Are you even a college student if you haven’t had a nervous breakdown at least once owing to all the workload you are met with?
While you were in high school, you couldn’t wait to enter college but now that you’re here, you’re just trying to get through your semesters without losing your mind.
Students are always told how college life is so much fun but no one really prepares them on how to manage college stress and prevent it from taking over their lives.
If you identify as a super stressed-out college student too, don’t panic. You’re certainly not alone. It’s alarming to note that as per a study conducted, 3 out of 4 college students say they’re stressed.
In this article, we will tell you how you can spot the signs and what you can do to manage college stress better.
6 Warning Signs of College Stress You Shouldn’t Ignore
There are various causes of stress in students such as keeping up competition, numerous assignments, social anxiety, homesickness, financial strain and worrying about career prospects among many others.
Do you know what’s more dangerous than being stressed? Not recognizing that you are stressed.
To know how to manage college stress, you need to first understand what stress looks like. Here are six warning signs that indicate you’re stressed.
Feel Overwhelmed by the Workload
You have a research paper due soon, a Physics test to study for and here you are, struggling to find the motivation to complete your essay on time.
What do you when you’re met with numerous assignments? Do you get charged up and work towards a plan or do you get overwhelmed looking at your never-ending to-do list?
If you’re prone to feeling the latter, it’s the stress talking.
The problem is not being overwhelmed but getting trapped in that feeling and losing all the motivation to do anything at all.
Unable to Concentrate
Focus is critical for academic success. Won’t you agree?
However, there’s no way a student can focus with a million thoughts racing in their head. Stress impacts concentration because even though you’re supposed to focus on the task at hand, you’re too busy worrying about other aspects of your life.
So, if you find yourself brimming with fears and anxieties about your life in college and beyond, you may be dealing with too much stress.
Another major warning sign is decreased confidence.
Most people tend to be too hard on themselves for not being able to cope with their emotions and be their productive best which generally leads to a whole lot of negative self-talk.
Not only does this add to the stress, it also results in confidence and self-esteem issues because before you know it, this negative internal dialogue starts shaping your perspective of yourself and becomes your reality.
Sudden Change in Appetite
While some completely lose their appetite, others resort to overeating – yes, stress has that impact on us.
So, keep a check on your weight and observe your eating patterns. Has anything changed? Do you not feel like eating the foods you used to enjoy? Do you find yourself overeating in stressful situations in spite of not being hungry?
Stress is linked to appetite because when we stress, our body goes into the flight or fight mode and losing appetite or overeating is just one of the responses to it.
Rise in Drugs and Alcohol Use
A Penn study revealed that the more stressors a student experienced, the more likely they were to drink on any given day.
Large number of students turn to drugs and alcohol thinking it will help them deal with stress better. When these habits are not arrested early, they turn into addiction which results in harmful consequences.
So, if you find yourself getting pulled in that direction, it’s important to realize that by relying on substance abuse, you’re just escaping from the realities of life – and guess what, that doesn’t last long.
Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night or not being able to sleep?
Not getting adequate sleep affects the rest of your day, impacts concentration and saps all your energy.
So, if you’re someone who has trouble sleeping, think about what keeps you awake at night and confront it.
Practice these 10 Surefire Ways to Manage College Stress and Calm Down
If you identify with one or more of these symptoms, you may be experiencing stress but don’t you worry, we are here to tell you how to manage college stress and find your calm.
Here are ten surefire ways to cope with stress as a college student and be happier.
Create a Study Schedule
The key to academic success in college is organization – the faster you realize that, the better it is.
You will be surprised to note how creating an effective study schedule will help you reduce stress levels considerably. Having a schedule helps you approach your studies in a planned manner while ensuring you’re your productive best.
Start with maintaining a physical calendar and placing it on your study table. Jot down the tasks for each of the days and work backwards. Give yourself realistic deadlines before the assignment is officially due – that way you’re sure to not rush with them.
Manage Time Effectively
If you often find yourself procrastinating and end up racing against time in the very last minute, you need to get serious about time management.
Managing your time well begins with being able to prioritize your tasks. Create a to-do list, look at the tasks that need more time than the others and start with the time-consuming ones first.
It’s also important to establish a study routine and stick to it. That way, you make time for study and relaxation – both of which are equally important.
