Stressing about stress

April is Stress Awareness Month, which tends to be the central theme of our lives as college students; we’re always stressed out, whether it is from academics, extracurriculars, work or just taking a ride on the general life struggle bus.

The Stress Awareness Month official site calls the current state we live in a “modern stress epidemic” and is aimed at educating about “the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies, and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society.”

According to The American Institute of Stress, eight in 10 college students answer that they experience stress on a frequent basis. The American Psychological Association also reported that college students “felt overwhelmed with anxiety at least once within the last 12 months.”

It’s a no-brainer to why we’re stressed out and feel anxious sometimes. We juggle our classes and the time consumption of homework, studying, and writing papers with social lives (some of ours are totally nonexistent), but how can we handle this? What can we do to relieve our stress in a healthy, effective way?

When it’s suggested that we get more sleep and eat healthy, I laugh like the cynical millennial that I am. I’m living on a college budget and on a tight schedule with my own classes and commitments. Homework alone is what keeps me up at night. Trust me, I would much rather be sleeping than staying up until 2 a.m. every night, but I do it.

A friend recently asked me why I tend to compulsively schedule and use my planner as my own personal Bible. I find that this is my way of coping with stress and dealing with all the things I have to accomplish each day; if it’s written down in my planner or into a list of what I have to do each week, I know when I have to do it. My planner is like my right-hand man and has seriously helped with my time management, which reduces my stress, even if it’s just a little bit.

I do think it is crucial to our sanity to somehow find time for stress-relieving activities. Everyone is different, so find what works for you, even if it means trial-and-error. Do something silly, schedule an hour out of your week to exercise at the WRAC, take a break from homework with an ice cream run or a 10-minute dance party.

The Counseling & Wellness Center at the University of Florida suggests students find someone to talk to about problems to gain perspective on their respective situations and can help give “a sense of control” on problems. This person could be your best friend or a classmate that equally understands the #struggz.

The best person to talk to might also be a health professional.

Just as it’s important that we recognize the (sometimes extreme) stress college students experience, we must remove the stigma surrounding counseling; there is zero shame in seeking out additional help from people who are trained to do this.

NSU offers services in the Counseling and Career Services in room 305 of the Student Union. Students can also utilize the Academic Success Center in room 108 of Watson Library, and it frequently hosts Student Success Workshops on study skills and time management.