We put in four hard years of high school to get where we are right now. So we should be busting our butts all the time to prove that we are where we belong, right? Wrong.

Before you continue reading, know that I’m not trying to tell you that you should not work hard or that you shouldn’t take college seriously, because that’s not the case at all. It is critical that you put effort into your classes and do your homework, make connections with new people and take advantage of exciting opportunities. But while college is extremely important, that idea causes people a lot of unnecessary and potentially even unhealthy stress. College should push your limits, not push you to your breaking point.

If you are in college, you know this feeling all too well: waking up on a Monday morning and all of the impending stress for the week hits you like a truck. No matter how many classes you’re taking or how much time you spent studying the week before, it seems like there are always new assignments and new exams popping up. On that Monday morning, it is easy to imagine that the weekend is years away. You begin your weekly routine of classes, homework, sleep, repeat. This pattern undoubtedly creates stress in students’ lives, as they feel like they have so much to do and not enough time or energy to get it done. Some stress is perfectly okay, it is actually a normal part of our lives; stress pushes us to meet deadlines and work hard. But when stress increases and becomes too much to handle, that is when the problem begins.

Not only is it enjoyable to take a break every now and then, but it is critical to your wellbeing. Too much constant stress is terrible for one’s mental health, and it is good to take time to relax during heavy periods of work to stay energized and focused. Some days may include only as much as spending an hour doing homework, and then taking the rest of the day to unwind with friends., and that is okay. Sleep is another area in which college students need a lot of work. Right off the bat, I can tell you that you’re not getting enough sleep. It is well known that on average, most college students get around six hours of sleep, when eight hours is the standard amount for them to be at their best. Getting enough sleep is extremely crucial to one’s physical and mental functioning, and also makes it less likely that he or she will get sick. It is important for students to remember that they cannot run for days and days on little to no sleep, and thus should be attempting to get a full eight hours as often as they can.

Overall, college students experience a lot of stress which can be detrimental to their health. However, with effective time management skills and a solid work ethic, it is pretty easy to stay healthy while staying on track. So the next time you are feeling like your entire world is crumbling around you, put down the book and take a walk with some friends. Your mind and your body will thank you.