Have you ever noticed that when one aspect of your life becomes stressful, other things follow suit? Maybe finals are coming up, and you had an argument with your significant other. Then you find out that a bunch of your friends are going abroad in a different semester than you, so you start to feel lonely. It could be any combination of things, but sometimes it feels like stress breeds stress, and next thing you know, your stress has spilled over into many facets of your life…
Or so it might seem. Because then one thing lifts, and then another…and then something really positive and great happens, and then another. And before you know it, you’re on an upswing. So bear in mind that for every rough hour, day, week or more when it feels like things are never going to get better, joy may be just around the corner.
In the meantime, here are some things you can do to manage your stress better in the moment:
- Take deep breaths. Try taking five minutes a day to do nothing but breathe. Sometimes repeating a mantra as you breath in and out can help as well. Or when you start to feel really stressed about everything, step away and focus on your breath. Put up post its around your dorm room that remind you of things that are important to you, like “Just be.”
- Get your exercise! It doesn’t matter if it’s taking a walk around the block. The endorphins you get from moving your body always does a body good. Get some exercise, and get outdoors if you can. Ten minutes a day of Vitamin D from the sunshine will work wonders. Don’t forget your sunscreen if you’re going to be out much longer!
- Take a break. It’s important to get up every hour and take five minutes to walk around and stretch.
- Do something fun! If possible, have something to look forward to. Look into doing something really cool and exciting for one of your long weekends, for a summer internship, or for one of the upcoming breaks. Or keep it simple, and plan a dinner with friends towards the middle or end of the week. Choose a movie you’ve been wanting to see. It helps to know that you’ve scheduled in some fun along with that hectic schedule you’ve got going on.
- Try a few yoga poses. There are five in particular that are recommended for stress. They are as follows: Shoulderstand (sarvangasana), plow pose (halasana), half spinal twist (ardha matsyendrasana), locust pose (shalabhasana), and lion pose (simhasana).
- Talk with a friend or other confidante you know you can trust. Feel free to let it all out, whether you need a good cry, or a good laugh. Sometimes that type of emotional release is just the thing you needed to feel better right then and there.
- Do something nice for yourself. Whether it’s buying your favorite coffee drink, taking a bath, giving yourself a foot rub, or cooking a healthy meal, doing something nice for yourself can help you unwind and help you gain more of a sense of control for taking care of yourself.
- Lastly, you can always Spill, at spillnow.com, if you want a place that is private and confidential, free and online, and available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. You will hear back from your peers with empathy, support and resources within 24-48 hours.
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Last reviewed: 20 Mar 2012
Bazirgan, M. (2012). Stress Tends to Spill…. Psych Central.
Retrieved on March 12, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/college/2012/03/stress-tends-to-spill/