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Tips for a Low Stress Semester

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Whether this is your first semester or your twenty-first, making the transition from the summer break to the fall semester always brings with it a generous helping of potentially stressful things. Here are some tips to make the transition a little easier.

Tip # 1: Getting there takes longer than you think.

Whether you're walking, biking, or driving, a college campus is a busy place. Waiting until the last minute to get to class is bound to hike your stress level up a notch. To avoid the mad morning scramble, set your alarm and get up a lot earlier than you think you must, preferably early enough to have some breakfast (we’ll get to that later).  Giving your body and your brain some time to wake up before you have to function at peak efficiency will make for a lower stress morning.

Tip # 2: Procrastination is not your friend.

It’s human nature to put off until tomorrow the things we’d rather not do today, especially when we see everyone else doing it too, but doing that will come back to bite you at the end of the semester.  Be a rebel. Do today’s work today. Start projects early and take the time to do them well. That way you’ll be the one sleeping peacefully through the night while everyone else is pulling all-nighters during finals week.

Tip # 3: Take care of you before you take care of anything else.

It’s easy in the middle of a busy semester to let multiple responsibilities overwhelm us.  One thing after another gets added to our schedules until there’s no time to breathe, much less do everything else that we’re expected to do.  To avoid getting totally swamped, sit down with a calendar at the beginning of the semester and schedule the things that are necessary for your well-being before you schedule anything else.

Sleep time should be a priority on your schedule, preferably at least 7 hours straight, but some people need up to 9 hours to function well. 

Most of us find time for an evening meal, but sometimes we don’t set aside time in the morning and at mid-day for breakfast and lunch. Your brain needs fuel. Going all day without eating is like trying to take a road trip without filling the car with gas.

Exercise is a proven stress reducer. Do something fun that gets you moving.  If you schedule it rather than just doing it when you “have the time” you’ll do it more regularly and get more benefit.

Don’t forget your emotional and spiritual well-being.  Connecting with friends and family will provide you with support when things get tough.  Add the spiritual life of your choice for an even more solid foundation. 

The occasional stressful day is unavoidable, but if it seems like you’re reaching maximum stress levels on a daily basis, get some help.  Talk to a friend, a family member, or a trusted advisor. If the issue is class related, talk to your professor.  If you need to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, on-campus free counseling is available in the Counseling and Testing department.  If you think that stress may be affecting your health, ask to see one of the health care providers at Student Health Services. Both of these departments are conveniently located at the Saucier Wellness Center in O. K. Allen Hall on Hebrard Blvd.


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