Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
Being involved in clubs, sports, and other extracurricular activities can be fun and rewarding for many people, but some students are taking on all of these sorts of activities at once. These over-achievers are quickly becoming over-stressed and have to find ways to keep their cool when the pressure is on.
Jared Grigg, a graduate student in Ole Miss’ psychology Ph.D. program, spends a lot of his time at the University Counseling Center talking to students who have taken on busy schedules and are dealing with the stressful side effects. He says if you don’t start taking care of yourself now, the stress that starts as a headache can become a big problem.
“Chronic stress can result in an inability to take care of daily living skills like showering, brushing your teeth and eating 3 meals a day.”
Grigg explains that the availability of drugs and alcohol as a form of stress relief can also be crippling.
“They allow for a temporary relief. But those situations come back and you’ve lost that time you spent doing whatever you were doing, and that creates more stress.”
“I have three separate planners and in my phone I give myself alerts for an hour or two hours before I do something. That gives me time to prepare and move on from what I’m doing now to prepare for what’s next,” Wigmore said.
Grigg agrees that having a schedule that allows you to collect yourself before moving on to the next task is extremely beneficial.
“Realize that schedules are fluid. Having a hard and fast time that you say ‘This is when I will switch what I’m doing’ can cause stress and anxiety.”
“I live by my planner. My days are so full,” said Lightner, but she also schedules breaks for herself.
“I go in my room and just sit. I take a five minute deep breath. Other times I go and be with friends. Yoga helps a lot, but alone time is the best de-stresser for me.”
Wigmore also feels that taking time for yourself and your health is important.
“Workouts and eating are a huge part of how I keep myself healthy. I feel like when I work out it relieves all the stress. It just clears my mind,” Wigmore says that staying healthy makes her feel good about herself and helps her stay on track with school.
Grigg thinks that finding time for yourself and finding activities that allow you to collect yourself are extremely important. He tells students to “find ways to slow your mind down to allow yourself that time to organize your thoughts.”
Grigg encourages students to participate in the Counseling Center’s Calm in Chaos courses. The courses last six weeks and teach students how to manage stress in everyday situations. The Counseling center is located on campus on Fraternity Row, across from Bishop Hall. More information about the Calm in Chaos courses as well as personal counseling can be found on the university’s Counseling Center webpage.
Grigg agrees that adding too much to a person’s schedule does not make for an easy life, but he does think that a busy life can be a fulfilling one.
“Understanding the value of what you’re doing, asking yourself, ‘What makes me want to do this?’ takes that busy stressful schedule and it gives it meaning and value,” Grigg explains.
Lighter does exactly that when she talks about why she is so involved on campus.
“I like to be in leadership positions. I try to give as much as I can to things that I enjoy and want to be involved in.”
Cara Wigmore talks about how she plans her busy days.