Tag Archives: Stress

Should Mental Health Days Be A Thing?

stressed
“The option to take a mental health day is something that has been occasionally suggested to help alleviate stress.” Photo from: http://tmhome.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/stressed-students-meditate-03.jpg

Lots of people in high school and in college can get overwhelmed. We tend to have a lot of schoolwork, homework, and projects to do, as well as activities outside of class. People get stressed and this stress can build up quickly. Too much stress can cause a lot of issues for people. We tend to forget to eat, and we forget about other tasks that we need to do; things just start falling apart on us. The option to take a mental health day is something that has been occasionally suggested to help alleviate stress. These are days that students can take off without a penalty to rest and recuperate and just take a breather.

We have all had those times when we got overwhelmed with our work and wished we could just take a break and relax, but we knew we could not do that because we could not afford to get behind, lose points on an assignment, or miss an in-class assignment. The whole point of a mental health day is to take that much-needed break without suffering a penalty and to relax on that day off without worrying about getting behind. However, there are also concerns that these days off could be abused, so we would only get a few of them each semester. These are not meant to be used frivolously but saved until you really need them. You would not use them just because you do not feel like going but because you are reaching a breaking point and likely could not handle class that day. Also, if mental health days are put into place, professors would not excuse you from work but simply postpone it until next class.

This idea is meant to be something that instructors could work with, hence the reason why you would not be excused from the work. Mental health days would be a good way to meet in the middle for students and instructors; it gives students a helping hand when they need it and it does not really throw off an instructor’s teaching plan. This is an idea that could work out well as long as people worked together and did not abuse it.

Stress Levels and Mental Health in College Students

College students usually get stressed when they have major tests in their classes. And it seems that stress levels spike when midterms and finals are approaching. However, most students feel stressed almost all of the time. It is said that one out of five students say they feel stressed most of the time (1). Stress can cause other mental health issues like anxiety disorders and depression. Stress, along with these other mental health disorders, has major effects on students’ day to day lives, and even their future.

It is said that stress is a precursor to anxiety or depression disorders. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness, almost two-thirds of students drop out of school due to mental health reasons (1). Suicidal thoughts may be involved with these disorders. And 95 percent of suicides committed by students are related to anxiety and depression (1).

stressed student
“Stress, along with these other mental health disorders, has major effects on students’ day to day lives, and even their future.” Photo from: http://www.autismafter16.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/article_large/article-images/iStock_000010063963Small_0.jpg

Stress, anxiety and depression levels in students have risen dramatically since the 1980s (2). This means that there is also an increase in those going to their university’s mental health centers, if they are provided. According to Boston University statistics, in the 2014-2015 school year, students seeking psychiatric evaluation went from 120 students to 134, and those coming in because of a crisis increased from 647 students to 906 students (3). It’s happening all over the country. The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors found that 73.1 percent of counseling center directors reported an increase in the severity of student mental health concerns (3).

Radford University has a Student Counseling Services office located in the basement of Tyler Hall. They offer individual, couple and group psychotherapy, medication evaluations and management, professional consultations and other services (4). Their offices are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and their phone number is (540)-831-5226.

Mental health is one of the things that college students should take care of, especially in times of great stress. So, if you or someone you know is going through a rough patch, definitely try to make an appointment with the Counseling services; it could help you before things get too bad.

1 – http://stress.lovetoknow.com/Statistics_on_College_Student_Stress 2 – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-knowledge/201402/the-college-student-mental-health-crisis  3 – http://www.bu.edu/today/2016/mental-health-college-students/  4 – http://www.radford.edu/content/student-counseling/home.html

Hazel Eyes

The touch, the feel,

The heat, the sweat.

A hand running along the hip,

Feeling of rose petal lips against the heart.

 

Dark, spiraled hair of ebony,

The golden-green hazel eyes framed so well.

The soft, pale pink lips,

Often mistaken for a cloud.

hazel-eyes
“Those hazel eyes see horror and pain.” Photo from: www.muscledudelife.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those hazel eyes see horror and pain.

Her pale lips are lowered.

These curls hide the face of a girl.

 

Those who passed her over,

Who didn’t bother to look beyond her skin,

Far too self-centered to see the damage,

Unable to see the women she would become.

