Tag Archives: relaxing

Getting a Break from Stress

Allie Gabbard

Allie Gabbard,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 23 February 2020

College can be a stressful place. In fact, college is a very stressful place. If it was easy, it would not be worth the challenge or the added value that comes with it. So how do students handle the stress of classes, homework assignments, lengthy essays, senior capstone, and working part time?! Well, there are many different ways to cope and I have three favorites: cooking, exercising, and taking the time to spend time with friends.

Cooking can be a guilty pleasure in a way because with cooking, there is food to be eaten. And with excess food sometimes comes emotional eating so you have to be aware of what kind of food you lean towards to cook. I actually tend to eat healthier when I am stressed because I choose things to cook that take concentration. Last night for instance I made chili and a few weeks ago I made vegetable soup.

This is simple cooking, but the preparation is tedious as each ingredient needs measured, and all the vegetables need to be diced. For me, focusing on these each individual task, takes my mind off of school. In turn, I have a good meal which helps keep me focused and prevents me from getting sick.

Another form of de-stressing is simply exercising. I love to run on Ohio University’s campus when it is warm outside, especially in the spring when the cherry blossoms bloom!

Running along the bike trail keeps you on a flat surface but puts you on the outside of campus looking in. There is the beautiful scenery of campus on one side and the Hocking River and hillside filled with trees on the other. This is a great view but puts you outside of campus life without really being off campus. If you do not like running, I encourage you to grab a skateboard, roller-skates, or a bicycle and check it out!

As a senior, I also enjoy taking a jog through campus as a lot of things are changing that I do not get to see every day. My freshman and sophomore year I lived on East Green and commuted to West every morning. Now I walk from West Union to West Green and that is about the extent of my adventures unless I take a stroll to Ping.

Practicing Meditation

Lydia Seiter

Lydia Seiter,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 14 February 2019

This semester, I returned from a year away from Ohio University which I spent interning and studying abroad. During that year away, I learned so many things about myself and the world around me, and I have been attempting to incorporate some of those learnings into my daily life here in Athens.

One of these learnings is meditation. While studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I had the remarkable opportunity to participate in a 4-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat at Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, a 700-year old Buddhist temple.

Vipassana, or insight meditation, is the practice of continued close attention to sensation, through which one ultimately sees the true nature of existence. It is believed to be the form of meditation practice taught by the Buddha himself.

The daily schedule was as follows:

  • 5 am: Wake up

  • 5:30 am: Dharma Talk, which was an inspirational speech from our teacher monk

  • 7 am: breakfast

  • 8 am: morning meditation

  • 11 am: lunch

  • 12 pm: afternoon meditation

  • 1:30 pm: meditation report to teacher. I would report on my progress to the teacher monk, and he gave me new challenges and assignments, such as increasing the duration of each meditation session

  • 2 pm: more afternoon meditation

  • 6 pm: evening chanting. This practice involved reading devotions to Buddha in the ancient language of Pali

  • 7 pm: evening meditation

  • 9 pm: bedtime

Along with the strict schedule, there were many rules: wear all white, no speaking, no eating after 12 pm, no use of electronic devices, no reading, no writing, and no yoga or exercise. These rules were in place to limit our distractions and external stimuli, so that we could maximize our mindfulness. The hardest rule to follow was not eating dinner—I got extremely hungry fasting for 19 hours!

Though undertaking this experience seemed daunting to me at first, it was an incredible 4 days. It was surprisingly easy for me to remain silent at all times, because I enjoyed the chance to look inwards in a way I’m not able to in daily life. I enjoyed the practice of walking meditation more than sitting meditation—I found it easier to be mindful and not become distracted in this position.

The silent meditations were absolutely an exercise in self-discipline and endurance of suffering, such as when my legs would get tired or sore from sitting still. But our teacher monk advised us to focus on the suffering or distraction for 3 seconds, and then come back to meditation. I loved this tactic; I wasn’t ignoring the distraction or dwelling on it, I was simply acknowledging it and then letting it drift away.

The best thing about meditation is that it can be done anywhere. I don’t have to be with monks in a temple to focus on my breathing and calm my mind. It can be done in moments between classes, as a study break, a way to start my day in the morning, or a way to relax before I fall asleep. It’s important to make time for the things that make you feel good!

Coping with it All

Andrew Noll

Andrew Noll,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 29 November 2018

School is a stressful time, for everyone, but more so for engineers due to the heavy workload. Stress can take on a lot of forms and create high anxiety, bad moods and an overall poor outlook on things. I think it’s very important to focus on one’s current stress level, what those stressors are, the effects of them, and what they can do to help.

From my college experience with friends and talking with other students, it seems to me people don’t make an effort to address these issues and get stuck in the mindset of “It’s just stress, its unavoidable and I just have to deal with it”. I believe having a more structured process to combatting stress can be beneficial for everyone.

Once you identify the stressors in your life, and its decided they cannot be removed, I like to find things that I love to do. I like to work out, take my dog on hikes, fish, and other activities that take my mind away from the stress for a little while. With our crazy lives it can be hard to find time for these activities.

I believe there is a secondary tier of stress reducers which are those little things you can fit into your life without deviating from your daily tasks. A lot of these things can be done in the shower, walking to class, between classes and on your commute home. These include listening to your favorite music (at the highest volume, in my case), calling a family member or friend for 5 minutes, reading an interesting article, or reminiscing on a successful weekend or a long-lost happy memory. To me, these little things get me through the day, then the week, then the semester.

To go along with this, my one piece of advice is to take 10 minutes out of your day to do absolutely nothing. This time for me is right when I wake up in the morning. I lay down with my dog and do nothing but listen to him breathe, or I stare at the ceiling and think about the good things in my life. We have a lot to be thankful for and we can’t let the toll of stress make us forget that.

Relaxing with Yoga

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 23 March 2017

One of my favorite hobbies is yoga. I have been practicing yoga since my junior year of high school and do not see myself quitting any time soon. I started going to yoga after I had many knee issues from running track in high school. I had to go to physical therapy for my injuries.

As a long term solution, my therapist recommended that I start stretching more often to relieve tension in my knees. After doing yoga for a month straight, I noticed a huge difference in my flexibility and my knee pain was gone! From then on, I have made it a point to stretch every day and do an actual yoga class at least once a week.

Yoga not only has many physical benefits, it has mental benefits as well. When I am overloaded with school work and start to stress out, yoga always helps me calm down. The main thing I love about it is that it can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. No matter what the difficulty, I always feel rejuvenated after.

My favorite type of yoga is Vinyasa, which means “to flow”. It is a series of movements that flow together. I particularly like power vinyasa, especially when the room is hot. Hot yoga helps increase flexibility since it warms the muscles. At first, I thought I would not like being stuck in a hot room doing hard yoga poses, but it is actually incredible. I definitely recommend giving it a try if you want a good workout. I also love gentle yoga. This type is great if I need to destress and get a good stretch in.

Finally, yoga is meant for any age group and is a great go-to work out when traveling. Adding this in even once a week can make a huge impact on balancing out stress levels.