Stress and anxiety are common problems among college students, especially given the competitive nature of schools where students want to excel in all of their classes. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anxiety is a top mental health concern among college students, with 41.6% saying they have symptoms related to the disorder. Anxiety can get in the way of your educational goals, so to help you manage school-related stress, here are some tips from Cielo Gonzalez Villa that you can follow:
- Plan ahead.
When deadlines and studying for exams start to pile on top of each other, your stress levels can skyrocket in a snap. To avoid having these problems, plan ahead. This means you need to get organized and manage time properly. Keep a calendar close so you can always have an overview of how much time you have left to finish papers and study for upcoming tests. A checklist of what still needs to be accomplished will also help you prioritize tasks. If you realize that you don’t have enough time to complete all of your requirements, find clever ways to tick all of the items in your checklist, such as a study partner to exchange notes with or a website that writes papers for you. Keep your school things organized as well—your books, notes, papers, and readings should be filed in a system that best fits your needs. By planning ahead, staying organized, and managing your time, you can avoid a significant amount of stress during the term.
- Develop a learning style.
Every student learns differently. Some are more visual learners, so they need videos, pictures, and graphs to help them study. Others find note-taking and revising more effective learning tools. There are some that thrive better in study groups, while there are also students who prefer intermittent reviewing where they study for each subject for, say, thirty minutes at a time, and then rotating their subjects until they finish reviewing all of them. Therefore, you need to find and develop a learning style that best suits your needs and personality. Once you find a formula that works for you, try to stick with it so you can then develop a study habit.
- Get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation weakens the immune system, affects your memory and creativity, negatively influences your hormone levels and body weight, increases your risk of acquiring advanced respiratory diseases, and can lead to high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. So even when things get hectic at school, make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. Healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep at night, but if you must pull an all-nighter, take advantage of power naps throughout the day. Power naps can revive alertness more effectively than caffeine. They also help boost memory and improve creativity. With a 30-minute midday nap, you can accomplish so much more of your goals and avoid stress in the process.
Physical exercises release happy hormones such as cortisol and endorphins that help relieve stress and anxiety. More importantly, they keep you strong, fit and healthy. However, a lot of college students find it hard to maintain a regular exercise habit because they are busy with schoolwork and/or can’t afford a gym membership. But simple exercises such as jumping jacks, squats, push-ups, crunches, planking, and lunges don’t need to take a lot of time and won’t cost a cent. You don’t even need to leave your dorm room! There are apps that can guide you through these exercises so that you can follow a regular workout routine.
- Practice mindful breathing.
Mindful breathing can be very beneficial if you make it part of your everyday routine. When things get stressful or whenever you feel overwhelmed, just close your eyes and practice mindful breathing for a few seconds to retain calmness and focus. Breathe in for seven seconds, hold it for four, and then exhale for another four. Repeat this process until your stress level goes down and you feel that you’re ready to continue with your tasks. While practicing mindful breathing, you can also exercise self-affirmation to promote positive thinking, happiness and success.