Signs and Symptoms You May Be Stressed Out
Remember, stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Stressful events trigger the fight or flight response. Usually it is experienced as a short term tension, leading to added mental alertness that subsides when the challenge has been met. Some level of stress is necessary - this is what helps us get our tasks done. However, we should return to that relaxed state once the challenge has been met. Stress that lingers for weeks or months can weaken the immune system and increase anxiety or depression.
If you are experiencing these or other symptoms from your stress, keep reading to identify methods to reduce your stress!
Tips to De-stress
There are a lot of ways to reduce your stress! Not every method works the same for everyone, but try out some below to see what benefits you the best!
Being active can reduce fatigue, release endorphins, and increase concentration and cognitive function, all things that stress induces or affect. Being active does not just mean going to the gym or for a run. Try out some of the activities below to blow off some steam!
- Do some stretching
- Try some yoga poses
- Clean your room or back pack
- Walk to a coffee shop
- Do some laundry (not great fun, but it will get you moving!)
- Go on a walk to a nearbypark
Spending time with friends and meeting people is a great way to destress. It can help you try new things, get your mind off school, and make a lot of great memories! Bozeman has a lot of great places to go and things to do with friends!
- Go on a walk together around Pete’s hill or Gallagator trail
- Explore Hyalite
- Go to the Sub Rec Center to bowl or play some pool
- Do some coloring or crafts
- See a movie at the Pro! OHA sponsors the first and third Friday of every month so your ticket would be free!
- Listen to live music and drink coffee at RAD coffee house (every Friday night at Rendezvous)
- Got to the Museum of the Rockies!
- Walk around Main Street
- Bozeman Hot Springs
Time management can be an amazing tactic to reducing stress as it organizes your schedule and work load into smaller, more manageable chunks. It can also help you ensure you are making time for fun, de-stress activities like those above!
Coming up with a planning system that works for you is
important to prepare for the busy life of a college student. Consider utilizing a day planner, full calendar, or electronic planner on your phone, tablet, or computer. Copy your assignments from your syllabi into your planning system and continue to add any commitments that pop up. In addition to putting everything into your planner, also make sure to use it! Check in every week to prepare for what's coming.
Is a final project or the thought of graduating in 4 years overwhelming you? Taking the time to break these larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks will help you breathe easy.
Steps to break tasks down
- Step back and envision the end result. Understanding where you are headed provides clarity on how to get there.
- Think through the process. What steps will you need to take to accomplish the task? Treat each step as an individual task.
- Create a realistic timeline. What needs to be done first, second, third, etc? Remember that challenging tasks often take longer than we anticipate.
- Cross it off.
Today, there is increasing pressure to be constantly connected and available through gadgets, which can cause procrastination and then stress. Dedicate some time to be technology free. By putting down your phone to study or do homework, you will be more focused and get things done sooner and possibly of higher quality.
You also don’t need to turn to your phone every time you want to de-stress with a homework break. Read a book you enjoy, talk to a friend face-to-face, take a nap, or go for a hike. Enjoy a break from the demands of technology. Dedicate some time to be technology free. By putting down your phone to study or do homework, you will be more focused and get things done sooner and possibly of higher quality.
Every semester during dead week, our interns at the Office of Health Advancement hold a de-stress fest somewhere on campus! The event is meant to relieve stress in students through sensory activities, nutritious foods, and social interaction. Below are some de-stress fest activities you can try at home!
- Small container
- Tools (could be kids toys, eating utensils, or just sticks. Just something to move the sand around)
- Fill container with sand
- Place rocks in the sand
- Use Tools to move the sand around and make designs!
Balloon Stress Ball
- Rice, sugar, or flour
- Take balloon and use the funnel to fill it with either rice, sugar, or flour. Recommended to fill about 3/4 full
- Once filled, tie ballon opening two or three times to ensure there will not be spilling.
- Squeeze balloon and feel the stress melt away!
- Bowls (x2)
- Borax powder (1/2 teaspoon)
- White glue (1/4 cup)
- Water (1/2 cup)
- Food coloring
- Mix Borax powder and 1/4 cup water in bowl. Set aside.
- Mix rest of water and the glue in different bowl.
- Combine the contents of the two bowls.
- Add food coloring as desired!
Self-talk is happening constantly in your mind. Ensure that it is positive and supportive since you have to listen to it all day long!
Thinking Errors to identify and change:
- Catastrophizing: Blowing something's importance to be much more than it is. For example, getting a C in a class or final will not be the end of the world. There are a lot of resources available to help you succeed, despite set backs.
- What-if-ing: Worrying about the worst case scenarios. Panicking will not improve your chances of doing well in a presentation or on a test. Take a deep breath and study or work so you can do your best.
- Filtering: Only focusing on the negatives. A final may have not gone as well as you had hoped, but think about all of the things that did go well!
- Overgeneralizing: Assuming that things will always go poorly because of one negative experience. You may have done poorly in one chemistry class, but that doesn't necessarily you will always fail at chemistry related things. Take each experience and class one by one and try your best.
You can find these and other thinking errors at Stress Management for Dummies!
Positive thinkingnot only increases your coping skills to deal with stress but also lowers levels of negative stress. Positive thinking begins with practicing self compassion through positive self talk. This conversation is often overly critical, harsh, and irrational. To reduce stress, talk to yourself like you would a good friend.
Self compassion example:
- Situation: I have a final exam tomorrow.
- Irrational self talk: I’m going to fail. I shouldn’t have taken that class.
- Rational self-talk: I passed my final exams last semester. I can do it again this semester.
Relaxation techniques provide relief from stress by slowing your heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and reducing muscle tension and chronic pain. They also improve concentration, reduce anger and frustration, and provide a confidence boost for better problem solving. Choose a technique that works for you and practice relaxing regularly.
Progressive muscle relaxation is a simple process that involves tensing and relaxing specific muscles in the body, leading to overall relaxation. Start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively working your way up to your neck and head. Tense your muscles for at least five seconds and then relax for 30 seconds, and repeat.
Deep breathing can be performed anywhere or anytime you need a quick calm down, like before an exam. Simply place you hand below your belly and inhale slowly, feeling your belly rise. Hold the breath for 3 seconds. Breathe out slowly. Repeat as long as you like.
Example: Start by focusing on your senses. What does the toothpaste taste like? How do the bristles of the brush feel against your teeth and gums? What does the water sound like as you rinse your toothbrush? When you notice your mind wandering, gently bring it back to the senses without judgment.
Want to learn more?
Visit our Wellness Blog to read other ways to manage stress! Below are some of our stress related blog posts. Click the picture to go to the post!
How to Manage stress in college.
Bozeman Yoga for Beginners.