Don’t Stress: Tips to Help Relax in College

Autumn McClain, Contributing Writer

Are you losing your mind in college? Are you on the verge of a mental breakdown thinking about all the assignments you have due this week? Are you looking for a way to relieve some of your stress? Then you’ve gone to the right place. I’m going to tell you about all the resources we have here on campus along with a few tips I personally find helpful to minimize the stress that comes along with college. 

Whether you’re a freshman, transfer student, or a returnee, stress is inevitable. As a freshman at Buena Vista University, I have been overwhelmed like many others. Juggling assignments, work, social life, and organization activities, all while trying to maintain a healthy life style, can be challenging and stressful. I decided to seek out resources available to students on campus that might help alleviate some stress. The Health Services center, the counseling department, and the Center for Academic Excellence are all here to help students in need.  

“We get a lot of students coming in to use our massage chair. It is especially busy during finals week,” says Campus Nurse Kim Carver, RN. “The massage chair is available to all students on campus as a free tool for stress relief. Students can call, email, or simply walk in to set up an appointment. If you walk in and it is unoccupied, you are more than welcome to use it. Each massage session takes 15 to 20 minutes. Our office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.” 

I asked Carver what else the Health Services center offers for students feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. She explained that they have free sleep kits for students which come with noise canceling earplugs, organic green tea, lavender scent, and an eye mask. One of the best cures for stress can be getting a good night’s sleep. They also have adult coloring books in their office free for anyone to take. If you are feeling especially anxious, you can set up a consultation with a campus nurse. They can then either give you a pamphlet with dozens of helpful tips or direct you to see a campus counselor.  

Counseling services focuses on helping students with mental health issues among other things. They can be a great resource for students who are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Counseling services can be found in Swope Hall.  

Another great resource found at BVU is the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE). Here, students can work with tutors and get assistance with their class assignments. The CAE also helps students who may struggle with time management by working with them to create a detailed weekly time schedule. CAE open study hours are 8 a.m.-10 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Fridays, and 6-10 p.m. on Sundays. There are often several tutors with expertise in different areas of study available to help students during these open study hours.  

Donna Musel, director of the CAE, says, “We have student tutors here at the CAE that act as mentors for other students. We help them get organized, develop appropriate study habits, and teach students how to read and understand text books and assignments. We can also help students overcome test anxiety. We have items such as stress balls and other tools to help students focus. Here at the CAE we want every student to understand they are not alone.”  

Something I have adopted into my own daily routine is meditation, which can help to manage anxiety and other sources of stress. When I am feeling stressed and my mind is running a mile a minute, I like to take a step back and process it all. Meditation allows you to unwind and completely lose yourself in the moment. My favorite place to meditate is the dock on the shore of the beautiful lake we have access to. Meditation, yoga, and relaxation are some of the many ways to take full advantage of this great resource.  

However, you don’t have to go out the dock to meditate. You can meditate in the comfort of your dorm room. I use the app HeadSpace for meditation. It is free to download in the app store, and it provides you with 10 three-minute-long mediation sessions that help guide you through the process. So even if you don’t have experience with meditation, this is a great way to start. Meditation is just one way to relieve the stress that a college life can bring, but it’s one that works for me. I hope this story has provided you with some helpful tips to relieve stress during this school year and years to come. Best of luck to you! 


*Updated on September 25 at 8 p.m.