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Stress Management Skills for Students



Collegiate life and the transitionary period of young adulthood is inevitably an stressful time. For those with mental health disorders or learning disabilities, it can be even more challenging. Recognizing what is causing stress and learning how to manage stress better is incredibly important. Stress management skills can help to prevent young adults from getting stuck and increase the gap as they transition into adulthood.

Recognizing Common Stressors

Research has shown that younger people from ages 12 to 23 have a higher level of psychological stress. This can be seen in various ways, manifesting differently for each person. Commonly these are seen in conditions including depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Mental health issues caused by stress can also lead to or contribute to physical health concerns during this transition as well.

Recognizing how and what is causing stress for you can be challenging. Learning to recognize it can help you to improve your stress management skills. Many common sensations occur with stress, including:

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • General muscle tension

  • Tension with breathing

  • Feeling anxious or worried

  • Mental fog

  • Difficulty making decisions

  • Irritability

  • Issues getting and staying asleep

  • Restlessness

Remember, it often takes time to notice and recognize what is causing stress and how it is impacting you. Getting support is usually a beneficial option, allowing you to learn about common stressors and discuss your experience with someone you trust.

Stress Management Skills

The adjustment into adulthood, including going to college, is a very stressful time. Having tools that can help you to manage stress can help to decrease their impact. Research has shown that stress management is effective in reducing overall stress for college students. While stress management programs often include professional mental health care, some tools can help you to manage your stress. Below, we will outline a few options.

Focusing on Health

You will be faced with a lot of changes when transitioning to college, especially if you are moving away from home. One example is the lack of structure and immediate support regarding your health. No longer being told to go to bed at a certain time or have a healthy dinner prepared for you can feel freeing; however, it can also mean a deterioration of your mental and physical health.

Focusing on your health can help to manage your overall stress level and decrease the impact of stress on your health. Factors like sleep, nutrition, and exercise contribute to overall stress. They can help to increase your ability to manage stress and help maintain mental and physical health. Both of these are highly important when in a situation that includes long-term stressors.

Life Skills for Stress Management

Learning to manage multiple life skills is part of the transition to adulthood. Life skills that can help manage stress include the following:

  • Hygiene

  • Sleep habits

  • Cooking

  • Cleaning

  • Exercise

  • Financial literacy

  • General scheduling

Such skills are incredibly important for stress management. They can help you to feel in control of your daily life, making it feel less chaotic and causing less anxiety. Keeping a clean home, managing your own healthy choices, and feeling financially stable can all help to improve your sense of calm. While you may not enjoy cleaning or cooking, it is worth making the effort to try. You can always test them out to see how you feel in relation to stress – with and without these skills.

Having a Stress Outlet

An outlet for stress helps manage your level of stress by decreasing the likelihood of it building over time. There are many options for stress outlets, including the following:

  • Exercise

  • Socializing

  • Hobbies

  • Meditation

  • Writing

  • Music

Finding an outlet that you enjoy and helps you to let go of stress is ideal. If you enjoy exercise, for example, consider fitting it into your regular schedule or joining a team as a way to destress. However, if you prefer activities like writing or music and they help you to release stress, that is a great option as well. Regardless of what you choose, exploring options for stress outlets can provide a way to destress when you've had a challenging day or week.

Social Connections for Stress Management

Connecting with others is highly effective for stress management. Research has shown that having strong social connections helps to manage and increase resilience to stress. Making new friendships and strengthening old connections can help your daily stress while decreasing the physical and mental toll of stress.

Having a strong social network can be an outlet for stress. This may include family, friends, and/or coworkers. These are often people whom you can go to when your stress level is high. They may help you to find new solutions or simply state what's on your mind so that you can get it out of your head. Building social connections at school or remotely from another location can improve your overall stress level and ability to manage the stress of entering adulthood.

Young adulthood and collegiate life are inherently stressful. It is a period where many changes are occurring internally and externally, and it takes time to build skills that can help you to manage the new stressors that you are experiencing. At Northwest College Support, we work with young adults who need extra support during this time. Our programs help students and young adults to manage mental and physical health and learn the life skills needed to be successful. Our goal is to support each individual in a unique way that helps them to thrive. If you are interested in learning more about our programs and how we can help, call (877) 485-2776 today.

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