• 3-minute read
  • 29th December 2016

6 Ways to Help Beat Student Stress

The pressures of college life are many and varied, but the effects are undeniable: More students than ever are suffering from stress and stress-related mental health issues.

Hopefully you're not facing anything quite as stressful as these guys. (Photo: Bernard Goldbach/flickr)
Hopefully you’re not facing anything quite this stressful.
(Photo: Bernard Goldbach/flickr)

As such, it’s vital that you know what to do if you’re feeling stressed. And these six tips are a good starting point.

1. Know the Signs of Stress

The first step to beating stress is recognizing when you are stressed. After all, it can be easy to miss the signs when you’re busy with a dozen other things! Prominent symptoms of stress include:

  • Irritability or feeling overwhelmed
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low self-esteem or constant worrying
  • Headaches, tension and muscle pain
  • Loss of appetite or difficultly sleeping

Stress is experienced differently by everyone, so this list isn’t definitive. But if these symptoms do sound familiar, it’s important not to ignore them.

2. Know Your Stressors

The best way to deal with anxiety is to cut it out at the source. Common stressors for college students include:

  • Academic stress (i.e., worrying about grades and workload)
  • Personal stress (i.e., anxiety about your personal and/or romantic life)
  • Family stress (i.e., pressure from your family or adjusting to being away from home)
  • Financial stress (i.e., making ends meet on a student budget)
  • Uncertainty about the future (i.e., not knowing what you’ll do after college)

The solution to these issues will depend on your situation, but knowing what makes you feel stressed will make it easier to make positive changes.

3. Talk It Out

In many cases, simply talking to someone can be a great help. This could be friends, family, your professors or even a counselor (most colleges offer a counselling service for students).

Discussing your problems is especially effective if you can talk to the people involved (e.g., talking about workload issues with professors). But even just chatting with a friend is better than keeping it all bottled up inside.

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4. Eat Well and Exercise

Your diet is important when you’re feeling stressed. Eat healthy food whenever possible, don’t skip meals, and cut out excessive caffeine (especially in the evenings).

The suitcase is optional.
The suitcase is optional.

Similarly, regular physical exercise has been shown to be important to stress management.

5. Rest and Recuperate

Sometimes, stress is a result of burnout, especially when you’re juggling a lot of responsibilities. Getting plenty of sleep is therefore crucial.

However, since anxiety can also cause insomnia, you should make sure your bedroom is set up to make sleeping easier (e.g., having a good mattress) and that you have a regular evening routine.

6. Relaxation

Taking time off is also vital. Simply put, you’ll never be able to beat stress if you don’t give yourself the chance to relax occasionally. This could be as simple as hanging out with friends or binge-watching something on Netflix, as long as it takes your mind off work!

For extra help, though, you might also want to try meditation and relaxation exercises.

A little quiet time can go a long way.
A little quiet time can go a long way.

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