Everybody experiences stress. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Stress pushes us to stay on task, to make good use of our time, and to be productive. However, stress can easily become unhealthy when it causes sleepless nights, anxiety, worry, poor diet, and number of other side effects. It’s normal to experience stress in college. At some point during your four years of college you may have several exams in one week, a class that has been challenging you, a friendship that is experiencing some tension, and a schedule of activities that is piling up. All of these factors and more can lead to stress. Know that this stress is normal and to be expected. The best thing you can do to prepare for those weeks is to know how to handle stress. Here are nine ways to conquer those weeks that are a bit stressful.
- Break it down. Look at your week, your assignments, your activities, etc. and break it down into baby steps. Don’t try to tackle five different tasks at once. Take it one assignment or one task at a time. Create a list of manageable steps you can take.
- Put things in perspective. While trying your best on every assignment, remember that perfection is not expected. It’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay if you don’t receive 100% on that paper, exam, or homework assignment.
- Take a break and breathe. Do this. Take a break and breathe. For three to five minutes stop what you’re doing and try not to think about the task before you. Relax for a few minutes.
- Cancel your plans with friends. It’s okay. Sometimes you will need to cancel plans with friends to make more time in your schedule. It is never ideal to cancel plans that you made but it is okay to do this every once in a while. Remember: you can reschedule plans with friends, but you can’t reschedule those due dates.
- Talk it out. Sometimes you just need to vent about how much you have on your plate. Find a trustworthy friend, a professor, a mentor, or a parent, to talk through your stress with. It’s a relief when you find out that others have been in your shoes before or can offer some insightful advice. Some students go to the counseling center to get tips for managing stress and developing better skills for studying and managing time.
- Do something fun. Sometimes you need to clear your head for a bit. Do something fun because often you are less productive when your mind in consumed with worry and concern. Take a walk around campus. Watch an episode of your favorite show. Grab a friend and head to the GeDunk to grab a milkshake.
- Get sleep! Whatever you do, get sleep! And by sleep, I don’t mean a two-hour nap. Try your best to get six to eight hours of sleep a night especially during your busiest weeks. In my experience, when I don’t get enough sleep I am tired, exhausted, distracted and unproductive, all of which cause me to be more stressed!
- Pray about it. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Remember that God cares about your schoolwork, your friendships, and your busy schedule. Make sure to seek him first in the midst of your stress. Pray about your stress and seek comfort knowing that he will guide you through it and give you strength!
- Look ahead and plan Stress can be avoided. At the beginning of the semester gather all of your syllabi. Get a calendar and an assignment book and write down the due dates for every assignment, exam, and paper. Throughout the semester look ahead at your due dates and work on assignments accordingly, leaving enough time to do your work well. Don’t procrastinate! Procrastination always leads to stress.
Stress is inevitable, but treatable. Follow these nine steps to keep stress at bay.