10 Tips for Managing Stress
Physical activity is a huge stress reliever and you don't need to spend hours at the gym to see the stress relieving benefits. Doing a few small activities can add up over the course of the day. You can go for a walk, take the stairs, walk to campus instead of drive, or play an intense game of ping-pong in the SUB with a friend. Exercising releases endorphins which can help make you feel good, and can be a welcomed distraction from what's stressing you out.
Talk it out
Talk to others, preferably face to face, but over the phone or Zoom works too! Share what's going on in your life and get a fresh perspective on things. Talking things through with friends and family can help you find solutions to things that may be causing your stress, or you could even reach out to our Student Counseling Center to talk to a counselor. You can also have a good laugh with your friends. Laughter is an excellent stress reliever!
Get some zzz's
Make sure you're getting good sleep! The quality and amount of sleep you get can affect your mood, energy level, and overall health. Getting enough quality sleep allows your brain and body to recharge, so it's extremely important. If you're having trouble falling asleep, make sure you have a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine, try listening to relaxing music, don't look at your phone or computer before bedtime, and stick to a consistent schedule. You could also try a weighted blanket or sleep mask, which has been proven to help with better sleep.
Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
Eating a healthy diet is a super important part of taking care of yourself! Cutting caffeine completely out of your routine as a college student isn't easy, but consuming too much can actually contribute to stress. Eating a well-balanced diet can also help you feel better...and by well-balanced we don't mean the delicately balanced pizza boxes piling up in the corner of your dorm room.
Keep a positive attitude
Help yourself keep a positive attitude by practicing positive self-talk. Self-criticism and self-doubt aren't helpful and can add to your stress. Talk to yourself with compassion, when you feel self-doubt creep, in reply with kindness to yourself! Try reaching out to the optimists in your life; they may be able to help shift your perspective to a more positive outlook. Use your resources to look for silver linings and try to make a game plan to kick your stress to the curb.
Manage your time effectively
Make yourself a to do list and tackle things one at a time. Writing down things you need to do means you don't have to stress over trying to remember everything you need to accomplish. Not to mention how good it feels to cross things off your list once they're done! You can also try setting timers for yourself. Maybe you study for 45 minutes and then take a 10 minute break to do something different. Giving yourself some time parameters can help keep things from getting too overwhelming.
Make time for hobbies, fun, and relaxation
Treat yo' self to some fun! Knit a sweater, take a camping trip, paint a picture, go for a hike, whatever your hobby is, just take some time to decompress and enjoy yourself!
Practice relaxation techniques
Take some time to breathe. Try meditation or yoga to help relax your mind and your body. Some studies have found that yoga can enhance mood and help with anxiety. You can try meditating with a mantra that you repeat in your mind as you take slow deep breaths. Maybe journaling is more relaxing for you? You can put your feelings down on paper and help get stressors off of your mind.
Listen to music
Listen to some calming music. Listening to relaxing music can lower blood pressure and stress hormones. Playing music can also be a good distraction and relaxing. Maybe your residence hall common area has a piano that you've been meaning to try out; now might be the perfect time! No matter what instrument you play, taking some time out to just sit back and play can be just the break you need to relieve some stress. Perhaps listening to nature sounds is more your speed. You can close your eyes and listen to the ocean or some forest sounds to help you de-stress.
Hug it out
When you hug a loved one, oxytocin is released. Oxytocin reduces stress hormones and is associated with higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress!