College Can be a Stressful Time

College is a new and exciting time for many students. However, between adjusting to a foreign environment, making new friends, and balancing an increased academic load… college can be overwhelming! Follow the link below to view a simple infographic entitled, Stress and You! Highlighted on the infographic are different types of stress, sources of stress and easy ways to relieve stress.

Stress and You Infographic

The American Institute of Stress reports that approximately 8 in 10 college students experience some level of stress. There are two types of stress: eustress and distress. Eustress can have a positive effect and motivate you to succeed; such as getting an A on a paper. On the other hand, distress is stress that results in a negative outcome. This is the type of stress most people are familiar with, and would include being laid off from a job. While many people experience stress as a normal part of their everyday life, it becomes a health concern when the same stressors occur continuously. This is because when stress is experienced, the body secretes epinephrine, norepinephrine and glucagon. These hormones cause a spike in blood pressure and blood glucose levels. This response is needed for a short period of time to help the body deal with the stressful situation. However, if stress becomes prolonged, these hormones will stay in the blood and can lead to the development of hypertension and other cardiovascular problems. While these symptoms are major; minor symptoms of stress may include irritability, trouble sleeping and changes in appetite.

Some of the biggest sources of stress in the life of college students include time management, financial responsibilities and body image. Everyone deals with stress differently and that is ok! Stress management is all about finding a strategy that works best for you. Listed below are five simple ways to reduce stress in your life.

  • Exercise– Research has shown that a minimum of 20 minutes of aerobic activity is recommended to control stress. Find the activity that you enjoy best, and get out there and do it!
  • Eat Well-Balanced Meals: It is important to consume meals with a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Taking in too much added sugar in your diet can cause fluctuations in your blood sugar levels, leading to increased psychological stress on the body.
  • Reduce Caffeine Intake: While a 20 oz. cup of coffee may give you a quick energy boost, it will likely make you feel anxious and jittery. Instead of caffeine, try drinking a glass of ice water with fresh lemons and limes for a refreshing and natural energy boost.
  • Sleep: Researchers recommend at least 7 hours of sleep each night to reduce stress and energize your body. Unfortunately, almost ½ of all college students fall short of this recommendation. Do your body a favor and get some shut eye every night.
  • Say NO: Saying “yes” to everyone but yourself can cause you to feel stretched in too many directions. Make time for yourself and reduce stress by simply learning to say “no.”

Resources:

American Institute of Stress

Stress and the College Student

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