The combination of extracurricular activities, internships and jobs, a busy social life, plus, of course, class, can make it easy to feel stressed out as a student. While a little bit of stress is helpful for motivation, too much can cause burnout and even anxiety attacks. If you’re feeling too stressed, follow some of these tips to regain control of your life.
Get enough sleep
You might feel more productive pulling an all-nighter, but too many in a row will mess up your sleeping schedule and leave you feeling exhausted. Plus, insufficient sleep can put you at risk for serious illnesses, such as diabetes, obesity, and depression.
Try to follow the schedule of the sun and go to sleep before midnight. That gives you time for the full 7-9 recommended hours of sleep.
Look at your diet
An endless cycle of junk food may make you feel good in the moment, but all those sugars and carbs are just going to make you crash – then crave more of the junk. This will leave your energy levels super low, which can make you feel more stressed. A diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help your body and your brain.
Taking a run when you’re stressed might feel like the last thing you want to do. But squeezing in even 20 minutes of yoga, swimming, or even a brisk walk can do wonders. Exercise helps reduce stress levels, as well as giving you a chance to clear your head, leaving you more focused when you return to work.
Ask for help
Get emotional support from friends, a professor, or even meet with a healthcare professional like a therapist to talk through your stress. Venting your frustrations can help empty out tensions and leave you feeling lighter.
Find time for your passions
Whatever it is you love to do – hike, paint, sing, dance – finding time to do it is very important. Doing something that feeds the peace of your soul promotes the anti-stress physiology of your body.
Learn to say no
It’s easy to get overloaded in college, but remember, it’s ok to turn things down! Even if someone asks you to take on a new leadership position or organize an event, if your schedule is too busy, help yourself and say no. Be your own parent and take care of your well-being!
Putting off assignments or responsibilities until the last minute can create more mental and physical stress than staying on top of them. Procrastination can affect many aspects of daily life, such as the quality of your work, the quality of your sleep, and your mood. Answering emails as soon as you get them, completing small tasks throughout the day, and forcing the habit of getting work down before watching TV will all help.
Recognize the role your own thoughts can play in causing you distress. Are you holding yourself up to a standard that is unrealistic or too difficult? If you feel you’re falling short of what you “should do,” give yourself a break. Don’t set yourself up for failure – accept the challenge of what you’re doing and let it be a learning experience. Journaling and speaking to a therapist can also help recognize these patterns.
Don’t let stress get the better of you! Take a deep breath and relax – you’ll get through it.