It is a new year, and a new semester for college students this month. Many view it as a great time to evaluate your life and determine how you can be a healthier and happier student.
One of the biggest issues facing college students every semester is stress and anxiety. For many years motor vehicle accidents represented the leading cause of death among college students. In an upsetting shift, new data is emerging to show that suicide may soon be the #1 cause.
Finding ways to maintain balance in your life is incredibly important. Managing stress can help you feel happier, more productive, and healthier. The earlier in life you can find ways to incorporate stress relief in your life the more likely it will become a habit that you easily carry with you.
The most important thing to remember is that small steps can make a huge difference. Here are a few ideas of ways to make small changes, that could have a huge impact on your overall well-being this year.
Invest in your Sleep Schedule
One of the best things you can do to keep yourself healthy and stress free is to sleep a solid 8 hours every day. You spend 1/3rd of your day in bed, so it should be as comfortable as possible. Invest in a new foam topper, nice sheets, blankets, and pillows. Also commit to changing your sheets weekly so you can jump into a clean bed on a regular basis.
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for their healing ability. It is believed that bergamot, sage, and lavender are excellent at increasing your mood. Using them in a diffuser in your room can have a big impact on how you feel. You can also dilute them with water or witch hazel and put them in a spray bottle. Spray them on your sheets and pillowcase to help you relax when you are trying to fall asleep.
It is important to get at least 2-3 hours a week of exercise to boost your mood and keep your heart and body healthy. Find activities that you enjoy such as hiking, biking, or rowing and it won’t feel like a chore. Bonus points if you can get outside and enjoy some fresh air while you are getting in exercise.
Buy Yourself Flowers
It might sound so simple but buying a simple flower bouget for $5 can brighten up your room for a full week. You can also spend that money on plants or succulents if you do not have a green thumb or a lot of natural light in your room. In a study completed by Nasa, having plants in your home was proven as an effective way to filter air and even found that people can recover from illness faster in the presence of plants.
Minimalism has been a buzzword lately. It might be a trendy new practice, but it really has some great benefits to reducing anxiety and stress. You do not need to go to extremes to see benefits from reducing the amount of clutter you have in your life. Take some time to go through your belongings and really decide what you need. You might be surprised at how quickly you are able to reduce stress, and have less trouble focusing when you are surrounded by less clutter.
Give Yourself More Time in the Morning
You have heard it a million times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but actually taking the time to enjoy it can be even more important. Wake up a little earlier, sit down to breakfast, and enjoy your morning before you start a hectic day. Taking some time to relax in the morning instead of starting your morning in a rush can set you up for a more successful day.
Turn Off Your Phone & Social Media
Smart phones are stressing people out at an alarming rate. Constantly checking your phone and logging into social media can make you feel isolated, give you a false sense that everyone is living a better life than you are, and lead to procrastinating on tasks that are more important. Take time every day to log off, set your phone aside, and unwind without it. It is also important to not look at your phone first thing in the morning, or right before bed. This can set you up to start your day in a negative mood, or make you have trouble falling asleep.
Stress and college go hand and hand, and it is almost impossible to avoid. It is also important to realize that what might reduce stress for some, could cause additional stress for others. Take some time this year to experiment with different ideas and see what really works for you.