Why and how college students should relax on a daily basis

A normal week for a college student usually consists of about four major things. These include exams, going to work, normal school work and trying to be social with peers. In my case, all four of these things make for a high anxiety, stress-filled environment. 

According to Dartmouth’s Student Wellness Center, high stress levels can lead to frequent common illnesses such as colds, sore throats or the flu. Stress can also be a factor in your sleep schedule. The website also recognizes that a small amount of stress is healthy. It is “protective and adaptive. Our responses to stress help our minds and bodies to prepare for difficult challenges, and to react appropriately in a time of crisis,” said the Dartmouth College Health Study, from spring 2008.

What is too much stress and how do we, as suffering college students, relax? In my case, too much stress is when my body starts to physically and mentally shut down. By this, I mean I catch what feels like every cold that is going around campus. I get more pulls in my neck than I can count, and I feel like no amount of break is long enough. So, the steps I take to relax may seem easy or that they won’t work for you. They may not because everyone is different. But, trying needed relaxation techniques may lead you to a new sense of relaxation.

One of my main relaxation rituals I do is heavy bag workouts, yes, like boxers, but only for 15 minute increments because I don’t want my body to be pushed to where I can no longer continue my day afterwards.

The Dartmouth article explained that exercise is a good tool in reducing stress because it can not only alleviate symptoms of stress and depression, but it also builds confidence and self- image while also blowing off steam, and releasing physical tension in a person’s body.

People who I know that are normally stressed say, “I don’t have time to relax,” which is a major problem and, as I said, can be detrimental to one’s health. Statistics show that 75-90 percent of visits to a physician’s office are for stress-related conditions and complaints. Stress can be crucial to one’s health and has been linked to six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.

So, what other ways should students relax to avoid major stress to the point of hospitalization?

Most important to me is exactly that word: me. Time only by yourself, even if it’s at least 10 minutes at a time, can be beneficial to your health. I know it is for me. Also, taking care of yourself, which is an area I lack in, but it is something we should all take into consideration because of the easy access students have to fast food on campus.

Relaxation in college students is not a common thing because many of us are told that we are, “Too young to have things to stress about” or, “You’re so young. What do you have to be stressed about?” So, we try not to show our stress, causing ourselves more harm than good.

The Dartmouth Wellness Center article includes a few more ways students can relax or lessen stress that are simple, and take little time from one’s schedule. Find a support system, change your outlook on certain events, be realistic, get organized and take charge, learn to say “no,” get a hobby, slow down, laugh more and use yoga or quiet time to your advantage.

Relax. Tomorrow is a fresh start, and you can do it one deep breath at a time.