Nine ways to bust your college stress

picture of a Centennial College student smiling in the Progress Campus gym

The reasons you stress while you're in college are simple: It's is a big life change, and it's often your first major time away from home, or at least an unfamiliar environment. The workload can often be much higher than what you're use to, which, combined with its increased difficulty can also be a stressor. Combine that with worries about money and an uncertainty over your post-college career, and things can get very stressful, indeed. However, there's plenty of ways to cope, including resources available here at Centennial. Here's a few tips to help you out, thanks to Everyday Health, About Education, Learn Psychology’s Student Guide to Surviving Stress and Anxiety, and College Raptor.

1. Use a planner

A common reason for stress is feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do. So, if you use some sort of planner, like an agenda, a notebook, or even a calendar on your computer to track your schoolwork, it'll help you look at everything you have to do, and make it into something you can quantify and manage, cutting your stress levels down.

2. Sleep more!

Whether your classes are early or late, you should be getting more sleep to recharge both your body and mind. If you're too tired, you're more affected by the negative effects of stress than if you're rested. Plus, a lack of sleep will mess with your memory and concentration, making you do a poorer job in the classes you're supposed to be learning. And that's on top of the negative health benefits, including risk of illness, diabetes, obesity and depression. The ideal amount to get is seven to nine hours a night.

3. Eat Well

If you're only filling your stomach with pizza and processed food, your body will have less energy, which, again, will make you more susceptible to the effects of stress. Eating well can be difficult due to hectic schedules, but it's worth it, as is simply eating regularly, in order to give your body natural rhythms to follow. Stress can be physically caused by not fuelling your body correctly, so aim to eat fruits, vegetables, grains and protein that are as fresh and unprocessed as possible.

4. Exercise whenever you can!

On one hand, when you're stressed and running on low amounts of time, it may feel like exercise is a luxury. On the other hand, even doing only 20 minutes of activity a day can significantly cut down on your stress levels. It'll also help you sleep, bringing things back around to our first point. For example, take a walk while listening to music. It has the bonus of clearing your head, too. And if you need help, Centennial College's Athletic and Wellness Centre has personal trainers to help you with the fitness side of things.

5. Remember that energy drinks are bad in the long-term

And I don't mean years. I mean "later that day." You may use them to give you a temporary energy boost, but you'll crash in a few hours, and suffer headaches, fatigue and other stress-aggravating problems.

6. Talk to someone, including us

Just venting your problems towards someone can help you fight stress. It can be a friend or family member, as long as they'll listen. At Centennial College, we also have a counselling centre that can help you out. Similarly, if you're having academic or financial problems, we have Academic and Financial Advising departments you can speak to to help you out.

7. Keep making time for the things you love

Your time may be filled with assignments, but time for personal upkeep is important, too, and that includes the activities that make you happy, be they books, games, sports, or anything else. You may think they're not important, but they're necessary to blow off steam and clear your head. It's important to have a stress outlet. Another thing you need to make sure you get: Some alone time, with no roommates, crowds or social media.

8. At the same time, drop what you don't need

Don't take on more than you can handle. If you're legitimately overwhelmed by your course load, drop a few of them, or even become a part-time student. It's better to do a few classes well than a lot of them poorly. And while extracurricular activities are a positive thing, if they're legitimately worsening your life by causing stress, don't be afraid to cut them out, too. Once again, it's about quality, not quantity.

By Anthony Geremia

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