How to Deal With Anxiety and Stress During College

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If you're a student, you have probably heard the phrase "Social life, grades, sleep: Pick two."

As a college student, it's completely normal to feel stressed out or anxious from time to time - in fact, it's something we CF writers struggle with ourselves. (In the past, we've talked about how to beat final exam stress and midterm stress, and even how to meditate to clear your mind.) To an extent, anxiety and stress can even be healthy... but it's managing them that's the challenge.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? Try these tips and tricks to keep your anxiety and stress in check!

Revise Your Schedule


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When everything starts to pile up, sometimes you need to change things around in order to get everything done. You'll be surprised at how spacing things out and prioritizing helps you feel less overwhelmed. Don't leave everything for last minute, either. Procrastination just causes unneeded stress. Remember: One thing at a time!

Need a schedule change or help organizing all your tasks? Check out our post on how to keep a schedule!

Take a Night Off

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Just because you're busy with a lot of work, that doesn't mean you need to neglect your social life and resting time! It would be unhealthy to just work all the time. Too much stress on your body can cause illness, which would likely leave you even more behind on your work, creating a vicious cycle of anxiety and stress.

If possible, shift some of your tasks on your schedule and plan to take a full night off. Really not able to swing it? Try a study group and get your work and social time done together! Rather be alone? Set aside an hour to yourself to watch a show on Netflix or do a DIY beauty treatment.

Help Your Body

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We know you've heard this before, but it's too important not to include: Your body is a machine, and like other machines, it needs fuel in order to run effectively.

To prevent your body from getting run down, make sure you are getting enough sleep. Being well-rested helps keep your stress and anxiety levels down. If you can't quite get enough sleep at night, naps are okay, too. Just keep your schedule regular and make sure to get back on track if you pull an all-nighter.

As well as rest, your body also needs exercise. When you exercise, your body releases hormones that help elevate your mood and make you feel energized. You'll be surprised at how something as simple as taking a walk can help you feel so much better.

Stay Positive

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Many times, our mental outlooks can shape the way we tackle problems. By staying positive and telling yourself you can get things done, you are actually giving yourself motivation! Remember, self pity won't take your problems away. Instead, use every challenge as an opportunity to become a stronger person. Take a break if you need to but don't give up!

Take Periodic, Small Breaks

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Working too much in a long length of time can tire your poor brain out. To combat this, it helps to take breaks about every hour for at least 10-15 minutes. Get up, stretch, and walk around. Allow your mind and body a few minutes of relaxation. This will in turn help you stay energized and thinking clearly.

If you can't seem to relax yourself during one of these breaks, head over to one of our favorite sites, The Quiet Place!

Email Your Professor

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If you're having trouble completing an assignment on time, email your professor and let them know. Many professors will be understanding - after all, they were once in college, too! You may have a portion of your score taken off for lateness, but having a score is better than turning nothing in at all. Your prof may even have some recommendations for you to make your assignment easier.

Ask for Help

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Sure, a little anxiety and stress here and there is a normal part of college life. But sometimes, these symptoms can go beyond normal and indicate a bigger problem, such as an anxiety disorder. (Note: Take this next part with a grain of salt -- I am not a doctor!)

Symptoms of Over-the-top Anxiety

If you have any of the above symptoms or are concerned about the effects of anxiety on your life, we recommend enlisting the help of a professional. Your school will likely have a counselor available to you, or you can use Psychology Today's find-a-therapist search engine to locate one in your area. Over-the-top anxiety is more common than you think (I have it!) and asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

What are your thoughts?

Do you get stressed out often? What tips and tricks do you have for dealing with stress and anxiety in college? Is there a specific class that makes you very overwhelmed? I'd love to know!

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