Feeling stressed is normal for college students, but did you know that regular stress can negatively affect your health? About 45% of college students say that they experience stress “more than average,” which is not a statistic to celebrate. Of those students, almost 90% said they felt overwhelmed at least once in the last year, according to the American College Health Association (ACHA).
With the right techniques, however, stress can be adequately managed so it doesn’t disrupt your day-to-day life.
What causes stress?
There are three common triggers for student stress:
- Social triggers, or those relating to maintaining relationships, social life or simply adjusting to a new environment. Examples could include competition between peers, meeting other’s expectations or social anxiety.
- Academic triggers, or those relating to school commitments. Academic stress could be caused by daunting assignment deadlines, challenging coursework, exams or poor time management skills.
- Daily life triggers, or those having to do with everyday issues related to family, finances or employment.
No matter what’s triggering it, stress can lead to several negative health symptoms, including poor decision-making, insomnia, reduced energy, pain, and illness. For some, stress may affect the quality of work at school and in the workplace. Stress can also cause irritableness, creating tension when interacting with others.
Once you understand the factors that are causing your stress, you can begin taking the steps you need to manage it.
Here are seven stress management tips to try the next time you feel overwhelmed:
Identify a few family members or friends you can rely on to be your personal cheerleaders when you feel stressed. They can be a valuable resource, lifting you up, encouraging you and providing advice or a new perspective when needed.
Regular physical activity is another great way to kick stress to the curb. Exercise allows your body to release endorphins that send positive messages to your brain to improve your mood and help you feel relaxed. Finding time to exercise, even if it’s only 20 minutes a day, can give your outlook a boost. So next time you feel stressed, take a walk, try yoga or hit the gym!
3) Practice time management
Whether you’re at work or in school, it can be easy to get overwhelmed when juggling multiple projects. Practicing good time management can help you get all your work done on time. Start by prioritizing what you need to accomplish, then cut out distractions like emails, phone calls and social media to help yourself remain focused. While multitasking may seem like a good strategy for getting everything done, it’s better to concentrate on one task at a time instead of dividing your attention to various tasks.
4) Keep a journal
Writing in a journal can be beneficial for organizing your thoughts and helping you process everything going on in your day-to-day life. Plus, journaling has been proven to strengthen immunity and decrease your risk of illness. If you don’t feel comfortable talking through your stressors with another person, journaling is a more private alternative. Spending just 15 to 20 minutes a day journaling can lessen stress levels.
5) Stay hydrated
Drinking water has tremendous health benefits, especially when it comes to reducing stress. In addition to staying hydrated, try treating yourself to a hot bath when you’re stressed, which can help calm the nervous system, especially with a few drops of essential oil added into the water
6) Try to stay positive!
While it’s often easier said than done, make an effort to keep a “glass half full” attitude when working through a stressful situation. If you let yourself fall victim to stress, it can completely overtake you and cause you to fall into a funk. Remaining optimistic in the midst of stress is truly the best practice.
7) Take a break to do something you love
If schoolwork is stressing you out, take a break to do something that relaxes you or makes you happy, whether that’s reading a book or listening to music. Most music streaming websites offer curated playlists that are full of calming music and natural sounds to help reduce stress. Letting your mind focus on something that relieves your stress can be beneficial to your well-being.
When it comes to dealing with stress, it’s important to find a management technique that works for you – and stick with it! We all deal with stress at some point in our lives and as hard as it may seem, you will get through it. Remember to confide in others and take time out for yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed so that stress never has the upper hand.