Stress overload

When the going gets tough, the tough curl up in a ball and cry. Graphic form ethanandkayli.blogspot.com

As the final weeks of the semester are winding down, we all look to our lord and savior Jesus Christ for some guidance. When that doesn’t work, we drown our sorrows in alcohol and too much Netflix. We always hope that our responsibilities will disappear at the end of binge watching “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” but unfortunately, the second you turn off the TV and realize it’s 6 in the morning and you have a test in 2 hours, you begin to panic and hope by taking a nap on your textbook the information will be forced into your strung out brain. The stress of being a college student while also being a general person is way too much to handle, most of the time.

I don’t understand why all college classes insist on throwing 14 papers, 23 tests, and 8 project at us within the last three weeks of class. Do they expect us to finish all of these assignments on time as well as actually turn in “A” worthy work? I’m not sure if they remember what it’s like to be in college, but they have to know that it feels impossible. On top of all of that, we have to find jobs for the summer, schedule our classes for next semester as well as possible summer classes, deal with a brother who’s trans ( maybe that one’s just for me, but still.)

We always get lectures from our parents about when they were our age they were working 7 jobs, walking 3 miles in the snow to get to school, and still managing to be student body president. First, we all know that’s a load of crap. Second, the cost to get an education is much higher now, not to mention how much the availability of jobs has gone down. The generation above us just don’t get how high the expectations are for us, how we have to continue to reach for the American dream, but what is the American dream anymore?

The stress can become way too much to handle. Sometimes it’s not about the amount of work we have to do, but it’s about what is expected of us. We have to achieve all A’s while maintaining a job that pays for rent and food as well as being a part of multiple extracurriculars and volunteer at an animal shelter in our free time. I just wish the older generation could calm down and try to understand the struggle we go through instead of lecturing us about how they had it so much worse. Stress can be dangerous and the high expectations need to stop if they want us to truly succeed in life.

The broken heart syndrome phenomenon

According to Time magazine, an immense amount of research has shown that a death or the loss of a person close to you can not only break your heart metaphorically, but it can also cause physical damage that can lead to serious heart problems.

A new study published by Dr. Simon Graff finds that people who experience a partner dying are a much higher risk for atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, and the effects are life-long.

Having a broken heart is more than just a metaphor. Graphic from Pinterest
Having a broken heart is more than just a metaphor. Graphic from Pinterest

For many years, researchers have studied the phenomena of the broken heart syndrome, or stress cardiomyopathy. This occurs when a highly stressful event, such as the death of a spouse, results in a person feeling like they’re having a heart attack. The symptoms include the same ones that occur when having a heart attack: shortness of breath and chest pain.

When an emotional event happens, researches suspect a surge of stress hormones are released which cause this feeling of having a heart attack.

Researchers looked at citizens in Denmark who were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Out of the 88, 600 people, 41 percent of them who lost a partner were more likely to develop atrial fibrillation within the first month of their partner’s death compared to those who hadn’t lost anyone. The researchers also discovered that the risk is higher in younger people, especially when a partner as died suddenly or unexpectedly.

A cardiologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, Harmony Reynolds, states that “We can’t stop stressful situations from coming up in our lives but there may be ways to change the way stress affects our bodies.” She says regular exercise, things like yoga, meditation, and even deep breathing can increase the parasympathetic nervous system which increase our body’s ability to handle stress. However, these activities won’t be able to reduce the risk completely.

This study, as large and somewhat thorough as it is, can’t completely confirm that the feelings of grief or loss are directly related to atrial fibrillation. “Right now our work can only point to an association, but we hope to help make a shift in society’s mindset—that a time of grief is not only a mental state but maybe also physical,” says Graff, the author of the study.

How you react to stress is vital for your health

The fact that stress and negative emotions can raise the risk of heart disease is evident, but the reasons why this occurs are not explicitly known. One possible rationale that connects stress to heart disease is an impairment of the autonomic nervous system — an instance of an individual’s typically self-regulated nervous system being led astray.

Nancy L. Sin, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of biobehavioral health and in the Center for Healthy Aging at Penn State, and colleagues desired to discover if everyday stress and heart rate variability are connected. Heart rate variability is the change in intervals between sequenced heartbeats, and a measure of autonomic regulation of the heart.

