This time of year is both exciting and potentially stressful. Students are approaching a break with the Thanksgiving holiday; they are also faced with a great deal of college assignments. They are nearing the end of the semester, which usually means the work load increases. Finals are also rapidly approaching. We commonly hear and say how quickly the time passes between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This also means that students are feeling the pressure as well.
During this time, encouraging your student to relax and focus on self care is important. Students tend to be overly focused on the assignments that they lose track of their needs. Suggesting a healthy diet, rather than the comfort food of pizza, burgers, and fries can help them better focus. Taking a break to exercise also helps to clear the mind and offer a fresh start when the student returns to work. Additionally, there is a clear link between exercise and mood. Stress, depression, and negative affectivity remit with exercise. Students could go for a walk, play a sport, or go to the gym. Dancing or actively playing a video game could also provide physical exertion. Exercise does not need to occur for extended periods of time, 10-20 minutes can alleviate the negative mood. Further, college students are notorious for procrastinating and “pulling all nighters.” Although contrary to what the college student may believe, sleep is essential for the brain to function at its best. Encouraging a minimum of seven hours of sleep can reduce the anxiety and pressure felt when trying to meet the demands of college life. This also raises a good point for planning, another skill that seems to be honed in college.
Encouraging students to plan their study time, social activities, and school interactions can reduce anxiety and frustration when the assignments seem to creep up on them. Students can also visit the Penn State York Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office any time for support in their endeavors at Penn State.