Tips for Stress Reduction

  • Recognize that stress tends to be cyclical, especially for college students. We tend to feel most stressed during midterms and finals.

    Plan Ahead

    If you know you will be facing a stressful situation, take steps to relieve other stressors that are likely to occur around the same time (for example, complete other assignments ahead of time if you know you will be having a difficult exam in a month—and the planner can help with this).

    Time Management

    Use your time more wisely. Go “old school” and use a planner, or program things into your phone. These strategies help keep us on track and improve our efficiency! Pinterest has lots of ideas to help create your own planner, or simply buy a standard one. Check out Dreamie Planner, Time Planner, or Planner Pro (on your mobile device or online) for an electronic version of the same.

    Take a Deep Breath—and Do It Correctly!

    Check out Headspace, Calm, or Meditate with Mindful Meditation (available in the app store on your mobile device or even online) for mediation and guided breathing exercises. 

    Connect with Others

    Connect with others and actually (gasp!) talk about what is going on for you (and for them). Leave the phone in your pocket or turn on Do Not Disturb, and try to have meaningful moments with individuals, with an emphasis on being mindful and present. 

    Self Care

    Take care of your body and get active. Pay attention to what you are putting into your body and how your body actually feels. Any type of physical activity is good, whether you’re taking a walk (bonus if you can get a friend) or dancing in your apartment alone. Or, conversely, stop overdoing it on the caffeine, and take that nap your brain and body so desperately need. Use your fitness tracker on your mobile device to make sure you’re getting those steps in, or find an app to help you keep track of how you’re taking care (or not) of your body. 

    Know Your Limits

    This applies to emotional, mental, and physical boundaries. Stop and check in with yourself and really reflect on how you’re functioning. Perhaps it’s time to learn how to say “no” to hosting that Friday night study session or jumping on yet another Zoom activity. It’s okay to take care of yourself—in fact, it’s very important because we can’t function at optimal (or even decent) levels if we are exhausted. 

    In short, check in with yourself and listen to yourself. If you find that you incorporate the above into your daily life and things still seem overwhelming, stressful, or you feel stuck, call the Counseling Center at 724-357-2621 or email counseling-center@iup.edu to schedule an appointment, and we can work together to help make the stress feel more manageable.