While studying, make sure you put distractions at bay in order to concentrate better and supercharge your productivity. Productivity apps are a great way to remain disciplined and ensure you meet your deadlines.
Seek Help with Assignments
Considering the truckloads of work that you college students have, there will be times when you will be pressed for time and will find yourself struggling to submit an assignment at the given deadline.
At such times, it’s best to ask for help with your assignments instead of completing them in a hurry only to have it impact your grades.
Turn to experts who can help you with your urgent essay writing or assignment needs. One such expert is Writers Per Hour. We completely understand where you’re coming from and are here to make college life a tad easier for you.
So, contact us with your assignment details and we are sure to deliver high-quality, original papers on time that will leave your teachers impressed.
Build a Strong Support System
Whether you’re drowning in work or it’s one of those days when nothing seems to be going your way, it helps to reach out to a trusted confidante like a friend or family member.
Building a strong support system is very important because it lets you share your fears with someone else and helps you feel less burdened.
You don’t have to suffer in silence. Sometimes just speaking your mind out can also do wonders for your mood and stress levels. By sharing, you learn of new perspectives, have encouragement come your way and also get useful advice.
Start a Journal
We spoke about organizing your tasks earlier. Now, let’s talk about organizing your thoughts and emotions which is vital for improved mental health.
One of the best ways to keep your mental health in check is starting a thoughts journal. As the name suggests, a thoughts journal is one wherein you jot down your feelings and explore your emotions.
This helps you understand yourself better, making it easier to deal with stress and anxiety. So, make this a practice and set aside 15 minutes every day to record your thoughts in a journal.
Watch this video by Kati Morton wherein she talks about how one can start journaling and keep track of what’s brewing in their mind
Keep a Positive Mindset
The power of optimism is unparalleled – it uplifts and motivates you, keeps you going and most importantly, also helps you manage your college stress.
Imagine approaching life with a positive mindset versus being highly self-critical and anticipating the worst. The former one will keep you more stress-free and happy.
So, don’t take life so seriously, understand that everything is not in your control and keep a positive attitude. You will be surprised to see the impact a shift in perspective can have on your thinking and behavior.
Pick up a New Hobby to Unwind
When you look at your current life scenario, do you just see it filled with projects, exams, essays, assignments and other academic activities?
If yes, then it’s no surprise that you’re stressed. If every minute of your day goes in thinking about college, you are bound to feel overwhelmed and mentally exhausted.
What you need is some relaxation time, doing things that bring you joy and help you unwind. Think of a hobby that you would enjoy doing or learn a skill that you’ve always wanted to learn and devote a few hours on the weekend to it.
It’s important to give yourself the time to rejuvenate because it will keep you energized and motivated.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
It’s easy to take your health for granted and blame your “busy schedule” for not eating healthy. You might be super busy but you need to find the time to maintain a balanced diet.
Don’t make the mistake of skipping breakfast – start your day with fruits, smoothies, and eggs among others.
Always carry some healthy snacks such as dry fruits, pretzels, popcorn or crackers to munch on between meals. Make sure you have plenty of water and limit your caffeine intake to one or two cups.
Develop Healthy Sleep Habits
Pulling all-nighters is not the solution to succeeding in college. It just ends up ruining your sleep pattern, leaving you tired and groggy the next day.
Establish a sleep routine and ensure you get at least seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep. When you go to bed at the same time every day, you can fall asleep faster and wake up early.
Another important thing is putting your phone away at least an hour before going to bed. That way, you don’t waste time on your phone when you should actually be sleeping.
When you get enough sleep, you’re more prepared to conquer the day and be less stressed.
Meet a Therapist
Seeking therapy or counselling is often met with much apprehension because of the social stigma around it.
However, the truth is that you rather seek professional help and take active steps in managing your stress rather than suffering alone and reaching a burnout.
So, if you feel that you’re unable to cope with the college stress and that it’s taking over other aspects of your life, you must consider meeting a therapist.
Here’s a wonderful video by Psych2Go which talks about why you need not be afraid of therapy
Your college days won’t come back. In spite of all the stress and anxiety it introduces you to, college shapes you and lets you explore who you really are.
The key is to learn how to manage college stress better so that years later, when you look back at these days, you fondly remember the positive memories instead of the times you were stressing out.