Don’t be a Zombie

Molly Cahill

The stressed out college student is a curious creature, most often found in early May or December. They are made easy to spot by their dirty, rumpled clothing, bloodshot eyes and the breadcrumb trail of coffee cups and soda cans left wherever they go. Chances are you either have been or will be a member of this species at some point during the semester.

Finding oneself as thus is an almost inevitable hallmark of the college experience. If you’re not stressed, you’re either a wunderkind or failing so miserably that there’s no point in trying anymore. However, those of us who do not fall into one of those extremes have to find ways of relieving the crushing weight of deadlines and parental expectations. Some practice healthier methods than others.

Drinking and/or partying with your friends is fairly standard and makes for a nice mental holiday from whatever got you so worked up. But drinking, unless done in moderation, ends with a hangover and a liver more akin to a martini olive than a functioning human organ.

Over the years, I’ve run the gamut of de-stressing activities, from failed attempts at meditation to redecorating at 3 a.m. The first would leave me zonked out and late to class, the other would lead to pissing off my roommate.

A lot of people claim they work best under pressure (a cop out for seasoned procrastinators). And short-term wise it can work. But prolonged periods of stress can take a serious toll on your health, mentally and physically. For instance, stress has been known to lead to insomnia, hair loss, obesity and heart problems.

Taking time for yourself and having fun is a good start, but it’s not a cure all. One of the most important things to do is to get a full night’s rest. It’s while we’re asleep that our mind gets time to rest and deal with whatever happened while we were awake. Eating well is also vital. Because we’re young, our bodies can handle subsisting on pizza and ramen, but will function much more smoothly with a bit of fresh produce thrown into the mix.

Above all else, exercise will do the trick. Yoga is my favorite and can be done just about anywhere. It also has the added bonus of making you extra flexible. And as part of our tuition we have access to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, which is chock full of stuff to do. But whatever it is you decide on, do something. I highly doubt anyone wants to graduate a bald, overweight zombie with heart problems.

Molly Cahill is a senior pre-journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].