As such, it’s vital that you know what to do if you’re feeling stressed. And these six tips are a good starting point.
1. Know the Signs of Stress
The first step to beating stress is recognizing when you are stressed. After all, it can be easy to miss the signs when you’re busy with a dozen other things! Prominent symptoms of stress include:
Irritability or feeling overwhelmed
Low self-esteem or constant worrying
Headaches, tension and muscle pain
Loss of appetite or difficultly sleeping
Stress is experienced differently by everyone, so this list isn’t definitive. But if these symptoms do sound familiar, it’s important not to ignore them.
2. Know Your Stressors
The best way to deal with anxiety is to cut it out at the source. Common stressors for college students include:
Academic stress (i.e., worrying about grades and workload)
Personal stress (i.e., anxiety about your personal and/or romantic life)
Family stress (i.e., pressure from your family or adjusting to being away from home)
Financial stress (i.e., making ends meet on a student budget)
Uncertainty about the future (i.e., not knowing what you’ll do after college)
The solution to these issues will depend on your situation, but knowing what makes you feel stressed will make it easier to make positive changes.
3. Talk It Out
In many cases, simply talking to someone can be a great help. This could be friends, family, your professors or even a counselor (most colleges offer a counselling service for students).
Discussing your problems is especially effective if you can talk to the people involved (e.g., talking about workload issues with professors). But even just chatting with a friend is better than keeping it all bottled up inside.
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4. Eat Well and Exercise
Your diet is important when you’re feeling stressed. Eat healthy food whenever possible, don’t skip meals, and cut out excessive caffeine (especially in the evenings).
Similarly, regular physical exercise has been shown to be important to stress management.
5. Rest and Recuperate
Sometimes, stress is a result of burnout, especially when you’re juggling a lot of responsibilities. Getting plenty of sleep is therefore crucial.
However, since anxiety can also cause insomnia, you should make sure your bedroom is set up to make sleeping easier (e.g., having a good mattress) and that you have a regular evening routine.
Taking time off is also vital. Simply put, you’ll never be able to beat stress if you don’t give yourself the chance to relax occasionally. This could be as simple as hanging out with friends or binge-watching something on Netflix, as long as it takes your mind off work!