Stressed? Here are 5 Ways to Feel Better in 5 Minutes

School, work, relationships, bills, everyday life events, and long to-do lists. Things that can make us feel stressed and overwhelmed throughout our day.

Our stress is at an all-time high, not to mention we are still in the middle of a global pandemic while reacclimating to normal life. It’s important to take care of your mental health.

Here are 5 easy tips you can take to help with your stress and bring some calm back into your life:

  • Focus on your breathing
    According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) taking deep breaths is important for working your flight-or-fight response.
    • Set a timer for two minutes
    • Take a deep breath through your nose while counting to four
    • Hold your breath seven seconds
    • Exhale for eight seconds
    • Repeat the process for the whole two minutes

Photo Credit: Sage Friedman
  • Take a break from your phone
    Constantly checking your phone for and scrolling social media can overwhelm you. Unplugging for at least an hour a day to do some deep breathing, exercising, coloring or another activity can help you in reducing stress.

    Just because you are taking a break from your phone, does not give you permission to hop on social media via your laptop or turning on the news. Take a complete break from the screen.

    Also, to help with managing notifications on your phone, check out my article on focus mode from iOS 15. 

Photo Credit: Yahdi Romelo
  • Go outside for a walk
    Getting fresh air is important. According to the American Heart Association, “Nature presents scenes that gently capture your attention instead of suddenly snatching it, calming your nerves instead of dazzling them.”

    So go for a walk around the neighborhood with your favorite playlist on or you can go on a walk without your playlist and enjoy the scenes around you, being present and aware of everything around you. From the birds chirping to the sound of the tree branches moving from the wind.

    Moving your body is important during times of stress because you are keeping the tension in by sitting there feeling stressed.
  • Connect
    Connecting with people you trust is important to discuss your concerns and how you’re feeling. This could be your friends, family, or even a therapist. SDSU offers an option where you can connect with a therapist, more information on that can be found here.

Photo Credit: ​​Friends by Helena Lopes
  • Make time to unwind
    At the end of a busy workday, be sure to take 60 minutes for yourself to unwind at the end of the night. This could include journaling, coloring, watching an episode of your favorite tv show to laugh at, or reading a book. When you make time for yourself, your body will respond accordingly.

Photo Credit: Jess Bailey on Unsplash

A friendly reminder to also be sure to eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of sleep (7-8 hours) each night.

Written By: Mike Stark | @MikeStarkCA

What You Should Know About COVID-19

With high concern and hysteria filling our news feeds, it is important to address the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease, 2019).

In regard to, San Diego State University all university study abroad programs to China, South Korea, and Italy have been cancelled. Since there are confirmed cases in San Diego, certain institutions have decided to do virtual classes as an extra precaution. On March 12th, 2020 the entire student body received word that classes will be shifting online after March 13th, 2020. More information is provided here regarding SDSU.

COVID-19 Myths

Since this virus seemed to take a racial turn, I just wanted to address that a virus cannot infect a particular race or ethnicity. Infections and diseases are essentially a great equalizer because anyone can get them. Also, I am not sure if this was a joke, but coronavirus has nothing to do with corona beer.

The Science Behind It

Coronavirus is a disease that came from an animal source. Check out this video to get more of an explanation of the transmission. This new coronavirus is different strand that is my lethal. Since this virus is different, research is currently being done. Currently, we are in a period of uncertainty which is mostly causing this hysteria. COVID-19 is easily transmittable as it is a respiratory illness, and the illness is transferred by respiratory droplets.

The symptoms for COVID-19 may be fever, cough, and shortness of breath (CDC, 2020). Those symptoms may occur 2 – 14 days after exposure, however, if you feel that you have been exposed it is important to call before you go to warn your medical provider and make sure they have the proper tests for COVID-19.

Moving on, these groups are at high risk if exposed to the virus: older adults, individuals with chronic diseases and compromised immune systems.

Ways to Stay Safe

Here are a few ways to help prevent the spread, according to the CDC (2020):

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces

Finally, some takeaways are 1) stop being racist, because viruses can not target one race or ethnicity. 2) this coronavirus strand is new so stay up to date with information. 3) Take precautions and for the love of all that is good cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve not just your hands.

Taken from @courtneyahndesign

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, February 13). Coronavirus. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html

Written by: Jasmine Alexander

In the Pink: Breaking Up with my GPA

Graduating with high GPA

I’m breaking up with my GPA.

