Use the “four Rs” to manage end-of-the-semester stress


By Allison LaBrie, Contributor

Everyone has to deal with stress. It’s just a part of life.

“Stress is a human experience,” said Nicole Naatz, licensed mental health practitioner.

College is a time of transition and constant change. Stress is a reaction to demands made on us in day-to-day life, which could be positive or negative, such as a new dating relationship or the loss of a job.

“I constantly have homework or work or something else to deal with,” said Krisann Krajewski, UNO sophomore. “Just when I think I’m caught up, something else gets piled on. It’s exhausting.”

Stress can affect every part of you, mind, body and soul, Naatz said.

Some effects of stress include a faster heartbeat, worry or anxiety, nightmares, the inability to concentrate or make decisions, increased boredom and fatigue and more, according to

“I always get sick when I’m stressed out,” Krajewski said. “That’s when I know I need to take a step back and relax.”

Stress can be dealt with in many ways. The Counseling Center provides many tools to helps students deal with stress, one such strategy is using the “four Rs.” First, rethink the situation. Figure out what is causing your stress. The three major causes of stress are inability to deal with change, inability to communicate and inability to set priorities. Once the problem is identified, you can start to rethink. Work on changing your views about yourself and the world around you.

Second, reduce the stressors. Take away the things in your life that are causing your stress.

The third step is to relax. Though it seems like a no brainer, “some people don’t do these things in a time of stress; instead, they get overwhelmed,” Naatz said. One of the simplest ways to relax is by deep breathing. Deep breathing releases tension and helps you to think more clearly.

Finally, release the byproducts of stress. Find a way to get rid of all the remaining effects of stress in your life. Take a walk or listen to music. Do something to help calm you down and de-stress.

One of the best ways to deal with your stress is to make a plan. For college students, completing finals week is one of the most challenging times in every semester.

To combat the stress that comes with finals, make a schedule. This takes some of the stress out of finding time to study for your tests.

“For me, the easiest way to deal with my stress is to go for a run,” Krajewski said. “It helps me calm down.”

Whether stressing over finals or what to have for dinner, you’re not alone.

Everyone deals with stress, Naatz said. If you’re having trouble dealing with it, talk to someone.


Stress management “do’s” and “don’ts”

Finals week and the weeks prior are a stressful time for college students. Some students get overwhelmed and are uncertain about how to manage their stress in a healthy way.

Some unhealthy ways of coping with stress:

  • Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
  • Denial
  • Eating
  • Fault-finding
  • Overindulging
  • Passivity
  • Revenge
  • Stubbornness
  • Isolation

Healthy ways to reduce stress before finals:

  • Schedule study time around commitments
  • Reward yourself
  • Exercise
  • Find time to socialize
  • Eat healthy
  • Create review tools
  • Study checklists
  • Plan and execute a strategy
  • Ask the instructor what to expect
  • Get copies of old exams

UNO Counseling Center
Location: EAB 115
Hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: 402-554-2409

UNO Health Services
Location: HPER 102
Hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: 402-554-2374