Not only corporate individuals or older adults find themselves struggling with stress. Stress management for students is one big topic that demands attention.
In fact, if you plan on returning to college or university anytime soon (or beginning the journey), making the most preparation to reduce stress should make-up a significant part of your plans.
According to the 2018 National College Health Assessment by the American College Health Association, more than 45% of college students claim to experience more than average stress; another 86% said they are submerged by all they have to do in one academic year.
And mind you, this statistic includes determined and passionate students who are in college intending to get the best grades on their courses. So it’s not a cornucopia of lazy statements from lazy people.
One factor that will significantly impact the way you feel as a student is how well you can handle most activities college throws in your face. Your ability to get through the difficult time consuming, and sometimes “mind-numbing” endeavours would impact your experience through school.
In this article, you will find out how you can go about managing stress as a student, whether you are just getting your feet through the door or you’ve been a student for a long time.
And if you look hard enough, you will discover how stress management has a lot to do with proper planning.
Let’s get started.
Stress management tips for active college students
Look at this small conversation between two friends in the biology department of a prestigious school.
It’s afternoon, at 1 pm, to be exact. Anna and Jonas are at the open student hall. Their goal is to complete this project nearing its deadline.” Midway into the scribbling.
“I’m exhausted…maybe stressed”, Jonas said.
“It’s been a whole week of fewer than 20 hours of sleep for me… I feel like pulling my hair out of their tired follicles…” Anna jumped in.
“Maybe we should just nap a little before we get this project done,” He replied.
3 hours later. The napping is not close to its end.
You see, that scenario above is a comic representation of what most students face in school. Projects, assignments, extra-curricular activities, you name it.
The problem is not about the benefits these many engagements fulfil. Many undergrads face a high amount of stress that gradually creates adverse effects on their health, their vitality, and their good graces, eventually leading to low grades.
The tips you’ll see in just a moment will help you understand what you must prioritize a student and get past whatever deadlock poor stress management could cause while in school.
> Get as much sleep as your time allows
As a student, you’ve likely had this inclination to avoid sleep like it’s a bitter herb.
Maybe the deadline for a project is at hand.
Or you have a presentation for which you must prepare.
Talk about the 2 am wake up calls from a roommate after just 2 hours of rest.
With schedules like this, who should take the blame when you have only a tiny amount of sleep?
You? The school? Or the professor who has a reputation for giving numerous projects at one go?
Maybe that’s sometimes we should meditate about first (my Indian friend agrees with me on this one).
Still, finding enough time to get some sleep will do a lot of good for you and help you avoid insomnia, popular among students. Get into the habit of taking short term breaks from demanding tasks. Small power naps can help in many ways than you think. So, sleep!
You may want to check this article that examines the health effects of insufficient sleep.
> Have a priority list
One primary reason you get stressed a lot as a student is lack of rest, and lack of rest is a result of handling more than you should. As a student, one thing you will notice (or already have) is that activities never seem to end.
Your best move is to create a list of priorities, the first set being a cornucopia of your courses and classroom projects (since that’s your reason for being in college in the first place).
The next set of priorities could be activities that help complement your efforts. Simply put, they help you make the most of the first set of preferences. Extra-curricular activities could make this list.
Any other activity can come next on your list.
Learn what is most important to you as a student and begin working on them early enough. Try to never find yourself in so much more than you can make time for, especially if it would cut into your rest/sleep time.
> Eat good food
Yeah, this again. Students are in the habit of tossing whatever the eye sees and the heart pleases into their bowels.
Scram out of it! There’s this saying that what you eat eventually eats you up. Eat junk and junk — well, you know the rest.
Unhealthy diets containing a high amount of fat, and sugars, even caffeine cause you more problems than you could count on both fingers. Get into the habit of eating healthy meals. It will not only keep you in the best shape but reduce the chances you will ever need to see a therapist for stress management consultation.
You could start by taking a weekend off to create a food timetable that matches your diet plans and follow it henceforth. It will help you keep an organized diet.
> Do you have a fun outlet?
Part of going to high school, college, or university as a student is the new life experience that floods you.
When the going gets tough, and you feel like you are about to hit a mountain with sharp edges and rough stones at its bottom, get your butt off that chair and have some fun. Take a day off from anything school.
Preferably do this on the weekend, so you don’t miss any critical school activity.
If you have an appetence for painting, get some brushes and get creative. If you crave music, hit some new interesting melodies with those chords. If you want to feel alive, visit a park, experience some nature. And if you like writing, begin working on the new chapter for your story or new post for your blog.
You could also visit some friends if you’ve not done so in a long time. The rule is simple, DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY.
Don’t let the burn out get to you. Fight it before it makes you wish you were not a student in the first place. Get the point?
> How are you thinking?
Your thought process forms a vital part of your efficiency as a student. Do you think school is too much of a problem? Or do you feel the issues you face are mere challenges you can conquer?
The more you see school problems as challenges on your part to a satisfying career, the lesser a problem they become. The reason is, you automatically find creative ways to get past pending issues that seem to show up on your path.
So, instead of getting stress symptoms, you find yourself pulling energy from reserves you didn’t know existed.
So for this tip, all I can say is, think positively. Positive thinking may not move your muscles to work, but it will give you the inner strength to move those muscles yourself.
Does this sound like a page from the law of attraction? Hmm. NEXT TIP!
> Journaling works magic!
When you write, your brain gets into a sort of analytical process. You may begin to see patterns where you didn’t before. You could get ideas on the spot. For many, writing is another method of thinking — after all, it is putting thoughts to paper.
So, get a journal and write. Write about the good and bad days. Write about things you feel you could have done differently and events you think are essential to you.
For some days, you could look into your journal and see how one thing led to another and know what to do and avoid.
Here is where we wrap things up.
As you already know, poor student stress management will affect you in many ways, from depression, restlessness, increased irritability to even long term insomnia.
While some turn to drugs and change diets plans to fight the symptoms, being a more informed person, you already know what works — proper time and schedule planning.
As mentioned in tip 2, you must learn to judge what requires the most of your attention and give it while creating time for your precious sleep too.
Hopefully, this article’s tips have shown you how you can reduce student stress and adequately manage your health.
If you still find yourself struggling with stress management as a student, get help from a professional.
Some people you could reach out to include:
– The Counseling Services in your university
– A student advisor
– A therapist
Either of the above would help you or point you to a tested remedy.
All the best!