Depression and major stressful occurrences are indisputably dangerous for health, but less consideration has been taken to the health consequences of frustrations and hassles in everyday life. Before this study, not very many studies had explored the relationship between heart rate variability and everyday stressful occurrences.

Nani_screaming_into_a_pillow
“Depression and major stressful occurrences are dangerous for health.”

The researchers examined information gathered from 909 participants, involving day-to-day phone interviews during eight consecutive days as well as the results from an electrocardiogram — a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. The participants were between the ages of 35 and 85 and were drawn from a national study. The study’s discoveries were reported online in Psychosomatic Medicine.

Throughout the day-to-day telephone interviews, participants were requested to describe the stressful occurrences they had encountered that day, ranking how stressful each occasion was by picking “not at all,” “not very,” “somewhat” or “very.”

Additionally, participants were questioned about their negative feelings that day, if they were feeling either angry, sad or nervous. Participants reported, on average, experiencing no less than one stressful event on 42 percent of the interview days, and these events were, in most cases, rated as “somewhat” stressful.

Sin and colleagues discovered that the individuals who reported numerous stressful occurrences in their daily lives were not automatically those who had lower heart rate variability. No matter how many or how few stressful occurrences participants faced, it was those who rated the occurrences as more stressful or who encountered an increase in negative emotions that had lower heart rate variability. What this means is that these people might have an increased risk for heart disease.

Technology that monitors stress level

In the realm of innovative wearable technology, monitoring fitness and movement is commonly the primary objective. Wearable tech created to tally steps, monitor workouts, and hit more reps has well and genuinely become the standard but be that as it may, in the course of the past twelve months, there’s been an enormous increase in gadgets built in order to keep our minds in check, just as much as our bodies. Recently, a product has been manufactured that strives to assist individuals in managing their anxiety and stress amid their everyday lives.

New wearable technology monitors stress-level, not fitness. Image from CBS Boston.
New wearable technology monitors stress-level, not fitness.
Image from CBS Boston.

The consumers simply clip Spire to their jeans or bra and the device monitors the patterns of your breathing to figure out whether they’re relaxed, centered, or strained. If the breathing speeds up to an excessive amount, the device will buzz and a message will be sent to your iPhone telling you to take a deep breath. “That simplicity of the feedback is what makes it so applicable and what makes it so actionable in daily life,” clarified Spire co-founder Neema Moraveji. “You can take a deep breath without stopping what you’re doing, without distracting from what you’re doing.”

While technology may add to current stress and anxiety levels, Moraveji says there’s no sensible escape. “The question became: ‘how could technology change and improve our state of mind?’” Notices are delivered, as necessary, so consumers can monitor and contrast their activity levels and perspective everyday.

As a doctor, Liz Scheufele perceives how essential the right sort of breathing can be, “the exercise of deep breathing, to bring you out of that tense state, I think that’s highly valuable.”

“I think it’s great”, Peter Kazanjy expressed, who is a loyal Spire user. He says it has made him more aware of his breathing and everyday stress and anxiety degrees. “You kind of notice things like maybe I’m hunched over and I’m not doing as deep breathing through my diaphragm as a I should be.”

Spire may assist in directing your breathing and you’ll have the capacity to be more in control. In any case, it costs about $150 and it is not considered a medical device.

What consumers and speculators truly want to know, is whether wearable technology intended to monitor stress actually helps or hinders with regards to better and a more full comprehension of the physical side effects symptoms of anxiety and stress.

How to deal with anxiety in college

Everyone can feel anxious about final exams and deadlines for papers, but those only come periodically throughout the semester. Other, simpler, things can make someone anxious such as day-to-day homework, social life issues, and anything from being alone for too long to being around too many people too often. Anxiety can take over someone’s mind so that they constantly second-guess themselves. It can be difficult going through college with anxiety. There are some ways to really control it and keep it under control.

 

Anxiety can make someone feel sad and nervous all the time. It can affect how they do in school and how social they are around friends. One of the most important things to remember when dealing with anxiety while away at college is that if you don’t want to be alone, you never have to be. There is always somebody you can call whether that be your family, friends from home, or friends at school some one wants to hear about what’s making you anxious and feeling unsure. On the flip side of that, if you do want to be alone, there is always a door you can close the rest of the world out of and take some time to reflect on yourself and have some alone time.

