Tips for Keeping Stress Levels Low

As I roam around the gym parking lot, driving up and down each and every lane looking for a parking space, I am reminded it is that time of year again. The few months when everyone is trying to make healthy lifestyle changes, get into shape and therefore flock to the gym.

While this is the busiest time of year at many gyms, it is also probably one of the more swamped times at your recreation center. Most likely not having access to a gym at home, students are back from holiday break, looking to kick start the new year and lose any unwanted holiday weight.

All the commotion of a busy recreation center brings along stress. Here are a few tips to help you minimize anxiety during this chaotic time of year.

1) Keep consistent schedules — Develop a routine. From the moment you walk into the office, what needs to be done to get ready for the day? I always start my computer. While it is warming up, I fill up my water bottle, get some coffee and then sit down and go through emails. Once I am all caught up, I check my To Do List (see #2) and feel ready to conquer the day.

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2) Stay organized — To help stay on top of things, I swear by lists. I keep a running To Do List and update it every day with what needs to be done first thing, what can wait till later in the day and if necessary, what can wait until tomorrow. That way I get everything done in a timely manner and never miss deadlines.

3) Meditate — This might sound silly, but it is another trick I swear by. When days are busy they seem to fly by and before you know it, you are trying to go to sleep but can’t stop thinking about what still needs to be done. To help me unwind, every night I use the app Headspace. It guides you through a 10-minute meditation that leaves me calm and ready for bed.

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4) Listen to music — Another simple tactic, but one that I find really helps reduce my stress. When I am sitting at my desk, trying to crank out stories, I will put on some light music (Spotify provides great daily playlists) that helps me stay focused, yet upbeat. Find what works for you. I prefer acoustic music, while my co-worker swears by the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. Who knows, maybe you will discover you are most focused listening to classical Beethoven.

5) Take a break to exercise — As rec professionals, you undoubtedly know the benefits of exercise, both for your body and your mind. Take an hour out of your day and hop on the treadmill or take a fun class, just something to get your heart rate up. Break a sweat and get those endorphins pumping through your system.

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Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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