News

Stressing the point

Sorry to give you one more thing to worry about

By CHRISTINA CLARKChristina Clark JPEG
Columnist

There’s a killer on the loose. This killer creeps into your life from your first waking moments to the time you fall into a fitful sleep. It can give you a heart attack, give you an ulcer, gift you back pain, cause erectile dysfunction and reproductive health issues (yikes!), and give you some acne that’ll send you back to your freshman year of high school.

It kills inspiration, it gives you massive writer’s block (ahem), and can seriously kill you. If you go to the good old webMd.com, you’ll find a list of short term effects from stress such as back pain, fast breathing, sweating and an upset stomach…to finding that stress negatively effects the immune system, heart, muscles, stomach, reproductive organs, lungs, and skin. And that’s just the physical stuff!

Stress can also affect your attention span, your mental health and your personality. (Let’s note, however, that the symptoms of stress do not indicate cancer or HIV, as do so many other symptom searches on webMD.com.)

Why am I writing about the negative effects of stress on the human life right now? Well, with the turn of the weather, I’m sure the next thought for everyone has turned to switching their wardrobe over to include sweaters and hoodies. But with the cooler weather also comes midterms, projects, finals, and holidays all bring a certain amount of tension to the table. I’m a high-strung individual myself, but I’ve found myself walking a tighter rope once school started.

Quitting caffeine was probably the best thing I’ve ever done to help control my stress. Sounds pretty backwards, I know, since I know coffee is a lifeline for many of my graduate student friends. But it was an expensive habit, and an unhealthy one with the amount of caffeine that I had to consume to keep myself feeling “level.”

I also won’t lie, there were about three weeks where I felt a little homicidal, but it passed. Now I start the day with some decaf green tea with a teaspoon of coconut oil to sweeten it, and the feeling is pretty nice to enjoy the morning again. Not saying that I ever greet it with a smile (rarely), but it is easier to transition into. Sleep is a lot easier to catch as well! (Which is a huge plus, since our bodies do lots of regeneration and healing in our sleep.)

So as we go into the stressful holiday season, please remember to keep your mental and physical health towards the top of your list. The holidays get very stressful on top of everything else a busy college student has to handle. Whether it means throwing yourself further into a yoga practice, sipping more tea or simply just taking time to turn off electronics and breath for a minute every day…give yourself a little break.

Throw on a blanket, sip some hot cider, and think of all the bad side effects you’re avoiding by taking care of yourself.

Happy autumn!

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