No matter how prepared you are or how well you’ve managed stress in the past, college is completely different type of stress. It’s not simply that there’s more work, or the work done is more intensive, but college is a place where you can learn who you are, and it’s hard to do that when you have four papers looming over your head.
You need to be able to make time for yourself, to celebrate your independence and spend time with friends while still getting all the work done that needs to be done. However, a lot of people get bogged down by stressors and it only creates more anxiety and, in some cases, isolation and depression. For instance, you stay in from a night out with your friends because you know you need to get your reading finished, but you keep becoming distracted or feeling like one of the other classes takes precedence. You stress yourself into a moratorium where, instead of being productive, you do nothing.
This is that awful sensation you get when you sit in front of your computer and can’t seem to put words together to form a decent sentence. It’s your rapid thought that’s causing you to procrastinate, but rather than procrastinate by poorly managing your time, you’re doing everything right, you just can’t seem to shut out those thoughts that stop you from engaging in work.
This is the bane of college students. This stress can spiral out of control and you start getting anxious that you’re running out of time. This can escalate with each minute that ticks by and make you upset that you didn’t choose to spend time with your friends. At least if you were with your friends, you’d be having fun; you’d have an excuse for not getting anything done, but instead you’re staring at a blank word document.
This is the kind of stress college brings, but don’t let that scare you off. This is the result of improperly managed stress. If you’ve isolated yourself from all distractions and you’re sitting in front of a blank word document, you’re not managing your stress. So when this happens to you, try one of these five techniques to manage your stress.
This is the most obvious stress reliever. If you find your leg bobbing up and down and you’re having an inability to focus, then go for a run, lift some weights, or – if schedules allow – play a sport with your friends. It’s no secret that exercise releases endorphins in your head which will make you happier by default. But in addition to this, exercise will tire your body, making your muscles instinctively relax (as opposed to tighten with tension) when you sit back down to do your homework.
Even if you don’t work out daily, go for a run or even a walk. Clear your head and give your body something to do.
- Drink Water, Not Coffee
A bad habit to get into is knowing you’ll have oodles of homework to do tonight, so you go out and buy an energy drink or brew a pot of coffee for the night. This is not going to help you, not even as a placebo.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about caffeine and coffee in general. Some say it dehydrates you, some say it’s bad for you, and still others claim it’s the best drug in the world – that sparked the enlightenment in the seventeenth century. There’s some truth in all these, so let’s set the record straight.
First of all, coffee is brewed with water, so you’re not “dehydrating” yourself by drinking coffee, you are getting water. However, coffee is a diuretic which is what makes you use the bathroom every ten minutes. Now coffee is great for you, it stimulates your brain, wards off diseases, and even heightens some senses… but it’s not going to help you pull an all-nighter.
College students are typically already drinking coffee throughout the day, and some have it first thing in the morning. Well, if you’re not drinking water, then your body is going to have caffeine flowing through your veins and your body is going to start producing chemicals to counteract the caffeine to rebalance itself. What would counteract the effects of coffee? Sleep. Your body is going to redress your biochemical imbalance by producing the chemicals necessary to make you fall asleep.
No, another cup of coffee will not help you stay awake and focus. Drink water and eat light, healthy meals in the night. You’ll function much better.
- Manage Your Relaxation
It may sound like an oxymoron, but manage your relation schedule. In the same way that you won’t be able to focus on an assignment if you’re having rapid thought, then you’re probably not going to focus on an assignment if the season finale of your favorite show is on.
Don’t guilt yourself for watching an episode of television before sitting down to do your work, just make sure you manage that time. Spending an hour in front of the TV, isn’t going to have a significant impact on your work schedule… bingewatching an entire season will. With that in mind, manage your relation and take breaks.
If you have assignments due for multiple classes, don’t simply rush through each of them, give yourself windows of time in between to unwind.
- Go To Chapel
One of the primary benefits of attending a Christian college is the fact that you’re able to attend chapel on campus. And how many times have you been in a rut, only to attend a church service and discover a new parable that applies to your life right now?
Never forget the strength that comes from your faith. Let it empower you and you’ll be able to overcome even the most strenuous of situations.
Again, this may seem counterintuitive, but similar to coffee, you need to know what sleep does for you. Sleep expels toxins from your brain; literally, your brain is like a sponge and during sleep it shrinks down, wringing all the toxins that have built up in your head and flushes them out of body.
So yes, if your mind is feeling cloudy, you may need sleep. Just make sure you set an alarm to tackle your assignments before they’re due.
The fact is, college is fun. And while the stress you’re going through is not, there are ways to manage it so you’re not overwhelmed. Next time you’re struggling, try one of these five techniques to eliminate stress.