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Coping with end of semester stress

May 3,2012

By Dajana Gudic

As the semester is drawing to a close, many students are overwhelmed trying to study for exams, finish their assignments before due dates and complete their classes successfully.

Too much worrying leads to stress and anxiety, which may cause other health problems. Managing stress may be very challenging, but psychologists have some simple steps to follow to aid in calming down and decreasing one’s stress level.

Darla Sedlacek, a psychologist from Lakewood, works with people of all ages providing them with several counseling services.
When it comes to managing stress, she suggested a couple of easy tips.
“Taking some deep breaths in a moment when you notice that you feel tight in your chest, such as right before an exam starts or while studying, may help students feel calm,” said Sedlacek.

“For some, it helps to say cue words or phrases as they take a breath, something that is meaningful to them personally. An example might be, ‘I’m doing my best,’ or ‘I am strong, I’m getting through this.’ The more consistently these tools are used, the easier it gets and can become automatic. Practice makes improvement,” she added.
Managing time may seem hard for students, but limiting one’s involvement in too many activities and focusing primarily on school will give you more time for school work and studying and help reduce stress.

Jelena Jandric, a CSU social work major learned to manage her stress by being involved in only one or two student organizations. She also said, “ Getting things done on time or earlier, rest and my belief in God helps me through everything. I give my worries and stress to Him and He gets me through everything smoothly,” Jandric said.
To avoid stress, keep your life balanced and focus on one task at a time. Take a break during your hard studying and allow yourself to watch your favorite show, spend time with friends or take a nap.

Matthew Hernandez, a sophomore majoring in Dramatic Arts said he manages stress by finding time for other activities.
“During the week I set time aside to play video games, talk with my friends, and be with family,” said Hernandez.

Eating a healthy diet and being active are known strategies of coping with stress.
“I work out, listen to music, do things to keep my mind at ease and things that just allow me to have a good time,” said Cliff Phoenix, a CSU sophomore majoring in Education,
Exercising is a proven factor that releases stress. Working out relieves muscle tension and makes you feel good. After a hard workout, many feel accomplished and happy.
CSU senior Alex McKinley is one of them.

“During school I try to go to the gym every day and lift. I can clear my mind and take out my stress on the weights,” McKinley said.
Barbara G. Feinberg, Life Coach & Psychotherapist, whose Ohio office is located in Cleveland Heights, offers many services to her clients. Among them is anxiety, panic attack, and stress counseling.

She also thinks that breathing exercises are very affective for releasing stress.
“I think breathing is the most important thing to remember. Now, of course, we all breathe. I’m talking, however, about nice easy deep breaths, especially when we feel our bodies tense up,” said Feinberg.

She pointed out that remembering to take easy breaths throughout the day, not only when we are faced with a particularly stressful moment, is very important. That way, the students can reduce their overall level of tension, so the expected stressors are less intense.

“Think of a guitar string wound very very tightly - when it’s plucked, it could break. If it’s wound a little less tightly, the likelihood of breaking is less,” she added.
To avoid anxiety and stressful thoughts the person first needs to think about the source where all the problems come from. “What may possibly help is for one to attempt to examine what one’s anxiety is about, and what connections it has to previous examination situations in one’s life,” said Michael D. Colman a psychiatrist from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. who has been in practice for more than 30 years.

If you feel lost and need counseling, CSU counseling center is always there to help. They can be reached at 216-687-2277.