April 19, 2022

10 Ways to Manage Stress for College Students

College students face ongoing stressors trying to balance their new independence, social life, academic demands, and a healthy lifestyle. Students living on campus enjoy the excitement of being away from home for the first time, but also have to deal with this stressful life change. It can be challenging to create new routines that include time management, self-care, prioritizing academics, and making good choices. College students with anxiety and depression need additional support on campus.

Stress Awareness Month is the perfect time to be sharing stress management tips that college students can use throughout the year. These 10 ways to manage stress will help promote optimal well-being for college students.

1. Use Time Management Strategies


College students need time management skills to effectively manage their busy life. From planning for ample time to study to making sure they get enough sleep, utilizing time management strategies is one of the best ways to reduce stress at college.

Many colleges offer time management workshops and seminars. Make to do lists, organize tasks by priority, break big projects into smaller steps, and start time blocking. Sticking to the budgeted time for studying and gradually working on projects in advance will help students avoid unrealistic expectations and all-night cram sessions.

2. Make Healthy Eating Choices

Campus dining facilities contain healthy choices as well as many unhealthy options, especially grab and go junk food. For students trying to manage weight, increase energy, or boost mood, healthy eating options are essential. Students can lookup nutritional information for dining hall food on the dining website to help make smart choices. Campus dietitians are available to meet with students to customize recommendations and assist with special dietary needs. Replacing caffeine drinks with water will result in health benefits. Buying healthy snacks to keep in dorm rooms will help fight the late night munchies and make it easier to make healthy choices on-the-go. It is okay to sometimes to give in to junk food cravings and not feel guilty. Balance, moderation, and body positivity are the foundations of healthy eating.

3. Exercise

There are many ways to exercise on campus, including going to the gym, taking a fitness class, jogging or biking around campus, and working out in a dorm room. In addition to managing physical and mental health, studies show that exercising may actually boost academic performance.

4. Join a Study Group

Students can benefit from joining a study group, as long as the group stays focused on studying, not socializing. For difficult majors, such as nursing and pre-med, study groups are critical for academic success. Campus tutoring centers may also be a helpful resource.

5. Take Study Breaks

Often when students feel overwhelmed and time pressured, they may think they don’t have time to take a break. However, research shows that taking a quick study break can make studying more productive and help fight stress and burnout.

6. Attend Office Hours

Professors and teaching assistants are happy to answer questions, provide clarity, review tests, and give students tips during their office hours. They may even mentor students and provide guidance for personal problems. For students having difficulty in a class that is not resolved by attending office hours or tutoring, schedule a meeting with the assigned advisor.

7. Build Social Supports

Establishing and maintaining a social support system at college is essential for mental well-being. From making friends in the dorm to joining clubs and attending college events, colleges offer many options for building a social support system. When facing difficulties with roommates or suitemates, contact the resident advisor or housing department.

8. Be Responsible in Personal Decision Making

Make a plan in advance for how to handle partying, substances, dating, and relationships in a responsible manner. When college students identify their values and beliefs in advance, it is easier to respond to peer pressure with self-confidence instead of impulsive acts. Making an appointment at the campus health center is a great first step for responsible decision making. With the addiction and overdose epidemic, it is essential for all students, parents, and college personnel to know the warning signs of substance abuse and be able to intervene before it becomes an addiction.

9. Utilize the Counseling Center

College counseling centers offer short-term individual therapy for all mental health issues. Counselors may also make recommendations for on-campus group therapy and off-campus providers. Some counseling centers hold workshops for students to help them learn coping skills, such as time management skills.

10. Contact Disability Services If Needed

For students with a documented mental health disorder, learning disorder, or other disabilities, contact the campus office of disability services. Students may be eligible for helpful accommodations such as priority registration for classes, extended time on tests, and designated note takers.

The Queen Shirley Foundation (QSF) offers virtual therapeutic workshops and self-care workshops, which can be helpful for college students. The QSF virtual therapeutic art workshops focus on teaching coping skills, stress management, and resilience while making visual arts. QSF also offers therapeutic music workshops. Honor First provides all types of virtual mental health therapy for all age groups, including college students.