10 Self-Care Tips to stay positive and stress-freeHere’s a scary statistic: 61 percent of college students seeking counseling report having anxiety, while 49 percent report depression. Especially for students who are balancing a full-time job, are busy parents (or both!) … stress levels can rise fast and often.

Now here’s the good news: Everything you need to combat stress is already within you and within your reach. Take a deep breath and read on for self-care tips to help you reduce stress and improve your positivity.

  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.

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.

  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.

  1. Get fresh air.

Walk around the block or go to the park. Just get outside and get moving, every single day. Do some light stretching while you’re at it. 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! Win-win.

  1. Reach out to family and friends.

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. They may even offer you a new perspective you hadn’t considered.

  1. Rely on your student advisor.

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. These advisors provide support and motivation to help you stay on track with goals, and they also celebrate your achievements.

From helping you register for courses each term to providing valuable study tips, your student advisor is dedicated to your success — and he/she is only a call, chat or email away.

  1. Write down positive affirmations.

If a friend facing your same struggles came to you for advice or a pep talk, what would you say? Would you tell them, “You’re crazy for taking this on! You’re in over your head. Might as well give up now.” Of course not! So, why wouldn’t you treat yourself with the same kindness?

Writing down positive affirmations is surprisingly effective in shaping how we view ourselves. Think about what you need to hear right now, and then be your own biggest fan. Keep your affirmations visible with sticky notes, at the top of your to-do list or wherever you’ll see them often. Here are a few possible examples:

  • I trust myself to make the right decisions.
  • I face each day with joy.
  • I let go of worries that drain my energy.
  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 all that hard work worth if you can’t enjoy yourself? Sleep an extra hour, or sip on a sugary latte every once and a while. In life, it’s often the little things that make the biggest impact. Depriving yourself of small comforts will only take a toll on your mental health, so don’t feel guilty for indulging sometimes. 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., said, “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 to increase the zen. Several studies show aromatherapy (among many other methods) can also decrease anxiety and improve sleep.

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.