College is one of the most stressful times the average person faces, if not the most stressful, and everyone reacts to it differently. As for me, I’ve always been a high-strung and anxious person. Through all the presentations, tests, and papers that have made me wanna rip my hair out, I’ve learned some pretty good methods for overcoming my stress and staying in the game. Here’s my top 5!
Keep an Agenda. This one is number one for a reason! For me, it’s been what’s kept me grounded and focused, therefore laying out the basis for the other four techniques. I write everything down; homework, tests, advisement meetings, haircuts, grandma’s birthday, I don’t care. Just write it down! Organize your brain, make a tentative schedule, and know what you have to do before you start doing it. The best part is being able to cross things out as you do them- it feels really great.
Exercise. Finding the time in the day to exercise is a must for me. It’s a great way for me to de-stress and have some time away from schoolwork, while still feeling productive. Whether you’re running, lifting, or doing yoga, I guarantee you’ll feel better about yourself and feel more productive and energized. Exercise helps produce endorphins, “feel-good” chemicals in your brain that relieve stress and anxiety. I always feel better, mentally and physically, after getting a workout in after class. And lucky for us, the fitness center at Nazareth is free for all students.
You Time. I know it’s hard, and I struggle with this as well, but it’s essential to schedule some time to be a human BEING rather than a human DOING. Sometimes, you really just need to walk away for a few minutes. I always make sure to walk away for about 15 minutes every two hours to let my brain recharge, especially when writing an essay or doing another big assignment. Whether you go for a walk through campus, talk to a friend, or simply lay face down in bed, those little moments are crucial in keeping morale up and stress down.
Methodize. Methodizing works especially well in collaboration with scheduling, yet takes it a few steps further. What I mean by methodizing is following a simple and easy schedule every day. This allows me to get into a really nice groove, and keeps me from derailing and spiraling out of control. Every day I wake up about an hour before class, get ready, and have some tea (or coffee if I’m feeling wild). It may sound boring, but boring is smooth and smooth is cool (or at least that’s what I tell myself). Structuring myself in this way allows me to remain resilient and gives me a sense of control over my daily life, and maybe it could do the same for you.
Find Inspiration: This one sounds cliché, but I also find this really important. Whatever energizes and gets you in a creative mindset needs to be a part of your everyday life, whether it’s music, dancing, painting, reading, writing, cooking, whatever. For me, it’s being in nature. (I would have to suggest Highland Park, it’s one of my favorites). Just because you’re a student doesn’t necessarily mean you need to sacrifice other hobbies in order to accommodate your schoolwork. In fact, I say that it accentuates it. Instead of feeling dragged down by work and moping around all day, keep in mind what really gets you out of bed in the morning and incorporate that into your week or day.
The stress of college is a great way to get to know more about yourself, and how your brain operates. These are all the ways I’ve learned to deal with stress and to excel not only in schoolwork but in many other aspects of my life as well. This certainly isn’t a blueprint for becoming a perfect student, and you may only agree with one or two of these, but this is definitely what I have found most useful. Even if you don’t use any of these, I hope it inspires you to go out and discover what works for you.