Published: Oct. 19, 2018
Stressed-out man sits at desk with face in hands

Everyone experiences stress at different times and for different reasons throughout the year, often as we make an effort to balance our work with our home lives. While some stress can be good and help motivate us to get things done, large amounts of stress can be harmful.

During higher-stress times, finding a balance is key to managing our physical and emotional health. So how can we find that balance?Finding a good method to help you manage stress is key to making it through the semester without burning out.

Identify how stress shows up for you

Stress shows up differently for everyone. Some people have a very physical reaction to stress, experiencing symptoms like lower energy, headaches, sweating or an upset stomach. Others may have more emotional symptoms like constant worrying, racing thoughts or feeling overwhelmed. Some of us may experience a combination of the two.

Paying attention to how stress manifests and how it affects you can help in finding a method to manage it. No matter how our bodies react to stress, learning ways to manage it can help us stay healthy physically and emotionally.

Develop a stress-management routine

Managing stress can be a simple, quick breathing exercise or a process over a few days or weeks. Try out a few methods to see how you can most effectively manage stress.

  • Practice mindfulness and bring your thoughts to the present when you feel your mind start to race.
  • Take time in your day to be outside in nature. Go for a short walk and focus on your senses.
  • Make time to engage in old hobbies or explore new ones.
  • Search for meditation or relaxation apps, podcasts, YouTube videos or other guided relaxation resources. A few apps you can get started with are Relax Melodies, Breathe2Relax and Stop, Breathe, and Think.

Stress-management resources

There are a variety of free resources on campus to help faculty and staff with stress management:

  • SilverCloud Health is an online tool that lets you take charge and manage your emotional health and well-being through a variety of modules that teach skills around stress management, anxiety and depression.
  • Faculty and staff are welcome to join Feel Good Fridays, a weekly drop-in group for guided meditation to undo stress, soothe the nervous system and feel better. Feel Good Fridays occur every Friday from 12:15 to12:45 p.m. in the CU Art Museum.
  • The Faculty & Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) serves the emotional and psychological needs of the campus community. All FSAP staff are trained as generalist counselors and are equipped to deal with a wide range of personal and work-related issues. Services are free to all CU Boulder faculty and staff members.