Katie Johnson, a licensed psychologist at the CSUDH Student Counseling Center, explained sleep hygiene tips and other stress-relieving methods at a recent workshop. Photo courtesy of CSUDH.
By Kimberly Resendiz, Staff Reporter
Tick-tock, tick-tock. Finals are right around the corner. Time is running out and students are starting to face overwhelming feelings as assignments, projects and exams pile high before the end of the semester. With the right amount of dialogue, California State University, Dominguez Hills can help its students keep their stress in check.
It’s no surprise that exam season is the peak time for stress which can lead to other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, substance misuse, depression and chronic pain. According to Research.com, finals and midterms account for the top 31% of students’ stress, and 40% of college and university students believe they experience more than average stress.
Olivia Serrano, a sociology student at CSUDH, said that throughout the years she has worked to learn how to manage stress during finals week in order to keep herself motivated.
Serrano mentioned she uses positive affirmations and knowing her limits has helped her stay motivated. The support from professors and peers has also helped her to be more optimistic throughout her years as a college student.
In a workshop hosted on Nov. 16, Annie Gonzales, Toro success advisor, and Dr. Katie Johnson, a licensed psychologist at the CSUDH Student Counseling Center, talked about what a student can do to manage their stress both during the school year and finals week.
Johnson explained that there are different types of stress such as acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress is day-to-day stressors that fade quickly having little impact on mental or physical health, such as being late to class. Chronic Stress is a constant feeling of stress that can negatively impact the individual’s health, such as struggling with accomplishing multiple assignments.
According to the Nimble Foundation Blog, stress can be “experienced in an array of physical, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive reactions.” Some of the common stress symptoms are fatigue, headaches, increased worry, mood changes, binge or reduced eating, sleep disturbance, negative outlook, and dissociation.
In Johnson’s presentation, she further explained that great stress relievers are physical such as taking deep breaths, eating a well-balanced diet, exercising and sleeping well. Living in the moment is another helpful reliever, so it is recommended that people under great stress take time to do things they enjoy.
How one thinks and feels also affects stress. Students should be mindful of how they perceive things. When a student has detrimental thoughts it can affect their emotions. Reframing thoughts by being optimistic and kind to themselves allows students to release stress. Giving oneself permission to identify, feel and understand their emotions can help one to focus on the things within their control.
An example of what is in students’ control during stressful times is time management and balancing responsibilities. As an individual, one should know their limits and set realistic expectations. Learning how to say no and asking for help gives them the opportunity to set boundaries that will help their stress. Practicing time management skills allows stress to be released as well. By making plans ahead of time, prioritizing tasks and avoiding distractions, students can feel more prepared for the future.
CSUDH students don’t have to deal with stress alone. The Student Health Center has many different resources which students can utilize to release stress such as workshops, the Walking for Wellness program and individual counseling.
Finals week is a very stressful yet important time of the semester however prioritizing one’s mental, physical and emotional health is just as important.