Alas, April is finally here!  Unfortunately, so are the midterms, the hours of preparation for final exams, excessive late night study sessions, gearing up for summer trips, and considering this the last push of the semester.  Are you constantly learning to juggle a full class schedule as well as trying to maintain your health AND still have time for life itself outside of the school grounds when you’re not working or interning too?!  Does this sound like you?!  Perhaps this month is the “big kahuna” of your classes between learning how to prepare for the final group presentation and trying to figure out what your perfect meal prep plan is before the next semester registration arrives.  Well, don’t fret like the hyper Easter bunny and break the eggshells as you try to capture the golden eggs and make plans for this month.  Since 1992, according to sources, doctors and health professional networks nationwide have designated the month of April to be National Stress Awareness Month.  That’s right, this unique month is perfect for you and your loved ones to find more peace and learn to value your self over your lifestyle.  Here are a few useful tips you can take to heart, soul, and mind as you incorporate celebrating “National Stress Awareness Month” for your growing self starting this week!

1)  Visit a field of blooming flowers or take more frequent walks through a scenic local park for at least 20 minutes a day on the weekends.

In today’s fast-paced environment, most of our lives are highly dependable on computers, desk jobs, and campus library tables to fulfill our assignments and work tasks.  Whenever I’m on campus, I can tell you that the cubicles fill up pretty fast.  This action may leave you feeling stressed and pressed for time.  Make a mental note for yourself so that for every few chapters you read or for every last page you’ve reached in the textbook, that you take at least 20 minutes a day to bond with mother nature.  Not only do you need that fresh air to refresh your trail of thoughts and decrease your level of test and project anxiety, but chances are you have not exercised enough between classes and the hearty lunch you packed to get you through the day has left you with a minor food belly.  Take several deep breaths while you find the best scenic spot on campus.  Drive peacefully to a nearby park if you have to.  Make plans to visit the botanical gardens, state parks, and family friendly places like the field of bluebonnet flowers here in Texas.  You’ll be so glad there’s much more room to exercise than a typical crowded local park, appreciate the solitude of the settings, and get a glimpse of why Mother Nature truly appreciates your sole existence.

 2)  Visit with your classmates and if either of you are struggling with this semester’s schedule, set plans to visit with the staff professionals on campus. 

The one lesson I learned as a freshman is that the college experience can be extremely overwhelming.  Staying silent and keeping your worries to yourself only delays you from finding the answers to your growing list of college success questions.  Contribute to your future now by tackling these priorities this month before finals season.  However your financial aid package may look, how you physically look on a daily basis (i.e. constantly going to class in sweats and coated sneakers that need to be cleaned), or if you are worried about which class to take next for the summer registration session, NOW is the time to talk to the professionals in higher education.  Yes, your nerves are everywhere. Sure you’ll have to sign into the the advising lab and wait for a bit to speak to an advisor.  Take a friend or befriend a sophomore colleague on campus to guide you as you make decisions such as how to use your financial aid money in the college bookstore.  Turn to the Society of Eagle Mentors and have a young professional show you the shortcuts on campus.  Or, if you are uncertain about your current selected major and pressed for time, call the information hotline made available on the Houston Community College homepage (for example).

As a freshman or busy sophomore, you may oversee these office hours as last on your list because you feel you do not have time to stick around on campus after taking your basic core requirements, but really… you HAVE to stick around.  Make an effort to talk, get to know, and network with the staff in the career center, the campus library, the financial aid department, and your academic advisor on your campus this month and ease your worries and find solutions to your problems.  They have more than answers to your college success questions on the information hotline.  These staff professionals also have tips and advice you can definitely use beyond the school zone.

Credits: www.pinterest.com

Credits: www.pinterest.com

3) Invest in an effective fitness journal and make a plan to commit to adequate exercise at least twice a week.

Having a fitness journal and the mindset to workout is a proven winning combination.  You can monitor your heart rate, calorie intake, diet and nutrition, and work on your exercise routine  for certain areas of your body.  Perhaps you need to reach out to a recreational sports coach on campus or take a wellness test for your employer.  Schedule a short appointment with a personal trainer at a nearby gym and take advantage of the free pass even if you don’t have a gym membership.  Studies also show that if you stick with documenting your fitness journey, you will learn to detox from stress and learn to meet deadlines, work projects, learn to cope with emotional baggage, and evolve as a person by lightening up your overall mindset to find more inner peace.

One popular fitness journal on today’s market is the fitbook fitness planner and food journal by Fitlosophy.

This journal is known for it’s great resources of daily motivational quotes, spaces for twelve weeks worth of goal setting in all areas of your routine, ideas how to change up your exercises to target areas, and much more!  If you attend aerobic classes, or are currently on a 28 day reset challenge with your diet or working on your flexibility levels, there are also additional pages to journal your thoughts and discuss your progress in private thoughts.  This 5.5 inch book is equipped with pages designed to track what you eat, when you eat it, and gives you guides to change what you eat to get the results you want.  If you choose to measure yourself from week to week, you can write those shaved inches off in here, too!  With this exclusive purchase that you can also find on Amazon, this fitbook also has a goal setting application that you can download to set goals and achieve them within the weeks to come.  Be sure to share your progress with your friends and family for more support!

I need to hone in on meal planning. But this is a rough overview. 💪📚🍌 #fitbook #weeklyplan

A post shared by Dream Big, Live Bigger! (@fitjourneytoanewme) on

Stress can be controlled and decreased significantly by remaining positive, changing your daily routine, and healthy this National Stress Awareness Month and thereafter.  Take into account all the special holiday festivities set for this month from Easter, to studying for your midterm and successfully completing your final projects before the dreaded final exams and all the added Stress.  Holiday stress, emotional stress, workplace stress can really effect your overall emotional well-being and to dodge stress as much as possible is very important.  Grab life by the horns and commit to making small changes such as focusing on your diet by eating more healthier foods, exercising randomly during down time, stretching and breathing more, and learning to relax after each scheduled large task can do wonders for your mental and physical health.  That is why this National Stress Awareness Month was designated for YOU.  Feel free to reach out for moral support via Uloop’s social media on twitter or engage with your gym buddies and share your fitness journal.  You will see your personal journey take on a new, refreshing pace as you reach for the finish line with a fitter, healthier, and much happier you!

Do you have any more unique ways to de-stress for National Stress Awareness Month?! Comment below!

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