Increase Effectiveness and Reduce Stress Lydia Minatoya, PhD
Organize. As the quarter progresses, stress mounts. To make your days easier to navigate, break assignments into smaller, daily “chunks” and mix these short study sessions in with daily classes, work, sleep, meals, relationships, and exercise.
Eat well. Eat multiple small healthy meals with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and water. Slow down as you eat. For the first two bites, make a point of savoring your food’s taste, smell, and texture (e.g. the crunch of an apple, the smoothness of yogurt).
Sleep. During sleep, recently learned information is consolidated into long-term memory. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Try to go to bed around the same time every night. Avoid caffeinated beverages after 3 in the afternoon. Sleep in a dark, quiet, slightly cool room. Unwind a little before sleep: take slow deep breaths through your nose, tell yourself you are managing well and that sleep will give your brain and body the rest it needs.
Exercise. Walk, jog, dance, bike, play team sports and other activities that you enjoy. If you don’t have time for a full workout, 5 or 10 minute breaks for stretching, walking around campus, etc. will help you relax.
Breathe, relax, and re-new. A break of even 1-2 minutes can help you feel relaxed and refreshed. Take 3 or 4 deep breaths slowly through the nose. Recall, in detail, a favorite calm place or a happy experience. Deliberately relax the muscles in your shoulders and neck. Take a moment to experience gratitude for the good things in yourself and your life.
Encourage yourself. Focus on positives, reassure yourself ("I am doing the best I can.”, "This will get done."). Give yourself permission to stop thinking about school or other responsibilities at bedtime, meal times, and other given times each day. Soothing music has been shown to lower tension, so consider music breaks. Smile and be kind.
Smiling lowers anxiety and prompts people to smile in return. Acts of thoughtfulness make you feel good and create positive actions going forward. Good-humored laughter is refreshing and improves problem-solving. Consider comedy when you are selecting entertainment.
Talk with a counselor
North Seattle College counselors are located: 2nd floor, north end of the College Center, in Student Success Service (206) 934-3676, M-F 8am-4:30pm
Locate self-help and referral information
- • Phone Washington State Information Network 2-1-1, or TTY (206) 461-3610for health and human services referral resources. Access 24-hour crisis intervention through: King County Crisis Clinic 206-461-3222, TTY 206 461-3219