There’s no doubt that being a college student is a stressful cross to bear. Whether you’re a first-time college student or a returning one, learning to manage your coursework, different professors’ expectations, and maybe even working a job on top of it all can be a stressful task.
One of the best ways to plan for a successful semester is by registering for a manageable course load. This will look different for all students, but consider your capacity to manage multiple courses and their work at once as well as the responsibilities you’ll have outside of school. It’s tempting to load your semester to move through your program as fast as possible, but doing so will lead to unnecessary stress.
Either way, when you’re inundated with term papers to write, projects to tend to, and exams to study for, your stress levels will inevitably soar. Here are five techniques for managing the stress of college life when you’re in the thick of it.
Find a Support System
From friends to family and classmates to support groups, finding your “people,” in all aspects of life but especially college, is of utmost importance. It’s no mystery that having friends and family to lean on is beneficial to your mental health and well-being. This is true for college students too. Be sure to prioritize making new friends, finding social groups such as clubs, and leaning on family and old friends. Having a core group to lean on, vent to, and sound off to when you’re in the thick of it, can mean the difference between success and failure.
Set the Mood for Study Time
When it comes to study time, setting the right vibe within your study space can help calm your mood, reduce your anxiety, and focus your brain. One of the simplest ways to set a calming mood is to light a candle. Not only is the warm lighting a relaxing vibe, but scented candles are known to relax the mind and reduce stress. Think aromatherapy. Other ways to set a soothing study mood include listening to soothing music, dressing comfortably, and minimizing distractions.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Sleep
Taking care of your vessel is just as important as tending to your studies. Nothing is more important to de-stressing than getting adequate sleep. Sleep is a known stress reducer that helps to restore your body and renew your energy. A good night’s sleep naturally reduces the hormones in your body that cause stress. So while the all-nighter is a college rite of passage, it will only add to your stress levels. As with all adults, college students should aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
Keep Your Body Moving
Sitting at a desk for hours on end, with little bodily movement, is not good for stress. Instead, make time to get up and get moving. Like sleep, regular exercise is a great reducer of stress. Regular physical movement pumps up your endorphins which not only reduce stress but also stimulate a better mood. Best of all, you don’t have to be a D1 athlete to feel these effects. A walk around campus, a workout video on your laptop, or a group fitness class such as yoga will all help to relieve unwanted stress. Find time to squeeze in 20 minutes of movement each day and your mental health will thank you.
Remember: There’s More to Life Than School
As important as your studies are, so too is making time for fun. Hyper-focusing on coursework will only lead to further stress. Stepping away from the source of your stress for much-needed distractions is necessary. So taking a break from your studies to grab a coffee with friends, play a few rounds of frisbee on the campus lawn, catch a movie, or partake in a hobby is good for the soul. Prioritizing socialization, hobbies, and a little fun will help to ground you.
With college comes many expectations, pressures, and stressors. But the sooner you learn to manage your stress, the sooner you’ll begin enjoying this time in your life. Rest assured, if you’re feeling the weight of being a college student, employing some or all of the above techniques will set you on the path to better stress management. Once you’ve got your stress managed, you’ll realize there’s more to college life than academics, and you can start having some fun.
Written by Taylor McKnight, Author for White Fox Candles