College can be the best time of your life because you’re finally on your own and mom is not after you about chores or other responsibilities, but many college students don’t expect the experience to be one of the most stressful times as well.
Several factors can weigh in on a college student’s mind, including academic pressures, new relationships, homesickness, and economic worries. Uncertainty about the future and how well you will perform on a test, if you will have enough credits to graduate or if there will be a good paying job after graduation can have an impact on a student’s peace of mind.
Children become adults while away at college and they must learn how to handle their own business without parental supervision, for many, this can be stressful and new, depending on the parenting style at home. In order to avoid additional stress when preparing for important presentations or big tests and focusing on your academic success there are certain things you can do.
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep doesn’t only affect college students, it is a chronic health concern issue for millions of Americans and it affects productivity at work and alertness at school. Not sleeping enough at night can cause lack of concentration and headaches which can prevent you from preparing for a test or presentation properly. Knowing you are not prepared brings on more stress, anxiety or depression.
Eat Balanced Meals
Having good nutrition can be tough while away from home. Let’s face it, cafeterias in college don’t have the best foods and until the time when you leave the dorm, you may not have another choice. Try to eat a healthy mix of all the food groups and drink plenty of water. If eating cafeteria food, choose meals that include protein and vegetables.
Eating balanced meals can keep your body stay healthy during stressful periods.
Stay Ahead by Studying New Material
The best way to prepare for the big tests in college is by staying ahead before things get busy during exam periods. If you keep up, as professors teach new lessons, you will not feel overwhelmed for a big exam. If you have a project that is due soon, starting early, is one of the best things you can do to avoid running mad as the deadline approaches, because this only increases the stress in your life.
Use a Planner or Cell Phone to Stay Organized
If you are the type of person that needs organization to stay on track, a calendar planner or your cell phone should be one of your to-go tools to reduce stress in college. Knowing what tests or presentations are coming up the following week helps you focus on the tasks at hand. Perhaps you can take some time on the weekend to add upcoming important events or you can add them as they are assigned. Either way, having things written down so you don’t overlook anything can help you be less stressed.
Take Care of Yourself
Exercise in any form, be it working out at the gym, playing a sport, running or walking, and things like yoga or meditation can help you clear your head so you can focus on your studies. Also leave some free time for leisurely activities with friends. It’s important to take a break so you can recharge for the important academic obligations. College is hard, it demands a lot from your body and nobody can function efficiently by constantly going. You need time to enjoy your life.
Stay on Top of Your Mental Health
If you have mental health issues and have been enrolled in a treatment program to help you deal with your problems, it’s very important to use all the techniques you were taught by your counselor and call them if you feel like you are letting triggers affect you, due to anxiety. College is stressful and it’s also a time when many people start abusing drugs and alcohol because they are influenced by peers. Whether you’ve had a problem in the past or think you may fall to the temptation of pills that help you stay awake during long study nights or a tough day of lectures, make sure you are speaking with someone.
The best thing you can do during stressful times in college is to stay healthy by eating well, getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water and of course, studying for all your tests and getting ready for your presentations. Being organized by keeping a planner or adding reminders on your cell phone will also reduce anxiety because you fear you may forget something. Just as importantly, don’t forget to take time to enjoy this time in your life. Yes, getting good grades is important, but so is your physical and mental health.
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