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Jessica Ryan

Many of us tend to end up in super high-stress situations. We often expect a lot from ourselves.

We want good grades, so we lose sleep studying. With graduation looming, we spend hours and hours combing job listings and updating our LinkedIn profiles. We pore over code, desperately searching for that one misplaced quotation mark. And nerds can put a lot of pressure on each other — between guild struggles, fandom drama and (ugh) group projects, stress is ever-present in our lives.

A small amount of stress can help us be productive — take it from me, the eternal procrastinator. But too much stress is dangerous, as it can damage relationships, make you physically ill and — the worst — break your spirit.

With midterms in full swing, stress levels are probably sky-high. Self-care is absolutely necessary when dealing with stress. Taking the time to treat yo’self can help limit the negative effects of stress. Allow yourself to channel stress into something more productive.

One of the best self-care methods is to have your own back. Taking the time to cook a good, healthy meal and fix a nice drink can help you feel nourished, refreshed and ready to take on tomorrow. A warm bath — with candles and bubbles, obvs — always helps. Or head to the Rec and take a yoga class or swim some laps.

As many of us learned from Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”

They just don’t.

You can also take care of yourself by helping out your mind. Make use of campus resources, like CAPS — the counselors are awesome people to talk to, and they even have workshops dedicated specifically to helping stress levels.

Set aside time every day to learn a new skill, like crocheting, baking or Ruby on Rails. Seeing yourself get closer to achieving a small goal will help those bigger goals seem a bit easier. Take care of your mind, and then take care of business.

But you know, everyone deals with stress differently. Sometimes you just need a big ol’ piece of cake to feel better. Sometimes all you can do is binge-watch “Parks and Rec” and ignore problems. Sometimes the last thing you want is to talk to someone about what’s stressing you out. And that’s OK! The whole point of self-care is to do what works for you, not what works for everyone else.

So stress less, and look out for yourself. You got this.

Jessica Ryan is a community manager and CU grad. She writes about nerdy things once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @JessicaLRyan.

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