As students approach the end of the semester, their threshold for handling stress in a constructive manner decreases and their techniques for remaining calm are often tested. For many students, college involves disappointments related to grades and future goals. Sometimes it’s necessary to push through those feelings of distress, especially when taking a test. Other times the best way to counter stressors is engaging in stress relieving activities.
To discover which stress relief activities work best for you, experiment with different strategies. Try engaging in a relaxing activity at least 3-5 times a week; exercising daily; taking a nap; sleeping an extra few hours; participating in a creative pastime or watching your favorite TV show. These activities will help you focus by allowing your mind to take a break.
If lack of organization is a point of stress for you, try to stay organized the last weeks of the semester by using to-do lists, calendars or apps to stay on task. Try not to procrastinate! Talk to other people about any concerns - support is key to self-care. Most importantly, remember the value of patience and compassion toward yourself and others as the semester winds down.
If returning home for extended breaks is a stressor in your life, remember that it’s natural to feel a mixture of excitement, fear and joy. As family and friend dynamics evolve, keep in mind that while change can be uncomfortable, it is often a healthy and necessary part of development.
To reduce stress when visiting home, be realistic about expectations and acknowledge your feelings about changes. Plan ahead for emotionally difficult discussions related to grades, change of major, financial issues or disagreements during the past semester. Accept that there will be differences in feelings and ideas and that enjoying the people in your life is more meaningful than taking time to address all the problems.
Most importantly, remember to seek additional support when stress becomes overwhelming. Try accessing all the resources available to you to find the most constructive way of dealing with your end of semester stressors. Support from friends and family may not always be enough. Visit the Counseling Center for more information about making an appointment or attending a drop-in workshop.