It’s no secret that college can be stressful. It might be your first time away from home, and there’s no end of things to keep on top off. With work, social commitments, extracurricular activities and chores, it’s easy to let certain things slide. However, prioritizing your mental health is so important as you go through college. So read on for five ways you can reduce and manage your stress.
Stress is a natural response that puts your body into the fight, flight, or freeze mode. Everyone’s threshold for stress is different, so it’s up to each individual to be realistic and how much stress they can handle. Stress affects our bodies in several ways, but if you’re having trouble sleeping, having chest pains, feeling anxious, having headaches, or having digestive problems, it’s a sure sign you are experiencing too much stress and certainly need to reduce it.
Sleep Well and Eat Healthily
It may seem obvious, but getting enough sleep and eating a healthy and balanced diet are simple ways to help reduce your stress responses. So aim for 8 hours a night, and incorporate healthy food into your diet. Food like bananas, avocados, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, and broccoli can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Being organized and planning ahead is a great way to get on top of some of the things that could be causing your stress. Invest in a binder or a wall calendar, anything that’ll help you visualize what you’ve got coming up. With classes to keep on top of and tests coming up, your stress will be greatly reduced if you feel ready and organized, ready to take on these challenges. If you leave everything last minute and end up having to stay up late and cram before a big test, that will add more stress to your life.
Create a Space to Relax
While there’s so much going on at college, you must have a place where you can fully relax. When choosing furniture for dorm rooms, opt for a cozy bean bag. It’s helpful to have a comfortable place you can sit, away from your desk. Where you can read, meditate and re-center yourself after a long day.
Talk to Friends and Family
A problem shared is a problem halved, and quite often, we can lessen our burden by simply speaking out and sharing our problems with those who love and care for us. If you’re not ready to speak to anyone, you can always try journaling first. Write down your thoughts and feelings. Getting them out on paper is a great way to let things go and can help you organize your thoughts and figure out what’s triggering your stress response.
Another simple way to keep on top of your stress is to take time out of your day to exercise. This could be a quick run around the campus or a yoga video. However you choose to move, exercise will prompt the brain to produce endorphins that will help improve your mood and offset the hormones created by stress.