Does School Stress You Out? Find Ways to Relax
School can be rewarding, but it is also stressful. There are classes to attend, projects to complete, texts to study, and exams to take. Additionally, you might have financial worries or concerns about your social life.
According to a 2017 survey, 45.1% of college students reported feeling more than average stress in the previous year, while 12% said that they felt tremendous stress.
As startling as these numbers are, if you’re a student, you have options that can help you feel better physically and mentally. You might be able to reduce stress and anxiety if you:
Consume certain foods and beverages
- Green and chamomile tea both have antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and possibly benefit your immune system. Ingredients in green tea could help improve your memory and attention as well as promote calmness, and if it has caffeine, the tea can also boost your energy levels.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and shellfish such as oysters. Benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include increased energy and improved brain function. Researchers have found that people who regularly consume fatty fish have better visualization-based memory skills and better handle stressful situations.
- Dark chocolate is delicious and beneficial. It has antioxidants that relax blood vessels, improve circulation, and lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that contains serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that stimulates the brain and makes people feel good.
- Complex carbohydrates (carbs) take longer to digest, keep the blood sugar steady, and help people feel full longer. You can find carbs in oatmeal, bread and other items with whole wheat, rice, cereals, corn, nuts, beans, peas, vegetables, and fruits.
- Protein-filled breakfasts also help you feel full for more extended amounts of time. They also steady the blood sugar, so you don’t feel anxious or shaky. Items such as lean meats, eggs, yogurt, cheese, or peanut butter have protein and can keep you satisfied in the morning and beyond.
Set a routine
- Prepare the night before so that you aren’t scrambling to find your things. Organize your outfit, meals, and any items you may need as you head out for the day.
- Avoiding the snooze button on your alarm is crucial because when you hit that button, you’re interrupting your sleep cycle, and it can leave you feeling groggy and more tired. Breaking the cycle by waking up and moving can give you the energy to fight your tiredness and face your day.
- Meditating and journaling don’t have to be formal or structured. Meditating can be taking a few deep breaths and repeating a word or phrase several times. Journaling can be writing a few notes, such as writing two things that make you thankful. Both practices can shift your focus away from stressful thoughts and toward the present.
- Exercising can distract you from your worries and produce chemicals that make your brain and body just feel good. Finishing workouts and incorporating activity can provide a sense of accomplishment that can carry through to other areas of your life.
- Eating breakfast can keep you full, satisfied, and regulate your blood sugar level. If you have a full stomach, it could be easier to focus and handle the challenges your life will inevitably throw at you.
Practice time management techniques
- Determining your priorities can help if you’re worried about managing your life. For example, you can make two lists. On one list, write all the things you need to do, such as eating, sleeping, going to class, studying, completing projects, and maybe working. On the other, write the things you want to do but don’t absolutely need to do.
- Scheduling your priorities by considering transferring the items on your need-to-do list to a schedule or a planner. You’ll probably have extra time left over, so you can add things from your want-to-do list. Seeing your tasks in written form can help you determine how long you want to spend doing them and if there are any you want to spend less time doing (or quit entirely).
- Looking for ways to save time while looking at your schedule is a great way to lessen stress. You might find ways to combine tasks, such as exercising and seeing your friends at the same time. You might offer to do a friend’s shopping while you’re doing yours and ask if your friend can help you complete one of your tasks.
- Advocating for yourself can help you manage your stress and schedule, so don’t be afraid to say no. If people ask you to do things that could create unnecessary stress or disruption, feel free to politely decline. You can thank them for asking and show them what you’ve already done.
- Being flexible with your schedule can be helpful. Schedules aren’t required, but they should be flexible. So, if you become sick or face an unexpected challenge at school or work, consider making a new schedule that accommodates those changes. Also, consider asking for assistance since your loved ones might be happy to help you in times of need.
Stress can threaten our mental and physical well-being. It can contribute to substance abuse and addiction, mental anguish, and physical pain. Finding ways to fight this stress can help you in school and life.
acha.org – Spring 2017 Reference Group Executive Summary
sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Tool Kit: Stress and Students
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