Manage mounting academic stress with movement
With final exams and major project deadlines rapidly approaching, the average student is carrying serious stress on their shoulders.
The fact that Old Man Winter has had a stranglehold on Calgary for the better part of five months also contributes to elevated stress levels, and that lethargic feeling many people are experiencing.
There’s finally hope this is the last hurrah for winter, and spring is actually around the corner. Along with increased doses of vitamin D – courtesy of increased sunlight – the warmer weather affords greater possibilities for students to get moving.
Aileen Machell, a second-year Broadcast News student, said spring-like temperatures would contribute to decreasing her stress level.
Currently, she manages her stress levels by taking part in physical activity every day.
“I run every morning and do hot yoga (which) gives me a lot of energy to get through the day,” said Machell. “I find I can get depressed if I don’t include physical activity in my day.”
Stefanie Brown, a yoga instructor at Hot Yoga on 17th Avenue, says yoga is a great way to enhance people’s mental and physical well-being.
“The word yoga means ‘to yoke’, ‘to join’, ‘the union’, in reference to making the union between the breath, the body and the mind,” said Brown.
“When we take time to find that stillness, mindfulness and meditation in yoga it can help relieve stress.”
Diana Muiznieks, a registered massage therapist for the past four years who now works at a spa in Mission, sees the physical toll stress takes on the body every day.
“Stress causes scar tissue that can result in tension headaches,” said Muiznieks. “Tension headaches are the build up of scar tissue on trigger points (on the body) which results in pain.”
Aside from breaking down the scar tissue accumulated from stress, she said massaging also helps relieve stress on a chemical level.
“Massages reduce the amount of cortisol in the body (which) is the stress hormone we naturally produce,” said Muiznieks. “The ache you feel after getting a message is the result of toxins moving out of the body.”
Whether it’s through yoga, massage therapy, or simply basking in the sun’s rays, students should take an active role in their own stress management.