By Mifa Kim, senior, peer educator with Counseling and Psychological Services
My name is Mifa Kim. I’m a senior studying psychology and a peer educator at CU-Boulder's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). I am spreading the word about the How to Help a Friend campaign, an online resource with information and advice on how CU community members can help friends or other people in their lives who may be encountering various challenges.
November is an especially busy month for CU students - deadlines, assignments, exams and projects seem to occur at the same time. During this time, we all can get overwhelmed because of school, work and our social life. Try to remind your friend (and yourself) that in order to be the most productive person and student they can be, their first priority is to take care of themselves and manage their stress. Good healthy stress is important to have because it motivates us to get things done and gives us a burst of energy. Bad stress can reinforce itself to make us less productive or lessen the quality of our work.
Common myth about stress: All types of stress are bad.
Reality: There is good stress and bad stress. Good stress helps you feel alert, productive and get the things you need to get done - done. Bad stress is when it takes a negative effect on your mind and body. Balancing your stress helps manage bad stress levels while maximizing good stress.
The following suggestions are different ways to help manage and balance stress.
Stress management techniques:
- Take care of your body. Eat regular meals and focus on nutrition instead of indulging on “junk food.” Taking care of your body will help manage your stress.
- Sleep regularly. Get the amount of sleep that makes you feel good, not too much or too little. Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule.
- Exercise. Exercise makes you feel good and energized. Stretch. Move. Breathe.
- Center yourself. Engage in activities that relax you. Meditate. Breathe.
- Get outside. Go for a walk or hike. Enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.
- Get creative. Find something creative that you enjoy. Paint, draw, take pictures, play music.
- Write it down. This will help you be organized and clear your thoughts. Journal your experiences. Make “to-do” lists. Use a planner.
- Change your schedule. Simplify your life if you are feeling overcommitted, or increase your responsibilities if you feel bored. Boredom can also be stressful.
- Involve others in your life. Talk to family or friends or seek extra support from a counselor or mentor.
- Generate success. Do at least one thing a day to make you feel competent and in control. Mastery leads to self-confidence and makes you more resistant to negative emotions.
- How to Help a Friend - Want more information on stress or more topics? Worried about someone? This is a peer-to-peer resource to help students help each other.
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) - A free counseling resource for CU-Boulder students. CAPS offers six individual counseling sessions per academic year and unlimited workshops and groups. We have walk-in hours from M-F, 10 a.m. - 4p.m. and we are located at the Center for Community (C4C) room S440. 303-492-6766.
- How To Help a Friend Get Together - Get your tea and cookies on. We also will have arts and crafts - a great way to de-stress. If you have questions about resources or just want to stop by to say hello, you can join me every 2nd Wednesday of the month from 12:30 - 2 p.m. at the Foyer (near the Norlin Commons information desk) at the Norlin Library. The next How to Help a Friend Get Together will be on Nov. 13, 12:30 - 2 p.m. at the Norlin Library.
- Stress Breaks - Feeling stressed out? Overwhelmed? Stress Break is a relaxation program provided for CU-Boulder students by trained volunteers from CAPS. The volunteers provide quick tips in managing stress and then guide students through a relaxation exercise. Stress Break volunteers are available to come to residence halls, student groups, Greek chapters, classes, meetings, academic departments, and anywhere that stressed-out students can be found. If you would like to book a 20-minute Stress Break for your group, please email: Dina.Kriakova@colorado.edu.
- Feel Good Fridays - Need a break? Want to unwind before the weekend? This group is an opportunity to be led through a powerful guided meditation to undo your stress, sooth your nervous system and feel good. It's on every Friday from 12:10 - 12:40 p.m. at the C4C’s Abram’s Lounge.
- Ta Chi Wednesday - This drop-in group will utilize Tai Chi exercises as a way to release stress and increase a sense of calmness in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. The group is intended to facilitate physical and psychological wellness, and will increase awareness of how stress impacts one’s daily life, health and emotional well-being. It's on every Monday from 12 - 1 p.m. at C4C room S440.