I like to pretend that I am the type of person who is easy going and stress-free when it comes to life, but there are some things that raise my stress, and that just can't be helped. School and the need to succeed has always been one of those stressors for me. Going into my first semester of college, I was so excited to have extra time between classes to get things done. I thought I was going to be so on-task—boy, was I so wrong.
Time management has never been one of my strong suits, and that, unfortunately, did not magically change when I began college this fall. During the midterm season, my level of stress reached an all-time high. I was struggling to balance my academics, social life, and other responsibilities. My morale was very low, and I struggled to do anything productive. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and watch Netflix. Nothing sounded better than a lazy day filled with "Grey's Anatomy" and some popcorn. Laying in bed was not going to reduce my stress so I decided to try doing something that would get my blood pumping, like running.
Like a lot of people, I was never a huge fan of running for fun. Growing up, I used to only run when it was required such as at practice or when I was conditioning for lacrosse. College changed all of that, as I found myself getting more stressed and looking for ways to relax, I stumbled upon the idea of running. Once I started running daily, everything turned around. It was as if with each mile I ran, the stress began to slip away. With the reduction of stress, it became easier to manage my time and to be more motivated when it came to studying.
Running daily was not an easy habit to start and it definitely was not easy to continue once the beautiful summer and fall weather turned into a cold, windy winter. The more I kept at it though, the better I felt. The overwhelming amount of schoolwork was still stressful but not to the same point it had been previously. I no longer felt suffocated by the looming essays, exams, and project deadlines. The less stress I felt the easier it was to get work done. Funny how that works—taking time away from studying actually makes it easier to focus on studying later. It feels like it should be the opposite because I am losing time I could be spending studying but instead I am just helping myself to create a more productive environment. That is what really matters, creating a productive environment in order to get things fully done without the overwhelming stress getting in the way.
Exercise in any form has often been credited as a stress reducer and even has been recommended as a positive way to promote a healthy life by the Mayo Clinic. As the heart rate and energy increase because of the endorphins and adrenaline being produced, stress and anxiety are lowered. Ten minutes that is all it takes for the number of endorphins needed to create a change to be fully produced, not an hour, just ten simple minutes. Ten minutes of a jog or ten minutes of a walk can create since an impact on daily happiness levels. The rush of endorphins creates a sense of happiness that seems to instantly relieve my stress.