It’s no secret that college can be stressful. The pressure of classes, studies, extracurricular activities, social time, part-time jobs, and internships all pile on. It’s no wonder why so many students feel inundated by all their responsibilities and obligations. For many, this can bring on detrimental coping behaviors that might bring momentary relief, but ultimately do not benefit them. Worse yet, these can become bad habits that are hard to break, even after stressors decrease. Considering this, it’s crucial to find some constructive strategies early on so that you can adeptly face the challenges of college and beyond. Here are three healthy ways to deal with stress that you can apply in your life now.
Step Back and Find Rest
When you’re overwhelmed and just can’t stand the burden anymore, it’s always good to take a step back and recalibrate yourself. In a flustered state of mind, you probably won’t get much productive work done anyways. Different techniques can work for different people to calm the nerves. One common way that people relax is to close their eyes and breathe deeply while they envision a peaceful image or scene. By focusing on taking long, controlled breaths for several minutes, you can return to tranquility and get back to your project or exam materials refreshed.
If you’ve spent the last several hours agitated at your desk, you can also get up, stretch, and take a short walk in your dorm, apartment, or even outside. Again, moving away from the stressful source for a bit can help you grasp mental clarity.
Spend Time with Others
Going at anything alone is much worse than when you have support. Even though the stress might make you want to shut down—especially if you are more reserved—avoid isolating yourself for too long. Withdrawing might seem like the most comfortable thing to do, but it will only make your problems appear more insurmountable as they loom over you.
Take the time to build strong relationships with the people around you so that you can not only have fun together, but also go through challenges together. Just having someone to listen or to be present with you can work wonders. Your family can act as a strong comfort in times of crisis as well.
Seek Physical Activity
Having a thousand tasks to complete may leave you feeling drained, making lazing around or sleeping sound quite appealing. But instead of recharging you, these activities can lead to more lethargy. Amid stress, you should find time to exercise for mental and physical rejuvenation. By doing this, you will relax your mind and release endorphins that’ll improve your mood. Your muscles and heart will benefit from the attention, too.
To get the best advantages from exercise, you should work out for at least 30 minutes at a time—but you can start off smaller and build up to this over time. Ultimately, consistency is more important than the individual intensity of one exercise session alone. You can do a light jog or some pushups right where you are.
As you improve, try to set aside time for exercise in your weekly schedule. Take advantage of the campus gym and consider intramural sports if you have a team pastime that you enjoy. Another great option is to join classes that involve physical activity. A martial arts class is one example of this because you can go in with no prior experience. Over time, martial arts can help with your stress as you exercise and find rest away from whatever’s weighing you down.