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Taking Care of Yourself: The Do's and Don'ts

By: James Estey

During this time of the year, with finals in our minds, winter starting to begin, and the long march to the end of the semester looming over us, it is easy to forget that our bodies and minds also need tending to, not just our sports, classes, and other relationships.

First, let’s talk about what we should NOT do.

First, as simple and difficult as it may sound, stop thinking about what is stressing you out. That might be overstated, but in a sense, it is what you do. There is this thing called Rumination, which is defined as deep and considered thought. While this might sound nice as the amazing student you are, if you ruminate too much about stressors, it can lead to an unhealthy obsession with you always thinking too hard about that subject… which then takes away time from other subjects… which then you can’t stop thinking about how much your screwed on that… and so on and so on.

Second is stop staying up too late. As fun as it is staying up till 2 in the morning playing Fortnite with your best friends, sleep is one the most important things you’ll do in your entire life. Unfortunately, extra stress can cause disruptions in your sleep schedule, however, by putting yourself through a structured sleep schedule, you will help alleviate some of that stress by getting your mind and body the rest it needs.

Don’t ignore your stress! If you feel like your world is about to explode because you have 3 papers due at midnight and you’ve only written half a title page, don’t fret! 90% of professors at Graceland, if approached ahead of time, will give you extended due dates if you just cannot handle your workload at the moment. Also, do not forget about the mental health services provided through the counseling services too! Located in the NSU, they provide individual counseling as well as drop-in counseling and even group counseling (Email Hodan Farah at for more info). It is also ok to take a day off as well. Every ASC rep ever will tell you missing class is the most heinous sin ever committed, but don’t listen to them, the worst thing you can do is not take care of yourself. Even just skipping one class that really stresses you out and getting the notes from a friend can help you mentally reset and get your head back where it needs to be.

Alright, now for a few things we SHOULD do!

Being an Allied Health major may give me some biases, but exercise is one the best things you can do to relieve stress. You don’t even need to go to the gym or have any equipment to get the mental benefits from exercise! It takes as little as 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week to reduce stress levels. That comes out to a 21-minute brisk walk every day. It is not as much as you may think!

Second of the do’s is manage your eating habits. Unhealthy eating habits (not just eating unhealthy foods!) is also a cog in the stress machine. While the focus is usually on eating the wrong foods, it is also important to understand that eating too much or too little can also cause stress. Managing how much you eat and what you eat is important to keep yourself properly fueled so your body can manage the workload that students put on it. Note: while important for all students, eating habits should be a larger focus for the athlete population, not only does your academic success rely on it, so does your athletic success.

Lastly, manage your schedule. While it may seem that you already have a schedule that you perform, which you do, this is a little more in depth. Using something like a planner (which can be picked up at multiple locations in and around Lamoni) you can structure out not only your day, but basically an entire year. Have a huge project that’s due at the end of the year? Write yourself deadlines and reminders in your planner so you don’t forget about. Always finding yourself doing calculus homework an hour before its due? Note a free time you have in the week so you can get your homework done without stressing. It takes some commitment to get a planner going, but once you do, it can be a lifesaver.

On a final note, EVERBODY is stressed this time of year, if your friend says they aren’t, they are lying. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family, House President staff, or the counseling services on campus.

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