How to Manage Stress in College

Take Deep Breaths and Move Forward.

Between exams, essays, friends, family, extracurriculars, finances, and worries about the future, we know that life for a college student can be stressful. So, relax, take a few breaths (tip #1!), and spend a few minutes managing stress.

Deep Breaths

Feeling overwhelmed? Panicked? Anxious? Give yourself a moment to regain composure. Take deep breaths, talk to a friend, or go for a walk. When you feel your mind starting to race, take a moment and do whatever works for you to calm down and keep moving forward.

Break It Down

Break down bigger tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces, or break down longer periods of time into goal-oriented steps. Pick one thing to focus on at a time, and make mini-goals that build toward the big goals. Even though the to-do list may be long, with each task you check off, you’ll see that you’re making definite progress and find it easier to stay motivated.

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Are you doing too much? Reassess your activities and course load. How do they contribute to your goals? Is being involved in too many activities causing you to sacrifice the quality of your work or shirk responsibilities? Focusing your time on fewer things may be less stressful and more rewarding than juggling many things half-heartedly. Keep doing what is essential and exciting, but make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew.

Keep on Movin’

Staying active reduces stress. You don’t need to run a marathon or lift 3 times your body weight, but regularly doing a moderate activity (going for a walk) will get your blood moving and make you feel better.

Catch Some Zzz’s

Sleep also decreases stress. Despite what the college culture often implies, getting enough sleep is possible! Although it may be more difficult during busier weeks, making sure you sleep enough has a big positive impact on your physical and mental health.

Go Pro

Whether you want to vent about day-to-day stress or have heavier matters to discuss, consider reaching out to  professionals for help. They are unbiased, confidential experts on stress who have trained for years to know how to best help you. Get to know your school’s mental health resources. Often, colleges provide counseling services for free or at low-cost to their students.