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College Students are Stressed Out! 4 Ways to Balance and Achieve Mental Wellness.
Stress, if managed well, can be a source of strength or inspiration.
But, when it is not, the effects of stress can be detrimental to a person’s ease of daily living and overall sense of fulfillment. For some college students, moving away from home or living alone can be overwhelming. Managing one’s own daily needs– everything from personal care, finances, grocery shopping and meal preparation– can be quite taxing.
Maintaining the balancing act between adulting, evolving relationship dynamics with long distance friends and family, exploring extracurricular activities, performing well at work and with school deliverables, reality doesn’t always measure up to students’ expectations of a fun, expansive post-secondary experience.
Additionally, the challenges and constant changes due to the public health crisis and current events over the last two years have had a significant emotional, mental, sometimes physical, and financial toll on many. Being away from home, isolated in dorms and missing out on social gatherings require a big adjustment for college students, not only in handling these day-to-day pressures but the looming uncertainty and fears about the future.
According to a 2020 study of American Psychological Association, 87% of the Gen Z (18-23 yr-olds) population say education is a significant stressor for them. Pivoting to online classes meant simultaneous deadlines, making it hard for some to meet all of them.
How might we manage stress in a way which promotes our wellbeing, and ultimately supports our growth in all life domains, making a positive contribution to the student experience and beyond?
Here are a few practical ways one can ease the negative effects of stress:
Create a constant connection with family, friends and the community
Be it social media or text groups, a simple phone call, scheduled video meet-up, or volunteering with a local group help us connect with others while giving back – we get what we give! Possibilities abound to be with others and feel seen.
Join support groups with the same vision as yours to have a sense of belongingness, even if it’s virtual
Support groups can (*gasp*) actually be fun! If you feel unsure where to find your tribe and an online search seems overwhelming, asking a friend, mentor, or exploring the school services available can reduce the time spent looking, and may help illuminate how wonderful and commonly-utilized this option is. Joining a support group doesn’t have to be permanent either- so sample the options and enjoy the process of discovering what works best for you.
Practice self-care and take a breather from your daily grind
Self-care isn’t all bubble baths and pedicures. Healthy boundaries with ourselves and others can sound like saying no to a social engagement that seems energetically draining, or taking time for a nap when we’re tired. Practicing good sleep hygiene, limiting- or having more-intentional screen time can make a huge difference in the quality of our rest.
Pay attention to early signs of depression and seek help if needed
Have you experienced changes in mood, or prolonged periods of sadness but don’t know why? Do the activities you usually love sound unappealing more often than not? Is it difficult to get to sleep, or to get out of bed regularly? Has your memory or ability to focus changed? Have you found yourself avoiding typical social interactions, making excuses to see others, or desire to stay isolated?
Emotions, appetite, energy levels, and desire for social contact naturally ebb and flow through situations and seasons of life, but significant shifts which last more than a few days might be a sign it’s time to talk to a health professional. Asking for help doesn’t mean you are broken, less capable, or any negative label; asking for help takes courage, and it means you are looking after yourself to find the higher level of care you deserve.
College can be an exciting, enriching time in one’s life for you, and while stress can’t be unavoidable, it doesn’t have to become a roadblock in the way of learning from the books or the experiences in life itself.
Take it easy and remember to be kind to yourself to stay physically, emotionally and mentally healthy. One stressful situation or bad day can be simply that, and each new day is an opportunity to begin again, make a better choice for yourself, and achieve your goals in academics and life. By putting simple practices into your routine, you can learn to manage stress for yourself, and perhaps help others by sharing your personal experience along the way. Rooting for you!
If you, or know of someone who could use some online counseling to feel heard and learn ways to cope, please connect with one of our therapists today for a free consultation.
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As an online mental health counseling practice, our mission is to offer a variety of online therapy services to help you focus on your wellbeing. We take the stress out of getting the treatment you deserve. Synergy eTherapists provide flexible, convenient, and easy to use mental health services.
We offer online therapy in several states including Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kansas, California, Florida, Colorado, and many other states. We add new states to this list regularly.
Our online therapists can treat anxiety, trauma, depression, substance abuse, maternal mental health concerns, grief and loss, and more.
Our therapists help teens, college students, adults, couples, and people with health conditions and chronic pain during online therapy. Additionally, we can offer psychiatric medication management in certain states.
Learn more FAQs about our online therapy group practice as well as the cost of online therapy.