Admit it. You either have been, are, or will be stressed in the near future. For many, college is synonymous with stress. It’s something everybody deals with, but it doesn’t have to dominate your life. With the right strategy, you can tame the stress beast.
Manage your time
Using your time wisely in college is challenging. Distractions bombard you from all directions—your phone, your Instagram feed, your friends, your relationships. If you’re like most people, then you need a balance between social life and academics. But how?
A good way to start managing your time is to write out what you need to do every day throughout the week on a chart. By laying it all out, you’ll get a general notion of how much time you actually have and how you can best use it.
Have a support system
You need other people. Having a support system—a few or more trusted friends and mentors you can go to for comfort, mutual encouragement and advice—will help you deal with stress.
Find trustworthy friends and share what’s bothering you. Start meaningful and deep conversations. Text a friend and set up a time to chat about life over coffee. Don’t forget to also listen to others and invest in their lives. It’s not just about you. Everyone needs support.
Take up a hobby
Hobbies—they can become life savers in college. Often we get so lost in our readings, quizzes, reports, projects and tests that we forget to take some time to do something we like. Yes, something that’s not required and that we actually enjoy.
Hobbies relax us and refocus our thinking. Engaging in enjoyable activities like running, drawing, longboarding, reading, cooking and writing refreshes us. Most importantly, hobbies help diminish the stress in our lives. Now find a hobby you like and enjoy it!
Invest in your well-being
Staying healthy in college means so much more than just exercising and eating a balanced diet. Your well-being’s not limited to those two elements. Sleep—that elusive something all of us tired students look forward to—is just as significant to your health as working out and avoiding junk food.
For example, a 2008 report by the American Sleep Association concluded that your lack of sleep is directly related to a decrease in your intellectual functions, which can seriously damage your GPA. Try to get enough sleep! You’ll feel more alert and energetic.
Many students fall into the trap of getting overly involved on campus. Don’t get me wrong. Being involved in college is great. But it can quickly become harmful to you if you don’t limit yourself. We can do only so much. We’re not superhuman.
Learn from my mistakes. Apart from taking 17 credits my third semester, I was also serving as an officer in two student organizations. And on top of that I wrote for The Collegian every week. The result: emotional breakdowns, exhaustion, lower grades, and lots of stress and dissatisfaction. I had to learn about my limits the hard way.
Leave it to God
Ultimately, your life’s in God’s hands. Freaking out won’t change your circumstances. While we can’t stress something into existence, we can strive to do our best.
In Matthew 6, Christ said that if the Father cares about flowers and birds, then how much more does He care for us? Leave your worries and your stress in God’s hands.
The apostle Paul tells us to meditate on good things instead of ruminating on our anxiety: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6).
As you learn to juggle the responsibilities of young adult life, remember that with the right approach, stress can become very manageable.