion surrounding this word, and in 1951, the British Medical Journal published a piece stating “Stress in addition to being itself, was also the cause of itself and the result of itself.”
As you can see, my research thus far has been very unhelpful in defining stress. I concluded that it doesn’t necessarily matter what it is, but determining what causes stress and ways to overcome it might be more helpful. So here is a list of the most common things that stress people out the most, and tips to relieve that stress:
The Money Issue: This is a big one. If you haven’t yet, go take a look at my blog about financial wellness, there is some great beginner information that could really help relieve some of this stress. I can basically sum up my past article with one word, budgeting. If you aren’t keeping track of every payment and expense you have, we have found your stressor. Ding ding ding.
Constantly Connected: Most people consider their smartphone to be an extension of themselves. They bring it everywhere, and if it dies or runs out of battery, they have a sense of emptiness and an unshakable feeling that they are missing something. You have probably heard this before, but taking work home with you and constantly answering emails is terrible for mental health. I would highly suggest setting predetermined which you will read and respond to emails. If someone (student, co-worker, boss) does email you outside of these times, have an automated message response that lays out your available times for email. If the message truly is urgent, they will call. If it can wait, it can wait!
Lack of Free Time: This is directly connected to the previous stressor. If you don’t have an established free time section in your schedule, Set aside some time right now. This is essential to being a productive worker. Even if you do usually have some free time in your schedule, make sure at least a half hour is alone time. Whether it be taking a nap, reading a book or listening to music, you need time to let your body and mind rest with minimal outside interaction.
There are obviously many more stressors that we experience all the time, but addressing these could have a huge affect on how we feel throughout our day. Make this list for yourself and see what common events stress you out most, brainstorm ways you can counteract this, and start living less stressed.
By Ben Eccles