Another key factor to remember in calming down your anxiety is that everything will be okay. Whether you’re worried about school, a job, or your social life things will eventually all work out. If you get a bad grade it won’t be the end of your world, or if you’re a few minutes late to work it won’t get you fired, and if you have an awkward encounter with peers it won’t kill you. Things happen in life that are uncomfortable but the important thing is to push past it and keep going with the rest of your life because everything will turn out okay.

Whatever anxiety you are dealing with or struggling through, you can get through it by keeping these things in mind and just reminding yourself you’re going to be okay in the end!

I’m so f****** stressed out

If you can’t tell by the title, I’m so F****** stressed out. I don’t even know what to do anymore. I feel every single emotion at once. Anger, frustration, sadness, adrenaline, excitement, fear, and the list goes on and on. Leaving high school, I never thought college would be this stressful. Everybody always says “Oh, college is so much better. Just wait.” Well, it looks like I’m still waiting for college to not suck as much as it does now.

There are way too many things to juggle in college. School work, home work, work work, social life, family life, trying to figure what I want to do with my life, and so on. I’m stressed out all the time and I don’t know how to turn my brain off. Attempting to do all of the stuff on my to-do list is frustrating and annoying and I wish I had someone to help me. But I realize that most of the things I need to do are things I need to do myself, things that I need to accomplish on my own. That doesn’t change the fact that I hate it and I wish it would all just stop for a little bit.

Do you feel like stress is grabbing at you? Photo from pinterest
Do you feel like stress is grabbing at you?
Photo from pinterest

Being an adult is terrifying. Who knew that having all of this responsibility for my own work and for myself would be paralyzingly stressful. High school and other experiences try and prepare for what college has to offer, but no experience can truly depict what it feels like to be in college. It feels like you’re constantly running a marathon but you don’t know what you’re running towards, what the end looks like. You just keep running and running because everybody else is. But what is the point of it all?

I’m still trying to figure out my purpose in life, why I was put on this earth. I still don’t understand why we are put through the experiences that we are and what lesson we’re supposed to learn from it. I don’t understand life or what it all means, and I probably will never find out. But what I do know is that everything does have a purpose and a meaning. College is supposed to teach us something valuable and everything happens for a reason.

A glimpse inside depression

Depression hurts, Cymbalta can help.

Maybe it can, but this isn’t an ad for a common depression medication.

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since I was in 8th grade. I hid it for years – the self-harm, the suicide attempts, the overwhelming hopelessness. I was diagnosed junior year of high school with depression and bipolar disorder, after one last, too-close suicide attempt.

My counselor found out via an anonymous tip and proceeded to take every last measure of making my life a living Hell. I won’t go too much into this, but to make it short – I spent an entire day in school at the guidance office, crying to my dad about how I didn’t want to make it so hard on him.

If you’ve met me, I’m a pretty normal, happy gal. But once you take a closer look, you’ll find out I’m nothing like who I portray myself to be.

I walk around campus, down hallways and stairwells, and think that everyone’s looking at me – judging me. I try my hardest to get from one place to another as quickly as possible.

“Normal” daily chores and tasks are harder for me. I struggle to get things done. I tell myself that everything is going to be alright, and I can get through it. Homework stresses me out. I get so anxious over little things that don’t matter, and try to do my best in everything I can. But I still procrastinate, I put off every single thing until the last minute, unless I know it will take me more than one all-nighter to do it.

Depression can follow you like a dark cloud Photo from dezzandcarol
Depression can follow you like a dark cloud
Photo from dezzandcarol

I find it hard to find basic meaning in everything I do. I ask myself “Why?” “Why am I doing this?”. I question myself, even things that I am supposed to enjoy doing – I don’t. Everything has become a load on my back, and I thought college would be better. College is supposed to be fun, right? But how am I supposed to “Get Involved”, if I have too much homework and too much anxiety?

I have to keep telling myself it will get better. I have so much in life to be thankful for, and so much to look forward to.

If you’re like me, don’t give up. Keep your chin up, and your head high. Take it one day at a time, and you might just turn out alright.

 

 

Just breathe

The middle of the semester is in full swing. The stress of exams and grades is rolling in. We all need to take a step back and just breathe. We tend to get caught up in the stress during this time. It may fall on us like an avalanche, or trickle in like drops. Regardless, stress affects everyone in one way or another, and that is okay. Here are some reasons not to stress as we get over the hump of the semester.

stress ball
“Is your lack of sleep catching up to you and stressing you out? Taking care of your body is more important than any amount of work will be.”

