Coping with Stress in College
One of my friends reached out to me last week. "Kyeisha, you seem really stressed are you ok?" I had to reply, "Not really, I am really stressed out"
Stress. It's a word you hear a lot in college. It seems like every conversation is like "Hey how are you?"
"Yeah I'm stressed too"
Every semester of college has been hard and stressful for me, but I can honestly say that in the past few weeks I had never felt that much stress before. I felt so fragile, like I was ready to cry at any moment. And I did. Many nights, I had to get up and literally walk away from my work. I needed a break but I couldn't with midterms in French, Communication, Chemistry lecture, Cell Biology, Genetics, and Chemistry lab with the last three all on the SAME DAY!
It made me thing how important it is to talk about that word: Stress. What is it, how it's different for every person, and how we can cope with it. So grab a cup of tea or coffee and keep reading this week's blog all about stress.
What is stress?
Stress is defined by Oxford University as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. For us college students, the stressor is usually our schoolwork, and this stress is heightened during midterms and finals, but we all deal with some levels of stress throughout the whole semester. This is why it is important to find ways that work best for you to destress and to incorporate these into your daily and weekly routine.
According to Stress.org, three out of four college students have experienced "overwhelming anxiety" and 30% of students reported having that feeling within in last two weeks.
There can be many different signs of stress that can range from emotional, physical, cognitive, or behavioral. Learnpsychology.org listed some possible symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, sense of isolation, headaches, getting sick more often than normal, change in eating or sleeping habits. People will experience stress in different ways, I think an important step for me was realizing the things that I did or changes I noticed during high stress times. Personally, I tend to get headaches, feel very overwhelmed, I might eat less, and I am more irritable.
Ways to Cope with Stress
Today, I want to share some things I have tried to do when I feel stressed as well as some tips that other people have suggested.
Make a list making lists always helps me feel better, I can see exactly what I need to get done and make little goals for myself
Take a break highly highly suggest just walking away and taking a break sometimes
Breaks that only take a few minutes:
Step outside and get some fresh air
Go make yourself a little snack or drink
Take a little walk. I will often take walks around the library and it really helps, even if I look a little crazy pacing back and forth
Take a nap
Dance and sing! My favorite thing I do is when I am finally home after hours of studying, I put on my favorite playlist and dance around my room.
Watch an episode of your favorite show
Take a shower or bubble bath- I love taking a nice warm shower to calm down
Cook a meal -cooking has been really relaxing for me, I like trying out a new recipe
Workout! One of my friends swears by taking active breaks. Get that heart pumping!
Read one of your favorite books
Spend time with friends when I am stressed with a lot to do, I often isolate myself. But it's important to reach out to the people who support you
Call your loved ones and friends
Grab something to eat with your bestie
Affirmations sometimes you just need to remind yourself that you are capable. One of my close friends says she does this and it really helps. You can pick a few from below and say them to yourself everyday and during stressful times.
These are some great tips that you can put into your daily and weekly routines to help with stress. Although I put my academic success as a very high priority, my mental and physical health is just as important and so is yours. I used to be so pressed to stay productive every minute of every day, but this semester I have been working hard to have a more balanced life. I take time to workout, to cook, to read, and every now and again have a "no work day".
I am going to be trying out more of these destress activities for the rest of the semester and encourage you all to do the same. And let me know the ways that you destress!
Thank you so much for reading!