The word “stress” seems to be synonymous with “student” or “school,” sometimes. But are there ways of minimizing college-induced tension? Trillium College shares 5 ways you can stay on top of the “daily study grind” without losing your sense of cool and calm:

1. Use an agenda

Keeping an up-to-date agenda can help you visualize what you need to do, when. It can help you avoid panic and confusion by allowing you to lay out your due dates, course times and other commitments in front of you, and plan for their step-by-step completion.

2. Set boundaries

Oh, those elusive things: boundaries! Popular psychologists say we need them to be happy and whole, while magazines often offer hints on how to build – and police – our personal boundaries. The fact is, without boundaries, you can feel pushed to and fro by various forces in your life. You need to be able to say “no” to that friend who absolutely wants you to come out, no matter how busy you are, or to tell people what makes you uncomfortable and ask them, politely but firmly, to stop. Setting boundaries, and helping others know what you need to be happy, can help keep you focused and calm, with a sense of control over your own life.

3. Get exercise

Yes, it’s hard to get off that couch sometimes – especially when it’s -25 degrees Celsius outside and there’s a tempting bowl of popcorn by your side. But, did you know that exercise could help reduce stress and elevate your mood? As the Mayo Clinic suggests, a mere 30-minute brisk walk or gym workout a day is all you may need to feel happier, more confident and more in control of your life.

4. Eat well

When you put regular gas into a diesel engine car, it won’t run (or at least not very well). In a similar way, food is the fuel by which we, as humans, live. And excessive junk food can start to hurt our cognitive and physical functioning.
A healthy diet high in vegetables, fruits and lean proteins can help you stay focused and maintain a more positive frame of mind. Key foods indicated in the healthy regulation of stress levels are omega-3s (found in certain types of fish, eggs and nuts), vitamin B and vitamin D. Also, as Dr. David Servan-Schrieber points out in The Brain Chemistry Diet, certain foods like bananas and avocados can contribute to the production of serotonin, a brain chemical indicated in boosting happy feelings.

5. Get started early

There’s nothing more stressful than starting a project at the last minute. Start early and you’ll thank yourself: you’ll be less stressed, you’ll have more time to do a decent job – and you’ll feel better when you get the good mark you deserve at the end!

Although it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when returning to college, the pointers above can help you maintain your calm.