The semester is halfway over—how'd that happen? The year is flying by, and finals will sneak up on you faster than you expect. The next thing you know, you’ll find yourself frantically cramming for your exams or fervently writing a 10-page essay while simultaneously berating yourself for your lack of preparation.
It doesn’t need to be this way, guys! College doesn’t have to be ultra stressful. It should be noted that stress causes all sorts of health detriments: according to the Mayo Clinic, chronic stress can cause digestive problems, heart disease, and memory issues. Doesn’t sound too fun, huh? To keep your semester on the right track, here are three techniques to keep you happy and healthy.
1. Use a planner
You didn’t realize that you had a chem exam tomorrow, until, oh, 11:30 pm the night before. Crap.
This can be easily avoided (and I mean easily) by use of a planner. Visit your college’s bookstore or any store that sells school supplies and you’re bound to find one you like. If you’re more tech-savvy, there are various apps you can download. Try myHomework Student Planner or My Study Life. Both are free!
By penciling (or typing) in all your academic and extracurricular obligations, you’re decreasing the chance of forgetting about a test, assignment, or club meeting. You’re more likely to prepare in advance, thus saving you from unnecessary stress. Plus, it promotes organization. Stick with a planner; you certainly won’t regret it.
2. Keep a consistent schedule
There’s nothing worse than staying up until the crack of dawn in an attempt to throw a project together for the next day’s class. Avoid this by setting a regular bedtime. Yep, you heard me right: a bedtime. They aren’t just for first graders; they’re also for adults who need sufficient sleep time in order to function properly the following day. Try to shoot for between seven and nine hours of sleep a night.
Sleeping has many health benefits, including improved memory, decreased inflammation (inflammation can be linked to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and strokes), emotional stability, and hey, less stress! According to health.com, a particular study displayed that college students who didn’t get an adequate amount of sleep received worse grades than students who did.
By setting a bedtime (at least for the school week), you’re ensuring that you get your homework and studying done beforehand, which saves you from those wretched all-nighters—the absolute epitome of stress.
3. Work out
You’ve had a long day, and you’re feeling irritated—with your schoolwork, your roommates, everything. Ugh.
The best thing to do in this situation? Work out! Exercise is a fantastic outlet for frustration, and the health advantages are endless. By exercising, you can control your weight, build stronger bones, reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases, and boost your mood and energy, to name a few benefits. It’s been proven that working out decreases stress by increasing the production of endorphins and deflecting emotions of depression.
There are so many different forms of exercise. Choose one you love, whether it's shooting hoops with your friends, jogging a mile on the treadmill, or swimming laps in the pool. You’re bound to find something you enjoy. PS: There’s nothing like a meal after a workout—food tastes significantly better.
Start putting these stress-shrinking strategies into action today. You’ll immediately begin to notice positive results in every aspect of your life: your schoolwork, your health, your extracurricular activities, even your friendships/relationships (less stress equals better moods). Give them a real shot, and embrace an improved lifestyle.