Get ahead of mid-semester burnout while you can
Just like that, the holiday season is over. After a long fall semester, a few short weeks are not enough to recoup before the spring semester starts. Even though we’re back to hitting the books, it’s important to stay on top of stress as early as you can to avoid mid-semester burnout.
Here are five tips to help you minimize stress as we enter the new semester.
While cliché to mention, physical activity is one of the best tools out there to successfully combat stress. According to a six-week study published by Frontiers in Psychology, university students who performed low to moderate intensity aerobic exercise on a regular basis reported a significant decrease in depression and stress.
While hitting the gym is not always feasible, even just going for a short walk each day can help relieve some tension.
Another easy way to relieve stress and anxiety is spending time outside. Research from the Cornell University shows that spending anywhere from 10–50 minutes outside is an effective way to improve your mood and focus. It even has physical benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
Luckily, it’s easy to spend time outside, especially on and around campus. If you’re looking to sit down and breathe in the fresh air, Finnerty Gardens is a great place to enjoy some seclusion, surrounded by beautiful and diverse plant life.
Take up a hobby
A hobby is any activity you enjoy that is separate from your work and school life. It can be as simple as doodling or a more developed skill such as knitting or rock climbing. While different hobbies can have different benefits, overall those who have hobbies are likely to experience less stress and depression and are generally happier.
If you currently have no hobbies but are wondering where to start, I would recommend making art, whether that is painting, drawing, or even coloring, as research has shown that creating art can lower participants’ cortisol levels.
I know it can be difficult to squeeze an extra thing into your already busy schedule, but even if you have an extra 10–15 minutes of downtime, it could be beneficial to focus on a hobby that can relax you.
Read a book
According to WordsRated, 51.57 per cent of American adults questioned had not read a whole book in the 12 months prior. It seems that people have been reading less and less over the years, and the benefits of reading are lost on many.
Research shows that reading has numerous mental and even physical health benefits. People who read regularly have a 20 per cent reduced mortality rate compared to those who only read periodically. What’s more, reading for even six minutes has shown to reduce stress by 68 per cent, which is higher than listening to music or even taking a walk.
Finally, reading before bedtime can improve your sleep quality and quantity. Next time you’re trying to fall asleep, try picking up a book instead of scrolling through social media.
Spring semester is starting to ramp up, your stress doesn’t have too. It might seem daunting to try and do anything other than homework for these next four months, but it’s important to try and focus on your well being for at least a few minutes everyday, as stress can have lasting physical side effects on your health. Hopefully this list can help you avoid that mid-semester burnout.