Skip to content
Inside Beat

Stress less this April with these mental health tips

Rutgers students should take advantage of the services provided by the Rutgers Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program & Psychiatric Services this Stress Awareness Month. – Photo by @RUStudentHealth /

Let's face it — being a college student can be incredibly stressful. Balancing schoolwork, extracurriculars, jobs and a social life is already hard enough, but this becomes even tougher with finals season arriving in just a few weeks.

In honor of April being Stress Awareness Month, here are some tips for dealing with stress to help you have a great end to the semester.

Make energizing snacks

When you're studying for hours on end, it can be easy to forget to take snack breaks.

Being hungry is known to affect your mood, making you more prone to frustration and anger, emotions that don't mix well with stress.

Taking the time to grab or make an energizing treat can help give you an extra boost to get through your study session. Some simple, filling snack ideas include protein bars, apples with peanut butter and cold cuts with cheese on crackers.

If you're looking for a more robust meal to fuel your brain and body, check out this list of simple recipes.

Practice meditation and mindfulness

Having a million thoughts and concerns racing through your mind isn't healthy.

While it won't get rid of strain completely, taking the time to meditate or practice mindfulness can help you clear your mind, even if only for a few minutes.

To do so, apps like Headspace or YouTube feature guided meditation videos. There are also several mindfulness practices you can easily try with no extra resources or equipment, perfect for if you're in a quiet library or need a break from your screens.

Stay active

When you're deep into studying, the last thing you probably want to do is exercise.

But, research shows that movement helps reduce stress, regardless of what kind of activity you do. Doing something as simple as going for a walk or getting up to stretch can help break the monotony of schoolwork.

If you have a bit more time to spare, taking a trip to the gym or rolling out your mat for a yoga routine are other helpful options.

Take time to socialize

We've all been there — busy and overwhelmed to the point where we end up holed up in our bedrooms or our own little corner of the library. But, spending so much time alone isn't good for anyone.

Research has shown that spending time with others can help counterbalance the "fight or flight" response that causes stress.

Setting up a hangout session with friends, going to a club meeting or checking out an on-campus event can be productive ways to take a break from your work.

Utilize mental health resources

If the stress of college is taking a toll and you become unable to manage responsibilities by yourself, you're not alone. About one-third of college students struggle with some form of anxiety.

Thankfully, there are a variety of mental health resources available to you to help you manage your stress and other potential issues you may be dealing with. At Rutgers, Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) is available to all students.

CAPS provides counseling sessions, wellness workshops, assistance with finding an off-campus mental health provider and more.

The New Jersey government also maintains a list of mental health resources you can check out.

Remember, taking time to manage stress and focus on your well-being is just as, if not more, important than any exam or assignment.

Making sure to keep yourself fed, well-rested, active and social will help you finish off the semester strong. And don't be afraid to reach out for help if you need it — stress affects us all, but you don't have to deal with it alone.

Related Articles

Join our newsletterSubscribe