Weekly Wellness: Managing stress and the importance of rest days

 Students participate in Sunset Yoga at Horsebarn Hill on Friday, Sept. 1. The event was hosted by Counseling and Mental Health Services. (Kimberly Nguyen/The Daily Campus)

Students participate in Sunset Yoga at Horsebarn Hill on Friday, Sept. 1. The event was hosted by Counseling and Mental Health Services. (Kimberly Nguyen/The Daily Campus)

As the spring months slowly approach, you’d think we would be full of motivation and hope for the upcoming warm weather and sunshine. But in reality, we all have midterms, we’re all swamped with work and we’re all itching to get out of here for spring break.

I think it’s safe to say that it’s the point in the semester where we’re all officially burnt out. Balancing class, meetings, homework, sleep, laundry, exercising, eating healthy and a social life is just as difficult as it sounds. College consists of four of the most fun years we’ll get to live through, but it’s also tons of work. Since it’s so easy to become overwhelmed and want to give up on all our responsibilities, I think it’s imperative that we come up with our own personal ways of managing our time so we can incorporate everything we both need and want to do. Yes, getting good grades is a must, but we can’t forget to live.

Making lists is one of the most efficient ways to stay organized, in my opinion. Every time something comes up, whether it be meeting a friend for dinner, a test in the upcoming week or a homework assignment due the next day, I write it down in my planner. I know you’ve all been told to use planners many times before, but surprisingly, there are a lot of people who don’t. I get so much more anxious when I know there are things I have to be doing, but forget what they are. Writing them down the second you become aware of them is the way to go.

Printing out a full calendar of each month is another handy way to stay on track. It’s similar to a planner, but it’s all out there in front of you. This way, you can really plan in advance and get things done early, so you don’t have to stress about them at all later. I know it’s difficult when you’re super busy with meetings or clubs, but the day I get assigned a paper or assignment, I start it. Even just getting a paragraph done the day it was assigned puts you ahead of the game and makes you worry less about getting it done.

Finding time to work out while taking on endless responsibilities is quite the obstacle for most college students. At UConn, most people pretty much walk everywhere during the day. So, if nothing else, simply walking from your dorm to your classes or to the dining hall definitely counts as exercise. But if you actually want to go to the gym, plan out an exact amount of time in which you could be there and still get everything else you need to done. On really stressful days, I usually only go to the gym for 30-45 minutes and do something quickly and simply.

Not every day has to be intense. Taking a day or two to go easy is actually better for your body, because it resets and recharges it. For building muscle, resting is just as important as the actual act of working out. The muscle regeneration process requires food, water, supplements (if you want to use them), sleep and periods of rest. If you’re constantly working out, you begin to develop unhealthy habits, such as loss of appetite and a messed up sleep cycle, not to mention the constant feeling of sluggishness. So if you’re really stressing about a paper or project, don’t be afraid to skip the gym and use your time more productively.

Eating healthy during these stressful times is something that I’m sure no college student really wants to do. The hormones released by stress cause us to “stress eat,” which is a very real concept. Many studies have shown that high amounts of emotional stress cause our bodies to crave fat or sugar. The motto for us at this age is “everything in moderation.” We deserve to take rest days and eat junk food on occasion; maybe on days that we’re really stressed. As long as you don’t make it an everyday habit, you’ll continue to be on track. The key is to find a balance and remember to not get thrown off if you have a busy or stressful day. College is about adjusting and finding the best routine that works for you.


Tessa Pawlik is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at tessa.pawlik@uconn.edu.