College is fun and full of different opportunities, but it is also home to thousands of overwhelmed and stressed out students. In addition to depression, stress and anxiety has become a normality around campus; according to the American Psychological Association, more than 60% of students reported difficulties handling anxiety and stress, and that percentage is still rising. Between juggling classes, homework, being social, and possibly work, many students find themselves left with no time to de-stress and relax. Here are some tips you can do throughout your day to help relieve stress and conquer your anxiety.
Any form of physical activity throughout your day can help boost your mood and relieve stress! Physical activity produces feel-good chemicals called endorphins and also improves the quality of sleep, which in turn reduces stress. It doesn’t have to be going to the gym, it can be anything! Bike rides, skateboarding, walks, tennis, or anything to get your blood pumping - invite your friends too!
2. Drink Less Caffeine
Even though you LOVE your morning ice coffee, it’s time to understand exactly how it’s affecting you. Caffeine and stress tie directly together. In fact, they both increase levels of cortisol in the body and can lead to negative health effects. Monitoring and limiting your caffeine intake is a very important step in lowering your daily stress levels. Consider consuming less caffeine and eating healthy.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Your stress and anxiety can affect the way you sleep immensely, and the way you sleep can affect your stress and anxiety! By exercising and avoiding caffeine, falling asleep shouldn’t be a huge task, but be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get some good, undisturbed sleep. The better sleep you get, the less you’ll stress when you wake up.
4. Finish What You Start
Whether its homework, a book, or project, follow through! Tasks may seem impossible when you’re stressed and anxious, but making a habit of finishing what you start will help relieve a lot of stress. Try to finish your homework within 2 days of it being assigned; leaving it to the last minute will only stress you out more! When you leave things unfinished, they still weigh on your mind, causing unnecessary and avoidable stress. Be proactive, and make sure you finish what you start!
5. Express Your Emotions
How you acknowledge and process your emotions directly affects your stress and anxiety levels. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try talking it out or writing it down! Calling up a friend to relate and express how you feel is a great way to take some weight off your shoulders, and it often helps you feel less alone! Journaling is also a great resource, try crafting poems and songs, or letters.
6. Have a Personal Sanctuary
A personal sanctuary is a quiet, special place that allows you to de-stress, relax, and rest, and your dorm room or apartment is the perfect place! Clean up your dorm room, open a window, light some candles, and just relax. Don't be afraid to invest in your personal sanctuary; spend some money on key dorm decorations and elements that will help make you feel more at home. Allowing yourself this time and space to be alone and regroup is very beneficial to both your mental and physical health. Try and spend at least 20 minutes relaxing in your sanctuary every day; you’ll be surprised how much energy you have!
Is school wearing you out? Check out Rest + Recovery: The Importance of Holiday Breaks.
If you are dealing with more than stress check out Acknowledging and Coping with Depression in College.