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Thread: Coping with stress

  1. #1

    Default Coping with stress


    If this should be in the "off topic" forum then please feel free to move it, mods. Wasn't sure whether it was here or there :P

    Lately I have been under a lot of stress from coursework piling up on me at uni, exams coming in a fortnight, revision problems, a high caffeine intake and some personal problems in my private life that just won't go away.

    What I am looking for is for anyone to give me some advice on how to cope with the stress without having to resort to begging the doctor for diazepam as that's a route that could turn into a train crash!

    I'm trying to cut back on my caffeine intake by switching over to caffeine-free coke and decaf coffee and tea. I've also reduced sugar intake as well and have my cereal without it.

    I am taking sleeping pills, 50mg diphenhydramine HCl at night to knock me out, idk if that's relevant or anything. I also take valerian, hops and passionflower herbal supplement pills as that is a mild sedative (works on GABAA receptors apparently). I'm also on 100mg sertraline daily as well for depression.

    Can anyone suggest dietary changes, other herbal supplements, meditation practices, whatever worked for them so that I can have some idea of where to begin at ousting stress from my life as it's playing old Harry with my productivity levels.

    Many thanks

    ---------- Post added at 19:49 ---------- Previous post was at 19:45 ----------

    ETA: I'm also cutting down on my drinking too! I'll only tipple at the weekends as I'm sure that being rat-bottomed probably doesn't help matters, even if it does feel it at the time!

  2. #2


    Taking supplements without the advice of a doctor is rarely a good idea, especially when you are also taking sleeping pills. Some of those supplements that are out there really should never be allowed to be sold OTC.

    Cut back on your caffeine intake, ween yourself off slowly, but don't cut yourself off cold turkey, for that will only make things more stressful.

    Keep in mind that there are some things in life that you can change, and some things that you can't. Stressing about the coursework and the exams won't make them less stressful, but working on the coursework and studying for the exams and mowing your way through the work the best you can is the best advice I can give you on that - I know that when I was a student, being prepared for exams and having all of my work done does much to rid myself of the stress of having such things hanging over my head.

    I don't know what else to say here, but I am worried about how you are pumping yourself full of potentially harmful supplements (which really should be called "OTC drugs" because that is what they actually are).

  3. #3


    Thanks for the reply, KaworuVsDrWily:

    I'll tell my doctor about the supplements at my next appointment and see what he says about it. He'll hopefully say that they are okay and that there'll be no lasting damage *crosses fingers*.

    I'm working methodically on my coursework and revision, which is hopefully going to be quite the stress-buster when it's all done and dusted. The problem that I have is that the stress is interfering in my concentration levels and motivation, which in turn starts off a vicious circle. I suppose I'll need to break this circle before I can move forwards!

    There are greater regulations on herbal supplements in the UK now and all herbs have to be efficacious (spelling?) and safe (shown by a period of 20 years I think) so I'm hoping that they are relatively safe (they certainly relax me!), but as you say I should probably have checked with my doctor first.

    Cheers for the helpful reply

    ---------- Post added at 20:01 ---------- Previous post was at 19:59 ----------

    My other rant is the state of the notes we were given for the coursework in my management and organisational behaviour class: each week we have 40 pages of text with no actual bullet-points or conclusions on what we were supposed to gain from the class-notes which isn't helping matters as I have no idea what I am supposed to have learnt and how to put it all on paper in 1500 words!

    I have raised this issue, as have other students so it is being looked at by the uni so hopefully something will be done for the other students. The problem is that this is the first year that the course has run online with no teaching input from lecturers.

    Rant over lol

  4. #4


    When I get really stressed out, something I always like to try is just going out and getting fresh air. It's revitalizing. I usually go for a long bike ride, whether it be hard, fast, and uphill, or slow and leisurely, it's the getting out of the house that is fantastic. Also, working out seems to help me too. The endorphins that are released from a good hard workout lift my mood, and then things always seem to flow better. Hope that helps!

  5. #5


    Cool thanks Xelxier, yeah I think a nice long walk/run might do me good Good idea. Thanks.

  6. #6


    Excercise, vegetables and meditation. Sometimes the cliches work.

    People weren't built to sit behind desks, eat processed foods and be bombarded with people and information all the time, so you need to balance that out a little.

  7. #7



    I am assuming you are british, use of the term "uni." Or at least within the commonwealth countries. Your post describes a person who is so worried about university, that this person has forgotten how wonderful life can be. In my experience, I have been in a stressful program at college related to medicine and failed. I thought my life was over. Then my friends and family reminded me of who I was and what I was capable of. Bless them! I returned to college in a different program more suited to my interests and have not turned back. It may sound cliche, but Katy Perry's firework song has a point. Certain doors may close to you, only to give you the perfect door to open. Life is a journey, do enjoy the ride and learn and become a better and stronger person through it all.

    You are unique and can not be replaced.

    Take care,


  8. #8


    Er... diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and sertraline (Zoloft) can actually interact with each other negatively. A safer supplement to use is melatonin, which is actually a natural hormone in your body. Melatonin is produced in reaction to darkness to regulate your natural sleep cycle, so having a few hours of darkness before bedtime helps you produce this chemical and helps you sleep better. Better sleep = less stress & less need for caffeine. I was on Prozac for a while (also an SSRI) and my psychiatrist told me that people with low amounts of serotonin usually also have low amounts of melatonin, which is why insomnia and anxiety or depression are usually linked. (And those two chemicals are related.)

    That all said, you can usually buy melatonin at your local supermarket or pharmacy OTC. It won't knock you out, but it will gently urge you into a good sleep cycle. You can ask a pharmacist for more information. They are the gods of drug info, after all.

    As for dietary and exercise suggestions... Find foods that are high in tryptophan for dinner (turkey is a damned winner) and eat a good amount of whole grains. Carbohydrates and serotonin are linked, which explains why people crave carbs when they go off of an SSRI. And if you're going to eat carbs, they should be GOOD, whole carbs to prevent huge insulin spikes, which can make you feel like crap. And, hey, yoga's always good. Hell, any exercise is good. It increases all those endorphins in your brain and helps you feel good, especially if it's something you enjoy.

    OH! And it's good that you're cutting back on the drinking. Anti-depressants and alcohol don't usually go together too well.

    Hope I helped some. (But, please, talk to your doctor/pharmacist. They probably know a lot more than a little nursing student does.)

  9. #9


    Healthy eating is my big tip, it makes you feel a lot better. Cooking for yourself (if you know how) is a great way to break up your essay guilt sessions as well!

  10. #10


    My main is to organize your work. Depending on how many classes you have you should be able to cut your work into portions. If you have an agenda, use it to see when your work is due and do a little bit of work everyday. On a good ratio, you should be able to give enough time to your homework and study sessions. Try some vitamin bars, they're a quick and healthy way to start your day.

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