Lower Your Stress and Anxiety During Exam Season


College can be stressful.  Balancing your academics with work, friends, family, clubs and organizations, athletics, or whatever you’re involved in can be a lot to handle.  And with finals quickly approaching the stress may be mounting.  Feeling stress or anxiety is actually pretty common for college students.  According to a survey conducted in 2011 by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD) anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students at 41.6%, closely followed by depression at 36.4% and relationship problems at 35.8%.  If you are interested in reading the overall report from the survey just click here.

While stress and anxiety may be a growing issue on college campuses there are always ways to reduce them.  Self-care is a huge part of that.  Here are some self-care tips to help you de-stress and lower your anxiety.  Some of these may seem basic or obvious, but some of these things are the first thing to go when we get stressed.


  1. Do nice things for yourself.

Treat yourself.  This doesn’t necessarily mean buy yourself a present, although you could do that.  In college, funds can be pretty tight.  So find others things to treat yourself with.  Take an extra-long hot shower or bath, not because you’re dirty but because it can be relaxing.  Build in an hour of me time in your schedule where you put aside school and work, maybe watch something on Netflix.  If you want to buy yourself a present get that set of headphones you’ve been admiring, maybe get your favorite candy.  It’s nice to be nice yourself.

  1. Keep to a schedule.

Keeping to a regular schedule can cut down on stress and anxiety quite a bit.  You know your class schedule and how that interacts with your work schedule if you have a job.  Write that out.  Now add in a specific time block every day to study and get homework done.  Make sure you schedule times to eat and relax.  If you’re involved in any extracurriculars add them in too.  Sometimes there will be fluctuations, things can happen unexpectedly.  But keeping the same general schedule every week will get you into a routine that will become second nature.


  1. Do something fun!

What is your favorite thing to do?  When is the last time you did it?  Personally, my favorite thing to do it paint, and I can’t remember the last time I did it.  Try to do this thing regularly.  Having fun is important to leading a low-stress life.

  1. Get enough sleep.

I’m sure you’ve heard this quite a lot.  But it really is important.  If you get a full night’s sleep you will be more alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic! (Anybody else get that song stuck in their head as a kid?)  You will be more attentive throughout the day, which means getting done what you need to get done more efficiently and quickly.


  1. Don’t skip any meals.

You need to make sure your body has the proper fuel to run.  This means eating regularly.  If you skip a meal you may not be able to function properly while studying, going, to class, take a test, doing homework, going to your job, etc.  So make sure you eat!

  1. Say no!

Don’t be afraid to say no to things.  You don’t have to cover every co-worker’s shift whenever they ask.  You don’t have to spearhead every project for all the clubs you’re in.  It is okay to put yourself first.  Essentially don’t overload yourself.  Making that schedule could really help with this.


  1. Spend time with friends and family.

Make time to be with your friends and family.  Sometimes you just need to take a break with those people who love you most.  I often find I feel much more relaxed after a night of hanging out with the fam and my bestie.

These are just some of my favorite ways to de-stress and lower anxiety.  Looking for more?  Why not check out this boss article from Huff Post?  20 Scientifically Back Ways to De-Stress Right Now

If you are in need of any health or counseling services they are available right here at Millersville University.  Click here for counseling.  Click here for health services.


Photos courtesy of Canva.

Kristi Shorter is an Intern for Millersville University’s Housing and Residential Programs.  She is currently pursuing her Master of Education in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.