College can be a time of great stress. What seemed at first like an exciting chance to party nonstop for four months has now become the reality of classes, deadlines, social events, and tests. You thought you would overnight become this popular dude or chick with dates lined up every weekend, and now you find that it’s hard to make friends and meet people. You thought your parents would front you some cool cash to spend on everything you wanted, but now they say they can’t even give you your allowance. What does this all add up to? Big time stress!
So what can you do to relieve this stress and try to become a person again? Here are my top ten tips….
1. Get enough sleep. The tendency in college is to get the least amount of sleep possible and have the most fun. Well, I do agree that you want to have fun, but be reasonable about it. Your body generally needs 7 to 8 hours each night to be fully rested. If you are cheating it time and again, you’ll start to feel the effects. When you’re tired, it’s easier to become stressed. Little things that you could have handled will seem like mountains instead of molehills.
If you don’t believe this, try it. Try staying up all night one night and then dealing with something stressful the next day. Then, try getting enough sleep and dealing with the same thing. It’s miraculous what the difference can be.
2. Know your body clock. If you are a morning person, schedule your most difficult classes in the mornings (or all of them.) If you’re a night owl, take some evening classes and avoid those Monday morning 9 am’s! Come up with a schedule that will work for you.
3. Be cued in to your body. What this means is know how to point out warning signs your body is giving you. Your body will tell you if it’s had enough and needs a break. If you start to feel sick on your stomach, you may be overstressed and need to relax. If you are getting lots of colds, you are perhaps working too hard and not eating well. If you start to feel feverish after not sleeping too much, this means you need to get some sleep fast! If you can read your body and know the cues it gives you, you can take proactive measures to deal with the stress before it turns into illness, like bronchitis or a stomach virus.
4. Eat healthy. If you eat the right foods, your body has the additional armor to take on more stress. Taking vitamins can increase this viability.
5. Take lots of walks and maybe even a jog. It’s unbelievable how much more relaxed you feel after just walking around a quiet neighborhood for a mile or so.
6. Get a massage, or give yourself one. You might be able to find places that give inexpensive massages. I know I was able to find a place that gave 15 minutes massages for $15- very affordable. This really helped ease the tension and get me back on track. If you can’t find this, or can’t afford even a small amount, do it yourself. Get a handheld massager or just massage your neck every once in awhile. Loosening up your muscles can really help to relax you. Worst case scenario, do some stretching exercises. This still helps to unwind you.
7. Visit a family member or friend. If you can’t relax, take some time and go visit someone you haven’t seen in awhile. It will take your mind off your daily stress, and help you get back on track. One reason this works is that you’ll most likely tell stories of your college life to the friend, which will get it off your mind.
8. Make a list of everything that’s stressing you out, and then throw it away. Tell yourself, as you throw it away, that you are throwing out the stress. This sounds silly, but it really works! But, you have to believe it!
9. Go somewhere where noone else is around, and scream! Yes, scream at the top of your lungs. Take some deep breaths, and scream again! This will let out many frustrations.
10. Find a peaceful relaxing place to call your own, and go there when you get stressed out. It could be a spot by the river, like a small secret waterfall. It could be a corner in your favorite laid-back restaurant, where you can be left alone to dine by yourself and have a great meal. One of my favorites is a corner of a bookstore, where you can chill out and read a good book.