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Wednesday, November 3, 2010
We all have times in our life when we get stressed out. Whether its work or school, friends or family, or just an overwhelming feeling of having too much on your plate, you are not alone. Millions of Americans feel overworked and overstressed. Personally, I have felt more stressed this semester at college than I have ever felt before. Between work, school, and all of my other commitments I was run ragged. I wasn’t sleeping enough, wasn’t enjoying my free time and always felt as if I could never finish the incredible amount of work that I was assigned. One day, I felt like I couldn’t handle it anymore. That’s when I realized that things needed to change.
Change happens slowly and is difficult sometimes. At first, I tried to change little habits, such as getting extra sleep or starting my homework early. However, that failed pretty quickly because whenever I had an exam or paper due, I would throw my newfound “change” out the window. Since that wasn’t working for me, I decided to look into other avenues to relieve my stress. I was browsing through the UNH Health Services webpage, and learned that they offer free stress management appointments for students who have paid their health fees. I was a little bit apprehensive to make the appointment, but figured that it would be worthwhile to give it a try.
I went to my first Stress Management appointment after pulling an all-nighter. I almost fell asleep in the waiting room listening to soothing music and a fountain of bubbling water. After the counselor called my name, I followed him into a room with soft chairs and began my appointment. Honestly, I had expected it to be a quick appointment where I talked a little bit about my stress and then got a lecture, along with some tips to try to follow. I was very wrong. Instead of doing a lot of listening, I did most of the talking. It was soothing to have someone neutral to express all of my guilt, fears and stress to. The counselor asked me a lot of open-ended questions that really helped me to explore what was making me the most stressed. While he recommended a few resources for me, the most beneficial part of the appointment was being able to talk to someone who really cared about my stress and knew what questions to ask me to get me to think more deeply about why I put myself into stressful situations.
When I walked away from my Stress Management appointment, I felt hopeful. All of my stress didn’t miraculously disappear and I still have to deal with my day-to-day problems, but I now feel as if I can handle the stress a little bit better than before. I have another appointment next week, and will continue to make appointments until I have a strong foundation that can get me through even the hardest of times. I know that making an appointment is a big step and can seem a little scary. If you are feeling stressed, please just try it out. An hour out of your time can make a really big difference in your life, and life is a lot more enjoyable when you feel free from stress. To make a Stress Management appointment or to learn more, visit the UNH Health Services webpage.
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