Stress-Free Living

Hanson Qin is a senior from Sichuan, China. He can be reached at

It’s that time of the year when even the slackest of slackers suddenly realize that classes have started. Oh My God, where did all this work come from? Yep, that time has begun, and professors are merciless in their attempts to pin us down with more work. What annoys me most is when a professor from a meaningless elective course treats his course as if it were the only most important course for everybody in the class. It’s an elective, Professor!

Regardless of the circumstances, the stress is only to increase until the semester’s end. Being accepted to UNC means that we are academically gifted in one way or another (hopefully), so how can we balance the priority to excel in classes while staying mentally and physically healthy? Well, my four years of dealing with college stress has taught me the most effective ways of relieving it.

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1. Listen to your favorite music

Music is nourishment for the soul. People even say that playing peaceful, calming music around pregnant women is healthy for the babies. This makes perfect sense. Think about the music that makes you cry, laugh, hopeful or even reminiscent of a past life. We all have music that inspires us to feel certain ways. I definitely have entire lists of heartbreak songs that got me through some of my past breakups. So turn on your iTunes and play your favorite feel-good jams. Do this during study breaks, and you will have more motivation to work. Whether it’s some Adele, Beyonce or Britney, play what makes you happy. Nothing is more effective in ridding stress than a good mood!

2. Talk to your friends

I used to think I was the most complicated person in the world and that only I could understand myself. After coming to college and going through some of the most dramatic situations of my life, I realize that my best friends have always been the ones to lift me up when I fall to the bottom. Especially when I am stuck and don’t know which direction to continue in life, my friends are the ones who show me the light. That’s what your best friends are for. Call them up, talk about your problems, laugh about it. Your stress will go away knowing that you have a support system to fall back on.

3. Exercise and talk a walk

Studies have shown that exercise releases endorphins, chemicals that make us feel relaxed and happy. Our bodies also release a lot of toxins during the sweating process, especially toxins that are present in the horrible foods we eat. I know, I know, times are getting stressful and there’s hardly any time to go to the gym, but it really doesn’t take that long. Just twice a week, go for a run. You’ll feel better about yourself and your body. If exercise isn’t your thing, then a simple walk in the evening is more than enough to relax your mind.

4. Sleep

It frustrates me how our culture does not stress this nearly as much it should. Sleep is so important for our physical and mental health. It is during sleep that our body replenishes itself, especially the skin. All y’all wanting to get rid of wrinkles should start with a full eight hours each night! Seriously, sleep on a regular schedule. There is nothing worse than waking up feeling more exhausted than the night before.