5 Healthy Ways to Manage Stress in College

Running on a treadmill

Everyone’s bound to get pretty stressed out from time-to-time, especially in the fast-paced college life.  But if you get overwhelmed, anxiety can start taking a toll on your physical and mental health.  Don’t let stress rule your life—manage it by following these five tips.

1.  Keep lists
When you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities—assignments you have to complete, errands you have to run, laundry you have to finally address—it’s more difficult to focus and stay on task.  Keeping to-do lists is a simple way to lay out what needs to get done, so you can give your attention to one thing at a time.  These lists can be as basic or as detailed as you need them to be.  If you really want to stay organized and on task, you can assign time blocks to the items on your lists.  Having a set schedule for yourself can be a really great motivator.  It also helps with time management, so you can work efficiently and not have to do things last-minute.

2. Get moving
Exercising gives you energy, keeps your body healthy, and releases endorphins, making you feel better overall.  Not into sports?  Walk, jog, or ride your bike around campus, dance at a party, or check out the treadmill at your campus gym.  Doing some sort of exercise in the morning is a healthy way to help with stress; it’ll get your blood flowing, wake you up, energize you, and get you ready to face the day.

3.  Talk it out
When you’re stressed out, try not to internalize.  You could find yourself getting stuck in your own head, where all your stressors just replay on a loop.  So talk it out!  Have a conversation with a friend, call up a parent or sibling, or visit your school’s counseling center.  If your stress is class-related, talk with a professor after class.  When you’re unclear about anything or need some direction with a project, it’s always best to ask for help.

4.  Volunteer
When’s the last time you lent a helping hand?  Of course, volunteering is great because it’s important to contribute to worthy causes and offer aid to others.  But it’s also actually a great way to manage stress.  It’ll keep you busy and distract you from your own worries.  You’ll feel good about yourself afterwards too.  Volunteer options are boundless, and a quick internet search will show you opportunities in your area. You might not even have to leave campus to volunteer; find out what events are going on at your school, and see if there’s a way for you to help.

5.  Take a break
Your schedule might be tight, but it’s always important to take a little time for yourself. Manage your time wisely, and after devoting a decent amount of it to being productive, take a break!  It’s healthy to take a moment every day to unwind, decompress, and reflect.  Do something like go to a coffee shop, read something not assigned for class, take a power-nap, or write in a journal.  Just remember to always try to make time and take time for yourself.