Finals week may not begin until Monday, Dec. 14, but for many students at BGSU the stress caused by finals week is already here. The stress accompanying the conclusion of the semester troubles many students, but there are ways to alleviate that stress.
“There are positive and negative ways of dealing with stress,” said Wellness Connection Interim Health Educator Caitlin Spontelli.
According to Spontelli, some healthy strategies to deal with stress include “exercise, getting plenty of sleep, eating a well balanced diet, and managing time wisely.” She also identified some unhealthy methods of coping with stress, such as “smoking, binge drinking, and consuming too much caffeine.”
While stress can be beneficial at times, constant exposure is harmful.
“Stress isn’t always bad,” stated Spontelli. “In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best, but when you’re constantly running in emergency mode your mind and body pay the price.”
Finals week is a critical time of the semester, where final grades are often determined. Stress has a detrimental effect on academic performance.
“Stress can cause many symptoms that can affect performance such as forgetfulness, sleep problems, burnout, decreased immunity, headaches, restlessness and other symptoms that could affect a person’s performance in the classroom,” said Spontelli.
The effects of long-term stress are damaging.
“Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems,” explained Spontelli. “It can lead to ulcers, migraines, increased blood pressure, suppressed immune system, and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.”
Some of the exercises recommended by Spontelli to relieve stress are yoga and tai chi. Other methods of dealing with stress she recommends are talking to a friend or family member, listening to music, writing in a journal, and playing with a pet.
The Counseling Center is also available for students struggling with stress. Its walk-in hours are from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
Please visit the Wellness Connection Web site for more information on programs and services provided.