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Being a college student can come with a range of stressors, such as academics, homesickness, parental expectations, social relationships, dating, sex, uncertainty about the future, self-image and finances. Stress is a normal response, but it becomes a problem when it is chronic. That is when it can start causing mental and physical harm. There are many ways you can try and alleviate some of your stress.
There are at least three different types of stress. First is routine stress, and it is related to everyday life. Second is stress brought on by sudden, negative change. Third is traumatic stress that is related to a traumatic event, and it can develop into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The stress response is natural, and it can even save our lives. However, it becomes an issue when it is chronic, and it can even cause physical symptoms to manifest. Some these symptoms are digestive issues, sleeplessness, headaches, depressed mood, irritability and anger.
There are simple steps you can take to help reduce your stress. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercise are a good start. Relaxation can be facilitated by meditation, yoga, deep breathing, tai chi, and time in nature. Identifying your triggers and trying to limit exposure is important. Stress will always be there, but by learning how to cope and how to reduce it, you limit its effect on you.
According the Mayo Clinic, “Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.” UW-Parkside has many activities sponsored by different organizations on campus to provide a fun way to get that exercise in. There is free membership for full time UW- Parkside students at the Sports and Activity Center (SAC) on campus. The hours are Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., Friday 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and Sundays 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters.
Now if your stress is becoming chronic, meaning that there are physical symptoms associated with it, and you need help dealing with it there is help for that as well. UW- Parkside has counseling services available to students. Sometimes just talking to someone outside of the situation can be helpful. The Student Health and Counseling Center is located behind Talent hall. The number there is (262) 595-2366. The services are free and confidential to students.
Only you can manage your stress and take the action needed to get it under control. As a student at UW- Parkside there are numerous services, activities, and tools available to you. In the words of Bruce Lee, “It is not daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”