5 Ways To Reduce Stress In College

Going to college can be quite thrilling; the new people; the classes; the atmosphere; the independence; the fact that you’re pursuing your future.

But with all the new excitement comes a lot of new heavy baggage. With all the exams, homework, papers, trying to manage your time between schoolwork, sleep, and a social life, it can be exhausting and create a great amount of stress.

It’s not a good idea to keep your stress pent up inside. It will significantly affect your health and schoolwork. College students learn that they can’t ground themselves to their dorm rooms, library, or other areas to study, study, study. When the semester gets difficult, student find ways to relieve stress.

It’s very important to figure out what way is best for you to minimize stress. One way might work for one person but not for another.

Here are some various ways you can reduce stress at college:

#1: Don’t Stress About Being Stressed 

This might sound silly but it happens more than it should. College is naturally stressful. You are given requirements that you have never heard before. High school never expected a five-page research paper to be assigned and done by in a one week. You have never had to memorize a whole entire textbook along with lecture notes.

And while trying to maintain good grades, you are living on your own; going to get your own food, cleaning, doing laundry, and more. When the time comes when all of this builds up and stress starts to creep upon you, do not freak out!  Hold yourself together and keep calm before it gets worse.

#2: Exercise

Working out is great stress reliever. Not only does it reduce stress, but it improves your health as well. A very common activity that students pick up during their time at college is running. Many people I know never use to run much before, or at all as a matter of fact. Stress builds up inside and many feel the need to run it all out. Resorting to running is great. It’s perfect to release endorphins to make you feel wonderful. After a couple miles of jogging, all the problems of homework and exams seem to vanish. It’s still there to do, but it feels like you can conquer it.

Another popular activity in college to reduce stress is yoga. This has many benefits to it. It’s a form of meditation, so it calms you down from all the anxious hustle of school. Yoga, just like running, relaxes the muscles and releases endorphins. It’s also great for your health. I see many women, as well as men, carry their colorful yoga mats to class so they can go straight to a yoga class.

If yoga is a little too feminine for the men, then try pumping some iron. Many guys I know never lifted weights before college. But I don’t think I know a single guy that doesn’t make it to the gym now and then.  It’s great to release stress along with every emotion you can ever have.

#3: Expand an Interest or Pick up a Hobby

You’re at school to learn more, but why not expand something you already know? Or even pick up something new that’s fun and relaxing. If you use to have a hobby, continue doing it but learn more about it. It’s very common for students to leisure read. I fall into this category. I never liked to read before. But once I was in college, I loved finding new books I enjoyed. During a very busy week, I would read a few chapters of a book to escape the overwhelming life of college.

Don’t put more stress onto yourself with learning something new though. Only do it if you have a solid interest in it and it will be truly entertaining and relaxing. These hobbies can also fall into the exercising category like running and yoga, as I mentioned before, or kickboxing, swimming, or joining some intramural team. Or join a club like volleyball, jujitsu, dance, or ping-pong. There’s tons and tons of clubs you can join according to your interest.

#4: Have Some Fun and Laugh

Please don’t live a life of solitude in your dorm room over the weekend. Sometimes, it’s necessary to dedicate a weekend to schoolwork, but there is always enough time to get out and unwind.

Go out with some friends for a dinner then to the movies to see a comedy. Laughter will always make you feel better during a stressful time. If you don’t want the burden of spending money when times are tight, simply have your friends come over to watch a movie and make some popcorn. Don’t feel like you can’t succeed if you aren’t studying all-day and everyday.

Do what you want to do to have fun. Don’t hold back. If you know that a concert is coming into town, get your work done ahead of time so you can enjoy a fun night out.

#5: Regular Sleep

If you are lacking sleep, then your stress levels will definitely increase. College students tend to stay up all night to study, write papers, or do homework. This will ultimately slow down functioning efficiently. Get your schoolwork done well before nighttime. It’s really nice when all your homework is finished and you can relax and go to bed. Getting a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep is very important. Make the effort to achieve that amount of time.

A regular sleep pattern is ideal. But, realistically, this is college and that’s hard to obtain, especially in the first years. As a senior, I have learned how to go to sleep at the same time every night, wake up early, and get my schoolwork done during the day. But during the first years I relied on daily naps or going to bed early whenever I had the chance. This works, but not as efficiently as a full 8 hours.

#6: Clean the Clutter and Get Organized

This is a very simple task to do but I see way too many students ignore it. By simply keeping a clean room and organizing your belongings, your stress levels will decrease. It’s a good feeling to come home from a long day of classes, studying, and rambling professors to a clean and tidy room.

Studying and doing homework is already stressful enough. Don’t make it even more stressful when you’re trying to find something and can’t find it. Organize your desk so you know where everything is.

Making a calendar is very important in college. Weather is a planner, calendar, or something on your computer, schedule out when you have tests, homework assignments, meetings, and events. Teachers don’t constantly tell you when everything is due. Realizing you have an exam in two days can take a toll on your stress and anxiety, and trust me, it has happened when students didn’t mark down their exam dates and they went to class with a little surprise.

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Gina Stolzman

Gina Stolzman

Gina Stolzman is a senior at University of Iowa pursuing degrees in Journalism and English. Having a passion for food, she loves cooking and visiting restaurants. Besides cooking, you’ll find her reading, catching up on TV shows, or hanging out with friends and family. She is an enthusiastic Chicago fan. She devotes herself to “da” Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and White Sox.