Tension, anxiety, chest pains, heart palpitations, headaches… These are the typical symptoms of stress, and unfortunately, most of us are all too familiar with them. Some have even come to accept it as part and parcel of modern life; however, this attitude is not just wrong but also very harmful.
Stress is a major problem that follows us around from school to the workplace, and it is actually during high school and college that people start to deal with increased stress levels for the first time. According to a study by Harvard Medical School, 75% of students experience at least one stressful life event in a year, while more than 20% experience six or more.
So, is there a solution? Well, the good news is that it is possible for students to reduce emotional and psychological pressure. In fact, college is the perfect place to learn how to do it. So, in this article, we’re going to tell you about 5 actionable strategies on how to manage stress throughout studies without letting it overwhelm you. Let’s dive right in.
1. Create a study plan
The first rule of study stress management is to create a schedule and stick to it. Make time for classes, homework, rest, errands, exercising, parties, and other activities on your daily agenda. You’ll find that adding a little more organisation into your life will significantly reduce your stress levels. When you have a plan, you know what to expect in the short term.
Here are some examples. Let’s say you’re preparing for an examination. Your process may include doing research, studying the topic, answering test questions, and so on. So, create an inventory of activities you need to complete in order to prepare and just follow it. Here’s another case: your teacher has given you two weeks to do an assignment. How can you schedule this task to reduce stress from studying? Once again, the solution is to create a plan: 1 day to do research, 2 days to write the paper, 1 day to proofread the final draft. By the way, including some custom writing into your plan will surely enhance its implementation.
2. Get enough sleep
It goes without saying that sleep is very important for our physical and psychological wellbeing, but unfortunately, students are notorious for staying up all night, more so than any other group. Some may pull an all-nighter in preparation for an exam or writing a thesis, while others might do the same for reasons that aren’t related to studies at all (for example, going to parties, having to work night shifts, etc.).
This might seem like a brilliant way to cope with academic pressure if only we didn’t have plenty of research about stress and its relation to sleep, proving the opposite. In fact, not getting enough sleep creates a vicious cycle of physiological stress, meaning that if you’re stressed out, you’re much less likely to get quality rest, which makes you exhausted. This, in turn, leads to even higher stress levels. To stay calm at all times and develop a healthy sleeping routine, try listening to specific sounds. They can help you relax whenever you feel too stressed to study and fall asleep faster if you can’t free your head of thoughts.
3. Try breathing exercises
Have you ever noticed that you start involuntarily holding your breath whenever you get stressed? This is a completely normal physiological mechanism; however, you can teach your body to work around it with special exercises. There are many techniques out there, and here’s one which is perfect for stress management:
First, inhale to a count of 4. Now, try to hold your breath for 5 seconds. Finally, exhale at a slower rate to a count of 6. This exercise will help your body relax and slow down your heart rate.
Breathwork is a great way to deal with examination stress because you can practice it whenever and wherever you want. No yoga mat needed! There are also plenty of apps to help you breathe slowly and calmly. Breathing exercises can come in handy during any short bursts of anxiety as well as profoundly traumatic events. After all, living in modern society means constantly dealing with some challenges.
4. Cut out distractions
Another way to reduce stress from studying is to determine distracting factors that stop you from focusing on your work. For instance, being bombarded with notifications and having a noisy roommate can be extremely annoying. You might suppress these feelings and try to carry on with your studies, but this will only lead to more stress. Some students also feel the need to constantly check their social media, meaning they start to create these distractions themselves. So, in order to avoid all these and improve your productivity, understand what exactly stresses you out and eliminate these distractions or at least reduce them to a minimum. Ask your roommate to respect your space or go to a quiet café, turn off your notifications, and wear noise-canceling headphones. Problem solved!
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
It’s completely normal not to have everything figured out. If you’re feeling stressed, talk to your classmates and friends about your problems. They could be going through the same stuff. Together, you can create study groups or find other solutions to deal with stress. You can even talk to your teachers. They fully understand the impact of examination stress on students because they once used to be in your place. So, don’t be too shy to ask them for some advice.
Cutting stress: You have enough power to succeed!
We can all admit that there’s a close link between stress and studying, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do anything about it. Remember, coping with stress is crucial for your mental and physical health. Whether you’re a domestic or an international student, college life is going to be very difficult, so it’s better to be prepared. We hope that the strategies which we’ve listed in this article will help you deal with any challenges thought your academic career and beyond.