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How to handle stress at end of the semester

Counseling Center Head discusses what students can do when feeling overwhelmed

By Ian Robinson
On November 21, 2019

Dr. Mary Coleen Speed

As the semester continues to wind down, stress and anxiety levels for college students go through the roof. 

It is common for college students to have end-of-semester stress, especially when projects, research papers, online assignments and homework start to pile up. 

Even though you may start to feel overwhelmed, there is a silver lining. 

“What happens with stress is you have a fight-or-flight reaction to it,” said Dr. Mary Coleen Speed, director of the Student Counseling Wellness Resources Center at Grambling State University. “Either you’re going to fight and win, or you let it change your whole way of thinking.”

To help with stress management tips, Dr. Speed give some ways students can alleviate end-of-semester stress.

Take a step back and breathe

Students tend to think that everything is supposed to be structured and nothing can go wrong, but life happens. So, take a step back and breathe. Allow yourself time to ask, “OK, can this be fixed,” which comes with the simplest of answers, “Of course, it can.” Allow yourself to fix it, then move on. But if you can’t fix it, be flexible and have options to find a solution.  

Eat healthy

Eat greens, lots of leafy, green vegetables. Drink lots of water. Stress causes cold, sicknesses and makes you more susceptible to viruses. If your stress level is up, then your immune system is going to go down. A glass of lemon water does a whole lot for the system. 

Exercise

Exercising levels off the body’s stress hormones. It also stimulates the body’s production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. It also helps to improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. 

Pray and meditate 

Spending a few minutes in meditation and prayer can restore your calm and inner peace. Prayer and meditation can give a person a new perspective on stressful situations and helps to increase patience and tolerance. The scripture says that the joy of the Most High is your strength.

Get some fresh air 

Get out of the dorm room for a little bit. 

Talk to your professors

Have face-to-face conversations with your instructors. Know where you are and when you know where you are, you can be confident in where you’re going. 

The end of the semester is a stressful time for college students. 

The Student Counseling Center on campus is there to help students whenever they feel overwhelmed and stressed. 

The Counseling Center is located in the west wing of Foster-Johnson Health Center. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

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