By Emily Skeen
I have spent a lot of time in these blog posts referring to myself and most of you as “stress-crazed-college-students”. It’s not that I am excited about this or particularly surprised, just realistic. College is a lot of things, and one of those things is stressful. So what? That’s just the way life is. True, but does it have to be? Yes and no. Stress is an inevitable part of life, and it’s only getting worse. According to a recent study published by the American Psychiatric Association, 50% of Millennials (people ages 20-32) reported that their stress has increased significantly in the past 5 years, and another 36% said that it hasn’t decreased at all. That’s 86% of our generation who report the presence of a constant or increasing stress in their lives. Now I don’t know who those 14% are, or what they do, but for the rest of us, stress is a huge problem. Ok, cool. We’re all stressed. Why doesn’t everyone just take a chill pill? Well obviously it’s not that simple. However what’s surprising is that the top two reasons Millennials list for not lowering their stress are lack of motivation and lack of time. Both of these reasons, as you may know, are symptoms of busy and stressful lives. So we are literally too stressed to get less stressed. What?!!
According to the American Institute of Stress (which I imagine is a very serene place to work) 75-90% of all visits to general practitioners in this country are due to stress-related issues, which include but are not limited to: headaches, digestive disturbances, cold and flu brought on by a weakened immune system, acid reflux, chest pain, panic attacks, anxiety and depression. So while we’re going about our lives too stressed to find time to relieve our stress, we’re also raising our insurance premiums astronomically by letting our stress take over and wreak havoc on our bodies. Of course it is important to note that being too stressed to make time to see our doctors is just as detrimental as letting stress send us there too often.
Campus Rec to the rescue!
Ok maybe not totally. Everyone de-stresses differently, but before you disregard this by saying, “the last thing I want to do is work out”, read a little further. Campus Rec is not just about working out. We do our absolute best to provide as many opportunities as possible for students to get some kind of physical activity. But that doesn’t always mean running laps and pumping iron, though both of those are great ways to get exercise and relieve stress. Those are only the tiny tip of the iceberg of things that we offer here.
- Give your mind a break, do some yoga: Stress triggers our fight or flight instincts; adrenaline pumps through our bodies at lightning speeds, our hearts race and our breathing quickens. While these things might be useful when we’re fighting a bear, chances are that we don’t run into bears that often. The practice of yoga incorporates not only some good physical movement, but also focuses on quieting the mind, and regulating breathing, quite literally the antithesis of fight or flight. And with the wide variety and high number of classes we offer ranging from beginning gentle yoga, to 90-minute power vinyasa classes, anyone can experiment with the effects of yoga at Campus Rec.
- Try something new: Is your play personality an explorer? (Refer to our post entitled PLAY). Instead of planning to run for an hour, or do 50 pull-ups, make a plan to try two new things at Campus Rec this week. Go on an outdoor trip, climb the rock wall, attend a Water X class, dance in our Zumba class, try out a Kayak Roll Session. Do something you’ve never done; it’s hard to stress out when you’re having fun discovering new things.
- PLAY!! Are you a kinesthete or a competitor? If you find that your favorite forms of stress relief involve lots of movement, or competition then you have tons of options. There are ample pick-up gamesof basketball, volleyball, and soccer every day. Want more structure than that? Join an Intramural team or a Rec Club.
- Good old exercise: As I mentioned earlier if you are the person that gets the most stress relief from good oldfashioned exercise, there are infinite options and opportunities for you at Campus Rec. Every student who is enrolled in 1 credit, undergraduate or graduate already has a membership at Campus Rec each term, and has the option to get a membership during their term off as well.
Didn’t see your favorite Campus Rec related stress-relief option here? Tell us about it!