College is inarguably a time of great tension and anxiety, so fortunately there are many ways to deal with college stress. College can be stressful from trying to balance classes, social time, health, hygiene, and personal time. Some people tolerate stress better than others, but some people can deal with it in an unhealthy way – such as by partying or drinking, skipping meals, or simply ignoring it. We all know these aren’t healthy ways to manage stress, but what are some healthy alternatives? I’m currently in college, and I’m going to share with you some healthy ways to deal with college stress that I’ve learned.
1. Practice Yoga
Yoga is one of my favorite ways to deal with college stress. If you’ve never done yoga before, it is a series of breathing techniques and poses that are executed to help build strength both physically and mentally. I love doing yoga in my dorm room, and it is so easy just to relax while watching a yoga DVD at the end of class. Plus, you can just do it for a few minutes if you need a break from studying. I find that it really clears my mind from everything I’ve worried about that day. Taking a yoga class on campus is also a good way to meet friends, and having a good time with them can also help relieve some stress.
2. Join a Sports Team or Intramural Sport
Doing any sort of physical activity will definitely help you manage your stress levels. Although it may take up more time in your probably-busy schedule, it will increase the endorphins in your brain, which will in turn make you happier. Just getting active in any way possible will do the trick, but sometimes it’s easier to stick with exercising if you’re part of a group. Also, make sure that you’re doing a sport or exercise that you love, because that will help you de-stress even more. Feel free to try something new, because college campuses often have things like Zumba classes you can take.
3. Take Study Breaks Every 30 Minutes or so
Taking a study break every so often, depending on how long you’ll be working, will help take the stress out of studying in college. Trying to maintain good grades in college can be stressful, so allowing yourself to time to take a break can really help take the pressure of studying off your shoulders. Breaking a large project or paper into smaller tasks can also help, and incorporating breaks after you accomplish each small task is very fulfilling and efficient.
4. Eat Foods That Boost Your Mood
Foods that are rich in B-vitamins, potassium, and boost melatonin levels have all been shown to help improve mood. Being in a better mood will allow you to deal with your stress better by letting you focus on positive thoughts instead of negative, stressful things. Also, eating a generally healthy diet in college will help your body deal with the physical aspect of stress (have you ever noticed that you get sick during stressful times in your life? I have.). Some foods that can boost your mood include popcorn, bananas, dark chocolate, oranges, sweet potatoes, fish, and cherries.
5. Have a Spa Night with Girls on Your Floor or Some Friends
Having a night where you pamper yourself with some friends is a great way to de-stress. You can wear face masks, style each other’s hair, paint each other’s nails, and just do general self-care tasks. This isn’t something you could probably do every night, but it would be a great way to manage the stress of a big project or study session. If you wanted to incorporate this into your regular stress-management routine, make sure you take care of yourself for a few minutes every night by wearing a face mask or maybe taking a bubble bath (if you live in an apartment).
6. Drink a Mug of Tea (Not Coffee!)
Drinking a cup of hot herbal tea is a great way to unwind at the end of a stressful day. If you currently drink energy drinks or coffee to stay awake studying, the crash you experience afterwards could make your stress levels get out of control. If you need to stay awake, drinking some green tea with caffeine will give you more health benefits, and I personally don’t get an energy crash after drinking it either. I’m not saying you should give up coffee in the morning, but drinking it too late can really impact your stress levels (not to mention your sleep, and lack of sleep is also bad for stress).
7. Smell Some Essential Oils
When you’re feeling stressed, there’s nothing better than the smell of something relaxing and comforting. Upon my arrival at college, I missed the familiar smells of baked goods and lavender candles (candles aren’t allowed in dorms) from home. Luckily, I was able to bring a humidifier that I could pour relaxing essential oils into, to make my entire dorm room smell great. Essential oils are a little pricey, but they last a long time and are completely natural. My favorite ones that have been shown to reduce stress are lavender, orange, and lemon.
These are my favorite ways to deal with stress during college. I know many people don’t have time to exercise and just want to sleep after classes, which is fine on some days, but these are the tips that I find work well for me. What I think is most important is that you try to get enough sleep, eat well, and spend a few minutes relaxing every night so that your body can physically handle stress well too. What is your favorite natural way to deal with stress?