November: Let's Talk Stress

It is stress month here in OHP! On BC's campus that means the season of midterms, bad weather, and crazy deadlines, and in our office that means being a place where we can talk about it. Let's Talk Stress!

On our website, we hold monthly challenges to allow the student body to engage with health. Part of this engagement includes an opportunity for students to articulate what it is that makes them stressed, and how they can either avoid or manage it. While stress is very common on a college campus, particularly one as challenging as Boston College, rarely do students have the resources to explore their stresses. Though the month is not yet over, these are some of the major takeaways and solutions regarding stress at BC, according to student responses.

1. Look inward.

So much of our stress comes from within. Mental pressure is almost always self-inflicted, and we are usually hardest on ourselves! So, when feeling overwhelmed, the answer as to "why?" is often available to us. Many students reported that taking inventory of oneself -- what is going on, how am I feeling, what is making me feel this way -- is a good way to calm down. Subsequently, taking "me time" is one of the best ways to deal with stress! Creating moments for relaxation, extra sleep, listening to music, and hanging out with people or doing things that you love, that make you happy, is the first step to mental health. You should always be your own first priority.

2. Disconnect.

There is no denying that technology rules our lives. As a student, this technology can be an invaluable resource; things such as our laptops, phones, and Google Calendar make schoolwork significantly easier. However, this ease is coupled with technology reliance -- and sometimes not knowing why you're refreshing Instagram for the seventeenth time that hour instead of studying can make you even more stressed. We mentally consume a lot in one day. Reducing that by taking a break from screen time leads to not only more productivity, but also deeper focus, and better sleep!

3. Channel positivity.

Stress is not inherently a bad thing; it is a signal that you have a lot going on in your life, but some of those things are positive, too! Noting this positivity through something like a gratitude journal helps to keep your head up during stressful times. Remembering and reflecting upon the good is always a strong motivator to keep going and push through tough times. Additionally, this gratitude exercise should be a reminder of the silent support systems you possess. While a positive mindset cannot reduce the amount of stress you have, it can increase your will to overcome it.

The mantras above are only three of a myriad of techniques you can use to overcome stress. For each person, the journey to a state of calm is different, however, we are always here to talk about it in OHP.

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