How To Manage Stress As A College Student This Fall
College can be a stressful time, between trying to balance school, work, a social life, health, and other obligations. Add a global pandemic on top of that, and it can be extremely overwhelming. Many schools have gone completely remote for the fall semester/quarter. As a result, you may be doing college online from home. Or you might be living on or near campus for remote classes, or doing a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Whatever situation you find yourself in, its going to take a learning curve to adjust to these changes. Its important to find ways to manage stress when you begin school this fall.
Our Individual Stress Level
“See that all these things are done in wisdom and order for it is not requisite that man should run faster than he has strength….” Mosiah 4:27
Each of us functions best at a particular stress level. When stress increases beyond that level, the effectiveness of our performance begins to drop. When we pass our peak of effectiveness we usually experience symptoms like forgetfulness, dulled senses, poor concentration, headaches, digestive upsets, restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. The occurrence of these symptoms can alert us to take steps to reduce our stress so our effectiveness can remain at a high level.
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 dont. 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.
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Tip To Avoid Or Minimize Stress
Take Care Of Your Body
Without parents around to be sure healthy food and adequate sleep are a priority, many college students skimp on both and forget to take care of their bodies. Staying up late when early classes loom the next day, grabbing fast food on the way to a party, or living on junk food and energy drinks can seem like a given in college life, but can really sabotage you in the end. Thats why its important for college students to really be careful about self-care, and keep the following in mind.
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Ways To Reduce Stress In College
Ahh, stress. It is a well-known feeling for most college students. Between juggling schoolwork, jobs, relationships, a social life, and trying to decide what to do with their lives, its no wonder they struggle with mental, physical and emotional health.
While a certain degree of stress can be healthy and motivational, this threshold can easily be surpassed. It can take a real toll on a students well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, excessive stress can reduce productivity, and increase sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety and even physical effects ranging from sore muscles to stomach aches. To avoid these symptoms, here are some tips to stay happy, healthy, and reduce stress while managing the demands of college life.
Common Warning Signs Of Mental Health Condition:
It can be difficult to know whether what you are experiencing is an early sign of an emerging mental health condition or part of adjusting to college. Listen to your mind and body. If you are not feeling right and are having trouble shaking that feeling, then talk with someone who can help you sort things out. You might find it is common stress and you might discover its more. You dont have to know the answer to this question before talking to someone.
I cant emphasize this enough
Mental health conditions are common among college students so dont hesitate to let your parents know what you are feeling. They want to know. Dont try to protect them or keep them from worrying. Communicating with them can help you get the help you need. And seek out your campus counselor. That is what they are there for.
So now for those stress-reducing tips
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Accessible Virtual Care Improves Campus Well
Stress management tips for college students
Long-term stress can have detrimental effects if left unmanaged. Not only can it affect your mental and physical health, but also grades and relationships. Identifying and understanding where your stress comes from can help you better manage it. Consider these twelve ways to manage stress when you feel anxious or overwhelmed.
1. Get proper rest and sleep
American Psychological Association notes that good sleep allows our brains to recharge, repair our muscles, promote memory consolidation, and boost the immune system. In fact, 21 percent of adults feel higher levels of stress from not getting enough sleep.
Many college students pull all-nighters, studying through the night to prepare for an exam, but this type of habit can lead to sleep deprivation and insomnia. Depriving your body of sleep can lower cognitive function, academic performance, and mental health. If you have trouble sleeping at night, try techniques such as avoiding excess caffeine, turning down the lights, or putting away technology at least one hour before bed.
2. Focus on health and nutrition
When you pair the freedom to choose what and when along with academic stress, college students are more likely to cope by overeating or undereating. Developing good habits like eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep can help manage stress and prevent dramatic weight loss or weight gain.
