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How To Manage Stress in College

By: Erin Davis
Sep 28, 2020 • 7 min read

How to manage stress in college

College is a stressful time. Everything is constantly changing from year to year and even from semester to semester. It is essential to take care of yourself during this time of life, although many college students don’t. Sometimes it is the simple things in life that make a difference. Studying all night is not the key to success, and neither is sleeping in until noon every day. This time, although given the freedom, also comes with much responsibility to structure your life to enable you to be productive. Although sometimes situations or classes can become stressful, it is vital to deal with this stress in healthy ways.

stress in college

Study often, not all night

Last-minute studying will not work well in college. It is crucial to begin studying when you are aware there is a test coming up. Similarly, it is important to start an assignment right away instead of procrastinating. These assignments are typically spread out through a semester, so it is important to do the work throughout this time frame. The quality of work throughout the semester is much better than what will come of working on a project all day. That being said, the same goes for studying. Studying all night is not going to give you a long term education on the topic. Instead, it is better to study for a few minutes every day, making studying less stressful. The longer you put things off, the more stressful the test or assignment will be. The feeling of being prepared and ready for a test or project will also help build your confidence when taking the test or presenting. This confidence will help for those who panic on tests and forget all of the information, and will also help with stress in the long run.

Nutrition is key

What you eat is also very crucial to stress. Although it may not seem it, taking care of your body overall is important. Eating healthy and making sure to not skip meals will help you feel better. Although college is a different and busy time, sometimes people think there is no time to take care of yourself. Sometimes the meal plan is not good, but there are always healthy options. Most universities have salad bars or sandwich stations, or even just picking the healthy parts of the meals. It can be very important to look at what you are eating because not all food will make you feel good. Overall, healthy foods will help your brain function and give you the ability to do well during this time.

stress in college

No all-nighters

There are often many things going on from school to friends to extracurriculars. In between this time, there needs to be sleep. It can be so easy to switch your sleep schedule and end up staying up way too late on the weekends. Depending on the class schedule, it is also important to get up early. Just because you don’t have class until 2:00 PM doesn’t mean that you don’t need to get up until that time. Having a productive morning is important, so it should also be important to not go to bed too late. Maintaining the typical eight hours of sleep will help keep you focused in class and keep your patience high, which can lower stress. Sleep is key to managing stress in college. 

Find an outlet

Exercise can also be a great way to release stress. Creating some sort of outlet for this stress is important for times when the work is piled on. Even if it may be something not related to school, the gym or an exercise class can be very important to get rid of the stress. The endorphins from working out help this feel better. Working out in the morning can also be a great way to start productivity because when you accomplish something early on, it helps the rest of the day. Yoga or meditation can also be a helpful way to calm down when you are stressed. Different types of exercise and stress relief activities work for different people, but trying these techniques and finding what works will help you form a routine to avoid stress. This can be your ticket to managing stress in college! For some people, this can be art, going on a walk, writing, or various other activities. Just make sure to take time for yourself. 

Manage your time and make a plan

Time management is also everything in college. People say it all of the time, but it is indeed the key to success. As I previously mentioned, it is important to space out the assignments and work throughout the week. Making a plan for the week and writing it out can help you see that these large assignments or lists of things will get done. Sometimes planning this out on paper can put your mind at ease and allow you to take everything day by day. Shorter lists are less overwhelming than long lists for the whole week, and by doing this, you are less likely to procrastinate assignments.

stress in college

Craft your support system

Most importantly, you need to have a great support system. Whether this is your family, friends, or even utilizing mentors, everyone needs a support system. These people will help listen to you and allow you to decompress. This is key to college because sometimes you have to talk to people about your problems, and even talk through the issues. Sometimes it can take time to develop this support system, but once you have it, these people will help with stress. Although this time can be tricky, properly planning and thinking through all parts of your life is essential. You need to take care of yourself mentally and physically as well as planning out your work. By taking these steps and prioritizing areas of your life, you will be able to effectively manage your stress in college. 

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