Managing Stress: A Guide for College Students


Managing Stress: A Guide for College Students

Stress Management: A Wellness Lifestyle Approach

The District of Columbia is home to a wealth of yoga studios, meditation classes, tai chi, qi gong, gyms, and sports programs. Simply by googling Yoga Studios DC, you will encounter pages of possibilities for mind/body classes within walking distance. 

Yoga District

Insight Meditation Community of Washington

Circle Yoga

Stress is a part of life, but the healthier you are, the better able you are to manage stress when it happens. Chronic stress can impact your immune system, which lowers your resistance to getting sick. Approaching stress management from a wellness lifestyle approach can give you "money in the bank" when it comes to preventing stress, and can give you the energy you need to handle stress when it happens. The following components are part of a wellness lifestyle approach.

"Attitude is everything." What does that mean? The way you think about things can make all the difference in how you react to events. In this section, we explore how you can change the way you think in order to reduce stress.

Healthy Eating: 
Good nutrition and healthy eating habits can help you through your stressful times now, not just prevent a heart attack 30 years down the road. Eating well will increase your physical, mental, and emotional stamina. Fueling yourself with nutrient dense foods can boost your immune system, help you maintain a healthy weight and help you feel better about yourself. Check out the Healthy Eating section for a quick diet assessment and ideas on how to fuel yourself better.

Physical Activity: 
Physical activity provides immediate stress relief as well as long-term stress management. Just 20-30 minutes of walking a day, for example, can give you more energy, help you put things in perspective, improve your sleep, sharpen your mental productivity, and boost your self-confidence. Our bodies are made to move and everyone can find some type of activity that is enjoyable.

photo of girlfriends sitting by the ocean

Relaxing Your Mind and Body: 
There are a number of relaxation techniques that can help you manage stress and also improve your concentration, productivity and overall well-being.

Meditation Audio:

Consistent sleep is critical for a healthy life. Although we all need varying amounts of sleep, if we do not get enough sleep, everything from our immune system to our ability to learn and remember information will be negatively affected. Sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise when preparing for peak performance.

Healthy Relationships: 
Changes in relationships can be a source of stress for many students, as can feeling socially isolated. At the same time, talking with a supportive friend or family member can be helpful in coping with stress. This section emphasizes conflict resolution for stress management.

Time Management: 
Sometimes all the things we have to do can seem overwhelming and impossible to accomplish. Learning how to be a good time manager is a skill that you can use throughout your life, which can make work, play and studying more manageable, more productive and less stressful. Learn about the ABCs of time management.

Alcohol and Other Drugs: 
Alcohol and other drug use can lead to many problems that can add stress to our lives. High-risk use can lead to poor decision-making, impaired abstract thinking, injury and legal problems. By understanding your overall risks, you can make healthier choices.

Online Resources

Tobacco can impact your sleep, ability to fight infection and overall health. These issues can create stressful situations. Tobacco use by some, however, is seen as a stress reducer. In order to achieve a healthy lifestyle, it is important to learn strategies to deal with stressors and to understand that quitting tobacco use takes time and practice.

EX: Re-Learn Life without Cigarettes
American Legacy Foundation and the Mayo Clinic. This program helps smokers to create a personalized cessation program, which targets the physical, psychological, behavioral and spiritual aspects of addiction. The website also features a Resource Center and an online community for EX members to share their experiences.

Helping Young Smokers Quit: Identifying Best Practices for Tobacco Cessation
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Helping Young Smokers Quit is a national program that addresses the critical need to disseminate effective, developmentally appropriate cessation programs for adolescent smokers. The HYSQ initiative works to fill a gap in knowledge about the numbers and distribution of youth cessation programs, as well as the types of treatment approaches and program components that are offered across the U.S. It aims to identify effective program models and promising directions for future research.

How to Quit – Useful Resources to Quit Smoking
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health (CDC-OSH). This website provides a resource list of pamphlets, fact sheets, and publications on smoking cessation including: “You can quit smoking”, “Quit Tips”, “I Quit!: What to do when you’re sick of smoking, chewing, or dipping.” The site also includes references for other websites to help quit smoking.

Money Management: 
When you consider that the average credit card debt of an undergrad is $2,748, it's no wonder why finances are a common stressor for college students. This section offers tips on money management and credit card use.

40 Money Management Tips Every College Student Should Know:


Spirituality means finding personal meaning in your life; it doesn't mean just following a particular religious dogma. This section describes how exploring spirituality may be helpful in managing stress.