Stress Management for College Students
Heading off to college can be one of the most exciting adventures you will undertake. It is an experience that can change your entire life. Consider how many movies, books, and television shows focus on what happens at college. The fun of experiencing new ideas, making new friends, challenging yourself academically, and being away from home for the first time—your possibilities seem endless. Aside from the social aspect of going to college, there is also the academic part. Working towards a degree in a field you love is an experience you will treasure. While college is an exciting and fun time, it can also be quite stressful. New ideas, new friends, and new challenges can leave you with a sense of drowning if you are unable to balance everything. With so many new experiences hitting you at one time, learning how to cope with the stress of it all is vital. If you are in college or planning on it, check out some stress management tips that can help keep you in a healthy state so you are free to flourish.
When you are incredibly busy, it’s tempting to just power through your work without stopping to take breaks. This is the perfect time in your life to develop some self-care strategies that will take you through college feeling more at ease and on top of things. There are piles of studies that show taking regular breaks will help you get more done and feel a whole lot better doing it. Some examples of good self-care are: stretching every 30-45 minutes while you are on the computer, going outside to enjoy nature as a study break, keeping a stash of energy-boosting healthy snacks, going on a walk with a good friend, unplugging from social media and the computer for a few hours each day, experimenting with aromatherapy, finding something that makes you laugh, and of course—relaxation techniques.
When you first enter college, it is almost inevitable that your sleep schedule is going to be thrown off. A big part of college is meeting new people and enjoying new experiences. All those new adventures can cut into your sleep time. Early classes and loads of homework can also contribute to lost sleep. While you might think that the few hours you get each night are enough to get you through the day, sleep deprivation can sneak up on you. Less sleep means that you are tired throughout the day, and being tired has a way of turning small problems into big ones. Going through a week of getting only a few hours of sleep each night can not only make it difficult to balance your work and social life, it can also open your immune system to unwanted visitors. Please make sleep a priority, and if you need to pull an all-nighter, make sure you take a nap so you can maintain your energy. You can read my blog post about sleep called "A Return to Sleep" and you can listen to samples of my sleep album "A Time for Sleep" for ideas on how to improve your sleep.
It can be easy to fall prey to self-doubt and overwhelming amounts of stress during college. So many new experiences are tumbling your way that it often seems like it is hard to catch your breath. Investing in emotional support both on campus and off can be a major boost in your stress management. Confiding in a trusted friend or family member can give you a better perspective on what is happening in your life, and guidance if it’s needed. Your campus also has mental health resources if you feel like you could use more tools to help manage your stress. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me here if you want more resources.
Remembering Your Hobbies
Hobbies are fun ways to just get away from it all—you might enjoy running, drawing, photography, swimming, reading, listening to music, or other fun activities. These hobbies shouldn’t be cast aside when you go to college. It might take a little more effort to find time for them when you are balancing classes and work, but keeping connected to the hobbies you loved before college can be a way to keep you grounded while you are there.
May you enjoy your college years as you learn, grow and move in a positive direction.