Stress Management at College
There’s so much excitement during the first week of college. The busy life of a college student will often be overwhelming if you improperly juggle college classes with the demands of family, work and your personal life. In 2017, in an assessment conducted by the American College Health Association, found that 45% of college students felt that they experience higher than average stress, while 87% of students said they felt overwhelmed by all the work they are given annually. This is why it is important to have a stress management plan to combat the hardships of the college student lifestyle.
To begin, crafting a to-do list is an effective way to accomplish short term goals so that you’ll always know about upcoming obligations. This will train your brain to remember projects, tests and responsibilities that require extensive preparation. If you’re the type of student who needs to focus on things day to day rather than a weeklong basis, then this will be especially beneficial to you.
Stress comes in three forms, beginning with acute stress which is the most common. It is often triggered by the result of a recent stressor. Next, comes episodic, which carries a much more frequent occurrence and is known to come in patterns caused by a situation around you, Third, is chronic stress. This is the most serious and is often relentless, slowly wearing down on the person experiencing it. It may carry a feeling that there is no end in sight to the stress. This is the most obvious sign of chronic stress.
Stress can affect you in a variety of ways. Stress can be positive in small amounts, motivating you to push yourself harder towards your goal. Too much of it however, and you could get headaches, feel constantly exhausted, affecting your sleep and eating habits. It can also later contribute to major health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and anxiety. The Mayo Clinic, an American nonprofit academic medical center based out of Minnesota, reports that common symptoms of stress are irritability, restlessness, and depression. It affects everyone differently. Some people turn to drugs, alcohol, smoking or even food to deal with it. And it doesn’t stop there, often leading to cyclic behavior of overindulgence that only leads back to more of it.
It cannot be stressed enough to maintain a healthy sleep schedule. This is one of the things that you never realize how much you need until there’s a lack of it. Sleep will become a luxury, so get enough of it. A healthy sleep schedule is key to academic success and will affect your overall state of mind and mood patterns. Enough sleep every night will ensure that you feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the tasks set for the day. Always allow yourself time to study and complete your work in a timely fashion so that you aren’t stuck cramming on an all-nighter with a paper due the following day.
Practice time management. New social circles can be distracting from getting the most important work done. Don’t let the stresses of coursework and the duties of independent living cause you to lose track of time or shift your focus of what is important. This new transition of living and learning comes with a multitude of reasons as to why it is important to practice proper time management. It’s also healthy to fit play alongside of work. Working constantly with no breaks will eventually wear you down and then you’ll fail whether you want to or not. It’s important to get accustomed to these new responsibilities as soon as possible in order to avoid falling behind.
Always look for routes to engage in mindful leisurely activities. Everyone has needs that are required to be met in order to provide personal fulfillment (eating, sleeping, relaxing, reading, and socializing). As long as we stay on top of fulfilling these needs, we are less likely to experience stress. Another method is to write about it, you might even find a passion that you never knew you had. A good way to manage stress is to get regular exercise. Even if it’s only for ten minutes. Exercise elevates your mood by pumping dopamine and serotonin into your brain, making you feel good about yourself. If you get into the habit of it now, it will stick with you for the rest of your life. Studies conducted have also shown that those who write out the causes of their stress, thoughts and emotions have a higher chance to excel academically. In order to use this to its fullest extent it is important to write it all out without feeling of hesitation or worry.
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