How to Take a Break from College Stress
Most traditional college students have a lot going on. Dorms, friends, classes, sports, clubs and work are great and exciting, except when they’re not. When the stress levels are high and you feel like you can’t do school any more, try one of these breaks.
Hang out with new people
Sometimes drama gets thick. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery. Whatever the case, hang out with new people (or forgotten acquaintances) for lunch, an afternoon or the weekend. You can shoot the breeze, have a pleasant time and be a little more refreshed when you go back to your group.
This isn’t an option for some students, but most American students attend college within a day’s drive of their parents. While freshman are often discouraged from spending every weekend at mom and dad’s, escaping for a few days can be a great option for older students.
If you can’t (or don’t want) to go home, try visiting a relative or friend. Better yet, pay a visit to a local nursing home or animal shelter. You won’t be able to stay the whole weekend, but spending a few hours cheering someone else up is better than stressing out alone in your apartment.
Leave campus for a few hours
This tip is especially relevant to students of small residential colleges, where it can start to seem like their entire universe is contained within a single city block.
Go get ice cream. Take a walk to someplace not affiliated with your university. Go to church, the public library or the mall. Whatever is stressing you out will still be there when you get back.
Skip something non-essential
College students are notorious for skipping class, but also for being overbooked with extracurricular engagements. It’s great that you faithfully attend the Students In Favor of Recycling Club’s weekly meetings. But when you really just need another hour to finish some laundry and run through your flash cards, it might be better to skip a week.
This is a tip I learned from a professional friend. Look ahead a week (or a month) and find a block of time that you’re not required to be anywhere. Write “something” in your planner or calendar. You can plan what you’re going to do during that time or not, but if anyone else tries to schedule you, tell them is that you already have “something” at that time.
Vent and reset
If a specific situation has you stressed (and especially if that situation is complicated or drawn out), find a friend/counselor/willing stranger and a private place to vent about it. When you’re done, spend some time alone doing a low-key activity (like painting, walking or listening to music) and try to approach the situation from a fresh perspective. The situation hasn’t changed, but you have, which can help keep you going a while longer.
Devote time and effort to something good
So you’re bombing Chemistry, your coworker has a revenge plot against you, your dog ran away and your mom is fighting with your sister. Your life, as a whole, isn’t going so well, but your intramural Quidditch team is dominating. Use that one good thing as a break from all the rest: whenever you’re at practice or getting ready for a game, everything else is on hold. Maybe you spend an evening making epic t-shirts or coming up with a new chant. Whatever your thing is, carve out some time to enjoy it amidst everything else you’re going through.
Some of these “breaks” might seem obvious or not applicable to your particular situation, but in times of stress people sometimes neglect basic ideas. Try one break or all of them, but do something to help yourself and the people around you get to better times.