Study Tips

How To Conquer Stress in College? 

Submitting a paper, having exams arriving,or simply attending classes… There are many reasons to feel stressed at uni, and it’s not easy to deal with it! Here are some tips to cope with stress and ease your student life.

1. Get Enough Sleep

A lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress. Unfortunately, stress also interrupts our sleep as thoughts keep whirling through our heads, stopping us from relaxing enough to fall asleep.

It may be tempting to hit the hay at 4 a.m. and then attend an 8 a.m. class, but short-changing yourself on rest can increase your stress level. Adults typically need seven to nine hours of sleep a night for best health. It is also recommended that you align your sleep schedule with normal resting hours by getting to bed before midnight, rather than staying up until dawn and sleeping until mid-afternoon. “The more that our internal clock is closely aligned with the clock of the sun, the better it is,” Forbes says.

Try taking a warm bath or reading a calming, undemanding book for a few minutes to relax your body, tire your eyes and help you forget about the things that worry you.

2. Learn some breathing and relaxation techniques

Each day, try to relax with a stress reduction technique.  There are many tried and tested ways to reduce stress so try a few and see what works best for you.

For example, self-hypnosis is very easy and can be done anywhere, even at your desk or in the car. One very simple technique is to focus on a word or phrase that has a positive meaning to you. Words such as “calm” “love” and “peace” work well, or you could think of a self-affirming mantra such as “I deserve calm in my life” or “Grant me serenity”.  Focus on your chosen word or phrase; if you find your mind has wandered or you become aware of intrusive thoughts entering your mind, simply disregard them and return your focus to the chosen word or phrase. If you find yourself becoming tense again later, simply silently repeat your word or phrase.

If you’re looking for another type of relaxation, deep-breathing exercises can help melt away the tension. Simply inhale slowly through your nose, hold the breath for a few seconds, then exhale through your mouth, and repeat as needed. This helps prevent the short, shallow breaths that often accompany feelings of tension.
Don’t worry if you find it difficult to relax at first. Relaxation is a skill that needs to be learned and will improve with practice.

3. Disconnect from classes and free up time for your passions! 

Your schedule may be filled with lectures and study groups, but try to find at least a couple of hours each week to pursue a hobby or other activity that you enjoy. You might be surprised what happens when you pursue something you’re passionate about during your time off. Indulging your passions is a great way to escape stress and to open your mind to new ways of thinking. Things like playing music, reading, writing or painting can help stimulate different modes of thought that can reap huge dividends over the coming week.

Try something you haven’t done before or perhaps something you haven’t done in a long time, but that you really enjoy. Buy tickets to a concert or play, or get reservations for that cool new hotel that just opened downtown. Instead of running on a treadmill, plan a hike. Studies show that anticipating something good to come is a significant part of what makes the activity pleasurable. Knowing that you have something interesting planned for Saturday will not only be fun come Saturday, but it will significantly improve your mood throughout the week and decrease stress.

4. Exercise

When you’re stressed, moving around may be the last thing you feel like doing. But as little as 20 minutes a day of physical activity can reduce stress levels.

Indeed, stressful situations increase the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body. These are the “fight or flight” hormones that evolution has hard-wired into our brains and which are designed to protect us from immediate bodily harm when we are under threat.  However, stress in the modern age is rarely remedied by a fight or flight response, and so physical exercise can be used as a surrogate to metabolize the excessive stress hormones and restore your body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state.

Exercise is also a great way to come up with new ideas. Innovators and other successful people know that being outdoors often sparks creativity.

5. Keep a stress diary

Keeping a stress diary for a few weeks is an effective stress management tool as it will help you become more aware of the situations which cause you to become stressed.

Note down the date, time and place of each stressful episode, and note what you were doing, who you were with, and how you felt both physically and emotionally.  Give each stressful episode a stress rating (on, say, a 1-10 scale) and use the diary to understand what triggers your stress and how effective you are in stressful situations.  This will enable you to avoid stressful situations and develop better coping mechanisms.

Perfectly knowing yourself is the key to preserve you from stress!

6. Manage your time

At times, we all feel overburdened by our ‘To Do’ list and this is a common cause of stress. Accept that you can not do everything at once and start to prioritise and diarise your tasks.

Make a list of all the things that you need to do and list them in order of genuine priority. Note what tasks you need to do personally and what can be delegated to others to do. Record which tasks need to be done immediately, in the next week, in the next month, or when time allows. By editing what might have started out as an overwhelming and unmanageable task list, you can break it down into a series of smaller, more manageable tasks spread out over a longer time frame, with some tasks removed from the list entirely through delegation.

Jumbea is designed to help you have a clear vision of your calendar, and what your upcoming deadlines are. Use it to clarify your mind! Remember as well to create buffer times to deal with unexpected and emergency tasks, and to include time for your own relaxation and well-being.

7. Believe in Yourself

It’s easy to lose confidence if you believe you haven’t achieved anything. Make a list of all the things you’re proud of in your life, whether it’s getting a good mark on an exam or learning to surf. Keep the list close by and add to it whenever you do something you’re proud of. When you’re low in confidence, pull out the list and use it to remind yourself of all the awesome stuff you’ve done.

You’re never going to feel confident if you have negative commentary running through your mind telling you that you’re no good. Think about your self-talk and how that might be affecting your self-confidence. Treat yourself like you would your best friend and cheer yourself on.

Written by Alaia – 19/09/19