Being a college student is hard. You constantly have homework you have to turn in, tests to prepare for weeks in advance (or the night before), friends and boyfriends, sororities, extra curricular activities…the list goes on. If I were to ask you to describe college in one word, I bet a lot of you would say s t r e s s f u l. Am I right? I’m sure most of you have ways that you like to deal with the stress that’s in your life, but if you feel like they aren’t the healthiest ways or the most efficient ways, I have a few ideas.
1. Are you getting enough sleep?
According to the American Psychological Association, sleep is so crucial that even slight sleep deprivation or poor sleep can affect memory, judgment and mood. A survey showed that when adults feel that they didn’t get enough sleep, 45% of them feel more stressed. A ton of research has been done on this subject, and it all shows that getting an adequate amount of sleep (7-9 hours) can help with your stress and anxiety levels!
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states the following:
“Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects…Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.”
If it’s nice outside, go for a walk or a jog, or practice yoga (more on yoga here), or go to your school’s student gym with a friend – even if it’s only for 30 minutes! Hopefully you should feel your stress levels start to decrease, and your endorphin levels INCREASE.
3. What kinds of food are you eating?
The Physicians Committee have said that “high-fat foods are usually the worst possible choices because they can make us feel lethargic and less able to deal with stress”. They also increase our blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which can put us at risk for heart disease later on. Here are some foods they recommend for helping fight stress:
- Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Sautéed Vegetables over rice
- Citrus Fruits
- Complex carbohydrates and fiber filled foods (Like vegetables, grains, pasta, and beans!)
Foods to avoid:
- Sugary foods (candy, soft drinks, etc.)
- High fat foods (like meat or cheese)
- Baked Goods
- Simple carbohydrates (these give us the “crash” affect)
4. Do something you ENJOY.
Many times in college, you’re constantly busy with so many different things, that you might not take the time to do something that you thoroughly enjoy. This could be hiking, or reading a good book, going to the movie theatre, having a girls night, or even just going to the mall…Whatever it is – DO IT. By doing something that makes you happy – you’ll probably forget about the things that were stressing you out (even if it’s only for a little while). Make time for this. You deserve it!