Pleasant ways to stay positively healthy

Each and every term, students who excelled in high school or even their last term of college classes inevitably find that stress is catching up to them.

Each and every term, students who excelled in high school or even their last term of college classes inevitably find that stress is catching up to them.

Whether they have too much homework, don’t understand the curriculum, are having issues at home or are finding it hard to make new friends, students become overwhelmed.

The most important thing is to recognize when this is happening and to take action against fatigue, depression and panic attacks. Here are some tips to keep stress at bay:

During the school day


Yes, it’s just that simple. Take a walk. Leave your bag with your friends and take that extra five minutes you have to lap the Park Blocks. You can choose to think about things that you still have to do, or, you can take a minute to see what is going on around you—the infamous territorial squirrels in front of Lincoln Hall, the new growth in the planters and the weather. Learning to disconnect from the rush is important for perspective—and for your health.


If you’re that student who doesn’t leave during breaks in class because you want to read ahead in the book, I used to be one of you. I’ve come to realize that a five- to 10-minute break in class doesn’t help you cover much of the text. Instead, get out of your chair and stretch.

If you’re self-conscious, pretend you’re going to the bathroom and instead just stretch in the stall. It will get your blood pumping, wake you up and put you in a better mood. Taking a timeout from class allows for stress reduction and a change of scenery.


One of the more common problems that students have with staying mentally healthy is that they fatigue their body because they haven’t eaten in a while, and then they get grumpy. Many people with low blood sugar or low iron levels can really attest to this.

Always have something on you to eat, and make it healthy. Even if you have to go to Costco on the weekend and stock up on fruit cups, do it. Keeping your body healthy is key to emotional health.

During the week

Talk it out

Maybe you’ve already got a friend that you talk to about all your problems, but having another can’t hurt. Some students can’t talk all day in class, and that need to talk overflows into our free time.

When you get home, talk it out. Call your mom, uncle or a friend from high school, and just chat about everyday stresses. It’s a good way to stay connected, but you’ll also see that they go through the same day-to-day ups and downs and that you’re not alone on this stressful planet.

If you really don’t want to talk it out, write it out. Having thoughts rambling around in your head while you’re trying to concentrate on a Shakespearean term paper isn’t helpful. Write it down and revisit your thoughts when you have the time and energy to deal with them.


Have you ever noticed that the typical vision we have of a college student is someone bent over a textbook? That’s because it’s true. When you add the number of hours you sit in your classroom desks with the number of hours at your desk in the library or at home studying, you’ll be amazed.

Your body naturally produces adrenaline when you are stressed, and it needs to alleviate the stress by using that adrenaline. Even if all you can manage is one trip to the gym per week, it will help.

Go with friends and make it a group outing and talk about the things that are going on in your life. If you’re more of a solitary gym user, cycle out the frustrations you have at bearing the burden in your group projects or that your dorm-mate snores. Exercise is a healthy way to express yourself and deal with all the buildup from the week.

Where to find help

Parents: It may be difficult to ask for help, but they’re an incredible resource.

SHAC: Their on-site counseling service is confidential and aimed at helping you as a person and a student. Call 503-725-2800 for an appointment.

Teachers: Letting teachers know that you’re having a difficult time is important, and they might also be able to point you in the direction of a tutor, or give you an extension.

Hotlines: If you feel that the stress has become too much, and are in danger of doing something hurtful to yourself, call the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-TALK.