Handling Summer School Stress
Meet my Shar-pei, Shirley Pearl. Just look at that relaxed girl.
Do you begin the summer semester feeling and looking refreshed and sharp?
As the grueling pace of the summer term progresses, you may begin to look less like my Shirl the Pearl and more like this guy:
Stress causes a physical response as your body prepares to “fight” or flee perceived danger which involves a series of reactions:
- Your body releases adrenaline and other chemicals into your blood.
- Your heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure increase.
- Your muscles tense and your digestion slows.
- You may begin to sweat.
- Fats and sugars quickly enter your bloodstream to fuel your body for action.
A certain level of stress is helpful in giving you the ability to rise to the challenge of particular events and exciting opportunities. Ongoing stress, however, can sap your energy and leave you exhausted.
Signs of unmanaged stress include muscle aches and pains, gastrointestinal problems, weakened immune response, trouble sleeping, increased irritability, lower mood, etc.
If you find yourself at this stage, please remember there are better alternatives to reduce stress than hitting this button.
There is no need to panic. You can learn healthy ways to cope with stress. One step is learning to change the way you think.
Replacing Negative Self-talk with Positive Affirmations
“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” — Stuart Smalley, “Saturday Night Live”
Reduce negative self-talk by replacing it with positive statements. It is unlikely that you will immediately believe the positive statements you make but, with time and practice, your mind will believe what you tell it.
- Avoid the use of words like “no” in your affirmations. For example, if you say, “don’t get stressed out,” you are creating a picture of someone who is stressed out. If you say, “I feel calm and relaxed. I am capable,” then you are creating an image of someone who is relaxed and able to perform.
- Use as many senses as possible in affirmations and visualizations. When you visualize your performance, recreate as much of the scene as possible to create an accurate simulation. Imagine what it feels like to be calm and self-assured.
In summary, create an image of someone doing what you want to be doing and continue to focus on that image. Determine what you want to be able to say about yourself, then start saying it.
More on Stress Management
- Focus on things that relax you, such as deep breathing, listening to music, going for a walk, exercising or talking with a friend.
- Balance work and play. Create a schedule. Provide adequate time for studying and time for enjoyment and relaxation.
- Maintain healthy eating and sleeping habits.
- Delegate responsibilities as you are able.
- Focus on accomplishments, rather than concentrating on what has not been done. Allow this to motivate you.
- Break big jobs into manageable portions and reward yourself as you finish each part.
- Learn to say “no” to optional activities to schedule time for priorities and rest.
- Talk to a counselor at the ASU Health Clinic and Counseling Services for support.
Check out our Counseling Services Online Support Web page to learn more about how we can help. ASU also partners with ULifeline, which provides helpful resources about sleep, nutrition and stress management and relaxation.
The information presented is taken from: the mind of Kristie Walton, Stress & The College Student © – National Health Ministries – PC(USA – Created 7.2004/Rev. 2.2006); and Stress Management Self Care Handbook. Channing L. Bete Co.,Inc.