College can be stressful. During a student’s time in college, they will most likely experience stress. Stress can affect both physical and mental health. These effects can include not eating, overeating, not sleeping, or being moody and feeling irritable for no reason. Or being unable to concentrate. Alleviating stress will improve an undergrad’s first year college experience. For this reason, we offer several suggestions for managing first year stress.
Top tips to deal with college stress:
Eat Well – Healthful Foods are a Must!
A well rounded diet, full of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein is the best way to manage stress. Of course, other foods like potato chips and sweets can be part of a student’s diet, but it’s important to make the bulk of it healthful. A diet of fast food and over-processed foods, fried foods, and foods full of high fat and sugar should be less than more of a student’s diet.
Poor diet can increase stress levels, and this makes freshman year and the transition from home to dorm life more difficult. Poor nutrition causes decreased cognitive function, weight gain, and mental and physical stress. Eating a healthy diet allows a student’s body to feel less stressed and less tired. Also, students need to remember to drink lots of water throughout the day as it helps them stay refreshed and mentally alert. A great gift for a college student is a reusable water bottle (or two!) that keep them well hydrated.
Exercise Takes the Stress Off
Even a little bit of exercise can make a world of difference. If students have only ten minutes, it’s a good idea to use those ten minutes to exercise. Exercise helps relieve tension, improves mood, and helps the body to stay healthy. Physical activity does and will improve a student’s overall health and decrease stress levels. Intramural teams are a great way for college students to simultaneously get exercise and meet new people. This is a great college hack, and one that makes a difference in the first year experience away from home.
Many college students find themselves missing out on essential sleep hours. Between going to class, working a part-time job, doing homework, and making friends, students might think that missing sleep won’t affect them. This is not true. Sleep is one of the best ways to ward off stress and keep the mind and body operating at peak performance.
Students need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Sleep not only helps students feel and perform better, but it also helps with memory and the ability to recall things. Physically, it helps with tissue repair and muscle growth, energy levels, and a student’s ability to learn. Without enough sleep, students can feel more stressed, which can lead to sleepless nights. It’s a vicious cycle.
One way to make sleep a priority is to have a regular sleep schedule. Students should try going to bed 30 minutes early, turning off the phone or computer first, and getting in bed with the lights off. Instead of scrolling, students should try to read a relaxing book or magazine. Maybe a good gift from home is an interesting book placed in a care package.
Learn to Say “No” – Time Management
One way to manage time is to learn to say “no” to things that create more stress and do not alleviate it. Organization tips and techniques also help students stay focused. Look to Dorm Decks for organization hacks. Dorm Deck by life Hack Decks™ provides insightful tips and tricks to stay organized and on top of school priorities.
Time Management Hack
One way to stay organized is to focus on time blocking. Time management and time blocking help students stay on track. Prioritize items for the week or day and then assign an amount of time for each, starting with the most to the least important. This should also include much-needed personal time, including time to relax, focus on a hobby or exercise.
Taking on too much may mean saying “no” to many requests for a student’s time. Students often feel afraid to say no because they don’t want to appear rude or selfish. They often feel obligated and want to please others. By saying “yes” all the time, or even most of the time, a student’s stress level can increase. Putting other people’s priorities before their own, students can become more stressed than they need to be.
Students who practice mindfulness feel fully present in the moment. Studies have shown that when a person is engaged in mindfulness, their stress level is reduced. Students can practice mindfulness through meditation and learn stress management skills. This provides a feeling of calm. Students also feel more rested and have greater self-compassion. Mindfulness also helps to slow a racing mind. Other mindful activities include deep breathing, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, journaling, and positive thinking.
About Dorm Deck - A Great Hack Deck for College Living
Dorm Deck is a deck of 52 card prompts that help ease the transition from living at home to living independently in a dorm. The prompts help first year students get out ahead of the curve of college life by doing things such as setting up a calendar that makes remembering homework easier. Another hack is to put their schedule as their lock screen at the beginning of the semester. The deck is full of unique and quality ideas that make the first year of college fun and more organized. This gift helps college students succeed while making college life feel a little more personal. Little touches and hacks can make all the difference. This deck makes a great high school graduation gift or a going away gift for college-bound students.
New Stresses – New Solutions
College students can experience stress for many reasons, including new or additional responsibilities, new living arrangements and daily schedules. These can be reflected in changes in eating and sleeping habits, as well. Try a few life hacks from Dorm Deck to alleviate the stress of the transition to college. It will help students meet new people, set up organization and schedules, and make college hacks a part of a weekly routine. Good luck!