AAC talks coping strategies and stress management

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Final exam week is quickly approaching and with that comes a lot of stress. To combat this stress, the Academic Achievement Center (AAC) hosted a “Just Breathe” workshop to provide students with coping strategies. Photo courtesy of University of Connecticut’s Academic Achievement Center webpage.

Final exam week is quickly approaching and with that comes a lot of stress. To combat this stress, the Academic Achievement Center (AAC) hosted a “Just Breathe” workshop to provide students with coping strategies.  

Morgan Robin, a sixth-semester human development and family studies major, and Tommy Dzurenda, a sixth-semester biological sciences major, co-hosted the event and created a collaborative environment that allowed participants to share what was causing them stress and, in return, they presented ways to properly handle it.  

Both hosts echoed the importance of sleep in maintaining a low stress lifestyle.  

“One of the most important things to counteract stress is to get good sleep,” Dzurenda said.  

“One of the most important things to counteract stress is to get good sleep..”

Tommy Dzurenda, a sixth-semester biological sciences major

According to SleepScore Labs, a top-rated sleep tracking app, sleep is a powerful stress reducer. When you get into the habit of following a regular sleep routine, you can improve your concentration, regulate your mood, sharpen your judgment and make better decisions. On the other hand, a lack of sleep will reduce your energy supply throughout the day and diminish mental clarity.  

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When you get into the habit of following a regular sleep routine, you can improve your concentration, regulate your mood, sharpen your judgment and make better decisions. Photo by Eren Li on Pexels.com

Another coping strategy discussed in the workshop was the concept of “me” time. 

“I always stress to everyone … to make sure you are saving enough time for you,” Dzurenda said. 

Allowing yourself to have “me” time can be beneficial in many ways. This can include things like going for a walk, listening to music, eating healthy food, reading a book or any other activity that provides you with time to relax and remove yourself from a stressful situation. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many students and workers to be in front of their computers for hours on end; taking a few breaks throughout the day for “me” time can help balance this workload and prevent stress and burnout.  

“I always stress to everyone … to make sure you are saving enough time for you.”

Tommy Dzurenda, a sixth-semester biological sciences major

If you are someone who struggles with organization, Robin and Dzurenda recommended meeting with an AAC coach to set up a plan or organize your assignments and important dates on a calendar or in a planner. 

“Having all of that stuff under control really plays a big role in reducing stress,” Dzurenda said.  

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By getting organized and establishing a daily list of tasks, you can reduce stress levels and stop yourself from procrastinating and having to complete assignments last-minute. Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

By getting organized and establishing a daily list of tasks, you can reduce stress levels and stop yourself from procrastinating and having to complete assignments last-minute. If you have yet to look ahead to see what your final exam schedule looks like, now is a great time to do so and create a plan that details when you want to study and what types of study material you want to create. The key to success is making sure to stay productive and always be ahead of the game. 

“The key to success is making sure to stay productive and always be ahead of the game.”

Other great ways to reduce stress include practicing positive self-talk, limiting negativity, talking to friends and family about what is causing you stress, doing various forms of art therapy and asking for help.  

“Having that positive inner dialogue really makes all the difference,” Robin said.  

When you are feeling particularly stressed and need to regain focus, there are a lot of meditation apps available, like Headspace and Calm, that can help focus your attention and produce a deep state of relaxation.  

Whatever method you choose to cope with stress, just know that effective stress management techniques are key to a happier, healthier and more productive lifestyle. Finding what works best for you is a continuous process and, most of all, make sure to prioritize “me” time and find activities that you genuinely enjoy doing.

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