And let me be clear, I am not breaking up with a 1.4 GPA in pursuit of a higher grade point average. The sentiment is quite the opposite. This 3.75 that I’ve spent the last 5 years raising and maintaining is no longer serving me, so I’m letting it go.

I’ve been in college for much longer than I could have ever guessed. For some context, I was raised with the assumption that I was going to graduate from high school, get a bachelor’s degree in four tough, but rewarding years, and then dive into the workforce with the grace of an Olympian. I graduated high school and that’s where my expectations end.

I immediately began attending a four-year university after high school. And despite being the first in my family to move out in pursuit of an education, I didn’t think twice about it. I soon learned, however, that at 18, I was too young, inexperienced and insecure to live away from my family. After bouncing around community colleges, I found the perfect one, switched majors at least six times, and then I finally transferred to San Diego State University.

During those confusing, sometimes paralyzing, but mostly busy years in community college, my GPA probably fluctuated as much as my weight. I would fall into bouts of depression, eat entire boxes of pizza to myself, wear the same clothes for days, skip weeks of classes at a time and fail exams. Listen, I’m an “A” student. It’s not a humble brag or a point of pride. It’s just true. When I’m not in the middle of a crippling depressive episode, I pass my classes with flying colors and get all As. So when I started collecting Cs and Fs, it was a nightmare. I just kept thinking I need to get better so I can fix my grades. I need to undo this damage.

When I was mentally healthy again, I worked my tailbone off to raise my GPA by taking as many units as I could and throwing myself into my school work while simultaneously working for the school paper, radio station or theater department. I came to learn that while it was comically easy for my GPA to fall, hoisting it back up to its shiny glory required an unfair amount of effort. I needed to ace like three or four classes to balance out one bad grade.

I went into the ring with my low GPA, touched gloves and upon hearing the bells, fought. And hard. I was bloodied, exhausted and covered in bruises throughout the entire process, but I came out on top. My GPA was rising. As an outsider looking in, doesn’t that sound honorable? I stayed up late, woke up early and dedicated every hour of every day to school. I was the epitome of a good student. I had been before, from kindergarten through high school and I’d finally found my way back. It’s inspiring, right?

That’s where I’m not so sure anymore.

I got good grades and a GPA worthy of acceptance offers from all the universities I applied to. But I never got to see my family.

I lived with them, yet never saw them or spent time with them for almost two years because I spent about 12 hours at school every day; I had more mental breakdowns than I can count on my fingers. I would sob during the nights, overwhelmed by the amount of responsibilities I had. Ask my boyfriend how many times I screamed at him the night before an exam, just sobbing that I needed to get a good grade while losing my mind. The stress was like a bubbling tea kettle that would scream every few weeks and I would lash out on those closest to me because I genuinely thought it was the end of the world if I got a B; I even began flirting with suicidal inclinations. Fortunately, I never got to the point where I considered it thoroughly. But nearly every time I drove away from school at 9 p.m. after being there all day for class and running the radio station or rehearsing for a play, I would stare at the freeway’s center divider and fantasize about swerving into it. It’s sick. I was sick. But I kept thinking No one can be mad at me for not completing my responsibilities if I’m dead.

I was so very miserable, I was crying almost every night. Although I wish I was writing this in retrospect, I’m still in school, still taking on more than I can chew, still desperate to keep raising my 3.75 GPA to something even higher. Why?? For what?? Nothing logical, if I’m being honest with myself. I just foster an unhealthy obsession with getting good grades because people expect it of me and I want people to be proud. I still cry until I pass out some nights and even though I don’t look at center dividers with the same worrisome notion as before, I often find myself wishing I could disappear.

The craziest part is, the lowest my GPA ever got was a 3.3. Yes, I went through all that because my GPA “tanked” to a 3.3. I have a warped perception of what a crisis is. Clearly, since I was more worried about a B than the fact that I wanted to crash on the freeway.

So I’m breaking up with my holy GPA.

I’m going to do my assignments, I’m going to study and I’m going to try really hard, but friends, believe me when I say, I am not going to try my best. It’s controversial and counter intuitive. Why am I paying tuition if I’m not willing to give it 100%? I’ve learned that doing my best means neglecting every other part of my life and I’ve tried that for too long. That method gives me amazing grades, praise from professors and fantasies of dying. No more, I can’t take it; I’m done with that. Instead, I’m going to search for balance and a middle ground.

I’m well aware that my GPA might lower. Good. It’s not worth the price. And maybe, just maybe, my happiness might rise in exchange.

