The month of April is Stress Awareness Month, but as college students we don’t need a special month to acknowledge our stress – we try to cope with this every day. Between stressing about a big exam or assignment or about personal issues, it can take a toll on both your mind and body. Aside from dealing with your own stress, it’s important to recognize this month and support friends or family members dealing with difficult situations. Here are 11 easy things you can do to help reduce stress:

1) Go for a walk or go to the gym

When the sun is shining and the weather is warm, going for a walk can be helpful to clear your mind with fresh air while giving your body some exercise. If it’s too cold out, going to the IWC and working out can help get your mind off of a situation and let you release some energy.

2) Get coffee with a friend

Something as simple as going to get some coffee and sitting down to talk with a friend can de-stress. Use that time to vent to each other about stressors in your life.

3) Call your mom or another family member

Moms always know the right thing to say and what to do. At least for me, I always feel better after chatting with mom. It could even be an aunt, uncle, grandma or cousin you call – regardless of who it is, find that family member you’re comfortable with calling and seeking advice from.

4) Meditate and simply relax

Meditation is something everyone can do almost anywhere if you have a few minutes to spare in a quiet spot. Meditation and breathing exercises help with stress and anxiety, and lucky enough WSU has a Relaxation Room on the second floor of the IWC! Here students can relax, do homework, meditate and pray.

5) Hang out with animals

Wednesdays with Winston in room 138 of the IWC provides students with a little pet therapy to get through the week. Winston is a trained therapy dog, and nothing’s better than petting an adorable dog when you’re stressed out. But if you don’t have access to animals and it’s not a Wednesday, look them up on YouTube.

6) Bake or cook something new

Find a recipe you have always wanted to try and get cookin’! Cooking can be a great distraction from stress. If you didn’t already know, WSU has a Pinterest and one of its awesome boards includes one called College-Friendly Recipes that will provide you with a bunch of fun foods to make.

7) Listen to your favorite playlist

Music always helps me get into a better mood and escape from worries. Compile all of your favorite songs into a playlist and get lost in the music.

8) Drink some tea and watch a movie

Movies and TV shows always help get your mind off of a stressful situation. A little binge-watching once in a while is fine, but don’t procrastinate and avoid responsibilities for too long! While you relax and watch a movie, try and drink some tea as well – it is a natural stress reliever.

9) Take a nap

Sometimes your body and mind just need a break. In college, you’re usually doing so much that it takes a toll on you and you have to remember to rest. Also, remember to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, and it’s proven that the ideal amount of time to nap is between 10-20 minutes. Any longer can cause grogginess.

10) Vent to a friend

Sometimes ranting to a friend about a situation can help when you’re stressed. Your friends know you best and what advice you might need to hear. Also, be sure to listen to their rants as well – sometimes helping someone else with their stressors and problems can relieve you from your own.

11) Eat something sweet

Sometimes you need to forget about a diet you’re on or watching what you eat and just stress eat. Food provides comfort, and stress eating isn’t such a bad thing. Sometimes it’s okay to indulge, especially if you’ve been overworking yourself. You deserve it once in a while! And if you’re feeling guilty about it later, hit the gym.

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Cheney Mason

Cheney is from Stevens Point, WI and is majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Spanish. She enjoys writing, baking, working out, hanging out with friends and traveling.

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