The second half of the semester has started and with that comes a lot of added stress. My midterms are done but now I have endless projects, presentations, and papers looming in my near future. Mix that with jobs, clubs, and my other commitments and I am a big ball of overwhelmed.

Two weeks ago was really rough for me. I was in a really bad place, overwhelmed to the point where I skipped 4 classes in a week, exhausted to the point where I was skipping meals, and stressed beyond measure. While sometimes it may seem from my posts that I have it all together, I definitely have my moments of weakness.

College students and millennials today are under a lot of pressure and put themselves in situations of large amounts of stress. Here are 9 things that helped me get through this rough patch, get out of bed, and get going again.

1. Say “No” to at least one thing a day

It’s so easy to sign up for too many things at once, especially in college. Take a second today to say “no.” Even if its an extra project that a classmate wants you to take on, an event that your club wants you to manage, a  night out with your roommate, or an extra credit assignment in class. Saying “no, I can’t do that sorry” will take a weight off your shoulders.

2. Color, create, compose.

I started this blog as an outlet to encourage myself to do something creative, and it helps. If you enjoy writing consider starting your own blog and giving it a shot. Or, if you enjoy writing but don’t want make an entire blog, look into joining an organization on campus that has writers such as a Her Campus chapter or you school’s newspaper.

If you enjoy coloring or drawing take time to do what you love. Personally I love drawing and coloring but I am not a very good artist, so I enjoy decorating my planner as a way to de-stress while organizing at the same time. Another great option is adult coloring books like the one in the picture above.

3. Drink more water

Drinking water has endless benefits for your physical and mental health, but drinking cold water is also a great way to calm down and slow anxiety attacks.

4. Make a to-do list + highlight top 3

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have so much going on you can’t keep it straight in your head and you just don’t know what to start with. Sit down and write it all out. Empty your brain, dump everything you have to do down onto a piece of paper. Grab a highlighter, highlight the top 3 things on your list – the 3 single most important things that you have to do today. Now get started on them.

5. Go for a 10 minute walk with music

There is a swingset near my dorm on campus that people tend to go to to relax. There’s something about being outside in the fresh air mixed with some music and swinging on a swingset like you’re a kid again that does wonders to your stress level.

6. Work outside.

Sometimes you just need a change of scenery. Go outside of your room. Go to the library, the student union, a park bench, a table outside, the common room, a coffee shop in town. Get out, bring your books, and get to work.

7. Make your bed. Do the dishes.

Getting yourself up and moving is the first step to getting that entire to-do list done. One thing leads to another. If you get up and do something small it starts momentum that will help you encourage yourself to keep going.

8. Laugh with a Friend

Call up your best friend and ask them to tell you something funny about their day. A little laugh will help to cheer you up and distract yourself, even for a second, from the stress.

Something that my roommates and I do during stressful times is we yell “DANCE PARTY” and everyone has to come out of their bedrooms and we have a big two song dance party in the living room together. Once those two songs are up we all keep each other accountable to getting back to work.

9. Tell yourself it’s okay to not do it all

That monster of a to-do list? It doesn’t have to be done, it doesn’t. Yes there will probably be some problems, but the world won’t end if it’s not done. It’s okay to take a day for yourself every once in a while, they will understand.

What are your small steps for lowering stress? Share them with me in the comments!



Small Steps to Lower Stress

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