Fun though it may be to live in that stage of life where responsibilities are low and freedom is high, college life can still get quite tasking on the youth. Just when you tick off a task from your checklist, another deadline comes your way sucking out the excitement college life has to offer. When students hardly seem to catch a break, they are bound to feel bogged down by the workload which may possibly have serious effects on their mental health. But prevention is always better than cure and it’s best, as a student, to nip the problem at it’s bud by seeking out ways to cope with the bustle of college.
First and foremost, it is important to recognize the difference between stress and anxiety. Similar though they may be in their symptoms, they are not the same. Nowadays, people very loosely interchange the two conditions. They are different when it comes to the time period for which they last and their effects on one’s mental health.
Stress is usually taken as a negative but what people don’t know is that stress is of two types – Eustress and Distress. Eustress refers to the mild alarm sounded to push yourself into meeting those deadlines. This is a positive stress, important for getting tasks done. But the problem arises when people aren’t able to come down from this heightened state of arousal, making it difficult to function on a daily basis. The state of distress results in the impairment of effective daily functioning such as messed up sleep cycles, change in appetite, weight loss or gain, inability to concentrate, etc. If this is left unchecked, it can lead to a mental disorder like anxiety.
Anxiety is characterized by an excessive amount of worry and tenseness of both past and future events. Unlike distress which usually subsides after the task is complete, anxiety lasts for months on end and does not necessarily arise when a deadline is at hand. Anxiety affects almost all areas of life including relationships and one’s own health.
Preventive/ Coping methods for stress
Everyone has their own personal way of relieving themselves of stress. What might work well for one person, might possibly be futile for another. The trick is to figure out your own personal stress buster. But, nevertheless, there are some techniques that you can’t go wrong with.
1. A good night’s rest
It is important to get your sleep cycle back to normal. If you’ve spent the last few nights frantically finishing last minute work, sleeping earlier for the next few days should get your body clock back to normal. Avoid using your mobile device at night as it affects to quality of your sleep.
2. Planning in advance
It’s no surprise that organising yourself better will help take some of the load off. Your mind is more at ease when your time is evenly distributed to meet deadlines.
Taking time away from the hustle and bustle of things will give your mind a breather. You have the liberty to choose what activities you find relaxing. It could be listening to music, reading or a hobby. You’re good to go as long as the activity doesn’t require too much brain effort.
4. Practicing mindfulness
Using your down time to find yourself is a great way to practice mindfulness. It is technique in which one detaches themselves from the rest of the world and focuses on self-discovery and self-awareness. Journaling can help gather one’s thoughts and gain some release after a hard week.
5. Share the load with a friend
No, I don’t mean getting someone else to get work done for you. It is crucial to talk about what you are going through with a trustworthy mate. It can often be very therapeutic to share your feelings, knowing that someone understands your struggles.
6. Seeking help
Before you begin to see things getting out of hand and find yourself functioning inefficiently, seeking professional help is always advisable. Colleges are equipped with counselors and psychologists that deal with problems like stress and anxiety. Medication prescribed by a psychiatrist is advisable in extreme cases of anxiety disorders.