3. Be active
Take Small Steps Toward A Healthier Student Life
Practicing small, positive habits such as journaling, healthy eating and reducing your screen time are great ways to stay healthy that can also help you learn how to manage stress in college. And remember, every little bit helps. Take an incremental approach by adding a few quick wins to your daily routine â you’ll be surprised at how much of an impact it can make.
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Identify A Stress Outlet
Stress can never be completely avoided however, finding a healthy way to reduce stress can go a long way toward keeping it from overwhelming you. Common stress outlets include exercise, spending time with friends and family, and getting massages.
You can also try relaxation techniques such as deep abdominal breathing, concentrating on a soothing word , doing yoga or tai chi, and visualizing tranquil scenes.
What Is Stress And How Does It Affect College Students
Stress is a physical reaction to a person’s emotions. Both positive events and negative events can cause stress.
When you feel an emotion that triggers stress, your adrenal gland releases epinephrine the hormone responsible for the flight-or-fight response and then cortisol. In dangerous situations, this response can save your life. Too much cortisol, however, can have a long-term, negative impact on your metabolic rate, memory formation, and blood sugar regulation.
Stress can take one of three forms:
- Acute Stress: The most common form of stress, acute stress is the result of day-to-day stressors, such as waking up late, running to class, or receiving a bad grade. Fortunately, most acute stress fades quickly and has little mental or physical impact.
- Episodic Acute Stress: As its name suggests, episodic acute stress develops when a student experiences acute stress multiple times over an extended period. Common symptoms include migraines and tension headaches.
- Chronic Acute Stress: Chronic acute stress happens when someone can’t avoid a long-term stressful situation. For example, students struggling academically in a major course may develop chronic acute stress, which can lead to weight gain, sleep deprivation, and anxiety.
Optimize Your Sleep & Nutrition
If youre not getting adequate hours of quality sleep, then your performance will suffer in all aspects of your life. Likewise, if youre diet is poor or your nutrition is off, both your mental and physical performance suffers.
College students in particular need to be mindful of their diet. Its all too convenient to opt for something quick and easy at the expense of nutrition. Overtime, a poor diet can lead to diminished cognitive functioning, weight gain, and poor dietary habits. Additionally, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies can wreak-havoc on the body, causing a lot of physical and mental stress. Conversely, students who are conscious about eating healthy are likely to perform better in many aspects of their lives. Theyre often sharper mentally, physically more active, and better organized with their lives as a whole.
Next to diet and nutrition is sleep. Sleep is one of the most important variables that influences a number of systems impacting how we operate. However the relationship between stress and sleep is that the former has a massive impact on how well we sleep. According to research distilled by the American Psychological Association, More than one-third of teens report that stress caused them to lie awake at night in the past month. This information, which can be found here, highlights a number of compelling points about the relationship between stress and sleep, thereby reinforcing the need for college students to minimize and manage stress.
Coronavirus Update For Students
Whether you’re a current undergraduate or an A-level student hoping to go to university in the foreseeable future, if you’re worried about the current COVID-19 situation, advice on coronavirus and your wellbeing has been provided by the mental health charity Mind.
Student stress can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- struggling with your mental health
- loneliness, homesickness or relationship difficulties
- finding it hard to save money or deal with debt
- harmful use of, or withdrawal from, alcohol or drugs.
There are a number of common reactions to stressful circumstances such as these, including:
- Behavioural – these could involve avoiding or escaping from the situation and turning to alcohol or drugs, a change in appetite or an inability to concentrate.
- Physical – you may experience an increased heart rate, sweating, shaking, headaches, butterflies and over-breathing.
- Psychological – stress can lead to fear, panic and the feeling that something bad is going to happen.
‘Stress is a normal, and in some cases, helpful part of everyday life,’ explains Kate Aitchison, team manager of the counselling and mental health team at Newcastle University. ‘The adrenaline that comes as part of our stress response can be motivating and actually help us to perform better. The difficulty comes when stress tips over to distress. When stress is having a negative impact on day-to-day life, when it stops you achieving, relaxing or communicating – thats when some support may help.’
