10 Self-Care Tips for Veteran Students to Combat Stress Grantham understands that becoming an online college student brings new challenges, which can cause stress. When left unmanaged, too much stress can affect your life and health. But with the right tools and support, you can overcome these stressors and improve your well-being.

Read on to learn more about the services we offer military veteran students, as well as other self-care tips to reduce stress and put you at ease.

  1. Prioritize.

The simple act of writing a to-do list has productivity benefits, even if you don’t accomplish all of your tasks. That’s because our brains love order and shut down in chaos. Write all your “to-dos” on paper, in order of most to least important. From there, you can start to schedule your days and even weeks. If you’re digitally inclined, you might consider free versions of online tools such as Trello or Evernote.

Knowing your plans for the day when you wake up can immediately reduce anxiety. This exercise also helps you determine what you can do reasonably, since there’s only so much time in the day. Be realistic and set appropriate expectations for yourself. Learn to say no to things that will overload your schedule.

  1. Take breaks.

Take your mind off school and any other stressors. Do a crossword puzzle, read a chapter of a non-school book, or journal while listening to music. Find an outlet that doesn’t feel like work and incorporate it into your daily routine. Take breaks as often as you need to relax and rejuvenate, but not so many that you end up procrastinating.

If weather permits, get moving outside. Walk around the block or go to the park. Do some light stretching. You don’t have to push yourself too hard to get the benefits — all forms of exercise release endorphins (the chemicals that make you feel good) and they reduce cortisol (the chemical that makes you feel bad).

  1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

No matter how busy you get, always make your health a priority. In addition to the physical benefits, people who eat well and exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety and depression. Those feel-good chemicals we mentioned … your brain needs those to thrive, and food is equally important for good mental health. Research confirms the link between diet and mental health.

In addition to eating nutritious meals, you might consider yoga classes — particularly great for stress relief. Or, if you want something a little more up-tempo, try boxing. Take your frustrations out on the bag as you keep active.

  1. Reach out to family, friends and student advisors.

Your personal network is your support system. Friends and family want to see you succeed. When you’re stressed or doubting yourself, rely on the people who encourage you or make you feel unstoppable.

If you’re a Grantham University student, you’ll benefit from an extended support system, including a student advisor assigned to you the moment you enroll.

  1. Rely on the Veteran Support Team and related services.

Grantham’s Veteran Support Team is a group of staff members (many are military veterans) dedicated to our veteran students and their families. Our mission is to provide continuous support for service members through individualized, one-on-one counseling and tutoring; academic success workshops and videos; financial management guidance; and more.

The university also offers a Veterans Voices Writing Group, and a Student Veterans of America Chapter. The latter provides veteran students an online forum where they can connect with fellow veterans (who are likely experiencing the same challenges) and enjoy some like-minded camaraderie.

  1. Find a hobby you love.

If money was no object, what would you do? How would you spend your time? Whatever it is, it’s likely your passion, so make sure to schedule time for it. Or, find a new hobby, maybe one of these 13 stress relief hobbies for veterans. Volunteering can also be rewarding and offers its own health benefits.

  1. Unwind with white noise.

This self-care tip can be especially helpful when you’re trying to fall asleep at night. After all, that’s when we start to panic about all the things we still have to do. The list never ends. Our minds might race and race, and before we know it, the alarm goes off, and we’re exhausted but still must go back to work.

Invest in a white noise machine or download an ambient sound app like Rainyscope, Noisli or A Soft Murmur, but resist checking your phone otherwise. The blue light emitted by screens limits the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep/wake cycle. Give yourself a digital curfew, at least 30 minutes of gadget-free transition time before you want to fall asleep.

  1. Treat yourself.

You work hard, but what’s the point if you can’t enjoy yourself? Sleep an extra hour or take in an afternoon movie every once and a while. In life, it’s often the little things that make the biggest impact. Depriving yourself of small comforts can take a toll on your mental health, so don’t feel guilty for indulging at times. You’ll be happier and therefore in a better head space to tackle your commitments.

  1. Meditate

Even a few minutes of meditation a day can help ease anxiety. In this WebMD article, psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, Ph.D., says, “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress.”

Meditation seems simple — all you have to do is sit there and breathe, right? The challenge is finding the time to do it. When we feel overloaded, our self-care often takes a back seat. Meditation brings you back to the present, and counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.

As you meditate, use essential oils or candles. Several studies show aromatherapy (among many other methods) can also decrease anxiety and improve sleep.

  1. Seek professional help.

If stress becomes unmanageable, seek professional help. Chronic stress can lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Seeking counseling is not a sign of weakness, but rather of strength and self-awareness.

You are empowered by taking control and refusing to give up on yourself. You may ask your physician or other health care professional for a referral, or a Grantham advisor can help point you in the right direction.

Contact Grantham University Today

Remember, everything you need to combat stress is already within you and within your reach. Grantham University has the student support services – including tutoring assistance, a dedicated career services department and more – to help you earn your degree and plan for a bright future … even while you balance life’s other obligations.

We're here for your success. And if you have questions, we have answers. Fill out the form on this page, or chat live with our admissions team, to learn more.