Ways to control stress this semester

Enter the New Year on the right foot with an organized mind and steady nerves.

By Carlie Auclair [health bureau chief]

Currently, as I write this article, I am being haunted by my six-foot-tall fake Christmas tree that has once again overstayed its welcome.  Like many other fellow celebrators of all things Christmas, I have a bad case of “Christmas hangover.”  Yes I admit it, have overindulged in highballs consisting of Christmas carols, cocktail after cocktail of Christmas movies, and let’s not forget the plethora of Christmas shopping shots. And because of all this excess, the confines of my skull are pounding like a thousand sleigh bells back from the days of yore.

I’ve always found Christmas to be an interestingly fabulous mind game. There are over two months of hype put into this holiday; almost every element in your daily life is influenced by its presence, whether it be music, food, entertainment, media or even the environment around us. The warm fuzzy feeling that swells within you while you decorate a regal looking Christmas tree, or the giddy anticipation of Christmas morning practically oozing from your pores, makes the whole thing worth it.

It’s all part of human nature to be looking toward the next item of business on our menu, so all of this is basically normal for everyone. The difficult part is knowing how to chill out after the holidays and just get back to normal.  And because most of us have all had an overdose of rich foods, family members and free time, I’m sure it is welcomed.  In my personal experience preparation and organization has always been the key to getting the most out of my efforts and because of this I am going to share some of my own secrets that have helped me get back on track and back to reality.

› Get an Agenda…and Use it!
It sounds like a bit of a no brainer and I know you might be thinking “well no duh I’m going to use my agenda if I buy it”, but you have to train yourself to use it and keep it in your conscious line of thinking or else it will just be a useless item you tote with you everywhere.  Today there is so much gunk in our minds that it has become almost impossible to filter anything useful out of minds. If you have a visual tool like an agenda then it takes a lot of stress off your mind to try and remember everything.

› Do something that does NOT involve the T.V. or Internet.
Even if it means taking a walk outside, opening a book or playing a game or scrabble, your brain will thank you for it. According to The Franklin Institute, “your brain basically goes into neutral while exposed to television” and “Walking allows you to effectively oxygenate your brain explaining why walking can “clear your head” and help you think better”

› Hang out with someone who makes you laugh.
It is proven that endorphins are released while laughing, and who couldn’t use more of those?

› Get into a regular routine of homework.
While making time for yourself during the school year is imperative, in my mind, I believe that it is also important to keep on top of things. It seems very simple, but It took me many semesters of rushed projects and last minute cram sessions to get this through my head but once you employ this method the semester will seem like cross country skiing as opposed to snowshoeing up Blackcomb.

› Shut off the negative self talk.
It’s easy to allow yourself to get hyped up before an exam or big presentation, but the power of positive thought still prevails and almost always works wonders. I once received some advice from a fellow student, to draw a smiley face in the corner of my exam paper once it was handed to me. At first I thought the idea was bizarre and pointless but regardless I took her advice and funnily enough it helped. Just seeing the symbol of my positivity looking back at me from my equation riddled page instantly boosted my spirits and allowed me to calm down.

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