Everyone experiences stress at some point in their college career. Whether it's from being away from home for the first time, academic demands, or post-graduation planning, you're bound to feel the pressure.
Over 80% of college students say they often feel stressed. This means that you are NOT alone and there are other people that are feeling the way you might be feeling. Hang in there, buttercup, it's going to be alright. Here are proven and effective ways to help you combat that nasty stress and actually win!
1. Get enough sleep.
I know you're internally groaning, but I cannot repeat this enough! Sleep, sleep, sleep!! Not getting enough sleep can impair your performance, cause mood changes, memory loss, weight gain, weakened immune system (which means you can get sick much easier, say hello to flu season), and trouble thinking and concentrating. This list could honestly go on forever. Sleep is extremely important to your health and overall well being. Go get some sleep!
2. Have a stress outlet.
Whether its painting, cooking, reading, or unicycling, have some sort of outlet for your stress. Let me clarify further, have a POSITIVE outlet for your stress. If something is helping your stress but harming some other area of your health or life, then it shouldn't be your outlet.
Do something that not only helps you to release the stress you have built up but also relaxes you and helps you regain mental stability. Some examples of this would be to listen to music (or play it if you're lucky enough to have that talent), bake something delicious, paint, draw, or color, dance, do that DIY project you've been saving on your Pinterest, or meditate. There are some great apps for meditation!
3. Have a good cry.
Constantly holding in your feelings and trying to stay strong when all you want to do is cry, is unhealthy and honestly, just torturous. Let it out, it's good for you! Not only will it feel good to let out some tears, but crying actually has many health benefits, such as, helping to remove toxins, kill bacteria, and elevate mood. Let those tears flow!
4. Plan and manage your time wisely.
Planners are a must. Divide your time up based on priority. School or work first, then social events. And always, always, always schedule downtime for yourself. No one can survive being busy 24/7. You will end up getting burnt out and exhausted. Plan your time wisely!
5. Don't be afraid to say no.
I know that FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a real thing and the struggle is even more real, but sometimes you just have to say no. You do not need to feel obligated to go to every event you're invited to or even to say yes when someone asks you to help them with something or do something for them. If you need time for yourself or you need to work on that big project coming up or get in extra hours at work then you do you! Don't worry about trying to please everyone, it's impossible!
I know, this is another one of those that makes everyone internally groan, but it's just too important to dismiss! Being active triggers your body to release hormones that aid in relaxation, staying calm, and coping with stressors.
Even just 30 minutes a day can greatly increase the release of these hormones! Let's be honest here, you probably spend more than 30 minutes a day on Instagram or Twitter, why not spend that time exercising. Also, for those of you who are intimidated by going to the gym, there are many great at-home workouts on YouTube and Pinterest!
7. Know what triggers you.
Reflect. What causes you to become stressed? What situations make you anxious? Are there any common factors between the two? This is when you really need to be honest with yourself and identify what triggers your stress and anxiety. Learn to avoid these things or learn how to deal with them. Either choice will help you to be less stressed in the long run.
8. Be able to walk away.
Sometimes you just need to remove yourself from the situation. Not just physically, but mentally, as well. If thinking about a certain topic makes you have a mental breakdown, then learn to be able to refrain from thinking about it. If it is something that needs to be addressed, then set aside a designated time to think about it and have your stress relief strategies set in place beforehand.
9. Keep yourself busy.
I don't know about you guys, but if I have something on my mind that's making me into a bundle of nerves and there's nothing I can do at the moment to resolve it, then I preoccupy myself with something else. Sometimes I find myself cleaning or cooking to keep myself busy or sometimes I just hang out with a friend or get some reading done. Regardless, I'm keeping the issue off of my mind.
10. Talk to someone.
TALK TO SOMEONE. Whether you're venting to a friend or talking to a professional, talking to someone, getting your issues out of your mind, and actually saying them out loud will help tremendously. Even if you don't want to talk to someone at that moment write it down or record yourself talking about it. Writing or saying it will help you to better conceptualize and process the issue.