Stress can feel unavoidable as a college student. With the press of papers, projects and exams, it can be hard not to feel stressed out. As you may remember from our previous articles, stress can be good or bad. Good stress, eustress, is pressure that helps to motivate us to complete tasks and leads to a positive response. It can be physical or psychological and is usually short-term. It can feel like a rush of excitement or motivation and has the effect of making tasks seem manageable and energizing. Other types of stress, such as tolerable stress or toxic stress, may require increased resourcing and professional support and have negative consequences.
Tolerable stress is experienced in response to a temporary stress, such as an injury, grief or loss, but is a stressor that the individual has resources to cope with. Toxic stress refers to long-term activation of the stress response system and involves insufficient support and resources. Here at Southern Adventist University, we recognize that there are points in the semester that can be especially stressful — midterms being one of them.
Stress Out Week is an annual event that has been celebrated on campus for over two decades. From artificial palm trees and relaxing island tunes to destination vacation themes, this event focuses on providing students with resources to cope with the predictable stress and pressure of second semester midterms. Recognizing when stress is occurring can help increase healthy resourcing and let us know when we need a little extra support and self-care.
This year’s Stress Out Week event will be held on campus Feb. 27 through March 2. The first day, Monday, will feature a booth in the Bietz Center where you can learn about the types of stress and pick up self-care items to take a little extra care of yourself. On Tuesday, there will be smoothie bikes in front of the Bietz Center, where you can get a little cardio while you blend yourself a healthy treat. We will also have coupons to CK2 for those who may not have time to ride a bike but could use a refreshing drink. Wednesday will also be held outside the Bietz Center and will be a “Grow Event,” where you can plant a succulent in a mug to brighten your dorm room and remind you that, just like plants, you need sunlight, water and safe spaces to grow. Thursday will be an online event where you can participate in healthy challenges to enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card.
So, what can you do to cope with stress this month? Come to our event and take a break for your mental health! Taking care of your physical health is another way to cope during stressful times. Make sure to resource the three pillars of mental health — sleep, nutrition and movement — to help support the brain as it works hard to write papers, learn and remember during times of academic stress. Lastly, connecting socially and making time to spend time with those who support and love you can also help when coping with stress. See you on Monday!