Stress

Winner, Winner…Pizza Dinner(s)

What college student wouldn’t want to win free pizza and textbooks for a year?! Ummm…can you say no one? That must be why the first-ever Books by eCampus textbook buyback giveaway was a hit among college students across the U.S. To enter the giveaway, students at any current Books by eCampus partner institution had to sell at least one textbook back through their school-specific online bookstore April 15, 2020 – June 1, 2020. Easy peasy! 

With all the craziness surrounding the spring 2020 semester related to the Covid-19 pandemic and online learning, eCampus.com was inspired to offer this first-time giveaway to help students take advantage of the online textbook buyback process. To thank students for taking time to sell online, Books by eCampus added some fun to the process with their giveaway aimed at lessening the blow of an unpredictable college semester. 

The giveaway was open to any student currently enrolled at a Books by eCampus partner institution, resulting in thousands of entries from eCampus.com’s 250 partner schools. By selling at least one textbook online, students were automatically entered to win a $500 textbook scholarship and free pizza for a year. 

So, who was the lucky winner? Drumroll, please…Emily Sauer of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Luck was on her side as she was randomly selected from thousands of participants. 

“The Books by eCampus Online Bookstore has helped me a lot because it makes getting my textbooks easy,” said Emily Sauer, who attends Miami University’s Hamilton, Ohio campus. “When I am done with my textbooks I know I can always sell them back and then get my next set.” Miami University has been a valued Books by eCampus partner since 2017, where students are able to take advantage of a 24/7 online bookstore offering free next-day shipping to campus of their professor-selected course materials.  

Congrats, Emily! 

The full press release can be found here.
Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! Are you a Books by eCampus student? Order today from your online bookstore! Not a Books by eCampus student? That’s ok, too! eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

7 Tips for Conquering College Stress

College is an exciting time, full of new challenges that drive you to expand your horizons. While some of these experiences can be thrilling, others may leave you feeling stressed.

Just as everyone experiences stress in their own way, we all have our preferred methods of coping with it. However, not all stress management strategies are healthy, and some may leave you feeling even worse than you did before.

Being able to manage stress is crucial for your academic success and personal well-being in college. After all, you can’t control the stressors in your life, but you can choose how to respond to them.

What Is Stress?

Stress is a normal and necessary part of life. It is your fight-or-flight response to challenges you see in the world. This natural reaction has certain physical effects on the body to allow you to better handle these challenges, such as increased heart rate and blood circulation. 

According to the American Psychological Association, there are three types of stress: acute, episodic acute, and chronic.

Effects of Stress on College Students

Stress affects your entire body, mentally as well as physically. There are four primary types of symptoms of stress: physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral. 

Some common signs of stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea 
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating

Managing Stress in College

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to stress relief. What works for one person might not work for another – so it’s important to have a variety of stress relief tools at your disposal. 

How to Stop Stressing Out: Seven Tips for Conquering Stress in College

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Many college students find it difficult to get enough sleep because of busy schedules, late-night excitement, or stress. However, time and time again research supports the importance of sleep – for memory consolidation and recall, increasing learning abilities, energy conservation, muscle growth, and tissue repair, just to name a few.

Plus, insufficient sleep can put you at risk for serious illnesses, such as diabetes, obesity, and depression. Adults typically need seven to nine hours of sleep a night for best health.

  1. Eat Well

While fast food and junk food are cheap and convenient, they don’t set you up to do your best. How does eating healthy reduce stress?  When you eat healthy, you supply your body with the nutrition it needs to fight stress. Try to avoid high-fat and high-sugar foods, and limit (or eliminate) the use of stimulants like caffeine, which can elevate the stress response in your body.

Be sure to keep your dorm room or apartment stocked with a few fresh fruits and veggies, and high-protein snacks, and be sure that your main meals are healthy and balanced.

  1. Exercise

One of the best coping skills for college students, which can also combat weight gain and frustration, is to get regular exercise. Exercise produces endorphins, the “feel good” chemical that acts as a natural painkiller.

Knowing how to properly work out and making time for it can be challenging. However, there are many ways to engage in physical activity – like going to the gym, attending fitness classes, swimming laps, jogging, playing basketball or another sport you enjoy, or doing yoga. 

