Between the lack of sleep, never-ending deadlines, dating woes, and long work shifts, it’s no wonder that college is deemed one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Before you find yourself having a mid-day breakdown or quarter-life crisis, consider trying these different methods to de-stress in college.
If you’re lucky enough to have scored the spring semester at BYU-I, then take full advantage of the sun while it lasts. Buy a hammock or rent one from the ORC on campus, then take your studies to the park to get a breath of fresh air and soak in a bit of sunshine. If you’re on campus, try venturing from your regular study spot to find a secluded bench in the gardens.
If it’s cold outside (which it is about 70% of the time around here) then take a brisk walk in the cool air to clear your mind and wake yourself up. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery and some fresh air to calm your mind—even if it means bundling up like Randy from “A Christmas Story.”
Take a Nap
If you haven’t gotten on the nap bandwagon yet, then it’s time to hop on board. You don’t fully understand the reasoning behind setting an 8-minute alarm on your phone to nap until you find yourself grasping at every possible minute to squeeze in some shut-eye between classes or work. Now I’m not talking two-hour Sunday-nap status here; for the purpose of simply taking a break to de-stress, a healthy amount of time would ideally be 10-15 minutes. This will help avoid any grogginess that tends to accompany long naps.
If you struggle with falling asleep quickly or in the middle of the day, then try meditating instead. Take the time you would be napping to shut off your music, turn off Netflix, and put your phone aside for a set amount of time. Focus on your breathing, relaxing any tension you may have, and letting all of your worries escape with each breath.
Hit the Gym
Who’s Jim and why do you want me to hit him? If you haven’t gone to the gym or exercised in a while, then there’s no better time to start than right now. Exercise is arguably the healthiest way to de-stress, and as a student you have access to a free gym (and possibly even a mini-gym included in your very own apartment complex). There are also various fitness classes such as cycling and yoga offered on campus in the evenings. Take advantage of these resources while you can! Even simply doing a round of jumping-jacks in your apartment is a good start to de-stressing your mind through movement.
Treat Yo’ Self
Donna Meagle says it best in the series “Parks and Recreation” when she says to “treat yo’ self!” Whether this means indulging in some ice cream, doing some online shopping, or pampering yourself with a manicure or extra-long shower, it’s important to take some time to focus on you. The next time you turn in that major project or finish that long exam, imagine the voice of Donna telling you to “treat yo’ self.”
Journaling may not be everyone’s cup-a-cocoa, but it is scientifically proven as a healthy and effective way to de-stress in college. There are some great apps that make journaling easy and fun such as Diario, Journey, and Day One. If you like to take photos or videos, then these apps make it easy to upload with each entry. If you’re having a bit of writer’s block, Grid Diary gives you prompts to help you remember your day a little better.
Listen to Podcasts
Rather than listening to the same songs on repeat every day while driving or getting ready for the day, try listening to a podcast. Not only is this a great way to take your mind off things and de-stress, but it can also be educational, inspiring, or uplifting depending on the type of podcast you choose. “Tiny Leaps, Big Changes,” “Stuff You Should Know,” and “Freakonomics” are all great picks to get you motivated and your mind thinking in new ways.
It sounds simple and boring, but by simply tidying your room and apartment, or cleaning out your backpack, it allows your mind to take a break from the regular stresses of life. Sometimes doing the mundane task of cleaning is just what you need to feel like you have a little more control and organization in your life.
As a BYU-I student, there is a lot expected of you to juggle at once—such as your job, homework, social life, church responsibilities, relationships, sleep, and more. With all the chaos that accompanies college, it’s important to have some go-to ways to de-stress. Share with someone who could use a few tips as well!