With final exams quickly approaching, it can be difficult to manage stress and find time to do the things you enjoy. I know we all can get especially stressed out with classes, clubs, work, and more, but it's still so important to make sure you are taking care of yourself. I wanted to share a few ways I have been managing my stress and “recharging” my mental battery in college.
Number one: going to the gym or for a walk. I know this one is cliché, but it's true, getting out and moving my body is one of the best ways I’ve been able to manage stress this semester. Even if it’s just a 10-minute walk, I find that changing my space and moving my body can help clear my head and motivate me.
Number two: sunshine. I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase: “go get yourself some sunshine,” and it’s true, it does help. The other day a friend and I just laid in the sun on Prez Lawn for 15 minutes and it boosted my mood tremendously.
Number three: meditation. I have recently been getting into meditation and I have noticed a real change in my mood and perspective. I used to believe I didn’t have time to meditate so I never did, but recently I have started meditating in the shower. I know it seems like a weird place to meditate, but for those of us who don’t have a lot of time, it’s a good place to do so without feeling like you’re taking time away from something else. In my meditation, I take three deep breaths and say: “I am inhaling positivity and exhaling negativity. I am inhaling that which serves me and exhaling that which does not. I am inhaling good thoughts and exhaling bad thoughts.” This simple exercise takes me all of one minute, and it always sets up my day for success.
Number four: listening or playing music. I am an avid listener of music and find singing along to my favorite songs very cathartic. I also play guitar and piano, so playing an instrument also helps me destress and take a break from studying. Even if you don’t play an instrument, taking a break to jam out to one of your favorite songs is a great way to take a mental breather.
Number five: tea time. I have always been a big tea enthusiast, but since coming to college, I think you could now call me a tea addict. There’s something very comforting about making yourself a cup of tea. Additionally, teas like lavender or chamomile are proven to help relax you, so that’s a bonus! When I’m having a hard time studying or just need to reset myself, making a cup of tea usually does the job.
Number six: sleep! When you’re overtired, things in life tend to feel much worse than they really are. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep is a must for me. That assignment can wait, I promise!
Number seven: cold showers. Okay, hear me out. You don’t have to shower under cold water the entire time, but even 30 seconds can make a difference. Cold showers are proven to reduce stress, muscle soreness, and calm the nervous system. I didn’t believe it until I tried it, but after doing it for about two months now, I do think it works!
Number eight: reading. Reading has been a way for me to escape from reality since I was little, and in college, if I just need a break from thinking about everything I have to do, reading a chapter or two allows me to detach myself, even if it’s just for a minute.
Number nine: taking breaks. When we’re busy, we tend to just work until the work is done. This can lead to more stress and an even more depleted mental battery. What has helped me is telling myself “okay, I’ll work until 3:00 pm, and then I’ll take a break til’ 3:30,” or something along those lines. I have found that my work is actually of better quality when I am taking breaks in between because I have had time to think about something else so I can revisit an assignment with fresh eyes and maybe notice something I hadn’t before.
Lastly, number 10: find time to do the things you love. Whether you love reading, playing soccer, or spending time with your friends, it's important to take time to do the things you love. College can be a lot, and if you are solely focused on your coursework, it can feel very overwhelming.
Hopefully, you have learned, or relearned, a few tips to help you manage stress in college. Whenever I feel that I am not taking the best care of myself, I like to remember this little rhyme: time for you is important too!