Five Tips for Beating Back to School Stress

By Claire Karon

Marquette University campus during autumnHow is it possible that we are already a month into the school year? August came and went, September is almost gone, and October is slowly creeping up on us. Like the ever-changing leaves in fall, our beloved Marquette campus continues to change as well. New students, new classes, and a new president, and somehow we are supposed to keep all these new things organized and try and have a social life at the same time. Is all of this even possible? How are we supposed to handle all of this pressure? Maybe we should take some time and figure out a few ways one can deal with this early school year stress:

Put yourself in a good mood. Listen to some calming music, light some scented candles (if you’re not in a dorm that is), pull on your favorite sweatshirt, whatever it takes. The better your mood is, the easier it will be to deal with whatever you have going on. Your mood effects how you work, and it effects the people around you, therefore it stands to reason that the better you feel, the more productive you will be.

Surround yourself with people you enjoy. We all know family and friends have a ton of influence in our lives. So it is probably best to spend time with people that make you feel good. Have lunch with a friend, take your roommate to the library with you, or call your brother just to say hi! Whatever works. Yes, this can be difficult with classes and studying and such, but the feeling of being with people you love, and that love you in return is a far greater feeling than any homework assignment you will ever have. Personal interaction is extremely important and also contributes to an overall better mood.

Stay active and eat well. If you’re a fan of classic “chick flicks” like I am you will understand my next quote: “Endorphins make you happy! And happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” If you are not as well versed in chick flicks as I am, that was a line from the movie Legally Blonde. As silly as that sounds, endorphins really do contribute to a positive state of mind. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys working out, you know that feeling after a good run, or spin on a bike, you may feel tired and physically beat, but after you are mentally stimulated and are usually feeling great! Along with getting active, comes eating well. Yes we all love an occasional burger from Sobelmanns, or some ice cream from Kopps, but eating healthy is also key to a healthy lifestyle. Try a fruit salad, some grilled chicken and steamed veggies as an alternative. You might be surprised at what you like.

Give yourself something to look forward to. Try and find something that makes you excited about getting up that day. Something that makes your day worth it waking up to. Get a cup of coffee from Starbucks, take a nap, make time to watch your favorite TV show! Do something that you know will brighten your day just a little bit. The more positive reinforcements you give yourself, the easier it will be to be productive during the day. Giving yourself things to do keeps you on track, and makes you want to work harder for the things you actually want to do. Yes, we all have papers to write, and tests to study for, but the sooner you get those done you will have time to do things that make you happy.

Do something fun. As I previously stated, yes there are plenty of papers to be written, and tests to take, but at the same time if all you do is spend your time cooped up in Raynor, that can’t be good for your mental health. Get out on the weekends and spend time with friends. There are plenty of delicious restaurants in the 3rd Ward (not to mention the best boutiques and Milwaukee Cupcake Co). Go out to a fancy dinner with friends and just enjoy being with the people you love. Head to Bradford Beach (if the weather is decent of course) and get your tan on. Milwaukee is a fantastic city with lots of things to offer, if you just get out there and explore. Not the go -getter type? No problem. Have a movie night with friends. Bake cookies, pop popcorn, and turn on that movie that will always make you laugh. Read a book that isn’t for class. Rock out to your favorite band. If you spend all week being productive, and doing schoolwork it is only fair that you should get to have some fun on the weekends. The brain needs to be stimulated in many ways, and it is easy to get stressed out during the week. Take some time to do what you like, and that stress will just melt away.

These are just five suggestions of ways that you can lessen the stress of everyday life. Maybe these things will work for you, and maybe they won’t. The point is that life can be stressful, we all know that. We just need to find ways to eliminate that stress from our lives, or there is a slight chance we will go a little crazy. So take a deep breath, step back, and relax. And in the words of Bobby McFerin, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

Claire Karon is an Education and Psychology major working as a Resident Einstein in the Wakerly Technology Training Center.

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