You are here for a reason, and you have earned your place! Don’t forget that, because you DO belong without a doubt. You may feel out of place, and that may stress you out, but finding friends and groups that you connect with is easier than it may seem. We have so many clubs, organizations, and students, and finding your niche may take a few tries, but you will find your campus family with a little searching. So don’t stress, because it will come! And if it’s missing your family and home that’s stressing you out, maybe you will head home during an upcoming weekend. Remember that Thanksgiving break is just around the corner! You can keep a countdown to build the excitement, call or text to stay caught up, and don’t worry!

Is your lack of sleep catching up to you and stressing you out? Taking care of your body is more important than any amount of work will be. Sleep is essential to guarantee the well-being of your mental and physical health. Staying up late, consuming large amounts of caffeine, and trying to study or work are bad combinations and will actually raise the chance of performing poorly on tasks. According to Harvard studies, sleep deprivation can lead to many health problems, and can actually cause you to have a feeling of stress. A well-rested mind works more efficiently, and will actually help you manage and deal with stress. So for tonight, set aside your books, and get a good night’s sleep (6-8 hours preferably). Your mind and body will thank you for it in the morning, and it may alleviate some of your stress.

Did you get your midterm back, and not receive the stellar grade you were hoping for? Or did you walk out of an exam full of dread that you bombed it? This may be the most important time to step back and breathe.  You may feel like the world is crashing down and that this is going to affect you terribly, but please trust that it is okay. If it does turn out poorly, it isn’t the end of the world, and if it truly is going to negatively affect you, you could look into using one of your withdrawals if needed. Grades aren’t everything, they don’t define you. They don’t make or break you.

So breathe. Don’t stress. You’ve got this.

 

Highlanders Anonymous: Sororities, Stress, and Going home for the weekend

“I want to join a sorority, but I’m scared of what people will think of me. I’m not a party girl or anything, but I was really into my church growing up and this is a nice chance to meet cool people while getting back into philanthropy. Should I do it?”

When you get to college you have so many incredible opportunities to get involved at your school. Greek life is definitely a pretty cool one, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. I suggest that you go to a bunch of informal rush events and mixers (if you haven’t already) to make sure that this is something that you truly want.

If it is, then to hell with everyone else’s opinions—you do what you want. It sounds like you’re getting into it for all the right reasons so the real question is, why shouldn’t you?

“I have way too much going on right now. I’m a freshman and I got involved with every club or organization I could get my hands on, but now I feel completely overwhelmed. What do I do?”

Make sure that you have a planner. It may seem elementary school-ish, but they really do work. Write down everything that you have to do every week including the due dates. This will help you organize everything in your mind which will certainly help with the stress.

Secondly, with all of your events and homework be sure to schedule in some time alone for yourself. “Monday 6pm- 8pm: watch two Once Upon A Time episodes with Halloween cookies.” It may seem dumb, but when you have to schedule everything else in your life so carefully it helps to know that you’re guaranteed some “me” time.

“I have a boyfriend back home that I really want to visit, but I don’t have a car. The longer we go without seeing each other the crazier I feel. I knew that long-distance would be hard, but I’m not sure if I can handle only seeing each other once every few months.”

First of all, yes, long-distance will continue to be hard, but there’s no reason that you guys can’t see each other on the weekends. There’s a bus that leaves Radford every Friday to take you to the real bus station and it returns on Sundays. It’s not too expensive either.

Another option you have is hitching a ride with someone else headed in that direction. Post on the RU Facebook page for your graduating class to see if anyone is headed where you want to go. Most people are willing to even go out of their way for you if you offer to pay for gas.

That’s all for this week, but remember to send in your anonymous questions for us to answer! Next week could be your question!

image1 (1)
Photo by: Danielle Johnson. Students: Sydney Puryear and Olivia Moorehead

When you get to college you have so many incredible opportunities to get involved at your school. Greek life is definitely a pretty cool one, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. I suggest that you go to a bunch of informal rush events and mixers (if you haven’t already) to make sure that this is something that you truly want.

