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April 10, 2006

Stress Awareness/ Relief

Tuesday, April 18th is National Stress Awareness Day!

I know you all are really busy with homework, studying, trying to find a job for the summer (maybe not yet), and life’s only going to become more stressful as finals approach. But I’m not here to worry you; I would actually like to provide you some hints to help ease your stress. Stress can be defined as an emotional, intellectual and physical reaction to change or demands; so it really can be a serious problem to your happiness and health.

Think you’ve got it under control? Check out the following list of common symptoms of stress:
~Crying more than usual
~Irritability
~Feeling overly sensitive (touchy)
~Loss of appetite
~Fatigue
~Problems Sleeping

Some “typical? college activities may increase your stress as well. A recent study found that tobacco users, binger drinkers, and students who engage in other drug use were found to have a higher average of stressors than non-users. If you’re concerned about your stress, there are a variety of resources available to you on campus, including stress management workshops at Boynton and Counseling Services.

Boynton’s workshops are free (yup- completely free!) classes offered throughout the week including Pilates, Yoga, and Tai Chai; each class is offered at a different time on different days, and if you want to see the schedule, try the website at the end.

Another beneficial service on campus is University Counseling and Consulting Services, located on both the East Bank and St. Paul Campus. In addition to testing services, they even have two workshops being offered at the end of the semester; one covers stress management and one covers procrastination. If you want more information on their hours, making an appointment, try going to their website (at the end).

If you just want some easy at-home suggestions for relieving stress:
~practice deep breathing ~help someone
~go for a walk ~exercise
~say no when you have to ~talk to a friend
~have a plan B ~read for fun
~prioritize responsibilities ~do something YOU enjoy
~eat healthier ~have someone rub your back/neck
~reduce caffeine ~soothing music


Stress Reducing Techniques:
http://www.bhs.umn.edu/topics/stressmgmt/techniques.htm

Yoga/Pilates/Tai Chai Schedule:
http://www.bhs.umn.edu/comfortzone/index.htm

University Counseling and Consulting Services:
http://www.ucs.umn.edu/

Stress Self-Test:
http://www.bhs.umn.edu/topics/stressmgmt/stresstest.htm

Volunteering

Hi!
In honor of National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, this article is going to provide you with more information on volunteering, both on campus and wherever else you might be. I know being a college student comes with plenty of stress on its own, especially if you already have a job as well. But I really think volunteering is an important aspect to life- it does feel good to help out someone else, and hey, if nothing else, it looks great on resumes, right? I know people who want to volunteer, but don’t know how to start or where to go. Some are worried that it’ll be too far away, or they won’t be able to get there, because they don’t have a car on campus. Well, a lot of the places I’ve checked out have been easy to get to on a bus, and most of the time an organization will be flexible about how many hours you volunteer and will try and work with your schedule.

That being said, there are many volunteer opportunities available in the Twin Cities area (and at home, if you want to volunteer during the summer!). But how do you find one that you’ll enjoy? A simple google search will probably work, but there is one good service available to you on campus, the Career and Community Learning Center, located in 345 Fraser Hall on East Bank. After you fill out a form, set up an appointment with one of their advisors, and the CCLC will help match you with a volunteer opportunity. They’ll give you all the contact information and you can set up the times you want to volunteer with organization. (Their website is at the end, check it out!)

If you don’t want to go through those steps, you can contact an organization directly, if you know of somewhere looking for volunteers- ask around and talk to friends and see if they help somewhere or if they know of an organization you can contact.

The last resource I have for you is a website I’ve done some searching on before, www.volunteermatch.org. This one will be helpful if you would rather figure something out on your own. On this website, you can search by area code, area of interest for volunteering, whether you want to help with children, seniors, hunger, GLBT rights, or 25 other choices. A brief summary/description of the position and all contact information is provided. Like I mentioned earlier, this website will also help you if you’re looking to volunteer somewhere at home over the summer, too!

Hopefully this information was helpful, and if you have any questions, just post them up and I’ll do my best to find you an answer!

CCLC Volunteering:
http://www.servicelearning.umn.edu/students/cps/index.html