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Chill out with these 8 stress relief tips



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College is stressful. Water is wet. But with final exams, papers and projects just around the corner, it’s understandable that students might be more stressed than usual.  

You could let that stress fester inside until you’re a shell of the person you were before finals week, or you could follow a few of these tips to relieve stress.

1. Get a good night’s sleep

Getting enough sleep is more effective than pulling an all-nighter, said Nancy Stockton, director of Counseling and Psychological Services in the IU Health Center. Most people need between eight and nine hours of sleep each night, but this varies slightly person to person.

2. Eat right

When students get stressed, often one of the first things to go by the wayside is getting nutritious food throughout the day, said Molly McKelfresh, co-director of Crimson Corps. Crimson Corps is a group of undergraduate students trained by CAPS to act as liaisons between the student body and counseling services.

3. Stay away from people who stress you out

Students don’t always think of it, Stockton said, but staying away from other students they know stress them out is important. 

"Other students can’t help but get stressed and agitated, and it can induce stress in everyone around them. " Stockton said.

4. Use these breathing techniques

CAPS has a number of suggested mindfulness apps for iPhone and Android, including Breathe2Relax and SimplyBeings.

Stockton said to focus your attention on your breathing. Slow your breath down and take deep breaths from your belly. Focus on tension as you inhale and let it go as you exhale.

5. Do something physical

Stop hunching over your laptop or textbooks and move around. McKelfresh said going for a walk outside or taking advantage of opportunities to move around are alternatives to a more intensive workout.

“It doesn’t have to be going to the gym,” McKelfresh said. “That’s not everyone’s thing.”

6. Take time for yourself

Put down the books and just take a break for a little bit, McKelfresh said.

“You have to study for finals and get your homework done but also find some time in there for yourself to do things that you enjoy," McKelfresh said.

Students often think they could be using that time to be more productive, but McKelfresh said it’s not a minute-for-minute trade. She said it’s almost as if students are able to be more productive because they’ve rested for a little bit.  

7. Go to a stress relief event

There are plenty of stress relief events coming up on campus in the next few weeks. Here are a few of them.

Balance Week: April 23 – 26

Service dogs in-training, aromatherapy, adult coloring books and a balanced breakfast are among other events at the Kelley School of Business.

Rent-a-puppy: April 26

For $5, participants can spend 20 minutes with a shelter puppy in from 1 to 5 p.m. in Dunn Meadow.

Tie-Dye in the Arboretum: April 29

Supplies are provided by the Feminist Student Association to tie-dye from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Arboretum. 

8. A little bit of stress is a good thing

Stockton said to remind yourself that a little bit of stress is a good thing. She compared this kind of stress to that of an athlete before a game.

“An athlete wants to have some level of stress before an event," Stockton said. "It's motivating and it enhances performance.”

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