If it is, then to hell with everyone else’s opinions—you do what you want. It sounds like you’re getting into it for all the right reasons so the real question is, why shouldn’t you?

 

 

Ways to destress during the first semester of college

Having control of your work can make a whole lot of difference in your stressful college life. First semester can be chaotic because you’re starting new, and you don’t know what you have to face and the upcoming challenges are just going to get harder. Many students say the first semester is easy, at the beginning you put yourself out there but then you have to maintain good grades, keeping up with assignments, clubs or other outside activities. The key to having a more stress-free semester is to organize your work.

tea not blurry
“A piece of advice for everyone is to do what pleases you, which helps you relax.”

Don’t put work off! Doing things on the day you get it is the best way to stay organized and not be overwhelmed by all the work piling up and set a goal for yourself each night. If you accomplish all the work you have set for yourself in one night, don’t try to overdo yourself and do more. Relax, breathe and take time for yourself. Understand that everything can’t be done within one day. Another important thing to do is to keep an agenda. Try to stay on top of things by being punctual. School shouldn’t be stressful and only you can have full control over that.

Some things you can do to destress include doing things you enjoy more often. Talk with your friends, go watch a movie, read your favorite book again, or try new places on campus you haven’t been to yet. Basically, do anything non-educational.

Also, one more thing that works great is to get enough sleep. Staying up all night is a deadly sin if you have an 8 am the next day. You’ll be much happier and energetic in class if you receive at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night.

Every student has a different way to destress in college and they have different goals, not everyone will be on the same education boat. A piece of advice for everyone is to do what pleases you, which helps you relax. Listen to music while studying, or go to the library for quiet, just set your mind free.

Radford survival guide: finals

Finals are slowly creeping up on us, although that reality hasn’t set in for most of us. Right now it’s the calm before the storm– so before the storm hits, you need to be prepared.

Your Guide to surviving Finals. Graphic by Katie Gibson
Your Guide to surviving Finals. Graphic by Katie Gibson

The first piece of advice I’d give you is to get plenty of sleep. It’s easy to go into panic mode and pull an all-nighter the night before a final, but this should never be a weekly practice. You don’t study as well, and you definitely won’t perform as well on an exam when you’re exhausted. Make sure you’re getting a decent amount of sleep so that you can be sharp and relaxed, even if you do have to cram.

Stress-eating becomes a lifestyle during finals week. Going through the drive-thru is a lot easier and takes much less time than making a healthy meal. However, it may be worth it to take a few minutes to grab a healthier snack. There’s power in healthy food that will help you work efficiently. Drink black coffee instead of sugary, expensive coffee drinks. Plain black coffee has zero calories, but will also keep your mood up and allow you to focus.

This should be common sense, but drinking during finals week is a horrible idea. No matter how stressed out you get, I promise there isn’t an “A” at the bottom of that bag of Franzia. Take time out of your studying to relax and watch a movie on Netflix. Find productive ways to take a study break, such as working your stress out at the gym or making a craft or two. Do anything to keep the urge to throw down that twelve-pack.

Arguably, the biggest piece of advice I received in University 100 is to study a little every day. Instead of cramming as much information as you can into your brain 30 minutes before your final, study a little every day the few weeks before finals. Ideally, studying a little every night starting at the beginning of the semester is the best thing to do to keep your brain from frying. However, few people have the willpower or discipline to make that work. There’s still time to save your brain before finals!

Finals week is notorious for being the most stressful time of year for college students. Although you may have to drink a swimming pool of coffee to survive, it’s absolutely possible to get by without going all 2007 Britney Spears. Keeping yourself organized and taking care of yourself will allow you to perform efficiently and allow you to pass your exams with flying colors.

Survival of the studious

Look at your calendar. We have less than three weeks left in the semester. Unless you’re a senior, eagerly counting down the days till graduation, this thought may come as a surprise to you. And if you’re anything like me, it’s a little alarming.

With a limited number of classes left, professors seem to be piling on the assignments, squeezing in last-minute tests and lectures before the final. Deadlines are looming, work’s piling up, and procrastination is becoming a riskier maneuver. But try not to panic, and follow these tips to ease the journey to hell week.

