Arts & Culture

How to Cope with the Start of the Semester

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The beginning of the semester can be exciting and invigorating for some students, but for others, it is a nail-biting, anxiety-inducing, and difficult time.

Maybe it is the prospect of homework and exams, the intensity of Panhellenic recruitment or simply returning to the crowds on campus that causes a certain level of apprehension.

It is much easier to maintain an overall calm if you utilize a few daily coping mechanisms.

1. Life Schedule

Create a schedule that allows you to prioritize your mental health over academic and social responsibilities. It is far more important to feel in control and happy than to be pushing your body to its limits and not allowing it to rest.

\You will perform better in class and truly enjoy time with friends when you have more stability than stress. 15 minutes of morning meditation, stretching or cleaning empowers you to start your day with a clear mind.

2. Get Outside!

Being outdoors is proven to lower stress, help with sleep, and elevate moods. SMU has a beautiful campus to walk around, but if you feel like you need an alternate escape route, then enjoy some time in one of Dallas’s many nature reserves.

The Katy Trail is closest to campus, but, if you have the time and opportunity to go a bit further, try White Rock Lake, The Flagpole Hill, or Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. These all offer walking trails, outdoor seating, and a place to find that sense of peace.

3. Exercise

Exercising produces endorphins in the brain that remedy anxiety and poor sleep, as well as help to alleviate stress. When exercise is viewed as a helpful solution and not as a punishment, it can offer so many more benefits. It is time dedicated to you and only you.

Students can find a wide variety of workouts in Dedman Gym like rockwall climbing, swimming laps, or personal training. If the gym isn’t your place, then try ClassPass. It is an online service that offers access to almost every type of workout class or gym in Dallas with a monthly membership fee.

If you prefer to be outdoors, then try running around University Park or in any of the surrounding parks.

Everyone experiences stress. How we maintain our overall health every day and how we choose to react in certain situations is the key to maintaining balance.

Above all – you are not alone. If anxiety is preventing you from academic success or finding happiness, please contact SMU Health Services for free counseling.

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