Rest, diet and exercise: how to deal with college stress

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October 7, 2016
Talkback 10/7/16
October 7, 2016

Rest, diet and exercise: how to deal with college stress

About six weeks into the semester, the stress levels have begun to rise.

Those first tests have come and gone, the projects are piling up and midterms are fast approaching.

Without proper management of this stress, students’ health and happiness may be at risk.

Most students would readily admit to feeling overwhelmed to some degree.

The Statistic Brain Research Institute said that 77 percent of Americans are affected physically by stress.

According to that number, 246 million people in the United States alone are stressed-out.

That also means that out of the 2,700 BJU students, 2,079 of them struggle on a regular basis with the symptoms and effects of stress.

Medically speaking, stress is the body’s natural reaction to demanding circumstances (Oxford Dictionary).

So how can people manage stress in a highly demanding atmosphere?

Dr. Bill Lovegrove, head of the departments of physics and engineering, explains his perspective on how students can maintain a healthy lifestyle while working under constant pressure.

“It is important for students to have some non-academic outlet to help with the stress of school,” Lovegrove said.

Playing the piano is one way that Lovegrove takes a break from his work in order to reduce stress.

Lovegrove also said that a person’s health habits contribute to stress levels.

“Poor diet, lack of sleep and lack of exercise all contribute to stress,” Lovegrove said.

Running is a physical exercise that Lovegrove enjoys and uses to get his blood flowing and his mind off work.

“Doing something physical is a nice stress-relieving break,” Lovegrove said.

Lovegrove suggests breaks that do not include “screen time.”

“After hours of staring at your computer screen, Facebook or a video game is not the kind of break your body needs,” Lovegrove said.

Kate Haertlein, a sophomore communication major, said that between going to school full-time, working a job and being a society officer, she manages her stress levels by getting enough sleep, drinking lots of tea, and blocking specific downtime out in her schedule.

“I like to have dinner with my friends every day, if I can, just to de-stress,” Haertlein said. Time with friends gives her mind a break and refreshes her productivity.

“Recognize that multitasking is stressful,” Lovegrove said.

“Focusing on one task at a time might both make you more productive and reduce your stress level.”

Even though life may seem chaotic, Lovegrove reminds students to keep the main thing the main thing.

“It is important as Christians to maintain a daily Bible reading time,” Lovegrove said. “The more stressful life is, the more important [time with God] is, even if it is fairly short.”

Some people allow their circumstances to so overwhelm them that they feel they are drowning in stress.

Dr. Mike Gray, head of the biology department, defines this type of stress by quoting Dr. Jim Berg’s definition.

“Stress is when my agenda doesn’t match God’s agenda.”

Gray said students need to take the time to be organized and not to wait until the last minute to get an assignment done.

“Procrastination is not a good trait and only adds to stress,” Gray said.

On the other hand, Gray urges students not to cling to their plans so tightly that there is no room for God to interrupt.

When stress is rising, Gray said students should remember I Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”