  • Make a calendar

If you don’t already keep track of assignments through a daily planner, START ONE TODAY. Even if you have a great memory and don’t have much trouble keeping track of school deadlines, write it all down. You don’t even have to buy a planning book; just print out a few weekly planner sheets with space below each weekday to list all your due dates, meetings, and other things that need to be done. It’s easy to forget something when you have so many extra things to remember, so prepare with an updated calendar.

  • Schedule out your time

    Are you spending your time wisely? Graphic from Pinterest
    Are you spending your time wisely? Graphic from Pinterest

With a calendar to aid you on when things are due, make sure you get those things done. Schedule time every day to get duties finished, and not just the day before something’s due. Create a daily list with a (reasonable) amount of work that you want to get done that day, and cross off assignments as you finish them. Separating out the work will help you from feeling overwhelmed by the overall amount.

  • Naps are your friend

It may be hard to find a solid chunk of time to sleep at night during this time, and barreling through schoolwork can be exhausting. To help with this, try taking brief (30 minutes or so) naps throughout the day. This can rejuvenate you between study sessions and give you more energy.

Just make sure you aren’t sleeping too much.

  • Meet with your teachers

Talk to your professors about any content you are still fuzzy on, and make use of their office hours. Discussing your questions and concerns with your teachers is beneficial, and shows them that you are dedicated to doing well in the class. Don’t wait until the day before the test to say you don’t understand something, because by then, it’s too late–and they’ll have no pity on you.

  • Take care of yourself

Most importantly, take care of yourself. If you are stressed out of your mind and aren’t nourishing your body, you’ll feel worse. A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. So take time between work to relax and take deep breaths. Also be sure to eat healthy foods for more energy, and hydrate with lots of water to reduce headaches and improve thinking.

Get your (control) freak on, or maybe not

For a long time, I’ve been a control freak. I absolutely loathe the feeling of not having control in a situation. Lately, however, I’ve started to learn that not having control is okay.

There are many events that we experience as humans that are completely out of our control. Deaths, breakups, or the loss of a friend or pet  all make it easy to feel that our lives are spiraling out of control. It’s easy to blame ourselves for different tragedies. We ask, “why me?” or “why not me?” when we become ill or lose a loved one. Focusing on these negative things, however, is toxic.

Are you controlling others? Graphic from Mother Nature Network
Are you controlling others? Graphic from Mother Nature Network

When we live in the past and spend time worrying about events that have already occurred, enjoying the present situation can be extremely difficult. While going through a hard time, we often forget the simplest of pleasures — such as the sun on our skin or simply being alive.

Recently, I went through something that made me stop in my tracks. For a long time I was imagining my future in a certain way, and couldn’t imagine it any other way. Unfortunately, the Universe (or whatever) had other plans, and now my plans are impossible. In the past, when going through similar situations, I would spend days or even months trying to put the pieces back together. For a moment, I found myself doing the same this time. Once I looked around at the things I still had and put the event to the back of my mind, I felt like my life could resume.

When things don’t go the way we want them to, we often put our lives on hold. It’s okay to take time to heal, but I believe the healing process is quickened when we don’t let the situation control our lives. The downside to being a control freak is that it can be really hard allow things to fix themselves. Instead, we often sit and stew over thing.As a result, we make the situation much worse.

It’s important to allow ourselves to relax –whether or not we have control. Sometimes simply taking a step back from the situation,may show that things aren’t as bad as we have ourselves convinced. Letting go can be extremely freeing and rewarding — and often, allows the situation and stress to resolve itself.

Five reasons why you should take up yoga

Many people don’t see yoga as a valid workout because yoga is a relaxing and fairly stationary exercise that isn’t on par with other routines (such as jogging or lifting weights). However, this notion is very wrong. Yoga has many wonderful benefits for both the body and the mind, all while working up a sweat. So “become a tree” and read these five reasons why you should take up yoga immediately.

1) It’s an incredible stress reliever.

Students are just generally stressed this time of year. Sure, the weather is getting warmer and the sun is sticking around longer, but the impending doom that is finals week is right around the corner. Stress is a very dangerous thing. It can mess with sleeping and eating habits, causing one to rapidly gain or lose weight. It can raise blood pressure and mess with heart function. It can even cause anxiety attacks which are highly alarming. All of this trauma can be dramatically alleviated by as few as20 minutes a day of yoga.

2) It boosts your immune system.

