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Editorial | Stress tips from the editorial board in time for finals week

Published: Friday, December 6, 2013

Updated: Friday, December 6, 2013 11:12


With most of the Editorial Board of The Miami Student being upperclassmen, we wanted to share our best stress management tactics with our readers, especially those who haven’t been fortunate enough to experience their first week of college finals yet.

Stress eating was the first thing that came to most of our minds. But in reality, there are a lot healthier, more productive options that will do your mind and body a favor.

Now, the ultimate way to avoid high levels of stress would be, well, to manage your time well enough to where you don’t have to rush to get things done. But sometimes work piles up and we’re bombarded with six-page study guides and group projects that just haven’t gone as planned.

And, before we begin, try not to be one of those people who acts like their stack of paper is higher than everyone else’s. Let’s face it – we are all busy.

One of the most stressful jobs in any newsroom is the role of Editor in Chief. Our EIC, Katie Taylor, has quite a simple approach to dealing with her stress: sleep. She jokes that she “curls up in a ball” and “eats lots of food.” But in all seriousness, sleeping it off and waking up refreshed and ready to tackle your to-do list will never fail. Just make sure you don’t oversleep. Sleep drunkenness, according to Dr. Lisa Shives from Evanston, IL., is a real thing. Severe cases of sleep drunkenness, she says, may put oversleepers in a weird state of mind where they won’t be able to make basic decisions. But for most of us, it’s a ‘blah’ feeling, resulting in more cups of coffee or a shower to fully wake us up.

While Katie rests, Nicole Theodore, Editorial Editor, runs to keep her mind clear. Leading up to finals, she can be found running around Oxford listening to techno music. “As music can absorb our attention, it acts as a distraction; at the same time, it helps to explore emotions. This means it can be a great aid to meditation, helping to prevent the mind [from] wandering,” according to psychologist Jane Collingwood for Psych Central. While most of us would assume classical music reduces stress, it is up to you to decide which music works best.

Like music, a TV break also seems like a popular way to reduce stress. Victoria Slater, Campus Editor, said she watches shows like Grey’s Anatomy to get her mind off the serious stuff. Shows that make us laugh can keep our spirits high. While movies may be a bit long for a study break, watching just one short episode of your favorite show can put you in a better mood in no time.

Retail therapy actually works according to research from University of Michigan marketing professors Scott Rick and Katherine Burson. This gives Emily Eldridge, Editorial Editor, some relief. She says nothing relaxes her more than a quick trip to the mall. Spending money isn’t necessary. Just the pure joy of making buying decisions, “can help consumers restore a sense of control and reduce sadness.”

For guys, a trip to the mall may not be as rewarding, but Sports Editor Tom Downey says he does his best work under pressure; dealing with stress for a shorter amount of time is his approach. Europe’s “The Final Countdown” comes to mind when we think of this tactic. We know adrenaline can help you maximize your workout. But the adrenal glands also release something called noradrenaline, according to the Department of Medicine and Neurology. This noradrenaline chemical and adrenaline, “work together to raise heart rate, increase respiration, dilate the pupils, slow down digestion and—perhaps most importantly—allow muscles to contract.” Our brain isn’t a muscle, but we think Tom is on to something.

But the most sensible approach comes from our Campus Editor Reis Thebault, who says he meditates and stretches when he feels the weight of finals approaching. Though he doesn’t know many yoga poses, simply stretching and enjoying the silence of an empty room does the job.

Adho Mukha Vrkasana, or handstand pose in yoga terms, could be something Reis would enjoy. In fact, our News Editor, Emily Crane listed this technique as her top stress reliever. What Emily might not know is handstands are proven to regulate the production of T3 and T4, which affects metabolism and can even help with detox by putting pressure on the illeocecal valve, according to Livestrong.com. But for stress relief, Livestrong reports, “[a] handstand brings blood to the adrenal glands to help reduce production of cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’ that is released when we are on a deadline or moving through heavy traffic.”

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