A Way to Manage Your Stress Through SMC's Counselors

Who's a perfectionist at heart?

To those of us who feel that loose ends are unacceptable, there is hope for the anxiousness we may feel after relying too much on perfection.

Having children, taking 13 units at Santa Monica College and seeing to one's family make it difficult to expect perfection in any household.

Actually, there is a difference between wanting to do the best and over-exerting yourself beyond your control.

Techniques demonstrating how to reduce stress were illustrated during the activity hour at 11:15 a.m. to noon at the Clocktower on Thursday of last week by Elizabeth Meija.

She is the Welcome Center counselor for new and continuing students.There was a low turnout for a campus of 30,000 students who stress over parking on a day-to-day basis.

SMC students stress out the most about traffic, health, the cost of living, tuition and in addition to these key stressors many others were discussed by more personal examples of the participants.

"When it is time to take an exam, I stress a lot," said Ying-Chi Wu, an international student from Taiwan. Wu carries 12 units every consecutive semester for 12 months.

With international students held to such strict regulation regarding academic progress, it's no wonder Wu is close to graduating in less than a year.

When exams seem to be a challenge, first breathe, Meija suggested. It will do you no good to hyperventilate behind an exam. If you know the material, you should do fine.

Some of the signs of stress have symptoms such as fatigue, bad mood, and headache, according to Meija.

Two of the most popular, but rather unhealthy "poor" habits that surface as a result of stress are smoking and eating.

Trying to adapt to these habits may only increase stress.

"You must learn to monitor you stress through identity of your stress. Identify how you react to stress," said Meija.

One way to monitor is to note the change in your tone of voice. Reactions from stress are physical, including headaches. Psychologically, stress manifests in bad moods and even depression and behavioral changes and poor habits.

To be successful at controlling stressors, you need to be willing to understand yourself.

"I found it hard to manage time and school," said Maribel Nlabnez, resident of Venice who is attending SMC for the first time. Out of 30,000 SMC students, many are parents and although Nlabnez is not a parent, she often has the responsibility of caring for her younger brother.

Students can sympathize with Nlabnez, because children can become overwhelming. Santa Monica counseling provides time managing calendars for students at no cost.

Prioritize necessities for the day and do them, she suggested. Do not do more than you can. This is really important.

Be flexible to get things done, and delegate responsibilities.

And for those of you with any kind of "difficult" lifestyle, knowing that it does not take a $110 massage to relax and just setting aside quiet uninterrupted time to relax will be the best remedy.

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