While the worst of the winter has passed, it’s very common, for college students especially, to get sick this time of year. With everyone opting to stay up and finish papers or study rather than get a full night’s sleep, there’s bound to be a cold or two that will catch up with even the most health conscious of people. Yoga can help keep you from missing too much class so close to finals by relieving stress (which leaves the immune system vulnerable to viruses), opening up airways (to improve breathing,) and draining nasal passages (to avoid sinus infections).

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Photo of Radford student. Photo by: Caroline Leggett

3) It helps you focus.

Yoga goes hand in hand with meditation, which centers around the practice of clearing one’s head and focusing on breathing. This mental exercise, if done frequently enough, can significantly improve your focus for studying and being more alert in class.

4) It makes you happy!

By increasing serotonin levels in the brain and improving the immune system, yoga makes you feel better inside and out — therefore making you a happier person! If that’s not enough of a reason to give it a try, I don’t know what is.

5) It helps you sleep.

Relaxation techniques used in yoga are proven to help you get a better night’s sleep, which any college student knows is invaluable. Having a better night’s sleep will improve every aspect of your life, from your academic performance to your social life.

In addition to all of these benefits, yoga is also terrific for building strength and burning calories. So grab a yoga mat and head over to the gym to grab a class schedule.

Advice for Rising Sophomores

Springtime at Radford University means a lot of things: studying on the grass instead of inside Young, the looming threat of final exams, and most importantly, the end of yet another fantastic school year. Many of you are part of the class of 2018, and as your freshman year comes to a rapid close, you may be blissfully unaware of the stress that comes with trading in your “freshie” status. The truth is, freshman year is a cakewalk compared to sophomore year. However, with the right group of friends and the right mindset, you can make it a terrific experience.

As a rising junior, I have a few tips that may make your year a little less overwhelming.

Your guide to being a Sophomore at Radford. Graphic by Katie Gibson
Your guide to being a Sophomore at Radford. Graphic by Katie Gibson

1) Never be afraid to change your major.

Seriously. If you’re not happy, change your major. Change your major three times, four times, five times, until you absolutely love where you are. Not everyone has the money to go back to school if they end up hating their career. Make the right decision for you. Pick a major that will get you excited to go to class everyday. Pick a career that will make you look forward to the work week. You only live once; do what makes you happy.

2) Don’t be afraid to let go of your friends from freshman year.

I hate to say it, because it’s always sad when someone you’re close to leaves your life, but some friends aren’t meant to be lifelong friends. Whether you realize it or not, many of your friends freshman year were probably only your friends out of convenience. After all, it’s way easier to keep toxic friendships with people that you met the first week of school in the dorms than it is to venture off  and make new friends. If you ever feel like you have to force a friendship, simply let it go. Life’s too short for drama. Always surround yourself with people that make you genuinely happy.

3) Say “no” to going out sometimes.

Almost everybody is a tad bit rebellious when they start college. Even I found myself out on Light Side the night before a test during freshman year. But freshman year is very different than sophomore year. The workload is lighter, the classes are easier, and the professors are a hell of a lot more understanding when you come down with a sudden case of “the flu” right before a test. IT’S OKAY to stay in on a Wednesday night to study when all of your friends are begging you to go out to a party. IT’S OKAY to choose your school work over your social life- that doesn’t make you a loser. Put school before everything, because school is first and foremost why you’re at Radford .

4) Go to class.

A wise person once told me that going to class is like going to the gym–you never want to go, but you feel so much better having gone than skipping. Once again, you’re here for school — so unless you’re skipping to study for an exam or something of that nature, just suck it up and get yourself to class.

5) Exercise.

Sophomore year is a lot of pressure. You’re expected to declare a major and, essentially, plan your whole life within a single year. On top of that, the workload is heavier, especially if you’re starting into your major classes. Take just an hour a day to go to the gorgeous new gym and sweat some of that stress out. If you don’t, then you’ll wind up eating your feelings.Trust me, if you think the infamous “Freshman Fifteen” was scary, then you don’t even want to know what you’ll look like after a semester of sobbing into cartons of ice cream because you don’t have your life figured out yet.

Like college in general, sophomore year is a weird combination of absolutely terrifying and extremely exciting experiences. You’ll make new friends, find new passions, and explore new things about yourself. Embrace it all, the good and the bad– because despite everything, these are the best four years of our lives.