Studying, papers, roommate woes, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities — college life can be stressful! And that stress can take its toll, leaving you overwhelmed and depressed. But you don’t have to suffer; there are so many ways you can manage, reduce, and cope with stress. Try each of these stress-reducers on their own, or better yet, include as many of them into your daily routine as you can, and you’ll be breathing easy in no time.
1. Get & Stay Organized
If you’re not well-organized from the start of the semester, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed. Keep a planner on your phone using a free student calendar app, or go low-tech and keep a paper calendar with your class and work schedules, assignment timelines, and such. Sometimes just writing down everything you need to accomplish can make your workload seem more manageable.
2. Find the Source
Is there something in particular that’s causing the lion’s share of your stress? Is it a personal relationship, a less-than-ideal roommate, a class you’ve stopped understanding weeks ago? Try to find the precise source of your stress, so you can address it directly.
3. Avoid Sugar & Caffeine
Granted, these college life staples can help you stay awake to study or work, but over time, they can make you feel jittery and contribute to stress. Worse, they’re addictive, so when the crash inevitably happens, it can lead you to feel even worse than you did before you had that venti caramel macchiato (with an extra shot).
4. Avoid the Haters
If at all possible, cut every frenemy on your contact list out of your life. Trying to cope with consistently negative people is depressing and draining, and there’s no reason to stay in touch with someone who can cause so much anguish. Unfriend!
5. Catch Your Zzzs
Often times, there’s no more effective cure for stress than a good night’s sleep and/or a nap. Aim for at least six hours of sleep each night to allow your body to heal and reset itself, and if you’re still feeling tired, squeeze in a 20 minute nap between classes.
6. Schedule Me Time
It’s important to take time to do something you love or something to pamper yourself once or twice a month, at least. If you’re being careful with your time, set aside two hours to have a pedicure or read a book, but be sure you’re making time to unwind.
7. Just Breathe
Deep breathing and meditation can also help in coping with stress. Sit in a quiet room, close your eyes, and concentrate on just breathing in and out, pausing between your inhale and exhale, thinking of nothing other than filling your lungs with air.
Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, and it’s a great way to keep healthy — and avoid the Freshman 15 — at the same time. Do yoga once a week, run in the morning before class, join the soccer team, just find some physical activity you enjoy, and do it regularly.
9. Keep a Journal
Buy an inexpensive notebook, grab a pen, and for fifteen minutes a day, write about what’s happening in your life. Later, you’ll appreciate having the record of what’s often a fantastic college experience, and in the meantime, keeping your journal will help reduce your stress.
Science and medicine both agree: laughter really is the best medicine… at least when it comes to coping with stress. Read a funny book, go see a comedy show, just hang out with friends who always make you laugh — any of these things will make you feel better, and fast.