Saturday, January 22, 2022
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Don’t flip

As the semester accelerates to its close, students’ stress levels increase with the work load. Final projects, papers, essays, exams, readings and research projects tumble into students’ planners in a hectic tumult. So, how to deal with all the added worries?

Plan. Those large-page planners at Wal-Mart are worth the $5. But there’s a certain way to build your schedule that will keep you feelin’ fine through the post-Thanksgiving school work.

First, write in all your certainties: classes, sport practices, club meetings and driving time.

Next, write in time to relax. Being adequately destressed lets you work better. However, this means you need to know how much time you need to unwind to be able to work hard and think clearly. A typical amount is 30 minutes for every four hours of work/class. Plan your “free time,” and keep it sacred. No catch-up studying during this time. Read a book, play a video game, meet a friend for coffee, or listen to music and take a bath.

After that, start planning your study times. Make a list of everything you have due, the due dates, and the amount of work you think they’ll take. Spread out study times for each class. And make sure you plan more time for those due sooner.

Err on the side of caution when you plan time for this: Give yourself extra time for each project or test prep time. Plan your work times based on when you have enough time to really dig into a certain area of study.

If you need to read all of a chapter, don’t try to split up the chapter. Make time to read it all at once. If you finish a set part of your work in each “work session,” you’ll feel you’ve accomplished something each time, which reduces stress.

After you have this planned out, you may have a little time left over. Use this as extra study time if you still don’t feel prepared. Or, conversely, use it to destress a little more. Stress allows us to function at a higher level, but only for so long. The human brain needs rest to function properly long term. A little extra rest will make your planned study time that much more productive.

Planning out your time like this will remove stress by setting your mind at ease. If you have everything written out, you know you have time to accomplish everything, and you won’t have to worry about the last-minute time crunch.

A few other ways to manage your stress at this time of the semester include:

Cutting back on drinking. Alcohol impairs brain function for several hours after consumption. And it wears out the body physically, which increases the presence of the stress hormone cortisone, as well as diverts energy from your brain to your muscles and digestion.

Eating well. Now isn’t the time to try to diet or to pig out on junk food. Healthy eating keeps your tummy comfy and your brain cranking out good work. Dieting adds stress because the body ups the production of stress hormones and adrenaline to help you find food and to make you hungry. It’s difficult to succeed both at dieting and school during high-stress times.

Exercising. Working out releases tension and encourages your brain to release serotonin and dopamine. It’s a good way to get your mind of studies and other stressors. Aim to make 3-5 of your weekly “relaxation times” exercise-based.

jschleiden@unews.com

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