Written by: Monica Vigil
Seeing as to how it is officially Spring Break for San Diego State University, and therefore, KCR, we will be taking a week off to allow our staff to rest and recharge. Rest assured, your regularly scheduled content will resume again the following Monday!

In the Pink: What I’ve Learned From Writing Love Letters

Love letters

Love letters have allowed me to grow my heart, and feel comforted during those times where I feel I have no one else to do so.

A number of weeks ago, I went into Marshalls with a friend and ended up spending money I didn’t have. What else is new, amirightttttt? I used $7 to be exact and ended up subtracting it from my allotted gas money. Wow, you might be thinking. 7 dollars is like two entire gallons of gas and then some if you go to Arco or a similarly cheap station. You must’ve purchased something awesome to be wasting gas money so frivolously.

Yeah! I bought paper.

Specifically, I purchased a bundle of colorful and declarative greeting cards with uplifting and inspiring statements printed on the front sides. They trumpet things like “Your smile lights up the room” and “The world is better with you in it.” At this point, you might now be thinking Giiiiiiiirl, how on earth is that a good purchase? You literally have paper at home and pens and a perfectly functional right hand that could’ve written out those phrases for free.You’re also right.

But here’s the thing, you fiscally responsible creature; I’m writing love letters.

And I need wonderful paper to match.

For the past few months, I have been mailing handwritten letters to my family and friends back home. I moved to San Diego at the end of the summer and am now living the furthest away from my loved ones than I ever have. It’s really only about 100 or so miles, which isn’t a lot to those students who come from the other end of the country or world. I have always been very close to my family and friends, though. We congregate for every holiday, celebrate every birthdays and recognize every little accomplishment with a big dinner out. We have always found excuses to enjoy each other’s company and suddenly, I am not showing up at my sisters’ school functions, or my uncle’s parties and it breaks my heart.

I’ve spent many tearful nights missing my family, and there’s been plenty of times where I’ve come close to packing it all up and leaving this new school without a degree, just so I can be back at home.

I miss being surrounded by people who I love and people who love me.

That’s something I’ve found that no one really talks about when discussing the transition to living at a school away from your friends and family. I went from being surrounded by an unconditional support group to now living among people who honestly don’t care about me. And why would they? They don’t know me. My parents, on the other hand, have adored me since I was a crying alien-looking thing fresh out of the vagina and have loved me every second since. They will love me even when they read that I’ve written the phrase “fresh out of the vagina” which is not how they raised me to speak. Yet, I’m betting they will tell me how proud they are of this post anyhow. I will never find that sort of love anywhere else.

Despite the brutal loneliness that has sucker-punched me in the goddamn face, I can’t quit school. I don’t want to. I’m learning so much and have a hell of a lot more growing to do. But I discovered almost immediately after I moved here that I needed to find a substitute for all that love and affection I’ve become accustomed to. It was taking a serious toll on my mental health to go from a situation of ever-present love to one of indifference and apathy. It’s like The Lumineers sing in that one song: “The opposite of love’s indifference.” I agree, Wesley Shultz, I totally and wholeheartedly agree.

I was in need of some coping tools. And ASAP. Enter love letters.

It took a very long time, but I have discovered that a hand-written love letter is the best conduit of magic. When I began writing said letters, I was skeptical. It felt archaic and a little pretentious. I kept going, though. And after some time, I started to gain some mega spiritual benefits. It’s been so therapeutic and cathartic. I buy the nicest paper, use my very best pens and fold the letters lovingly into crisp envelopes stamped with gorgeous stamps. It’s ceremonial from beginning to end. In these letters, I confess my love to my parents, siblings and friends. I’ve written notes for my cousins and grandparents. Hell, I’ll confess my love to you, too, if you send me your address.

For me, the happiness is in the process. I have shifted my mindset from victim to fortune’s favorite. Instead of focusing on lack, I acknowledge the surplus of love that exists in my life. My goal was once to not feel so far away, but now it’s about expressing my gratitude and affection. It’s nice to tell people I love them. I don’t know what it’s like for them on the other end, but I imagine it’s also nice to hear that you’re loved. I don’t try to create poetry or worry about whether the string of words I’ve chosen fully encapsulate the tenderness in my heart. I just write. I write until my hand cramps and my vision blurs.

I’m happier for it. I don’t feel so victimized by my loneliness. I feel grateful and joyous and alive. So when you think about it, isn’t 7 dollars worth of gas a small price to pay?

Written by: Monica Vigil