Effective Ways to Deal with Stress and Anxiety as a Student

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It is not uncommon for students to get stressed, develop anxiety, and suffer from depression. In fact, according to the Healthy Mind Network, in the 2021/22 academic session, out of 96,000 students in the U.S. across the board 133 campuses, 44% reported having symptoms of depression, 37% reported anxiety disorders and 15% reported having considered suicide in the past. Additionally, a study by the American Psychological Association (APA) reports that roughly 30% of teens reported of the teens reported feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or sad because of their stress

Generally, studying in itself isn’t easy. There are so many things you have to pay attention to. The stress is even worse for self-sponsored students who have to juggle work and schooling and need to still graduate with good grades. If you’re a student currently undergoing stress and do not know what to do, we have provided helpful tips to help reduce your stress level and open you up to a much better learning experience. However, remember to subscribe to our newsletter for more updates. 

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Causes of stress in students

There are different stressors and triggers of stress for students. The first step to stress management for students is understanding the trigger before knowing how best to handle the situation. Some of the common student stressors include:

  • School
  • Homework
  • Work
  • Relationships
  • Social challenges
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Transitions (e.g., graduating, moving out, living independently)
  • Pressure to succeed

The above are some of the top student stressors. Having to worry about school work, your performance in school, relationships both romantic and otherwise, friendship, life after school, and so on can trigger stress levels in students. If not properly managed, a student consistently ponders on these things and slowly slips into depression. If not properly handled, the results can be fatal. Talking about what you’re facing or being introspective and being able to point out your stressor will help you deal faster with stress as a student. 

Characteristics of stress and anxiety on students. 

According to Johns Hopkins University, the characteristics of stress and anxiety in a student include: 

  • Constant worrying
  • Feeling nervous
  • Feeling restless
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness/ Mind going blank.
  • Sleep problems
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches
  • Pain 

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Stress Management Tips for Students

If you’re experiencing multiple symptoms, you should visit a doctor for proper consultation and management. However, before it blows up to this extent, it is important you properly manage it by applying and engaging the techniques below:

1. Sleep well

As a student, it is possible to get engaged in lots of activities and responsibilities leading to a packed schedule. Consequently, this will affect your sleeping pattern and not having enough sleep is dangerous. If you don’t get enough sleep, it’ll be difficult to be effective. Lack of sleep as a student can lead to:

  • Poor grades
  • Poor health condition
  • Weight condition
  • Depression and anxiety. 

This is why you must ruin your sleeping pattern as a student. Ensure you get enough regularly.

2. Exercise Regularly

Another stress management tip for students is proper exercise. Engrossing in school work without a time allocation for exercise will soon leave no you stressed. No wonder there are extracurricular activities and sporting activities included in the whole academic package. As a university student, it’s easy to overlook engaging in exercises. Don’t do that. Allocate time weekly to hit the gym. If you can’t afford to do that, you can:

  • taking a stroll 
  • Walk on a treadmill properly whilst discussing academic-related topics with a friend
  • Riding a bicycle to class.
  • Participating in leisure sports. 

Note cab participating in physical activities will help improve your overall physical and mental well-being. 

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3. Have a Support Network

As humans, we aren’t supposed to live alone, we are social beings. However, while it can be a lot of learning to deal with the demands of school, having a network or community of people who encourage and support you can go a long way. Hence, the importance of making good friends. When school work becomes overwhelming, or when you begin to experience problems at work or in a romantic relationship while you’re in college, having a support system will help a lot. You’ll be able to talk with them and express yourself without feeling ashamed or judged. Also, they’ll proffer solutions and advice where necessary to help you get through that difficult situation. 

Consequently, for you to make friends, especially friends who will stand by you and support you in times of need, you must be also willing to sacrifice and be intentional about the relationship. Give out what you desire to receive. There’s a popular bible quote that “a man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” 

4. Identify and reduce your stressors 

Having considered the various stressors for students earlier, for you to properly manage stress and anxiety to prevent burnout or depression you should identify your stressors. If it’s possible, do away with them too. If it’s a particular subject, you can get assistance or focus on another area that’s your strength. Attending seminars and workshops will also help to reduce the anxiety you get when you think about life outside school. Also, engaging in social activities to temporarily take your mind off school-related activities will go a long way in helping you manage stress as a student. 

5. Adopt a healthy eating lifestyle 

Your eating habits can affect the overall quality of your life. According to research, eating junk foods and foods that have high sugar percentages can facilitate stress and anxiety. However, as a student, there’s the likelihood of falling back on junk foods many times because of your schedule. It’ll do you a lot of good to substitute junk food with fruits or other healthy options. Some habits you can employ to help enhance your healthy eating lifestyle include:

  • Eating regularly (not skipping meals)
  • Drinking enough water
  • Snacking on fruits and nuts instead of junk
  • Cutting down and eliminating coffee and alcohol

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6. Engage in activities that reduce stress

Occasionally engaging in activities that reduce stress is also an effective way to manage stress as a student. In your daily schedule, include time to participate in activities that are targeted at reducing your stress level. Some activities that can come in handy include:

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
  • Listening to Music
  • Taking calming Breaths
  • Cutting down on your screen time
  • Stretching
  • Mediating
  • Taking a bath
  • Cooking/backing
  • Reading a story
  • Knitting
  • Diddling/ drawing
  • Cleaning
  • Doing something tactical like pressing a bubble wrap, sorting money, etc 

7. Proper time management

Finally, managing your time properly and successfully running a schedule as a student will help reduce stress and bouts of anxiety. Being unorganized in itself is stressful. However, adopting a structure that helps you keep tabs on your activities will enhance your overall effectiveness as a student. Some tips to help you properly manage your time and successfully run an effective schedule include:

  • Learn to prioritize your task. Set goals and prioritize your activities in order of importance. 
  • Adopt the time-blocking technique where you allocate tasks to each block of time created. This gives you a sense of urgency and responsibility.
  • Do away with activities that waste your time
  • Apply the Pomodoro technique where necessary
  • Learn to set boundaries early and be polite when declining to engage in certain activities
  • Set realistic goals and strive to ace them as it brings a strong sense of satisfaction, achievement, and control
  • You can also adopt the Eisenhower Matrix
  • Make use of technological tools like Google Calendar, toggle, and Focus Keeper, among others to help you in your activities.

In conclusion, you must take your overall health and well-being seriously as a student. Bombarding yourself with too many activities will only lead to burnout which you want to avoid. To lead a successful and balanced life, it is important to pay attention and adopt strategies that help ensure that your overall health and well-being are guaranteed. 

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  • Mercy Awofiranye is a creative writer with over five years of experience. Currently, she specializes in creating helpful content for students in the education space. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and learning new things.