College is stressful, there’s no denying that. According to the 2015 National College Health Assessment, 30% of college students reported that stress had a negative effect on their academic performance within the past year. Stress can manifest itself in many, many physical ways, and contribute to a multitude of health problems. Though it does take time and trial to find the best self-care methods for you, it’s incredibly important to develop the habits early on. Below are some highly suggested practices you can incorporate into your daily life to help mitigate any feelings of stress you might have!
Yoga and Meditation
Often the simplest remedies are the most overlooked ones. Though they’ve become fads in the U.S., there is quite a bit of fact to attest to the benefits of the consistent practice of yoga and meditation. Just a quick google search of the benefits of meditation and yoga brings up hundreds of thousands of results. One of the biggest benefits is reducing stress.
If you’re contemplating taking up yoga or meditation but don’t know where to begin, there are tons of apps and websites that can help you dive in. Stop, Breathe & Think is both a website and an app where you can tailor meditation to how you’re feeling in a particular moment. Daily Yoga (an Android and iPhone friendly app) has over 500 poses, over 50 yoga sessions, and background music to get you in the zone. Additionally, if you prefer the structure of a weekly meditation session, Kay Spiritual Life Center holds a free weekly meditation session every Wednesday from 4:30-5:45pm in T-10 Battelle-Tompkins.
Whether it’s going for a walk, lifting weights, or running, getting your body moving is a great way to minimize stress. Everyone knows that exercise releases endorphins in your body. But it also contributes to a stronger immune system and helps you sleep better. There are two places on campus where you can work out: Cassell Fitness Center and Jacobs Fitness Center. If the gym is not your thing or you physically can’t lift weights, there is also a two mile accessible walking route that winds around the entirety of campus. Just walking and spending time outside can really help lift your mood!
Making Your Bed and Organizing Your Space
This one’s a little laughable, but you’d be surprised at how much making your bed can help you feel better! There are times throughout the semester where we are so busy we tend to neglect our personal spaces. Starting small— making your bed, reorganizing your bookshelf or your laptop’s desktop—can really make your life feel less cluttered. Less clutter means less stress and (hopefully) more productivity. Similarly, making checklists/to-do lists of what you have to do throughout the day can help give you a feeling of organization, as opposed to trying to keep a mental note of everything. They contribute to a feeling of accomplishment by tangibly showing you how much you’ve gotten done!
This one also seems a bit laughable, but really makes a huge difference. Stress can weigh you down and make you want to neglect your homework, wrap yourself up in blankets, and watch Netflix all day. Humans are inherently social creatures, so relying on your support network to help you feel better when you’re down or stressed out is normal and natural. Sometimes it takes a little push, but time spent with friends is never regretted, especially now that we have the UPass program! Whether it’s hanging out in each other’s dorm rooms, going out for a bite to eat, or venturing around DC, there is so much to do. Check out The DCist, Bitches Who Brunch, and the Washingtonian, three publications that all frequently update their websites with things to do around DC!
In the event that self-care isn’t helping you to feel better or alleviate some of the stress you’re feeling, there are plenty of accessible resources on campus. The counseling center (located in MGC 214) is a wonderful resource that provides individual counseling, group therapy, drop-in appointments Monday-Friday between 2 and 4pm, and workshops all on campus. You can make an appointment by calling their phone number—202-885-3500—or by stopping into their offices. They also have self-help resources on their website in the event that you want to help yourself feel better. They are committed to helping students to the best of their abilities free of charge.
Remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all remedy! Different things work well for different people.
We’ll leave you with this motivational video. Good luck and take care of yourselves!