If your student is experiencing some of the everyday stress that comes from college life, there are several stress management techniques you can encourage them to engage in to reduce their stress.
We have all heard it before, exercising and good nutrition will lower your level of stress. This is still true; however, in a study from American Journal of Health Promotion, it has been discovered that college students who exercised vigorously for twenty minutes at least three days a week were less likely to report poor mental health and spending more than two hours with others also reduced stress. Socializing while engaging in physical activity can help a college student experience less stress during their academic year. Encourage your student to be active with others. Eastern Washington University has several options available for students to be physically active while in a social group setting:
- Intramural Sports
- Club Sports
- Group Personal Training
- Group Fitness Classes
- Ice Skating Classes
- Fitness & Sports Classes for Credit
- EPIC Adventures
- Open Swim
- Rock Climbing Wall
- Racquet Ball Courts
Unlike high school where teachers and parents frequently structure a student’s entire life, college allows less in-class time, more outside of class work, and a great deal of freedom and flexibility. Help your student have a plan and prepare for this before they get to campus by practicing good time management skills. Encourage your student to have a planner, calendar, and keep their schoolwork organized.
- A month-at-a-glance calendar: write down all assignment due dates, goals, presentations, exams, and quizzes.
- Weekly priority list: account for both short and long-term assignment, break down long-term assignments into manageable pieces and to monitor progress towards goals.
- Organize time: encourage your student to make sleep and eating a priority as well and to remember to take care of himself or herself.
If you’re finding it hard to ask your student if they are managing their time well without your assistance, ask your student the following questions to create the conversation:
- Do you study only when you’re “in the mood?”
- Whenever you study, do you spend some time reviewing?
- Do you study only when you have nothing else to do?
- Before you study, do you estimate the amount of time needed for doing the assignment?
- Do you have a regular time each day for studying particular subjects?
- When you study, do you take a break every thirty to forty minutes?
- Do you set aside time for fun and recreation?
Talk with Someone
Talking about what is stressing us is oftentimes an effective way to deal with our stressors. Students may want to reach out to a family member, a friend, or a roommate; however, EWU also has resources on campus where students can speak with a professional staff member about how to manage their stress.
Wellbeing coaching is a service that is provided through the Health, Wellness & Prevention Services Office. Our certified health and wellness coaches can meet with your student to help them identify the changes they want to make in their overall wellbeing and to help set goals to reduce or manage their stress.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a great resource for students needing to talk about their stressors. Students do not have to have a diagnosed mental health disorder to meet with a counselor, which is a common misconception. CAPS can work with your student to identify their stressors, talk about them, and develop healthy coping techniques.
Tips for End of Year Academic Stress:
- Surround yourself with supportive people. Encourage your student to avoid negative thoughts and people. It is easy to have conversations with peers over lunch or coffee that are filled with complaints about a class or gossip about others. Over time, this can cloud your thoughts and leave you with a negative point of view. Surround yourself with positive people!
- Don't compare yourself to others. As you get to the end of the year, it is easy to measure your success against that of your peers. Let your student know that they cannot value their accomplishments based on how they compare to others. Everyone's journey is different and unique - they should celebrate their own personal growth!
- Don't go through this alone. Isolation can occur when you are consumed with so much academic (and other) stress. Help support your student by finding social settings where they can connect with others and do something other than schoolwork.
- Find a mentor or resource(s). Finding a mentor thought a professor, advisor, or CA is a great way to stay positive and engaged; they can also connect your student to resources on campus. Encourage your student to seek out additional resources on campus related to clubs and organizations, tutoring, internship placement, employment, and other academic or social resources.