Stress is an inevitable part of the college experience. According to the American College Health Association (ACHA)’s National College Health Assessment (NCHA) stress was reported by students as the number one factor that negatively impacted their academic performance. Many students are also juggling part-time jobs, research duties and family responsibilities in addition to focusing on school. It can be challenging for college students to find time to do activities to relieve stress. Taking the time to manage stress can have a huge impact on overall health and well being which can affect academic performance. Sometimes a small mindful shift can jump start a students’ steps to taking care of their stress levels. Try this exercise:
Rate your stress in different areas of your life on a scale from 1-10, 1 being low stress and 10 being high stress.
- Other (if applicable)
Now, take a few minutes to look at your stress levels within each category. Maybe there are areas in your life that you can take a step back from to lower that specific level. If that is not possible, maybe you can invest more time in areas with lower stress that tend to help you cope with the other higher stress areas. Perhaps there are areas that you can problem solve ways to lower the stress in that area, for example, if you are stressed about finances then speak to a financial aid officer or apply for a scholarship. When you have a plan of action this can decrease your stress in this area. Try to do this exercise every few weeks to see where your main sources of stress are coming from and make a plan of action. Sometimes getting present with your stress and writing it out is a great way to take some of your power back.
Stress relief can look different for everyone. Throughout your week, take note of what you enjoy and what you don’t enjoy. If connecting with certain people leaves you feeling energized, try to get together with them more often. If you notice you felt great after you decided to walk instead of taking the bus to a class, try doing that again. Making time for rejuvenating activities is an investment for yourself and for your future that will make a difference.
The Counseling and Testing Center has resources to help with stress such as a relaxation room with a massage chair and nature videos. They also offer meditation classes, group and individual therapy which can help individuals learn tools to manage stress.