How to Relieve Stress and Stay Healthy in College

Claren McCormick / Southwestern College »

The life of a college student can be one of many challenges day in and day out. The life I’ve chosen to pursue throughout my college career has been anything but slow and idle; Southwestern College has opened many doors and opportunities for me to do anything and everything my heart desires. I’ve been a student-athlete all four years with our women’s basketball team as well as a leader on campus as a Student Ambassador in Admissions. The opportunities for me to be an involved member of many different organizations on campus, such as Pi Gamma Mu, the Southwestern College Athletic Training Society, Student Government Association, and Psychology Club, have also been challenging yet rewarding throughout the past few years. With that being said, finding time for myself and my health can oftentimes be difficult. Time management is a huge part of being a college student no matter what you get involved with, and I have found that the better you manage your time, the less stressed you are likely to be. Along with this skill, your physical and mental health are just as important in being able to avoid as much stress as possible. After all, your college years give you the opportunities to try new things, meet new people, and find out who you want to be. Why not make them enjoyable?

At the beginning of college, I wasn’t the greatest with my time management skills because I didn’t have to be. When you’re in high school, you’re on a fixed schedule. You know where to go, when to be there, and what you need to have with you in order to be successful. College isn’t always as friendly. Having to schedule your own days with classes, work, practice, homework, and the always-important nap time can be extremely overwhelming. My advice for making this adjustment to the “college life” is not to bite off more than you can chew. I didn’t walk onto campus my freshman year and sign up for everything I saw. I attended events, had fun with friends and teammates, and put a lot of my focus into basketball and my studies. Over time, I’ve grown to understand how much I can handle in a day and, surprisingly enough, I don’t need as many naps as I did when I first started out. This obviously differs from person to person, as it isn’t in everyone’s character to want to be busy all day as I’ve driven it to be in mine, and that’s okay. I’d still advise everyone entering college to try new things and experience all that they are able to manage. It’s also important that you prioritize your daily schedule. Procrastinating has always been a weakness of mine, but working on that has reduced a lot of stress as I’ve grown through the years. Not waiting until the last possible minute to start on an assignment is a great way to keep yourself out of those stressful situations. When it feels as though time is not on your side, good time management strategies can aid in relieving that potential stress.

One’s physical and mental health can take a toll when it comes to stress. There have been times for me when it’s become a cycle and it’s hard to tell if I’m mentally and physically exhausted from being stressed, or if I’m stressed out because of my lack of health. Either way, it’s not conducive to being a successful student. Your health will always be far more important than whatever social event, project, or another person may be. I’ve been told many times before that you are unable to help others to the best of your ability if you yourself are also in need of help. With that being said, you should always find time to decompress or just chill sometime during your day. There are many ways you can go about doing this, such as listening to music, cooking or, if you’re me, going to the gym and getting up shots. Whatever your escape is, find it and have it available when you need it. Take care of yourself first and allow the rest to fall into place. You may not always like the way those pieces fall, but I assure you that it’s not the end of the world. Having a positive outlook and seeing each obstacle you face as an opportunity will lead to less stress and overall great college experience.

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With over 40 undergraduate and graduate majors, as well as a connected faculty that provides excellent advice and support, it is not surprising that Southwestern College has been praised by young alumni who reported that they are happy with their preparation for their careers and graduate school. Additionally, eighty percent of SC graduates complete their degree in four years.

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