Life is full of stressors, especially for college students. Now that we are over a month into the semester, the workload is picking up and it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of it all. Outside of classes, students must find time to study, work, and attend clubs or sports, all while trying to maintain their social life and mental health. Sometimes, there is not enough time for self-care because of the constant stress. However, there are small things that students can do to destress that accomodate their busy schedule.
Organization is arguably the key for success, let alone surviving college life. College is a fast-paced environment; there is no time to play catch-up. By the time a student finishes an assignment, the next one is barrelling down the chain of to do’s. It’s easy to fall behind with the heavy workload, which can become extremely overwhelming.
A daily planner can help keep your schedule organized so you don’t miss assignments and fall behind. Filling in a planner with assignment or appointment details coming up keeps everything in one place so you don’t have to frantically try to remember everything yourself. It can also be helpful to designate study times and breaks to work more effectively.
Adopting a healthy diet can also have a positive impact on one’s mental health. Studies conducted by Harvard University have shown that having a well-balanced diet gives students extra energy, which can help them better manage stressful situations. They recommend eating omega-3 fats and vegetables to help regulate stress levels. Although it may be tempting to overindulge in your favorite comfort foods, it’s important to make sure that you’re still maintaining a nutritious diet to fuel your body. Meal planning is a great way for busy students to maintain a balanced diet even with a hectic schedule.
Exercise is another great way to reduce stress. Not only does exercise keep your body healthy, but it also helps to lower stress hormones. While it’s great if you can find time to go to the gym or join an exercise class, simply going for a short walk or jog can help you take a break from heavy workloads. Fun activities like like dancing, swimming, or biking are also great alternatives.
Spending time with pets can also help ease some of the stress that piles on during the school year.
According to a Washington State University case study, interacting with cats and dogs can significantly improve your mood. Getting a pet, or finding a friend or family member that has a furry friend, can be a great way to relieve stress. For those whose homes are too far from campus to go visit their pets, going to an animal shelter or a pet store can also be a great way to take a break from schoolwork and interact with some animals.
Maintaining a journal is also considered a big stress reliever. It helps to get your thoughts down on a page so you can go about your day to day with clear mind.
When asked what she does to manage her stress, Einat Shayer, a junior marine and environmental biology and policy major, expressed, “I write down my thoughts and feelings in a journal. It helps me to process how I’m feeling.”
Buying a cheap journal and filling in the pages can help you clear your head and makes it easier to deal with everyday stressors. If you want to get more creative, taking the time to bullet journal allows students to brainstorm ideas and write down any goals they have.
Similarly, building a support system is important to receive encouragement and gain some new perspectives. Although talking to a licensed therapist is a great way to get your thoughts out to someone who can give professional advice, it’s beneficial to talk to anyone you feel comfortable confiding in, whether this be your parents, siblings, friends, or professors. It’s essential that one avoids bottling up your emotions.
Christina Rodriguez, a junior English student, agreed that having a support system is important, stating, “If you don’t have a therapist, it’s okay to just have a friend to sit and talk to. Friends want to be there for you, let them.”
Although the school year is a stressful time for college students, it’s important to remember that there are things you can do to alleviate this strain. Taking breaks from your heavy workload and finding hobbies that allow you to clear your head will prevent burnout and will ultimately help you be a better student.