The holidays have sadly come to an end and it is time for school to start back up again. College students must get back on their feet to prepare for new classes. Getting back into that steady routine of class schedules, homework, exams and more can be difficult and stressful. Sometimes that feeling of stress can get in the way of daily activities and it is important to know how to handle it. However, it is not always easy to find ways to cope. So how can stress be handled in positive ways?
According to the American Psychological Association, there are two types of stress: Acute and chronic. Acute stress is short-term and common for everyone in their daily lives. A big exam or an argument from a loved one is an example of this type of stress. Chronic stress is more serious and can impact your mental and physical health negatively. “Being chronically stressed may leave you feeling fatigued, sap your ability to concentrate and cause headaches and digestive difficulties,” (American Psychological Association, 2019). Knowing the differences can influence the choices you make when finding relief.
How do you know you are stressed? Sometimes it is not always as easy to realize as you think. Common symptoms include headaches, back pains, stomach problems, frustration, helplessness, sadness and difficulty concentrating or making decisions (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). The first step to solving your stress problem is by having self awareness. The next is finding a way that is right for you to help yourself.
Listed below are some great ideas to help you the next time you get stressed out.
- Take a break and relax.
In the midst of your problems, sometimes you need a moment to step back and take a break from it all. Yes, things need to get done, but you cannot overload yourself. Taking a break can give you the chance to reflect on what is going on in your life and perhaps bring a fresh mind and focus to what you are trying to get done or deal with.
- Meditate or exercise.
To go along with taking a break, meditating can refocus your mind and thoughts. Meditation can help you stay in the present moment and provide breathing control habits for future stress provoking dilemmas. To go along with that, exercise is proven to improve not only your stress and mental health, but sleep as well. It can be as little as 30 minutes a day with any kind of physical activity such as jogging, dancing, taking a walk and so on. Exercise can easily be done at home, but if you are able to do it outside, fresh air and sunlight can improve your overall health.
- Eliminate your stressor.
The best way to get rid of stress is to find out what your stressors are. A stressor is the cause of your stress. If it is something small, it might be easy to get rid of it. For example, if a friend is the cause of your stress, you may not want to be friends with them anymore. However, sometimes it can be difficult to completely eliminate the stressor, so it is best to evaluate the situation and decide if you can find a way to change the situation such as dropping some responsibilities or asking someone for help.
- Talk to someone.
It is always a great idea to talk to someone you trust about your stress. If they are the cause, maybe communication is the key to figuring out the problem and finding a solution. Talking to someone can also provide relief because you are able to get things off your chest and you can build better relationships.
- Seek professional help.
Sometimes no matter what you do, nothing is helping. If things are becoming too much for you and you do not know what to do, seeking professional help is never a bad idea. At Idaho State, counseling is provided for students for free and they will ensure that you are getting the help you need. Currently, the Counseling and Testing Center provides several support groups that meet on Zoom once a week due to COVID. They also have a virtual wellness resource page and many more resources. If you are in a moment of crisis, their page is extremely helpful for college students.
Stress can be a big problem in everyone’s lives and it is important to know that it can be relieved. These are only a few tips that are commonly known to handle stress positively. Find what is right for you so that stress does not take control of your life.
American Psychological Association. (2019). Healthy Ways to Handle Life’s Stresses. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/stress-tips#
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Coping with Stress. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/publichealthissue/copingwith-stresstips.html