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Manage Stress

Get organized. Take better control of the way you're spending your time and energy so you can handle stress more effectively. Make to-do lists and use day planners/calendars. 

Take control. Control your environment by controlling who and what is surrounding you. In this way, you can either get rid of stress or get support for yourself.

Love yourself. Love yourself by giving yourself positive feedback. Remember, you are a unique individual who is doing the best you can. 

Reward yourself. Reward yourself by planning leisure activities into your life. It really helps to have something to look forward to.

Exercise. Exercise your body since your health and productivity depend upon your body's ability to bring oxygen and food to its cells. Therefore, exercise your heart and lungs regularly, a minimum of three days per week for 15-30 minutes. This includes such activities as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, aerobics, etc.   

Relax. Relax yourself by taking your mind off your stress and concentrate on breathing and positive thoughts. Dreaming counts, along with meditation, progressive relaxation, exercise, listening to relaxing music, communicating with friends and loved ones, etc. 

Rest up. Rest yourself as regularly as possible. Sleep 7-8 hours a night.  Take study/work breaks. There is only so much your mind can absorb at one time. It needs time to process and integrate information. A general rule of thumb: take a 10 minute break every hour. Rest your eyes as well as your mind.

Be self-aware. Be aware of distress signals such as insomnia, headaches, anxiety, upset stomach, lack of concentration, colds/flu, excessive tiredness, etc. Remember, these can be signs of potentially more serious disorders (i.e., ulcers, hypertension, heart disease).

Fuel up. Eat a balanced diet. Avoid high calorie foods that are high in fats and sugar. Don't depend on drugs and/or alcohol. Caffeine will keep you awake, but it also makes it harder for some to concentrate. Remember, a 20-minute walk has been proven to be a better tranquilizer than some prescription drugs.

Enjoy yourself. It has been shown that happier people tend to live longer, have less physical problems, and are more productive. Look for the humor in life when things don't make sense. Remember, you are very special and deserve only the best treatment from yourself.

From the Counseling and Wellness Service at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill