These days, everyone is stressed and anxious about something, but especially in college! With all of the exams, papers, tests, and pressure for graduating, it’s not wonder anxiety has emerged as the most prevalent mental health problem across the globe since 2008 (Pearson 13).
If you’re a student and you feel like your stress levels are spiraling out of control, take a tip from College Cures and take a second to breathe!
#1: Stay Organized
One of the main reasons students often find themselves stressed out is due to a lack of organization.
You wait until the last minute to start that paper, study for your midterms or schedule your classes for the next term. Don’t let this happen! Take control of stress by keeping yourself organized in all aspects of your life.
Create a Schedule
Gather all of your class syllabi and put together a calendar with all of your upcoming assignments, exams, papers, etc. and pin it up on the wall next to your computer so you cannot avoid it’s looming stare.
By being AWARE of the things you need to get done, you won’t feel as surprised or stressed when they are due.
#2: Plan Ahead
Another reason you may be causing yourself stress is the fact that you make a schedule, but you refuse to keep up with it!
Pick a Time
Make a time in your schedule for going to the library. Whether you go once a day or once a week, you need to set aside time to complete tasks and stay on top of your assignments.
If you have an exam on a Friday, make sure to start scheduling in an hour or two of study time at least a week in advance. This way, you won’t feel as overwhelmed the night before the exam and you may actually get a decent sleep.
Working out is a great way to de-stess. My favorite way to relieve tension and get rid of built up energy is RUNNING. So turn up your iPod, get out on the track or road and start running!
As someone who stresses out easily (and quite often), I can tell you there is nothing better than going for a long run and letting go of all the things that have been causing me stress.
Keep track of all the exercises you do each day so you can assess at the end of the week which workout plan helped you to de-stress the most.
Clear Your Mind
Once you get started running (or whatever exercise you choose), you will begin to forget your problems and start focusing on your workout.
If you are exercising with free weights, try counting during each set of reps. If you are taking an exercise class, focus on the music and the energy in the room. If you are stuck on a stationary machine, grab a book or magazine and get your mind off the problems of the week.
#4: Stay Healthy
There is nothing worse than being so stressed that you end up getting sick; now the exam you have been stressing over is going to be 10x worse.
Eat a balanced diet with a lot of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. These things are important because your body needs them to FIGHT off infection. By taking preventative measures, you are adding an extra wall of defenses around your body so that you can be on your A-game during an exam.
This is a great tip for people who don’t have time to hit the gym, but still want to relax.
Go onto YouTube and search “guided mediation” and try out a few of the videos. It may seem funny at first to hear a voice telling you to relax, but it can actually be very soothing and relaxing if you let go and allow yourself to go into a meditative state. (I just listened to this one, it isn’t bad).
Find a comfortable place in your dorm room, like a bed, couch, or place where you can lie down. I personally like to download the track onto my iPod, put in my ear buds, and head into a state of relaxation.
You may want to try meditation before going to bed because it may make you very sleepy. I have found that my best night sleeps occur when I fall asleep while listening to a meditation track. I awake feeling clear, rested and ready for the day ahead!
#6: Make Time For Yourself!
Instead of focusing solely on studying, break up your day with one of the aforementioned stress management techniques, or use some of your own.
Creating quiet time for yourself will allow your mind and body to recoup and you will be better prepared for the challenges that lay ahead.
Pop in a DVD or one of your favorite television series and veg out for a while. Pick up some groceries and cook yourself a delicious dinner. Call up some friends and head to campus to get an ice cream or some other treat (Paige Moore specialty). Don’t forget that just because you are busy doesn’t mean you should forget about your own wants/needs!
#7: Quit Beating Yourself Up!
If you tend to beat yourself up for not accomplishing goals you set for yourself or you don’t do as well on a test as you had expected, let go and move on!
Instead of focusing on all the negatives surrounding your stressful situation, start thinking about the positives in order to change the outcome in the future.
If you got a bad grade on an exam, give yourself an evaluation of what it is that led to the poor score and vow to change for the next exam.
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Maybe you didn’t schedule in enough study time, skipped too many classes or focused on the wrong material; next time you will study more, go to class more often, and talk to the professor/other students about exam content.