You can also add in some simple modifications to your day to increase physical activity without having to go to the gym or play a sport. Try walking rather than taking the bus, getting off a bus early and walking the rest of the way, using stairs rather than elevators, biking, parking farther in a parking lot, etc. 

Even if you’re only able to work out in 10-minute increments, exercise can elevate your mood, release tension, and help keep your body (and mind) healthy.

  1. Build a Support System

Having supportive people in your life is the key to stress management. Surround yourself with family and friends who uplift you, encourage you, listen without judgement, and can provide sound perspective. 

Some friends or family members may be good at listening and sympathizing. Others might excel at practical help, like bringing over a home-cooked meal or helping with child care.

You may need to expand your network. Join an organization, attend a support group, or get professional help if you lack supportive people in your life.

  1. Have an Outlet

Do you enjoy gardening, reading, listening to music or some other creative pursuit? Engage in activities that bring you pleasure and joy; research shows that reduces stress by almost half and lowers your heart rate, too.

Your schedule may be filled with lectures and study groups, but try to find at least a couple of hours each week to pursue a hobby or other activity that you enjoy. Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs!

Building time for leisure into your schedule could be key to helping you feel your best. And when you feel better, you’ll perform better, which means leisure time may make your work time more efficient.

  1. Practice Relaxation Techniques 

Pace yourself throughout the day, taking regular breaks from work or other structured activities. During breaks from class, studying, or work, spend time walking outdoors, listen to music or just sit quietly, to clear and calm your mind.

Meditation is a simple way to reduce stress that you can do any place at any time. Begin with simple techniques such as deep breathing, guided meditation, or repeating a mantra. 

Deep-breathing exercises can help melt away tension. Try this exercise: Inhale slowly through your nose, hold the breath for three seconds, then exhale through your mouth, and repeat as needed. This helps prevent the short, shallow breaths that often accompany feelings of tension.

  1. Get Professional Help

Everybody needs help from time to time. If you find it especially difficult to adjust to the changes or ongoing challenges of college life, your campus likely has resources to help. Reach out to:

  • Your college or university’s counseling services
  • Your student advisor or a resident assistant
  • A doctor or therapist

In college, stress is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to dominate your life. Do your best to understand what kind of stress you’re feeling, what’s causing it, and how you can respond to it productively. By addressing your stress in a healthy way, you are doing all that you can to make the most of your college education.
Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References:

  1. https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/ 
  2. https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Individuals-with-Mental-Illness/Taking-Care-of-Your-Body/Managing-Stress
  3. https://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/balancing-stress/
  4. https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-to-reduce-stress-3145195

Time Flies – How to Slow Down & Enjoy It

Is it just me or is time moving way too fast?! Yet another semester over and another begins. Gretchen Rubin famously wrote, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Every day has a monotonous undertone and this is due to the fact that I know my schedule like the back of my hand. I am unconsciously going about the week as it is a good schedule, but a familiar one. Maybe you can relate, but I am here to tell you there are ways to perceive time more slowly. We do not have to be time’s hostage in this life. We are human and we will use our humanity as a tool to deliberately manipulate time. Here are some easy tricks to assist you in your life if you feel time slipping by too briskly.

Appreciate the little things

It is no secret that as we grow older, we take things for granted. Our computers, phones, cars, home, and even friends and family. You cannot blame us either as it is due to hedonic adaptation: the phenomenon where humans have a tendency to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes. When you receive a new phone, it feels like the most ingenious device ever invented by man. Then after a month or two goes by, you are back to your “it’s just a phone” mindset. Could you imagine your life without a phone? This piece of metal and glass that connects you with most anyone and has all of the information published thus far in history, but you still throw it around to fidget with.

The point is, to welcome novelty into your life. Remember when you were a child and everything was mind blowing to you? Induce a little childlike wonder into your day-to-day. Darwin said, “Attention, if sudden and close, graduates into surprise; and this into astonishment; and this into stupefied amazement.” Take just about anything into your hands and really focus on it. Think about how much work has gone into making this thing, what it can do for you, and if it did not exist. You will quickly learn to be thankful for this object and see it differently every time you see it again. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way.

