When presenting workshops on stress management to college students, I always begin by asking participants to identify the stressors in their life. Responses vary but most always include, “classes”, “finances”, “parents”, “boyfriend/girlfriend”, “lack of time” and “work.” As an RA, stress is a normal part of your life. Learning how to deal with this stress is critical to your mental and physical well-being. So…what can you do to deal with the stress in your life? There’s no one magic answer for one person. Rather, there a number of things you can do. It’s up to you to discover a stress management technique that works for you.
Here are just a few methods of stress management you may wish to consider trying during the upcoming events of finals and closing down the residence halls:
Focus on the Positive:
Before reading any further, try this. Take 20 seconds and make a mental list of all of the negative things that you were faced with in the past week. Finished? Now take another 20 seconds to make a mental list of all of the positive things that you were faced with in the past week. Which list was easier to develop? Which items popped into your head most readily? If you’re like many people, you probably had an easier time identifying the negative things. Why? We often fail to give the positive events in our lives as much attention as the negative events. When we focus more on the negative, rather than the positive we’re likely to feel more stress. Making an effort to focus on the positive, rather than the negative, will lessen the level of stress that you may be experiencing.
Talk it Out:
Don’t keep your problems and worries bottled up inside. Find someone that you trust to share these things with. Whether it’s another staff member, a relative, or a friend on campus, talking things out will serve as a way to release some of the stress you may be feeling.
Take One Thing at a Time:
When we’re experiencing stress, we have a tendency to look at everything that we must accomplish as one huge, gigantic task. Rather than clumping everything together, try to break things down into tasks. Focus on accomplishing the most important tasks first and then move on to the others. Don’t forget that the stress and tension you are experiencing due to an overwhelming number of demands on your time is only temporary. This hectic time will pass and things will return to a more normal pace in the near future.
Make Time for Fun:
When we are very stressed, the amount of time we have to accomplish everything seems very limited. One of the first things that we eliminate is time for exercise, recreation and fun. “I was going to go to the fitness center to work out, but I just can’t spare 45 minutes today.” Sound familiar? Unfortunately, 30 minutes of exercise might have been just what you needed to relax and put things in perspective. Even during hectic, stressful times, be sure to schedule time for fun and recreation. Give these time commitments just as much priority as your academic and other RA commitments.
Be good to yourself during your any particularly hectic time of the year.
Submitted by Kim Moistner-Bartlett, Partner/Owner, Reslife.Net, Ltd.