Welcome back from spring break! After some great relaxation, it’s that time again for assignments to be handed out and the stress to build up. Yet, stress can affect our ability to sleep and even worsen our grades. We don’t want that, don’t we?! Those are our top priorities as college students! With that in mind, how can we help ourselves remain stress free? Here are 10 tips to not letting your assignments and exams get to you.
1. Yoga and Breathing Techniques
- Now, these two go hand-in-hand. Yoga uses controlled poses, mindful breathing techniques and meditation for relaxation. A few poses that are great for relieving stress include salutation seal, cat pose, cow pose, extended puppy pose and much more. Combining these poses with mindful breathing can bring you state of calm in any situation. There are apps available for iOS and Android that can help, such as Mycalmbeat and Calm.
- Working out is a great option and all you need is 10 minutes. A quick jog around the block can do wonders for your state of mind. Sweating out the stress can take your mind off your current situation and help you with writer’s block for those 10 page papers. Regular exercise is the best option, but as college students we don’t always have the option. Even a leisurely walk can relieve tension by releasing endorphins into the body.
- Similar to a quick workout, taking a small break to do something else can give your mind a break from what is causing you stress. Use your phone to time yourself so you don’t get distracted for too long. Then put on a little bit of music, put on a pot of water for some tea and do some light stretching as you wait for it to boil. Doing this a few times throughout a long study session can keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
4. Take a Soothing Shower or Bath
- Put your favorite music, show or podcast on in the background and let the warm water help you start fresh from some strenuous studying. But are you looking for a longer break? Try a warm bath. You can even add some lavender Epsom salts to the water and light a few candles. Add some light music in the background and feel the stress fall from your shoulders.
- Eating after you wake up can help you face challenging situations throughout your day and keep you focused. Instead of treating the stress afterwards, breakfast can help you prevent it. Even a quick smoothie can do wonders. Try this recipe: apple juice, spinach, a banana, and some frozen pineapple. You’ll get the nutrients you need from the spinach, without the taste.
6. Meal Prepping
- By preparing in advance, you are saving time and stress later when you need a quick meal before class or work. If that’s too much for the limited time we have as students, at least prepare your next meal in advance. Plus, it is 10x healthier than the Del Taco or Taco Bell you were thinking of grabbing instead.
7. Try a Personal Mantra
- When you feel things are getting out of control, try a personal mantra you can associate with remaining calm. I like to use this one: Everything is going to be okay. It works for anything, especially before an exam or presentation. Repeating this over and over while practicing deep breathing techniques can help stress induced anxiety subside.
- This may seem like a tad too much, but crying can work wonders. Bring up a sappy Netflix movie or show and let the waterworks happen. Letting yourself cry can release any built up hormones or toxins in your body. I recommend This Is Us as the perfect crying material and tension reliever.
- Calling another person can provide another perspective on the issue and help bring you back down to Earth. Getting social support from someone you trust can put things into perspective and ultimately relieve the built up tension.
10. Snuggle an animal
- Petting an animal can be extremely beneficial to a person’s stress level. By simply petting a cat or dog, the body naturally releases a hormone known as oxytocin. As these levels rise, the amount of stress built up in the body will decrease. Already have an animal? Your halfway there! Grab them and snuggle them.
These are just a few of the many things you can do to relieve your stress. As midterms and finals come and go, as the amount of reading increases and your papers are due the same day as a presentation, try these techniques. Some of them may not help you, but as you use them you’ll find what does work. Plus, these techniques can be used in every aspect of life, during and after college. Continue moving forward, do your homework, take your exams and remain stress free.