Plan for things

Do you remember the month of December as a child? Did it not feel like an eternity until winter holidays? Anxiously awaiting your gifts as you see presents begin to slowly appear under a tree in your living room. We can use the same principle as a tool in our lives. Plan for a trip or some event way in the future. Make it something you really want to do to be enthusiastic for it. Have a countdown timer that you can always refer to to shorten your patience. It is similar to if I asked you to close your eyes and not say anything. Then, tell me when you believe three minutes have passed. Minutes would drag on as when you focus on time, it slows down.

Don’t plan for other things

Planning a fun trip is a great way to slow time and have an adventure by the end of it, but how can I slow time down even more every day? Being spontaneous is an enjoyable tactic that you can perform with the free time you possess. Instead of binge watching Netflix shows, go for a walk or a bike ride in your area. If one sat down and watched shows all day versus taking a leisurely stroll through town, who would you say had a longer and more enriching time? It is important to shake up the routine often to be a more well-rounded person. When you feel yourself apart of your own familiar agenda with free time, this should be a cue to do something different. Go visit a new coffee shop and read a book or take a drive and bring along a coin to decide which way you turn. An added plus is when you are more spontaneous, you are going to be a better time to be around. We all like the person that flips the script when you are with them.

Learn a new hobby

Last time I ask you to think back to your childhood. Remember learning an instrument or practicing a sport? How long did it take you to learn cursive? Learning is a process and while it should be fun, it is also taxing on your mind. We can use this for our benefit to elongate the fourth dimension. Pick up a new skill be it drawing, gardening, cooking, photography, coding, or dancing. As a personal preference, it is good to pick a hobby that has a tangible result so the progress you make is clearly shown. This will make your motivation to stick with it more difficult to diminish. There is also no need to be hard on yourself with learning a new hobby. Remember that you are doing this to make your life more interesting and vivid.

There is an overarching theme throughout these tricks and that is to be mindful of yourself and anything not yourself. Taking in the world with a fresh pair of eyes can be the difference between a life of banality or a life of excitement. Living life to the fullest while we can, is the only fulfilling option we hold. Be grateful for our friends and family for being people we can trust and knowing that they trust us. To beat eternity is to stretch every moment into an eternity.

5 Ways to Survive the Stress of College

College is the best of times and the worst of times. Close friends, bad food, and memories to last a lifetime. College is also a ton of work whether it is yet another essay, pages of homework, or staying up all night finishing a group assignment that you have not started until that night, the workload is more than enough to cause stress. Here are five easy and helpful tips to see next semester with gratitude instead of attitude.

Organize and Plan

Keeping everything clean and easy to find is a simple way to experience less stress. Buy a binder or folders to keep the classes separate and to have a central location to put all of the papers. It also may be worthwhile to buy a planner or to use the calendar on your phone to remind you of assignments. Find what works best for you and invest in organizing yourself. Same goes with your computer. Create folders on your computer to have a location to save to when you are working on something digital. No more putting everything in your downloads and searching for the date modified instead of the arbitrary title you named it.

Studying can be boring and monotonous at times but try different studying methods to boost your morale. The Pomodoro Technique is the one I use which is to put a timer for 25 minutes and with zero distractions, you start your work. Go at your own pace but make sure you have everything on do not disturb so nothing will tempt you to sway away from work. After the timer goes off, you have five minutes to do what ever you need to do and then set another 25 minutes to work. This allows you to be efficient with the time you are offering yourself and still have some time for cat videos.

For your own mental sanity, set aside time to work and play every day. Have a goal in mind and when that is complete, go reward yourself with doing something you love. Psychologically, a reward system to finishing work provides the great benefits and little residual damage from the labor.

Exercise

Getting the heart pumping can be a great way to relieve stress when college has you down. Going for a run, lifting weights, or dancing for a period of time can help to reset your mind and body to attack the day with relentless optimism. Not to mention it regulates your sleep cycle, metabolism and energy. Would it not be great if you did not have to drink four cups of coffee throughout the day? Exercise may just be the answer you are looking for to obtain more energy for your day.

