Inexpensive Ways to Reduce Stress at CU Boulder
It is that time in the semester when stress spreads like a rampant plague through the ranks of the students at universities. We are right about halfway through the semester, and every week my workload seems to grow heavier and heavier. When I was a freshman in my first semester at college, I had no idea how to cope with this stress. I wish I’d known about some of the options available for students to reduce this anxiety. What I have come to learn is that there are a wide variety of resources available for college students, many of which are quite reasonably priced.
I know how this must sound; like the ultimate cliché. For people who do not understand mental illness, often their only solution to cope is to try yoga and eat kale. I am not suggesting that yoga will cure clinical anxiety or any other kind of
mental illness, what I am saying instead is that yoga is an option to relieve stress in a natural and healthy way. Going to the gym, in my personal opinion, is almost like a punishment. However, I have come to believe that not taking care of one’s body during times of great stress only makes the stress far more abundant and harmful. Yoga, if merely a hobby, can be an excellent practice for beginners. On campus, the CU Boulder Rec Center is the perfect place to find classes. For $50, one can subscribe to the Sacred Flow Vinyasa Yoga program. One can also purchase a semester pass which gets them into every program available at the Rec Center. However, if this is too expensive or if these classes just do not fit into your schedule, yoga can be practiced at home with the power of a yoga mat and the internet. Yoga will never take the place of real mental health care, but it is an option to naturally take care of your body while stress threatens it.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to make time for yourself, especially in ways that do not involve
academia. Get out of your dorm room, apartment, or house and remove yourself from the stressors of grades and schoolwork. It is so easy to get wrapped up in homework and essays and tests that one can forget how to live outside of them. Even if it is just fifteen minutes sitting in silence in the autumn air or perhaps going out to get a bite to eat with friends, allow yourself to take breaks. A favorite stress reliever of mine is to relax with a cup of tea, merely sitting and not focusing on anything in particular. CU Boulder has an option for this; the Celestial Tea shop within the UMC. Black tea is better health wise and, in my option, can be taster than coffee. This Celestial Tea shop offers cups of coffee for only a few dollars. Tea has a number of benefits, and, as the air grows chiller with the fall season, tea might be a great alternative to Starbucks. However, if tea is not your thing, then find something else that is your thing. Discover a hobby that is not tied up in classes, perhaps try something new.
Mental Health Services
In my opinion, this is the most valuable option I can offer a stressed-out student. And yes, I know how difficult it can be to seek out therapy in this way. There is a significant stigma when it comes to therapy, just as there is a stigma when it comes to taking medication. However, I would implore you not to listen to the opinions of ignorant people. Therapy does not work for everyone, but, in my experience, it is one of the most beneficial things a student can do in times of significant stress. Even just talking about what is going on in a person’s life with a professional can relieve some of the stress that builds up from internalizing. And, naturally, these services at CU Boulder are all completely confidential. As the programs at Wardenburg state, they handle a variety of issues, including those arising from “Academics, anxiety, body image, depression, relationships, substance abuse, and more.” When it comes to the mental health services offered at Wardenburg, there are two tracks a student can choose from counseling and psychiatry. In counseling, the focus is on talking with someone. As stated on their website, these issues are addressed after a client is set up with a professional especially for them. For those working in the psychiatry track, they can prescribe medications and create specific treatment plans, options, and recommendations. The prices for these services vary but tend to be less expensive than outside programs.
For many of my fellow students, mental health often falls to the wayside in times of high academic stress. I myself have fallen victim to this trap more than once, but mental health must be a priority. The further I get into my college career, I have come to realize how important taking care of one’s mental state is. My advice to you would be not to wait as I did to acknowledge the importance of mental health, and not to push it to the side. One excuse I always gave myself when it came to ignoring my mental health was, “I’ll consider it after things calm down,” but things never calm down enough. I just kept putting it off and putting it off until I reached a breaking point and was almost totally burnt-out as a freshman. Getting and maintaining good grades must naturally be of importance, but, in my opinion, ignoring mental health renders all the good grades in the world completely meaningless.