By Melissa Griffin, Health Promotions Manager
Almost one third of college students report that stress impacts their academic performance. Even though we may not have a silver bullet for getting rid of stress, these tips can keep your stress at bay and can make crunch time much more manageable.
No this doesn’t mean binge watching Netflix. There are many ways to elicit the relaxation response such as coloring, deep breathing, meditation and yoga. Building a few minutes a day of one of these relaxation exercises can help keep stress manageable.
Go to bed
Chances are, you’re not getting enough sleep and sleep deprivation makes it difficult to manage stress and to remember what you’ve studied. Aim for 7–9 hours of sleep most nights, even during exams.
Getting regular exercise is a great way to manage and reduce stress and it acts as a “natural” stimulant when you need a boost of energy for those long study sessions. Try to get 30 minutes of moderate cardio-respiratory activity 5 times per week. If you haven’t already, check out NAU Campus Recreation’s group fitness classes and campus running routes.
Setting boundaries with your time is really important in college. If you always say yes to things it leaves you no time to focus on your studying. Set priorities and let some things go.
Eat a balanced diet
Eating well during stressful times can be difficult. Did you know “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts”? But making a conscious effort to incorporate more fruits and vegetables and less sugar will help you maintain a constant energy level and can even help balance your mood. Think about stocking up on carrots and hummus or apples and peanut butter and avoid the sugar crash you’re bound to get if you raid the vending machine.
Be kind to yourself
Are you a perfectionist? Are you hoping for the best grade in the class? Think about setting high goals without striving for perfection. Knowing you have done your best is a great feeling and realizing that perfection is an illusion can take a heavy weight off of you and actually reduce your feelings of stress.
Plan, plan, plan.
Writing everything on your calendar will make things much easier to manage. Don’t forget to write in plenty of time for studying (and study breaks too) so that you can get things done with time to spare.