Coping with College Stress: 5 Tips for Relaxation

Between pop quizzes, midterms and finals, we’re bound to find ourselves stressed beyond belief. Luckily we have winter break, spring break and summer (as well as weekends that always seem too short) to look forward to, but in the middle of the quarter we might feel like we’re in a slump.

But you’ve worked hard thus far and deserve some time to relax and de-stress. So whether it’s studying for finals or writing that term paper that has gotten to you, no worries! Here are a few surefire ways to help you relax and get your mind off of studying for a while.


Take a break from going through those flashcards and dust off your running shoes.

Exercise has been known to boost your endorphins. It also improves your mood and helps you get a better night’s sleep. If running isn’t your thing, find a sport or activity you enjoy. Doing a physical activity you like will put you in a better mood for getting back to the library to read that next chapter of your biology textbook. Other activities to consider are Pilates and yoga.

college yoga

According to an article from, “yoga can help reduce your stress level, restore your energy and alleviate physical symptoms.” In addition, the deep nasal breathing involved in yoga can help lower your stress level.

If being around nature is more of your thing, practice yoga with the great outdoors! When I was a freshman I was a member of a club on campus and one of the activities we did was yoga on the beach. We had a local yoga instructor come and guide us in the technique as we heard the soothing, crashing waves. It was relaxing and great to be on the warm sand and looking ahead to see the beautiful blue ocean.

If you’d rather be outside no matter the physical activity, find a trail you can jog or take a stroll through. Getting a breath of fresh air will get you to exude positivity before you know it.


A good book is one that takes the reader from their everyday life to the scene the author created in the book. Upon opening the novel, the reader is surrounded by these characters they often find themselves relating to.

student reading

Grab a good book (maybe even one you’ve already read and love) and get away for a bit. Reading opens up your imagination and will easily get your mind off of that midterm you have to study for for a while.

Retail therapy

They don’t call it “retail therapy” for nothing.

students shopping

Ladies, I’m sure most of you don’t mind loosening the purse strings for that new cashmere sweater, maroon pants or better yet, that chambray shirt you’ve had your eye on for weeks. As a shopping-fanatic, spending some cash on new clothes or accessories can be therapeutic. Grab a few friends, make your way to your local mall and shop! Just don’t overdo it … we are college students on a budget here. Keep your eyes peeled for those sale racks.


When I find myself completely stressed out I often go for my journal. While I don’t write in it everyday, it’s always there when I need it. Writing out what you’re thinking and feeling in a journal or notebook is a great way to de-stress. Get your head out of that textbook for a few minutes, grab a pen and vent.

If writing in a journal isn’t exactly your cup of tea (make some tea to go along with your journaling!), consider blogging. Many websites such as allow you to personalize your blog. If you don’t want the entire world wide web to have access to your blog, you can change the privacy settings. Either way, write, write and write some more.

Beach Party?

Well, sort of. If you just can’t seem to let go of that textbook, stuff that along with your notebook in your backpack and head to the beach. Laying out in the sun and hearing the ocean waves can be relaxing. If you study at the same time, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone. Free yourself from the stress of finals and take some time for yourself to relax.

The cure for anything is salt water, sweat, tears, or the ocean. — Isak Dinesen

Below is a picture I took of one of my favorite beaches (Avila Beach) near my campus. I love it!


While we should take exams and homework seriously, we must make time for ourselves to de-stress and regroup.

Taking a break from all of the work that gives you a headache is healthy and normal. After all of those hours you’ve spent studying, you deserve it!

Whichever method you choose to help you relax, you’ll be getting back to those books with a clearer head and better attitude.

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Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja is a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in news-editorial. At school, she can often be found in the Mustang Daily newsroom where she works as a copy editor. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Kassi Luja

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