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Ways Of Managing Stress
The best strategy for managing stress is by taking care of yourself in the following ways:
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. They may seem to be a temporary fix to feel better, but in the long run they can create more problems and add to your stressinstead of taking it away.
- Manage your time. Work on prioritizing and scheduling your commitments. This will help you feel in better control of your life, which, in turn, will mean less stress.
- Find support. Seek help from a friend, family member, partner, counselor, doctor, or clergy person. Having a sympathetic listening ear and talking about your problems and stress really can lighten the burden.
- Connect socially. When you feel stressed, its easy to isolate yourself. Try to resist this impulse and stay connected. Make time to enjoy being with classmates, friends, and family try to schedule study breaks that you can take with other people.
- Slow down and cut out distractions for a while. Take a break from your phone, email, and social media.
- Take care of your health.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Try a relaxation technique, such as meditation or yoga, or treat yourself to a massage
- Maintain a normal routine
The following video features a progressive muscle relaxation meditation for you to try. There are many many others available on YouTube and elsewhere.
Tips For Managing Stress In College And Staying Healthy
Taking care of your health in college may sometimes seem like just another thing to add to your already-packed schedule. But staying healthy should always be your number one priority !
In fact, managing stress in college is one of the most important aspects of the student experience. Effectively dealing with stress can benefit your overall well-being and make achieving your school and work goals easier.
We know youre busyespecially with the holiday season coming upso heres a list of healthy practices and stress-management tricks you can add to your routine. By leveraging these five tips and focusing a bit of your attention on your health, you can prevent issues from affecting your path to graduation.
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Things That Can Help With Stress
Short periods of stress are normal and can often be resolved by something as simple as completing a task which cuts down your workload, or by talking to others and taking time to relax.
It might also help to:
- Work out what it is that’s making you feel stressed. For example, is it exams, money or relationship problems? See if you can change your circumstances to ease the pressure you’re under.
- Try to have a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, get enough sleep, be physically active , cut down on alcohol, and take time to relax as well as working and studying.
- Try relaxation and breathing exercises.
- Try to plan your time to help you keep track of your work. Break it down into manageable chunks so you can keep up with deadlines.
- Try talking to a friend, tutor or someone in your family about your stress.
- Read about how to cope with the stress of exams.
How To Deal With College Stress
Experiencing the beginnings of college burnout doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful in your studies. The key to managing college stress as a student is similar to anyone else. There are specific steps you can take to be less stressed and feel better.
The National Institute of Mental Health recommends 5 initial strategies:
- Listen to Your Body Be aware when you are showing signs of being stressed, such as difficulty sleeping, increased agitation or feeling depressed.
- Get Moving Exercise can improve your mood and overall health and serve as an outlet for the stress you are feeling.
- Slow Down Find a relaxing activity you enjoy, whether its meditation, mindful breathing exercises or a work-sponsored wellness program.
- Prioritize If youre feeling overwhelmed, determine what you must accomplish now and what has to wait. At the end of the day, try to emphasize tasks you have checked off your to-do list rather than what is left to do.
- Lean on Your Friends Staying socially connected, especially with friends and family who are your support system, can help reduce stress. Getting involved in extracurricular activities can help you meet people and learn new things about what might be an unfamiliar environment. Dont be afraid to ask for help.
Juggling all of the things that life throws at you, in addition to your coursework, means that time management strategies become critical in college. Dempster said its important to maintain a balance.
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Tips For Managing Stress As A College Student
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College is an exciting time full of new opportunities, but with these opportunities comes some stressful times as well. Whether youre nervous about the show youre going to perform in, the game you’re going to play in, or the test youre going to hand in, small amounts of stress and anxiety have become a normal part of college life. According to the American Psychological Association, more than 60% of students reported difficulties handling anxiety and stress. Below are some tips to reduce stress for college students.