by Kate Lundquist, guest columnist, the Wellness Cricket
Towards the end of the semester stress builds monumentally as we struggle to finish projects and papers. A pile of work tends to take over our desks, and we find less time to take care of ourselves. Sometimes it feels easier to turn to a beer instead of going for a run or attending the late night yoga class. Other times it is lovely to watch a good movie with friends with a glass of wine. The trouble starts when excessive drinking begins to replace exercise and diet choices. Maintaining a healthy diet and consuming less alcohol benefits overall health and stress levels. A study that examined nearly 10,000 men and women at age 23 and again at age 33 found that the moderate drinkers experience lower levels of poor general health, long-term illness, and psychological distress when compared to abstainers and heavy drinkers (The Lancet, 1998).
It is not as easy to walk over to Lower Fellowship for the yoga class as it is to pop open a Pabst Blue Ribbon, but there are a few ways to help shift the situation. Take five minutes sitting with your stress after your day in class and at work. Simply notice how you feel and don’t do anything to change it. Recognize what you are feeling physically and emotionally. Often we try to numb out our stress so we can continue with our day. Exercising is one of the best ways to lift your mood. I went to the gym the other day with a friend who was stressed out about graduating in December. What is she going to do next? Will she be able to finish all her work in time? Her ex boyfriend was contacting her too. This is a typical situation where we would go to the bar. Instead, we went to the YMCA and put it all out on the treadmill and weights. Adrenaline surges, sweat lets out toxins, we rock out to music and focus on our body instead of on our mind. Mood lifts, and we leave happier than when we arrived.
Tip of the Week: Make some art. Whether you write, draw, sing, dance, or however else you define art, spend some time cultivating your creativity for all aspects of your life.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built.” Rumi
There is so much happening on campus recently: a trip to the SGA rally in Georgia, Wendell Berry reading his novel, outdoor programs offering trips every weekend, registering for classes… the list is endless. Being overwhelmed is a typical word to describe how we feel at this time of year at Warren Wilson. Take a moment to check in with yourself, and maybe instead of doing everything that you squeeze into your already bulging schedule, sit down with a cup of tea and a book (not for school even)! Taking the time to care for yourself is the groundwork for your entire being. Every month I write out my intentions for the next few weeks. Sometimes it is a huge project that will be accomplished in the future (e.g. graduating, finding the love of your life
…) and sometimes it is a small focus, such as attending one dance class this week, or doing a few laps in the pool on Friday.
Sometimes we feel removed from the world at Wilson too (especially being the city girl I am, I feel that I live in a bubble. A great bubble, but confined nonetheless). Head downtown to a free yoga class at Lululemon (every Saturday at 9:30 am), eat delicious food at Early Girl Eatery with your friends, or sip tea at Dobra while you work on schoolwork.