8 stress management tips for working college students
Stress is something all college students are way too familiar with. You’ve got homework, you’ve got a job, you’ve got bills to pay and the list goes on. There’s the added pressure of trying to find a job that you actually like, after college.
To help you navigate through a overwhelmed and chaotic college life, here are eight ways to cope with stress for students.
Write down your negative thoughts
When we don’t understand how we feel and its triggers, we can get trapped in our own thoughts and go into a spiral and frenzy. Some of you know that spiral and how tough it is to get out of it. It’s mentally draining and no fun at all.
There’s something therapeutic about writing (or typing) how you feel. It’s a great way to organize your thoughts and acknowledge how you feel in the moment. Exerting all of that negative energy into words can provide relief and comfort. You’ll also be able to recognize patterns that may cause you stress and anxiousness.
If you're an over-dramatic diva, like me, and think of the worst situations, you’ll be able to look back and laugh at yourself for overthinking the simplest things. So, writing them out can show how overblown, ridiculous, or straight-up wrong your thoughts can be.
We’ve all gone through that bad cycle of procrastination. For example, your prof assigns you an essay due at the end of the semester. At the beginning, you have all the time in the world to start but you decide to put it aside for later. 2 months later (in the infamous spongebob voice), you realize you should start writing but you still have time, so you shrug it off.
Now it's the day before the deadline, you’re scrambling to finish the paper, finding citations, re-reading class notes and gulping down two cups of coffee. You stay up all night to finish the goddamn paper and submit it at 11:59 pm. Then you tell yourself you won’t be doing that again. But at the back of your mind you know you are.
Procrastination can be your worst enemy and anxiety builder. Break this cycle by dividing your workload into smaller tasks, throughout the week or month. Planning ahead is key to productivity and getting things done. Use google calendar or other organizing apps to set priorities and due dates.
Start your day off right and get organized
Stress can make you feel like you’re not in control or not in the driver seat. But the simple act of making your bed can make you feel like you’re in control and accomplished. Making your bed isn’t just being OCD or a neatfreak, it’s a lifestyle.
Starting your day with a made-bed can boost your mood and set your day in motion. Disorganization in your bedroom can lead to a disorganized and anxious mind. So keep your room and closet clutter free.
Do the work
With multiple deadlines, projects and endless amounts of homework, we can get caught up with all the work we have to do and end up not doing the work at all. We put off tasks because they can be boring, too difficult or time consuming, but we still feel bad when you don’t do them. So we start doing something else, like watching Netflix or playing Call of Duty to make us feel good.
Yeah you’ve been there. But just starting on one piece of assignment can make it easier to follow through with the rest. If you think your assignment is boring, then start off with the one that’s relatively “easier” or more interesting to you.
To get over your stacks of homework, you just gotta do them.
Reach Out & Connect
Most of the time your friends and classmates are in the same boat you are - overworked and overwhelmed.If you don’t have the time to write down how you’re feeling, definitely call or text a friend. Sharing how you feel can take a massive load off your shoulder and release mental tension.
By neglecting and ignoring your friends, you put yourself more at risk for anxiety and stress. Schedule those zoom wine parties and game nights, because you definitely deserve the time off. AND please please please take advantage of university or on-site counsellors and advisors, they are there to listen to your problems and help you solutions.
Say no to multitasking
Forget about multitasking. It’s just something on your resume to make it stand out from other applicants. Don’t worry, I’ve been guilty of that too.
We’ve been taught to glorize multitaskers and how well they can maximize their time and get more done throughout the day. But it’s all a lie. Being great at multitasking doesn’t mean you're productive, it’s actually the opposite. Switching between two or more tasks can leave you less focused and take up way more time - if you had done them individually. So let’s normalize single-tasking and focus on one task at a time.
Sports was my coping mechanism. There’s a saying in basketball and volleyball to “leave everything on the court.” In other words, whatever I was feeling at the moment - mad, sad or disappointed - I used to drive my game inside the court. But once I leave the court I don’t bring those negative vibes off the court.
For you it may be listening to music, doing yoga, screaming into a pillow or playing an instrument. It doesn’t matter what type of activity it is as long as it helps you destress and unwind. Of course activities won’t actually make your problems go away. But it does give you an outlet to channel those emotions and frustrations. Also, gives you the space to zone out and slightly-forget you had problems at all.
Take a breath
Last but not the least, just take a breath. This my all-time favourite technique - it’s simple but yet so effective. Just taking a moment to breathe is sometimes all we need to recollect our thoughts, settle and calm our nerves.
It’s totally okay to feel vulnerable and stressed out. It happens to everyone. Just follow these stress management tips so you can some-what enjoy your college life.