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Coping with stress

| Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Caffeine and work-induced stress levels have been at an all-year high this week (yes, I know we’re in week three of the semester, sue me) and so the telltale signs of my anxiety have been going full throttle.

I’ve always been a little dramatic, so somehow stress seems to follow me wherever I go, often over things that could have been easily avoided and also easily fixed had I put my energy into finding a solution.

Alas, that’s usually not the case. Instead of focusing on productivity, I tend to channel all of my time into other symptoms of stress, conveniently listed for you here:

Symptom one: I compulsively write to-do lists on yellow legal pads, often including extremely productive tasks such as “eat snack” and “take shower.”

Symptom two: I clean everything in my dorm room, which takes a while. On more relaxing days you’ll find heaping piles of laundry piled upon stacks of books and notebooks in the corner behind my desk, with shoes strewn about the floor. For some reason, my roommates have graciously agreed to keep me around.

Symptom three (and perhaps the most prevalent): I bake. Cookies, cupcakes, banana bread, bars, cake balls and pie. You name it, I’ve baked it.

My mom has always told me that the best way to make friends is to show up with food. Well, apparently she was right because I’ve become way more popular in the last few days as I’ve shown up to work, tupperware in tow, hoping to get rid of the fruits of my labor before I move on to symptom four: stress eating everything in sight.

But the thing is, baking gives me a strange sense of satisfaction. Frosting cupcakes and shaking sprinkles onto cookies have become a somewhat bizarre outlet for the days when I’m trembling from too much coffee and not enough food and my eyes have become bleary from staring blankly at my laptop, waiting for sentences to appear in the Word document in front of me.

I suppose my point is, do what works. Life is stressful. School is stressful. I’m a junior, but to all of you freshmen out there, the first month of school is ridiculously stressful. You’re away from home, expected to keep yourself healthy and fed while balancing a difficult course load and at the same time trying to make new friends.

If that’s easy for you, shoot me an email. I’d like to study your ways.

At the end of the day, your health matters way more than your grades. So if you need to back off from studying to bake some cookies, go for a run, read a book or watch Netflix, do it. I can promise you that taking a step back every once in a while will leave you way better off in the long run.

And if you’re in need of some baked goods, let me know. I have lots.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Margaret Hynds

Margaret is a senior Political Science major and the former Editor-in-Chief of The Observer. She hails from Washington, D.C., and is a former Phox of Pangborn Hall. Follow Margaret on Twitter @MargaretHynds

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