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7 Effective Ways To Manage College Stress
Stress is everywhere these days and in large abundance on college campuses. Fortunately, there are many things you can do on your own without medical support to reduce your stress levels, and most don’t cost anything. Here are seven ways that have been shown to help students minimize or manage college-related stress.
Take a Break
When you notice that pressure is starting to build due to pending deadlines or a difficult assignment, take a timeout. Do something unrelated to your studies for a temporary mental escape. Choose an activity that you enjoy or find relaxing, such as working a crossword puzzle or taking some smartphone pictures of nearby nature scenes. Disconnecting from the source of your stress for even an hour or two helps to reduce anxiety.
Listen to Music
Music has been shown to calm people’s emotions, and it doesn’t have to be a lullaby. Your favorite musical genre, whether classic or country, can be what it takes to relax you as your mind daydreams about the lyrics or pleasant memories from your past. Use your headphones or play favorites through the TV or computer for a delightful sense of relief and pleasure.
Get Some Exercise
Many studies report that regular exercise, even as little as twenty minutes at a time several days per week, can help the body to physically calm down while simultaneously soothing the mind. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins along with the stress hormone cortisol, which, over time, will be reduced to affect you less. Sustained physical activity also supports the immune system to protect you from illness.
Surprisingly, eating junk food can make you feel worse, physically and mentally. You may also experience guilt for eating poorly and possibly getting out of shape, which can increase your stress levels. Make nutritious food choices for each meal, including fruits, vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. The more “plant food” you eat, the better, unless your doctor advises differently. You will soon feel better and experience less stress by feeding your body what it needs to feel good.
Catch Up on Sleep
Students are widely believed to be short on sleep for several reasons, including cramming for tests or preparing last-minute assignments to meet a due-date. Social activities may play a role as well. Aim for seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night with electronic devices turned off. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool to get your best rest.
Stay in Touch
Stay connected to family and friends at home as well as new connections on campus. Recreation and leisure activities are an important part of campus life, and if you focus only on your studies, you may go through burnout and possibly depression. Get in touch by social media, phone calls, texts, and video chats. Conversations with people we care about and who care for us helps to reduce anxiety and stress.
Put Things in Perspective
If you start to feel overwhelmed, strive for balance. Remember the famous saying, “This too shall pass.” Life is a series of seasons that change with the passing of years. As a college student you will often be busy, and you will also have fun through many new experiences. As the British Royal Family is known to say, “Stay calm and carry on.”
College is a unique time in life with many changes, and change can be stressful. Make time for all the valued activities and people in your life rather than focusing solely on your studies. Find joy in each day and know that your effort now will eventually lead to a successful career.
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