Published on August 1, 2016 by Tom Westover
Everyone struggles with stress, and college students are no exception. Juggling classes, family and work commitments, and resume-building activities, student schedules are some of the busiest out there. Learning to cope with stress isn’t a skill that you are born with. Instead, the ability to effectively handle stress is developed and honed over time. As you face stress in your personal and academic life, here are a few easy strategies to help you manage the pressure and excel:
- Be mindful.
When your schedule is crazy, and you are feeling the walls closing in around you, one of the easiest things you can do that can have a huge impact on your mental well-being is to be mindful. Mindfulness has been defined in many different ways, but basically, it just means living in the moment. Be present. Instead of focusing on the three thousand things your brain wants to worry about in a given moment, put those things to the side and focus on the here and now. There is a time and place to deal with everything, and no matter how much pressure you put on yourself, you can only do, at most, a few things at one time. Practicing the art of mindfulness will help you feel better and will likely improve your work product as you truly focus on the task at hand.
- Get outside.
Unless you are fortunate enough to have a job that allows you to spend a significant amount of time in the great outdoors, it is likely that most days you don’t spend more than 10 to 15 minutes outside of a building. Instead of sunlight and fresh air, you get fluorescent lights and temperature control. Our bodies were designed to experience nature. Sometimes stepping away from the classroom or the office can be just what you need to relax and recharge. Talk a walk. Sit on a blanket and do your class reading. Have your lunch outside. Even just a few extra minutes of sunshine can make a dent in your daily stress level.
- Focus on the end goal.
One main reason that your schedule is so intense right now is that you have elected to better yourself by getting your college degree. Think about why you made that decision. Ask yourself if anything you are currently stressed about, from an upcoming paper to a bad haircut, will matter a year from now? Five years from now? If the answer is no, then remind yourself that everything is temporary. You have goals in mind, and everyday you are working towards them. Even when you have an off day, you are further along the path to achieving your dreams than the day before.
- Treat Yourself.
That’s right. You deserve it. Get that massage. Take that weekend fishing trip. Buy that awesome pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing. When you have been working hard, and the stress is piling up, an influx of joy in your life can be the biggest stress reliever of all.
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