As we begin a new semester of college, let’s be real here: college is stressful. There are a lot of great things about it, but it’s also a source of stress for many people. Stress is a natural part of adult life, and in some levels, it can be good for you. But too much stress leads to health problems and not getting stuff done.
Before college heats up, here are some ways to lower your stress.
Many stresses of colleges can be handled by having a plan. Using a planner, app, sticky notes, or whatever else works best for you, you can schedule your agenda for the week, when you should work on work, and how you expect the day to go.
With any schedule, leave some room for changes. Your plans can change. With that said, you also shouldn’t try to be too inconsistent with your schedules. Strike that balance.
Get your work done as soon as possible. You may not like this answer, but so many students put their work off until the night before, then freeze because of all the stress. The best way to handle your work is to do it in increments. For instance, with a college essay, consider writing a bit out every day, then taking some time to edit it.
Setting a calendar or a to-do list may help with this. It’s one of those things that requires some self-discipline.
One toxic part of college that sadly gets romanticized is the sleepless student. Someone who is up all night (usually because they procrastinated!) and has a sleep schedule that’s as irregular as they come. This is not a good habit to have. Sleeping makes it difficult to focus, hard to study, and has a negative impact on your mental health. Plus, it can make you more stressed, anxious, and depressed.
Get sleep. Bottom line. This is something else you may need to organize through a calendar.
Chances are, your college has a gym you can use. Some students may think they need to work out just for their body. You may see tons of freshmen there, trying to prevent that dreaded freshman 15. However, training your body can help train your mind.
Working out can reduce stress and anxiety by allowing you to express your negative emotions by lifting some weights. Besides that, working out improves your mood by releasing feel-good chemicals in your brain.
Oh, and fitness can help you sleep better and give you more energy. All of these are vital in surviving college, so take some time to work out. You don’t need to be a college athlete. Some jogging or lifting a couple dumbbells may help.
Try Relaxation Techniques
Winding down and relaxing when your stress is high can help you take a break from your stresses and return with a fresh mindset. What makes you relax can depend on who you are. Some people may seek the help from a handy stress ball, or look up some meditation videos on YouTube. Mindfulness and meditation are two ways to help, teaching you to live in the present and not worry about the future. Stressing about your future can have a negative impact on your performance.
Don’t Resort to Drugs or Alcohol
We hate to be the Debbie Downer here, but drinking your problems away, contrary to college lore, isn’t the solution. At best, it’s a distraction from your problems and can delay progress. At worst, it can end up making you fail college and lead to some serious health effects. If you’re of drinking age, having the occasional beer or going to the occasional party should be how you celebrate success, not as a crutch.
Seek a Counselor or a Therapist
Chances are, your college has an on-premise counselor or therapist you can talk to. Besides discussing your future, a counselor can help you if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
With that said, you need to weigh in all the therapy options. Trying online therapy may be able to help, especially if you have an odd schedule where you can’t see one. Looking up “therapy near me” can help you pinpoint the therapist who is right for you.
Written by: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.