By Contributing Writer Jordon DaSilva-Martins
Stress can be damaging to college students’ physical and mental health. While stress typically receives negative connotations, it is the body’s natural response to change. Therefore, everyone needs some level of stress in their life and it should be depicted as a normal aspect of life. Harvard Healthy explains that without stress, we as humans would have never developed our flight or fight response, which gives us the motivation to focus our attention on our goals or tasks at hand1. It is the short-term stress that is good or motivating that many may not recognize as stress initially. During games, adrenaline is a common source of stress for athletes which then prepares them for their activity. This is also seen within college students before an exam or presentation. Conversely, long-term stress can accrue from pent-up stress that did not have an outlet. According to the American College Health Association’s National Collegiate Health Assessment Survey, conducted in spring 2018, 45% of the undergraduate student population at the university felt more than the average stress within the past year. This reinforces the idea that self-care is a healthy and necessary outlet to relieve college students’ stress.
According to Beth-Anne Vieira, the director of health promotion at UMass Dartmouth, not all self-care activities work the same for everyone. For instance, those who attend the Stress Less Days in the library learn to incorporate arts and crafts in their self-care routines. This, however, might not be useful for those who find physical activities useful as a stress reliver. What will work for everyone are the basics of self-care. These consist of getting the right amount of sleep per night and eating enough nutrients. Vieira believes that besides preventing stress, college students must begin to identify where the stress originates. Considering your commitments, organization, and time management could help find the source of stress within your life. Additionally, stress could be prevented by students scheduling their healthy self-care actives and movements. When students solely focus on their assignments and work, it can put a strain on their both physical and mental health. It is no secret that the mind and body are connected. If one part does not feel well, neither does the other.
The first step to self-care is getting the proper sleep, eating healthy, and then finding the correct self-care outlets. FedHealth, when we exercise our brain produces dopamine, which lifts our mood and boost our thinking while also helping to reduce harmful changes to the body caused by stress. This illustrates how exercise influences our mental state, and how most physical movement promotes healthy brain activity. When you feel both physically and mentally well you also feel in control of your life,; you can take on anything that comes your way and when things get hard you find solutions. Therefore, self-care can be defined as anything that promotes healthy brain activity.
Overall, finding the proper method to relieve your stress can improve your mood and ability to perform in the classrooms and on assignments. Self-care can also increase your motivation to complete personal goals. From the same study<<which one? Just reference the name again here, The ACHA-NCHA survey in spring 2018, concluded that 31% of the undergraduates felt that stress had impacted their academic careers. The research continues to show why and how self-care can be so important, especially within college students. Self-care is personal and should reflectshould reflect what it takes for you to stay healthy and be the best version of yourself. If you would like to seek more information of potential stress relivers information is provider on umassd.edu/stressless.