Stress-busting 101: What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed

Whether you’re taking classes online, on a campus or both, college can certainly be stressful. There are deadlines to meet for projects and papers, major tests that your grade hinges on, plus the responsibility of balancing your college life with your work and personal lives. It can truly be overwhelming at times. To help combat the stress that often accompanies college, we will explore some stress-busting tips.

The first thing you can do to combat stress is to nip procrastination in the bud. Spreading out your studying and major projects over a period of days beats working for hours on a project due in the morning or pulling an all-nighter any day of the week! In all of this, making sure you exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep at night is imperative. It may seem counter-intuitive to "waste time" on these things, but you have to put your body’s basic needs first if you want to release stress and be at your best to tackle your work.

You know you are stressed out when you start to lose focus on the material you’re studying. In these times, it helps to close your eyes and take deep breaths. You may even want to step away from your work for a full five minutes and relax your mind.

It’s also important to have an outlet for your stress, rather than bottling it all up inside your head. Journaling, list-making or blogging are all good ways to get all the things that are weighing on you out of your mind and into the open where they don’t seem as huge. You can also talk to a friend, spouse or parent about your biggest challenges. If you still feel your stress is spiraling out of control, try talking to a counselor at your college or even your pastor to get sound counsel on how to get a little mental or spiritual relief.

If stress is really starting to dominate your life, you may need to take an item or two off your plate. Maybe you are taking too many courses, and there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done. Perhaps you are spending too much time in a certain extracurricular activity. Whatever it is that’s superfluous, consider getting rid of it so you can focus on the essentials of getting through college.

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