Crude Health


As students drag themselves back to school, Luke Dillon explains why stressing out this year will hurt you worse than a Freshers Week hangover.

And we’re back. Holidays finished, now its business time again. Yet returning can be stressful. It’s important to not get swept away in the tidal wave of new beginnings.

Accommodation worries, scant money supplies, constant parties, new roomies, fat books, a job in Spar, bank loans, study, sport, friends, enemies old and new, and of course, that “unique” Soviet architecture that graces our main boulevard in Belfield. All of this takes its toll on your your well-being. To avoid this house of cards coming down around you, get selfish about taking care of number one.

One of the things that we do not realise is that big changes sometimes contributes greatly to our stress levels. Try to minimise your life-altering factors, the body loves regularity. If you’ve been going out twice a week during the summer, do not stop straight away just because you are back in college.
That said do not go the other way. A week-long-alcohol-fuelled bender will leave you running after your yearly ambitions like a three-year-old chasing a ping-pong ball.

What other factors need to be considered to help students stay healthy in UCD this year and minimise stress? In with a crowded social and work calender sticking to regualar sleeping and eating patterns is key.
Bruce Wayne, the Dark Knight, gets a full eight hours- it is just he sleeps during the day. Humans naturally operate on a 24-hour cycle, a Circadian rhythm is a day in our body’s physiological and behavioural life.

Our bodies produce different enzymes in anticipation of eating, waking, sleeping and even drinking. This is why a glass of red wine a day for a week is good for your digestion, but seven glasses only on Saturday night does not have the same effect! Skipping breakfast is one of the most frequent and worst of college habits. It actually contributes to weight gain. You might feel like you are making up for it by munching loads at lunch but despite what some lads say a triple-decker-sandwhich-a-day does not keep the doctor away.

Missing breakfast also leaves you tired during the mornings which is apparently a student’s most productive time of the day. A steady diet will help you avoid Marlon Brando style ballooning. See the much adored food pyramid for details.

Alcohol can aid relaxion when used in moderation but when taken in excess it contribute to stress, especially the morning-after when the many well-known hangover effects take hold.

If you’ve been going out twice a week during the summer, do not stop straight away just because you are back in college

Alcohol’s natural diuretic effect plays a large part in this. The headache is caused by your dehydrated brain shrinking away from your skull. Adequate rehydration can prevent this. Drinking as much water as beer is a rough guide!

You can offset tension by taking moderate regular exercise, this is undoubtedly a well-known fact. If you don’t play a sport take one up or try a thirty minute jog daily. A lot of discipline is required for self directed exercise. Joining a club or society acts as a motivator for those who are less disciplined.

Signing up in the Sports Hall can be an daunting prospect, and not just for freshers, yet finding the right club for you will help you stay motivated. Many studies show that regular (safe) sex also relieves stress and tenison. True as this may be it should not be taken as a substitute for exercise in your daily life.

In trying to create a stress-free college life for yourself, environmental psycholoists recommend a zen-like-den to retreat to after a hard day’s work/sitting drinking coffee in the Arts Café.

Your bedroom is your temple and should be an uncluttered sanctuary for your sanity. Creature comforts are a must and if possible do not study in your room. Studies have shown that you should avoid studying where you will be sleeping. Your bedroom is for relaxing.

Eighty percent of dust is human skin so clean your patch asap. If you live on campus there is probably little you can do about the communal kitchen/living/warzone area of your place. A cleaning rota will inevitably be put up at some point, try to keep a straight face.

Studying does not appear to be the most pressing of concerns at this time of year unless you are in or near your final year. It is about finding a workable routine and not making too many sacrifices in other parts of your life.