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You asked for it: Stop stressing

Take a deep breath and read this column

 by Lisa Przystup
 published on Thursday, October 12, 2006


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I have to admit that it was not a surprise to me that there were no letters this week. I'm positive that the vast majority of you all are stressed out, sleep deprived and working like crazy to finish research papers and cram for exams.

That's right! It's midterms, that magical time of year when the start of the cold and flu season coincides with mid-semester emotional breakdowns. So in lieu of a response to reader mail, here are my recommendations for a handful of things you can do to alleviate mid-semester stress (if you've got the time...)

Plant a fall garden. It's the perfect time of the year to spend outdoors. The temperature is well under 100 degrees, and there's nothing more meditative than culling the Earth and interacting with Mother Nature. You'll also have the satisfaction of nurturing little seedlings into thriving plants. When they are grown, you can plant them in pots and give them as Christmas gifts.

If you don't have the time or yard for a garden, buy yourself a little Chia Pet, or if you're feeling daring, go for the often overlooked Chia Head. What could be more relaxing and delightful than watching watercress sprout out of your Chia Pet or Head of choice?

Go on a hike. Arizona is full of gorgeous landscapes and trails to hike. Get some friends together, bring some water, stretch out those hamstrings and get ready for a great time.

A view of the Valley will help you see the bigger picture and realize that you're just sweating the small stuff. It'll also help you realize how out of shape you are and how polluted our air is, but the memories you make and the MySpace photo-ops will help distract you from said realizations.

Be kind to yourself. You can't always depend on others for positive affirmation. Take a cue from Stuart Smalley. You're good enough, you're smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like you!

Repeat this mantra every day, until you realize just how not true it is. Then have yourself a good cry and some strawberry ice cream.

Paint a picture or write a poem. Expressing yourself through art and words is like chicken soup for the soul.

Finding an outlet for your stress or frustrations is a constructive way to vent and you may even create a stunning piece of art that you can try to sell for much more than it's worth.

Take a nap. Naptime is not just for kindergartners. Pop in a sounds-of-nature CD or any music that soothes you and just kick back.

In fact, maybe we can learn even more from kindergartners. Try making a macaroni necklace and eating paste, too. It might connect your with your inner child.

Take a yoga class. Yoga teaches you to focus on yourself, to let go of any baggage you may be carrying around and to breathe. This may sound like a "duh," but it really is amazing how much you overlook breathing every day.

So look around you. Realize how beautiful this world is, look for the rainbows that may be hiding just around the corner, smile at a stranger, pet a puppy, kiss a baby, help an old lady across the street, stop text messaging and pat yourself on the back - you've gotten this far in the semester.

Now there's just six weeks and a few odd days left until finals.

- Lisa



You stress Lisa out when you don't ask her questions. Please inform her of your advice needs at lisa.przystup@asu.edu



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