The independence of college living offers new challenges and opportunities. However, exposure to new experiences, time demands, and abundance of choices can be overwhelming and frequently causes students stress. This is absolutely normal and a part of graduating into adulthood.
But if that stress and anxiety do get a bit too much, consider the following tips for managing that stress and focusing on the best college life has to offer:
- Get enough sleep: Where possible, students should avoid scheduling classes earlier than 9 am their first year. That’s because there will be a ton of nights where going to bed at 3 am seems like a good idea, only the waking up to attend an 8 am class isn’t fun or healthy. A lack of sufficient sleep has a direct impact on how you experience and react to daily stressors, and can put you at risk for illnesses like depression, diabetes, and obesity.
- Go out and exercise. Don’t let stress and anxiety trap you on the couch. Going out and getting just 20 minutes of exercise a day — and this can be as simple as walking around town — will reduce your stress levels. That’s because physical activity bumps up the production of endorphins, your brain’s natural feel-good neurotransmitters. The more you move, the better your brain will work to break up the negative feelings related to stress so that you can better focus on getting the things you need done, done.
- Schedule in your passions. Your student calendar will invariably fill up with class lectures, study groups, organization meet-ups, and maybe even a part-time job. But no matter how hectic it seems your schedule already is, it is vital for you to pen in a couple hours every week for you to pursue a hobby or activity you’re passionate about. Ideally, this is something that allows you to zen out and allow momentary stresses and anxieties to melt to the background. Some people find it in sports, such as climbing or soccer, while others prefer more solitary pursuits, such as lego building or crafting.
Finally, venting is healthy. To a point. Adjusting to college life has its difficulties and finding a trusted friend or family member to unpack those difficulties will help you lower your tensions. Plus, working through your stresses is a great way for you to better understand how best to tackle the anxieties in your life.