Stressful times call for more purposeful focus on self-care. You may want to implement these tips to try to alleviate some of your stress.*
This will take time to develop. Create and maintain contact with a small group of people you can call on for emotional support or for distraction. Take turns talking and listening. You don’t have to disclose too much about yourself, if you’re not comfortable at first. Isolating yourself can make things worse.
Create Joy and Satisfaction and LAUGH
Especially at yourself. Spend time with those who make you laugh. Watch a comedy or read a funny book. There is evidence that smiling changes your emotions to pleasant and your thoughts to optimism. Do something you loved to do as a kid, e.g. walk barefoot through mud puddles.
Nurture a Positive View of Self
Catch yourself when you start to think negatively or are putting yourself down. Actively replace these negative thoughts with a positive view. Create a list of affirmations for yourself (e.g., I grow and change; I am open-minded, etc.). Even if you aren't convinced, fake it until you make it!
Find Activities that Sooth and Relax You
Relaxation improves the mind and helps the body recover from stress. Even 10 minutes a day would be helpful! Use deep breathing techniques--take a deep breath slowly and all the way down to your stomach, hold your breath for a few seconds, and slowly breath out by emptying your stomach of your breath. Tell yourself to “let go of any tension” as you breath out. Do this for at least 5 or 6 times in each sitting. Practice yoga, listen to some relaxation tapes, etc.
There is recent research that found that just the act of smiling, even if you don’t feel like it, could be enough to change your mood. It has to do with how the different facial muscles communicate with your brain. Again, even if you’re not convinced, smile away!
Do Some Kind of Physical Activity
Do some kind of physical activity, even if you only have 10 minutes. Find a routine that creates a sweat and that fits your style (e.g., walk, skip, dance, swim, tennis). This will help with your stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms.
Those who consistently help other people experience less depression, greater calm, fewer pains and better health. They may even live longer. Doesn't have to require a great deal of time -- you can call a friend to see how she's doing, serve your partner breakfast in bed, let a car in before you on the highway, smile at a stranger in the street, hold the elevator door for your co-worker.
Pay Attention to Your Body
Nourish your body with nutritious food. Skipping meals robs you of the energy to cope. Sleep and rest when you are tired.
Nurture Your Mind and Spirit
Pray, meditate, practice whatever feeds you spiritually. Keep a journal - write down your thoughts and feelings in various situations. Note any patterns or questions you'd like to discuss with people in your support circle.
In addition, here is a brief list of on and off campus resources where you can obtain support, guidance, and assistance:
- Check out this Counseling Services webpage for additional tipst http://www.sjsu.edu/counseling/students/Additional_Resources/Self-Help_Tips/index.html
- This Kaiser website also has great podcasts.
- Check out the SJSU Human Resources website for links to the Employee Assistance Program called LifeMatters. There is free help available in lots of areas, e.g. mental health, financial health, legal issues, elder care, etc.
Local Reduced Fee Mental Health Agencies:
- Alum Rock Counseling, 1245 E. Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA95116. 408-294-0500 office, 408-294-0579-24 hour crisis line.
- Community Counseling and Education Services, 2625 Zanker Road, San Jose, CA. 408-944-0469
- JohnF.KennedyUniversity Clinic, 572 Dunholn Way, Sunnyvale, CA94087. 408-524-4900
- SJSU Psychology Clinic. Call Brenda Gummesan at 408-924-5670 and leave a message.
*This is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to treat any conditions. These tips are not meant to be substitutes for mental or physical health counseling.