By Meghan Kliewer
Making small life adjustments can help students lessen, or avoid, everyday stress.
A clean room and work space is a great place to start. Studying for a test can be difficult when surrounded by clutter. Messy rooms lead to messy minds.
Changing eating habits is another way to make a difference. While junk food is not a direct cause of stress, it does not provide the nutrients necessary for physical and mental productivity. When typing a paper or studying, a lack of energy leads to more stress as deadlines approach.
Instead of chips, make a tomato and avocado sandwich. It includes carbohydrates, the nutrient that often increases serotonin levels, and avocados contain omega-3, which helps boost the mood.
Students can also schedule nutrition education appointments with SAC Health Educator Christina Duong in the Health Center.
People should exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week to maintain physical and mental health, according to the Kaiser Permanente website.
Getting in the habit of exercising is challenging, but finding an enjoyable sport or activity can make fitness seem less like a chore. Play volleyball, basketball or soccer with some friends or a sibling. Yoga also serves as a great way to relieve stress in the mind and body. Santa Ana College offers two classes on campus, one unit each.
When exercising and working out, the body releases endorphins which fight stress. This natural occurring brain chemical acts as a mood-booster and provides energy.
Get the hours of sleep you need. Most adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep, but six hours at the least, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Sleeping for the recommended hours helps the body recover after a long day. If a person lacks enough sleep, they will not be as productive, which can slow work and add stress. It may also lead to diabetes, obesity and depression, according to Duong.
“The main contributor to academic stress is time management,” said SAC Psychologist Phi Loan M. Le. “Stay on top of course work and don’t wait until the last minute.”
Le recommends creating a study schedule and understanding the expectations of professors.
Set aside time for assignments spanning several days. Plan to finish assignments before the due date. To focus on assignments, keep phones off or out of sight to resist the temptation of texting, checking social media and watching YouTube videos.
“Between classes, extracurricular activities and work, it’s easy for students to take on more than they can handle,” said Duong. “If you’re taking too many classes, re-think your academic plan by talking to an academic counselor.”
Duong also recommends full-time students work less than 20 hours a week.
If students continue to struggle with stress, the psychologists at SAC’s Health Center can provide additional advice about time management and reducing stress.