Tag Archive: sleep

Healthy ways to relax and release stress

It’s 2 a.m. and you’re on the 6th floor of Davis Library, chugging Red Bulls and cramming for the test and presentation you have tomorrow – or is it today?

This scenario is a common one on campus.  With midterms and papers fast approaching, many students are nearing the breaking point.  At this point in the semester, it’s easy to become completely consumed by stress, which can affect your eating habits, exercise routine, sleeping patterns and mental health.  In times of stress, it’s important to stay calm, focused and optimistic. But have no fear – there are countless easy ways to relax and unwind.


Working out is a great way to let off steam.  Do yoga in the quiet of your dorm room, go for a run around campus or participate in a group exercise class like Zumba or Cardio Pump. You’ll be able to briefly take your mind off of the things causing you stress while also doing something productive and healthy.  The endorphins exercise releases are known to improve mood, too.

Drink something

I’m not talking about alcoholic beverages.  Enjoying a warm drink on a chilly day can be a soothing treat. If possible, escape from the library for a few moments to clear your head and refuel.  Hot chocolate, lattes and green tea are just a few options.  I never feel calmer than when drinking coffee and people-watching in the Pit.

Forest Theatre

Spending time outside is a wonderful way to alleviate stress.  Fresh air and sunshine will make any bad day seem better. Whether walking through Coker Arboretum, sunbathing in Polk Place or sitting outside of the Daily Grind, stress will seem to drift away with the autumn breeze.


Although we tend to get by on much less, it’s crucial that college students sleep for at least seven or eight hours per night.  Being well rested has been shown to improve cognitive functioning and academic performance.  Getting enough sleep is also necessary in that it helps to stabilize mood.  For example, sleep deprivation has been linked to depression.  It’s almost always better to study a little less if it means you can sleep a little more.

Take a break

If you’ve been studying for hours and think you will spontaneously combust if forced to read another sentence, it’s probably time for a study break.  Grab a healthy snack, watch a few minutes of TV or play a game. Sudoku and crossword puzzles are my personal favorites, but any other entertaining game or puzzle will suffice.  Just be careful your five-minute break doesn’t turn into an hour-long YouTube or Facebook session.

Listen to soothing music

Turn on your favorite channel on Pandora.com or go to stereomood.com, a website at which you can pick a playlist that corresponds to an emotion you’re feeling. Make a list of go-to songs in times of intense stress.  Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and tune into the sound of the music.  When I’m a bundle of nerves, I listen to “Breathe Me” by Sia in order to release tension.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by stress, but that doesn’t have to be the case.  If balancing academic pressure, extracurricular responsibilities and a social life is about to give you a mental breakdown, step back for a moment.  Do something that makes you feel calm, whether that may be walking around campus, reading a novel or listening to a favorite song. Before you know it, midterms will be over.

And then you can worry about finals.

– Georgia Cavanaugh

Fall back

I’ve never been happier than I was at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2.  This is not an exaggeration.  Many might wonder what I was doing up in the wee hours of the morning, but that fact is irrelevant to the awesomeness that occurred.

My cell phone started doing weird things.  And when I say weird, I mean 2 o’clock happened twice.  After careful deliberation, I realized that it was none other than Daylight Savings Time.  As a result, I was in the midst of falling back.

As many might struggle to remember, Halloween was the Friday night before DST, so that weekend was overflowing with reasons to celebrate.  But, I might venture to say that DST was better than Halloween.  Shocking, right?

After attending multiple fiestas Halloween night and after ‘my baby’ had fallen out of my dress one too many times (I went as Bristol Palin), I was by far Halloweened out.  And, it was time to get my sleep on.  Unfortunately though, my Saturday was jam-packed with various rendezvous’ all over the Triangle, thus sleeping was not on the itinerary.

Saturday afternoon when I was running on empty I adamantly warned everyone who would listen that Sunday was my sleeping day.  I had previously set aside the entirety of Sunday to restoring my life back.  In spite of that, the occurrence of DST managed to slip my mind.

At 2 a.m., I was rejoicing DST like it was 1999.  Maybe it was the fact that I forgot we acquired an extra hour or maybe it was because I watched the clock literally jump back in time, but I merrily denounced then and there that ‘Fall Back’ was the best holiday ever.

The United States first adopted the implementation of Daylight Savings Time in 1918 as a way to alleviate economic hardships during wartime.  But in modern day America, I view DST as the answer to college students’ prayers.

The end of October can be grueling on one’s mind and body as the final stretch of first semester is looming ahead.  The weekend offers many outlets for alleviating accumulated stress over the previous school week, and due to the social aspects of college life, sleep can sometimes take a back seat.  Hence, the No. 1 reason for DST’s greatness.

By Halloween, autumn is in full swing as colorful leaves begin to scatter the quad.  Uggs begin to replace Rainbows as the season’s most clichéd college-female footwear of choice.  And, thoughts of pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce begin to ensue.  Yes, Fall has finally arrived and fortunately, so has ‘Fall Back.’

Thanks to DST, I can now wearily walk to my 8 a.m. in daylight.  Thanks to DST, I have a justifiable reason to not go for a jog past 6 p.m. because it’s already dark out.  But most importantly thanks to DST, I had a vital supplementary hour to recover from a hellacious Halloween weekend.

By Anna Feagan