We’re well into the semester and many of us have stressful deadlines and looming final projects. If you feel your stress rising with the workload, you’re not alone.

A lot of Cougs feel stressed by their academic load. In 2016, 83 percent of Cougs reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do.

When life gets stressful, it can be tempting to cope by drinking. Since alcohol is a depressant, it can lower anxiety and make you feel relaxed. While this may calm your nerves for a while, the effects are short-lived.

While drinking may make you feel better in the moment, regular drinking and binge drinking can increase stress and anxiety. And long-term, heavy drinking can alter the brain’s chemistry, making you more susceptible to stress.   

While occasionally drinking to relax or socialize with friends can be healthy and normal, regularly drinking to cope with stress can become a dangerous habit. How do you know when your drinking is problematic? Ask yourself:

  • Is drinking the only way you cope with stress?
  • Do you have to drink more to get the same benefits?
  • Do you feel anxious if you are unable to drink?

If you answered yes to these questions, you may want to speak with a health care provider or counselor about your drinking habits.

Drinking doesn’t address the underlying causes of stress. Instead, focus on ways you can reduce your overall stress levels, or increase your resiliency to stress and support your mental health.

Consider trying activities that help you deal with stress successfully, like:

You can learn more about alcohol, stress management, mindfulness and other topics by attending our free workshops listed on CougSync.