School is stressful and tough, and sometimes it’s difficult to step away from it all and focus on yourself. I know that “free-time” is often an imaginary concept in college, but it is so important to take a step back every once in awhile and take the afternoon off to spend some time treating yourself. Your body is not a machine, it requires rest and relaxation in order to rejuvenate itself and stay in shape. So, I challenge you to close the textbook, power down your laptop, and take some time to focus on yourself. You’ll be so glad you did. Here are 5 ways to cope with stress, and help put you in a better mood:

  1. Go outside

Whether it be going for a walk with friends, or simply just to go outside to get some fresh air, leaving your dorm room is a great way to refresh yourself. I am guilty of this myself.  Sometimes I spend all day in my room without even noticing.  Sometimes I barely leave my desk. It is so important to just go outside and breathe some fresh air and feel the sunshine. This will help to not only relieve some stress, but it also has physical benefits. Breathing clean, fresh air will help keep you from getting sick this winter, and relieve you from being cooped up in your room all the time. Also, getting up and walking will do wonders for your body. Sitting stationary for long periods of time isn’t good for your back. Going for a walk will help your neck and back feel better too.

  1. Catch up with friends

Everyone is busy balancing class, work, homework, and extracurricular activities, but try to get everyone together one afternoon just to hang out and grab lunch. This will give you the opportunity to see your friends, and it is a great way to catch up on other things going on in life, and not just what is going on in the classroom. Finding the time to see some old friends is not only good for you, but it shows your friends that you’re still thinking of them.  I’m sure they will appreciate the opportunity to get away from homework as well.

  1. Go on an adventure

No matter where you are, or where your school is, I guarantee that there is an adventure waiting somewhere nearby. Grab some friends and hop on the train to someplace new. Go downtown and visit a new restaurant or check out a new clothing store. An adventure doesn’t have to consist of traveling to some faraway place that costs a lot of money.  An adventure could be anything that’s new and exciting. This is a great way to learn more about where you’re living.  It can open you up to new opportunities and experiences you never thought possible.

  1. Read a book

Not a textbook. Find a subject that you’re passionate about, and learn more about it. Whether you love fiction or non-fiction, picking up a book just for yourself seems a lot better than picking up a book because it is an assignment. I understand, sometimes it’s hard to find the leisure time to read for fun, but think of all the time in a day that you waste endlessly scrolling through Facebook or Twitter. Instead of those few minutes here, few minutes there, block off a small chunk of time to sit down and read for yourself. Not only will you enjoy it, but you’ll be learning something new for yourself, and not because it was required reading.

  1. Call your parents

College is a whirlwind of tests, homework, meetings, and clubs, so sometimes it is easy to forget about your family at home. But, try to make a conscious effort to reach out to your parents, grandparents, or whoever you’d like, and tell them how much you miss them. Let them know what you’re doing at school, and all the fun adventures you’ve been a part of. Talking to my family always destresses me, and I love catching up on what’s been going on at home, so I can still be part of things. Your family will also appreciate it, they miss you and are wondering about you, so give them a call, it’s worth it.

Remember, you and your mental health are most important. While it is easy to compare yourself to grades, or GPA scores, remember numbers are quantitative. They do not measure you as a person, and they do not define you. While it is important to work hard and do well in school, it is also important to be happy, and to enjoy your time at school, because many people are not afforded the same opportunities as you are.

Joleen T
FFL Contributor
Joleen is a Contributor at FFL. She enjoys reading, going to Chipotle, and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can find her at the library, or studying for the LSAT. Her goal is to become a lawyer, and eventually run for public office. Her role models are Nikki Haley and Sandra Day O’Connor.

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