Not everyone deals with stress properly, as there are healthy ways to cope and terrible, horrible ways that only make things worse. These bad habits may seem all right for immediate relief, but they just cause long-term problems. They usually, if not always, result in some form of addiction.
I won’t rag too much on how bad smoking is for your health, as well as for the people around you breathing it in second-hand, since everyone’s heard that story before. However, smoking is a popular faux-stress reliever that creates more problems than it solves. Not only is it bad for your health, but also your wallet. Cigarettes can add up to about $150 a month for a pack a day. Over a few years, that’s thousands of dollars you’re losing on an unhealthy addiction, money that instead could be invested and used to pay off student loans. Smoking may give that immediate relief, but it creates the long-term stress of debt and bad health.
Here’s yet another evil that we’ve been told to avoid since grade school. Alcohol consumption isn’t as bad as smoking, but still creates the problem of addiction. Drinking in moderation can be okay; red wine has even been proven to have a few positive side effects. However, it is important to keep in mind the word occasional. Developing alcoholism can be detrimental to your health and your wallet. A glass of wine may be great at the end of a long, hard day’s work, but please drink responsibly.
Who doesn’t love coffee or soda, right? Caffeine seems to be a great supporter to the lives of every college student, helping us stay awake and study or work. I can certainly attest to this as I love to start the day off with a hot cup of coffee while I read news and webcomic updates. However, we need to know when we’re drinking too much. Caffeine is, indeed, a drug, and must be approached with caution. Developing a dependency that requires you to drink multiple cups of coffee and cans of soda throughout the day can raise your stress levels higher than before. Too much coffee will mess with your sleep cycle, and you won’t get the natural rest you need for the next day.
A few weeks ago I discussed healthy eating habits for stress relief, which included chocolate. Most people fall back to reducing stress by eating Ben & Jerry’s or other copious amounts of sugary foods. This can lead to an emotional eating problem, meaning a poor diet from blood sugar imbalances that raise stress levels even more. Stick to that healthy diet and don’t let your sweet tooth get the better of you.
Aside from that which affects our bodies directly, there’s the physical act of shopping that can also ruin our stress levels. Some people think that they just need a pick-me-up, a little present for themselves that will make them feel better. Compulsive spending, however, will only burn another hole in your wallet. As college students, we hardly even have the money to spare in the first place. So instead of trying to fill some empty void with material possessions, invite a friend over and watch an old movie. It’s cost free, and quality time is better than a financial stress.Contact Kelsey Norden.