Meditation

Simply breathing can make a world of difference for your mindset. Meditating every day can provide positive benefits such as an increase in happiness, self-awareness, and concentration. It also decreases stress, anxiety, and aging. “Meditation is mind without agitation,” Narasimhan says. When it comes to stress, we could all use a mind without unnecessary turbulence. Reminding yourself what your purpose is and aligning your values through breathing often can make your motivation unstoppable.

If you do not have time for simple meditation, get credit for it. Most Universities have stress management courses offered in their curriculum. The class is an easy three elective credits and truly does assist you in your college journey. Look for it under the social work category of classes.

GET MORE SLEEP

I know this sounds a little counter-intuitive. Getting less time to do more work? Sleep holds amazing benefits that we have grown to forget. The simple method here is to be more productive, sleep more. When we lack sleep, our quality of work decreases. You may be doing a lot of work but probably not a lot of quality work. There are serious health problems with sleep deprivation such as trouble concentrating, high blood pressure, risk for diabetes, risk of heart disease, weakened immunity, and weight gain. Basically throwing all the benefits of meditation and exercise away because you are not sleeping enough. Take the time needed each night and get a full eight hours (or as close to as you can) of sleep. Tiredness is not a trophy and it is something we should not be striving for.

Do Something Creative

This one is easy. Every person has their form of art be it painting, drawing, playing an instrument, cooking, or underwater basket weaving. Setting time aside every day to mastering your craft is a fun way to relieve stress and increase overall well-being. According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, engaging in just one creative activity each day can make you more likely to feel “energetic, enthusiastic, [and] excited.” It goes on to say, “Overall, these findings support the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning.” There you go, science has now supported the idea of creating art for clear benefits. Get working and create something beautiful.

College is an adventurous odyssey filled with self-discovery and a metric ton of ramen noodles. It is a lot of seemingly unnecessary work and stress but it is all worth it in the end. Hopefully with these simple methods of stress management, college will be more of a positive experience.

How to Reduce Stress Throughout Your Day

Reduce Stress

When you’re trying to manage all of your summer responsibilities – whether it’s an internship,  a summer job, or simply finding time to cross things off your bucket list – it’s easy to become stressed. Stress can put a damper on any day, even the sunniest of them. Here are a few easy tips to keep your stress level under control and make the most of your summer.

Prepare for Your Day the Night Before

This seems like such an easy task, but most people over look it. Even if it’s just a few minutes before you go to bed, it’s important to plan for your upcoming day. Think about any appointments or activities you have scheduled, and then visualize how your day will go. What’s in your planner for the morning? When do you have free time? If your day is packed, would rescheduling a small task be beneficial? These are all important questions to ask yourself to ensure your day goes smoothly, ultimately helping you reduce stress.

Work on One Thing at a Time

There is nothing more stressful than looking at your To-Do List and feeling like its endless. Prioritize your most important tasks, putting them at the top of your list, and take on one thing at a time. This will ensure you utilize your efforts on the most critical assignments – instead of lackadaisically doing multiple things at once. When you finally check something off your to-do list, the weight will slowly lift off of your shoulders.

Utilize Journaling to Reduce Stress

Instead of letting your thoughts swim around in your head, try writing them down. It’s easy to compartmentalize your thoughts when you can physically see them. There are several ways to journal, and the best part about journaling is there are no rules – you can make your journal whatever you’d like. It can be full of poems which were cluttering your brain, short stories you thought of during the day, or a simple Bullet Journal to help plan out your days. It’s your journal, so everything is acceptable!

Take a Short Break Every Few Hours

When you’re stuck on a project or task, the best thing to do is walk away from it. This simple action is vital to helping reduce stress. The next time a homework assignment is giving you a headache, or you can’t think of the perfect thing to say for that work presentation – take a break. Go for a short walk, read a few pages of your favorite book, or go grab a quick snack and cup of coffee. It’s always important to give your mind a break a few times each day. The more you try to force the ideas – the more your brain can jam up. Take a break, let your brain breath and ideas will come flowing in.

Stress can become very overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure how to properly deal with it. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, even if it’s over something small, try some of these tips to relax.