5 ways to reduce stress in college

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Jenny Schildroth | Contributing Writer

College is a time for having fun, making friends, and figuring out who you are. While these are arguably the best four years of your life, some days can be overwhelming with assignments and lots of responsibilities. These five tips can help you manage, relieve, and hopefully prevent stress so that college CAN be the best four years of your life!

  1. Get more sleep

This seems like such a simple concept, but it’s really not. We let our responsibilities take control of our lives and try to pull all-nighters, drink copious amounts of caffeine, and then attempt to function the next day (and we all know that we will eventually crash). When you get enough sleep, your body can revive from the day before. It helps increase your mood and relieve a lot of tension in your body. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night can also help reduce your chance of mental and physical problems, such as depression, anxiety, and obesity (helping you avoid the freshman 15!).

  1. Exercise

Exercise is a good way to relieve built up tension. When it feels like assignments are piling up and you can’t focus, go to the weight room or go on a walk by the lake. While exercising, your body releases endorphins, which can help boost your mood. When your mood is stabilized you have an easier time focusing on schoolwork and can work harder. Also, don’t exercise just for the aspect of staying healthy, do exercises that you like to do! I hate running, I’ve never been good at it and I have no motivation to exercise that way. I do however love walking along the lake. It’s not as strenuous as running but it’s a good way for me to get out of my dorm, away from schoolwork, and I have friends who love to join. Doing exercises that excite you make finding motivation to do it that much easier.

  1. Eat healthy

Eating healthy can be tough in college. It’s definitely a lot easier to grab Ramen and go than plan out a meal, but eating poorly can make us feel bad and that’s when we get stressed. When you pick up an apple instead of a Twinkie, you are making the decision to feel better. Healthy eating also stabilizes your energy levels. When you consume healthy, nutrient-rich meals, your brain can clear up and you’ll be alert all day, as well as in a better mood. So the next time you go to Sodexo for a meal, head to the sub line instead of the pizza line, you’ll feel better in the long run.

  1. Seek help

Going through stressful times alone can be detrimental to your health. It’s important to seek help from peers as well as professionals, because they can provide you with insight on how to manage your stress. Sometimes you don’t even need great advice, you just need an outlet who you are comfortable sharing your feelings with. There are a lot of different types of people you can talk to on campus who can give great advice, and can be a good listening ear when you just need a friend. That’s also why there are RA’s, they are here to be someone who you can vent to, and can give insight on how to deal with tough times.

  1. Continue doing what you love.

Life can get frantic, that’s why we are stressed, but when we let ourselves get overwhelmed with schoolwork we can’t let our hobbies slip away. Doing what you love, whether it’s sports, exercising, Netflix-binging, or whatever, is important to relieving stress. One thing you want to avoid, however, is binge-eating. This, which was explained earlier, is hard on your body and while it’s okay to splurge occasionally, overeating does more harm than good. Doing what you love is a good outlet for getting rid of tension and stress. So if your friends invite you to go kayaking, it’s okay to allow yourself the hour break to unwind and clear your mind before you start back up again. Do what you love, you’ll love yourself for it.