Whether you’re a high school graduate or an adult who’s decided to return to school, heading to college can be challenging. It is in many ways a significant life change that will require a great deal of your time, effort, and energy to succeed in. Though making this transition will generate some stress, experiencing too much of it can result in serious mental and physical harm. Which is why it is essential for college students to learn effective ways to minimize their stress.

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Know the Signs of Too Much Stress

Getting through college stress-free is impossible. So, the most important thing college students need to learn is how to identify when they’re under too much stress. While stress can impact everyone differently, some of the common signs that you’re dealing with too much include acne, headaches, body pain, a weakened immune system, difficulty sleeping, eating problems, addiction and depression. If you do suffer from any of these symptoms, you need to seek help from your doctor, a therapist, and if necessary, enroll in adult or teen treatment for substance abuse before things get worse.

Sleep is Essential

You cannot keep stress under control if you’re not getting enough sleep. While you may feel the need to stay up all night to study for an exam or meet up with friends for a social event and stay out all night, your body needs to rest. Without at least 7 – 9 hours of sleep the mind and body become taxed, hormone levels increase, and even the simplest things can stress you out. It is imperative that you create a schedule that allows you to get a good night’s sleep.

Watch What You Eat

Though you hear jokes about the college diet being nothing more than ramen noodles and takeout, these are not great eating habits to develop. Though eating a pizza may not lead to stress ( in fact, it makes you feel great), it can drain your energy levels, lower your mood, which, in turn, can reduce your threshold for stress.

You have to watch what you eat. There is a large misconception that eating right means paying more money or eating bland foods. The truth, however, is that healthy eating can save you money and tastes pretty good. Start substituting those unhealthy cravings with better alternatives like swapping out takeout pizza for a Keto pepperoni pizza quiche. The more you substitute the bad with the good, the better you’ll feel inside and out.

Don’t Overdo it

There’s a lot of pressure to succeed in college. Which means it is easy for students to bite off more than they can chew. They take on packed class schedules, join school organizations, and even hold down a job or side hustle. Often, however, they take on too much and stress the entire time. The key to succeeding in college and keeping stress to a minimum is to pace yourself. Whether that means taking fewer classes, attending fewer group meetings, or cutting down on your hours at work. If you cannot find a healthy balance between your education and your personal life you will eventually cave to stress.

Learn to Manage Your Time

A lot of stress in college is centered around time management. Whether it’s a high school student that has never had to manage their time or a returning adult who has to learn how to manage their careers, family lives, and studies, if you don’t learn how to manage your time effectively, it will weigh on you physically and emotionally. Part of this starts with not taking on more than you can handle. The other way to manage your time effectively is to create a schedule. You can use alarms and other time management apps to help you stay on task.

Enjoy This Time

The all work and no play mentality has never worked for anyone. College is a great experience and you have to find time to enjoy it to lower your stress levels. Find things both inside and outside of school to get involved in that bring you peace and happiness. Get to know other students on campus, spend time in the local hot spots, explore the city, get a massage, go on a budget-friendly shopping spree, or just spend some alone time in your dorm, apartment, or home.

Going to college isn’t without its stress, however, enduring too much of it can lead to a world of trouble. With many college students today suffering from mental illness, it is essential that they learn how to effectively manage the stress which can be an underlying cause. Use the above-mentioned tips to take care of your mental health and keep the stress of college to a minimum.