No ‘quick fix’ to stress management


By Daily Illini Staff Report

The fall semester is underway, and while syllabi are just being passed out, research papers and midterms aren’t too far away. It won’t be long before some students find themselves in the company of stress.

Samantha Sanders, senior in LAS, said she feels relaxed this week, but she knows the intensity of classes can build throughout the semester.

According to the 2015 National College Health Assessment by the American College Health Association, 30 percent of college students reported that stress had negatively affected their academic performance within the past year. Over 85 percent reported feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities.

Jen Carson, stress management coordinator and wellness promotion specialist at McKinley Health Center, works with students who experience this throughout the school year. 

“(It’s) easy to get caught up in the hectic demands of the day,” Carson said.

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In order to avoid stress, Carson had several tips for students going into this semester. But, she said there is no “quick fix” for stress.

Carson said a few tips are “identifying the things they know are going to be stressing them out (and) taking into consideration things (they’ve) done well in managing stress.”

Setting limitations and boundaries for oneself is something Carson suggested to help with stress, since overloading on classes and activities can be overwhelming. Identifying trigger points, or what stresses them out the most, can also help students cope with stress.

Some students have found their own ways of managing possible stress with their workload throughout the semester.

“To keep the stress at a minimum, I found it’s best to get a planner,” Sanders said. “I like get the whole semester mapped out. Keeping a planner makes it so much easier.”

Kaily Nagel, senior in LAS, agrees with Sanders and said she keeps track of important dates and deadlines.

“If I don’t, then it’s easy to lose track and feel more stressed,” Nagel said.

Nagel said she also comfort in studying and working in consistent places.

“If I have a writing assignment, then I go to a busier spot to stay productive,” Nagel said. “If I get too stressed, I do yoga or drink tea.”

Carson said it’s helpful for students to find balance in their daily schedules to manage their stress.

“(My) biggest message is making sure that students are being consistent with taking care of themselves,” Carson said. “You’re better able to handle those situations when they do occur.”

This includes establishing a regular sleeping schedule and exploring different ways of managing stress. Carson said once students find a stress management practice that works for them, students are “able to recover more quickly because (they’ve) been practicing.”

McKinley Health Center offers quick, three to five minute exercises on its to reduce stress. Stress relief packs, individual appointments and stress management workshops are also included in student fees and available through the center.

Carson said that with the right stress management in place, students can have a better mindset and attitude.

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