Tips to Help You Relieve Stress: College Edition

By Amanda Cohen on January 19, 2018

School is stressful. There is no question about it… I don’t care if you are a freshman taking 16 credits or a second semester senior taking the bare minimum, being in a school environment is burdensome and, for many people, can be anxiety-provoking. However, sometimes the most stressful part of school is not having a plan/enough time to actually de-stress. Well, I’m here to tell you that there are effective and doable plans to de-stress while in college and that you do in fact have plenty of time to de-stress… well, not “plenty” of time, rather you definitely have enough time to de-stress. Keep on reading if you need to de-stress, but don’t know how to go about doing so.

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Go for a Walk/Jog/Run

Even if you don’t love to exercise, I highly recommend you start incorporating cardio into your routine. Walking/jogging/running are great ways to clear your head… it helps your health both mentally and physically (talk about killing two birds with one stone). Even if you just do the cardio for 15 minutes each day, I promise you that it will make a difference and that you will end up increasing your cardio time because you will start to see the amazing benefits. If you go to a school where it’s warm enough to be outside, run outside, if not, go on the treadmill.

While doing your cardio, either revel in the silence and enjoy the mindlessness of the activity, or listen to an awesome playlist that puts a smile on your face and/or calms you down. Remember to take whatever cardio you decide to do at your own pace and go about it in a way that fits your schedule (don’t work around anyone else’s workout schedules other than your own). Working out with other people can be great, but sometimes working out alone is less stressful and more calming.

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Go to a Yoga Class

People swear by yoga (including many of my close friends). Yoga is a great activity to do early in the morning or at night right before you go to bed because it calms you down and it combines fitness, focus, and an overall sense of self and healthy well-being. Yoga is definitely hard to get into and stay committed to, but it should definitely be a part of your weekly routine. The great thing about yoga is that it is often offered for free at your university’s gym, or local yoga studios will offer you fantastic and financially manageable class packages so that you don’t have to worry about sacrificing your bank account for the benefit of your mental health.

Similar to walking/jogging/running, yoga is great for both your mental and physical health and yoga is offered in a variety of difficulty levels so that you know what you’re doing and you don’t hurt yourself. Plus, even though all classes focus on being present in the moment, some classes will be more introspection heavy while others will be more physically straining. Pick which class is best for you!

Do Some Meditation

Meditating is easier said than done, and I really should practice what I preach because meditation has unreal de-stressing benefits and it doesn’t take much time out of your day. The art of meditating is simple. You sit straight up either on the floor or in the chair, you close your eyes, and you take deep and purposeful breaths. The recommended time for meditation is around ten minutes, but even five minutes of meditation will do wonders for your overall mental well-being.

However, if you are like me and have a hard time meditating on your own, there are apps that you can download on your phone that can help guide you through the meditation process: Headspace, The Mindfulness App, Calm, MINDBODY, buddhify, Insight Timer, Smiling Mind, and many more. Most of the apps are free, and you can find out more ample information on them on Healthline.

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Cook an “Elaborate” and/or Healthy Meal

In the past, when I was stressed, I thought that ordering lunch and dinner for delivery would help because it would give me more time to attend to other things (like homework) that I needed to do. However, I found that when I took the time to cook dinner for myself, I felt a lot better and healthier, physically and mentally. The dinner doesn’t have to be the typical elaborate dinner people usually think of, but go on Tasty and find some exciting new and quick recipes. Cooking is extremely therapeutic and there is nothing more satisfying than eating a home-cooked meal. Easy go-to meals that take 30 minutes or less are baked salmon, cut up some rotisserie chicken with rice and veggies, pasta and salad, veggie burgers (you can buy these frozen) with frozen sweet potato fries, and more. Cooking will eventually become a part of your routine and studies show that healthier foods that are cooked at home actually help to create stronger mental health.

I hope these tips were helpful. However, if the stress seems to become too much and you are worried about your mental/psychological well-being, either go to your local emergency room or your local university counseling/mental health services or call one of these numbers:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Suicide & Crisis Hotline: 1-800-999-9999
  • Help Finding a Therapist: 1-800-843-7274
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-6264

You can de-stress and if the stress has driven you to the point of mental illness, I promise that you have a support system… whether that be family, friends, professors, advisors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, etc. You aren’t alone and you will get through this. Just be sure to take advantage of the suggestions above and the resources I’ve listed if the stress gets to be too much. You aren’t alone and you got this!

I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan.

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