Saturday, July 13, 2024

13 Soothing Self-Care Hacks Against College Stress

Learn how to melt the stress away. 🫠

At times, college feels like running a marathon, where burnout is the winner’s prize, thanks to back-to-back classes, extracurriculars, and part-time jobs. What you need to find is a pit stop for a much-needed break. So, take your pick among these 13 self-care tips to deal with college stress and come out strong. 💪

1. Treat Yourself to Yummy Food 🍕

Two female friends chop veggies and prepare a meal as one of their ways to manage college stress
Calling a friend to learn or try a new recipe together will make the experience more enjoyable. Photo: Freepik

Eating good food is a mood booster because certain nutrients tell your brain to release happy chemicals that improve your energy. If you’re not that hungry or love to host dinners, even the act of cooking or prepping ingredients can be therapeutic. So, reward yourself with a whole pizza or a vegan comfort meal, but tread carefully since emotional eating can lead to unhealthy weight gain. 👍 

TIP: Check out restaurants and diners that offer student discounts and happy hour deals. If you want to make the dishes yourself, you can also invest in dorm-friendly cooking equipment, like an electric cooker. 

READ MORE: A Student’s Guide to the Best College Food

2. Dive into a Good Book 📚

Did you know that escaping into a different world through stories can reduce stress by 68 percent? A gripping thriller can be a fun distraction from heavy academic materials, while an inspiring biography can be your needed push in the right direction. Head over to your campus or local library for some quiet time without spending a dime. 💸

READ MORE: 12 Best Books for College Students: 2024 Must-Reads

3. Get Crafty with DIY Projects 🎨

A smiling female student knits an accessory as one of her self-care tips to deal with college stress
Your DIY creations can be gifted to friends and family, a side gig to earn cash, or serve as customized decor for your dorm. Photo: Freepik

When you hit a wall while studying, break the monotony by doing something creative. It’s relaxing to express yourself through visual and tactile activities like coloring mandalas, decorating your journal, crocheting a beanie, or folding origami figures. 🪷

TIP: Beginners can look for DIY kits for certain crafts, like sewing or jewelry-making, since they’re usually cheaper than buying supplies separately. Meanwhile, patterns for origami or painting can be found for free online.

4. Practice Mindful Meditation 🧘

Some may say that overcoming worries starts in the mind, and meditation can be the answer for over half of stressed college students. This practice is about training mindfulness and staying in the present, so find a quiet area, sit with your back straight, and focus on your breath. 😌

TIP: To get started, follow guided meditations on free apps like Insight Timer or look for the keyword on Spotify podcasts. 

5. Book a Spa Day 🛁

A male college student smiles and closes his eyes as he relaxes in his bubble bath
Schedule a regular massage, visit your gym’s sauna, or buy bath bombs for your tub at home — there are so many ways for a spa day self-care treatment. Photo: Freepik

After all-nighters for finals week, you deserve to pamper your mind and body. You can visit a luxurious location or recreate the spa experience at home: light some scented candles and take a long bubble bath, and don’t forget to catch up on your skincare routine with a sheet mask. 🫧

6. Jam to Music You Love 🎶

Want a quick pick-me-up? Press “play” on your favorite pop playlist to dance your college stress away or sing your heart out to karaoke with friends. Research proves that music is a tool for entertainment, energy, and pain management. 🤯 

7. Go Outside 🌳

A female student walks her chihuahua dog in the park to exercise and help manage college stress
Going outside is one of the best ways to manage college stress while also completing chores, like walking the dog and getting your recommended daily steps as a mild workout. Photo: Freepik

Staying seated in one room can make you feel trapped with stressful thoughts. So, stretch your legs as you walk or bike around campus or your neighborhood, or schedule a nature hike. The change in scenery, surrounded by fresh air and open skies, can refresh your mind and relieve tension. 🚶

READ MORE: 21 Stunning US Colleges That Will Make You Say ‘Dayummm’

8. Try Journaling 📓

Know how talking about your problems to others can feel cathartic? Journaling is the same way, but in written form. Keep a journal where you can freely express yourself, set goals, reflect on your day, or use journal prompts found online. You can even do this on your phone notes or apps like Notion. 💻

9. Exercise Your Stress Away 🏃

An Asian male college student focuses on his breath while weightlifting in the gym to manage college stress
Find a routine appropriate for your fitness level to avoid injuries, or do workouts with friends to make them more enjoyable. Photo: katemangostar/Freepik

Sweating it out with a dumbbell doesn’t sound all that exciting, but no one can really regret a healthy workout. Exercise has already proven to improve your mood and give you the confidence to handle college stress, so find home workouts, hit your college gym, go for a run, or join a dance class. 💪

READ MORE: 12 Top Tips for Busy College Students to Stay Fit

10. Watch a Feel-Good Show🍿

Sometimes, all you need is an entertaining movie or a comfort TV series to lift your spirits. Grab some popcorn before you sit back and relax to your go-to comedy show or a cheesy rom-com while snuggled up in a cool and dark room, and you’ll feel better before you know it. 🎞️ 

11. Connect with Friends 👫

Five happy college students hang out on a balcony during sunset to unwind after a stressful exam week
It’s heavy to carry your burdens alone, but discussing with friends can give you a fresh perspective and encouragement to tackle them. Photo: Freepik

College stress can be shooed away when you meet up with friends, catch up on each other’s lives, and share advice or a comforting hug with anyone who needs it. Schedule a regular coffee date or arrange a chill hang out with the people you care about to nurture your friendship despite your busy lives. 🤗

12. Practice Gratitude 🙏

Complaining might be your go-to response after a tough day, but try taking a moment to find the little silver linings instead. Practicing gratitude can shift your focus from stress to positivity, helping you feel more grounded and less overwhelmed. 😊 

TIP: Keep a gratitude jar where you can write notes about things you’re thankful for. It’s a visual reminder of the good things in life that you can revisit when needed.

13. Learn Something New 🎸

A smiling male college student tunes his guitar based on online video tutorials
You can learn a new skill with thousands of resources online or you could join a dedicated club to speed up your learning and meet new friends. Photo: Freepik

Grades getting you down? Focus on something new and fun to distract yourself from college stress. Pick a hobby or sharpen a skill that interests you, like playing an instrument, learning a language, or cooking healthy but yummy recipes — or maybe all of them! 🍳

Bonus: Mental Health Resources on How to Manage College Stress

Managing your college stress, like setting boundaries and breaking goals into smaller chunks, is an underrated skill that takes time to hone. Sometimes, seeking professional help may be necessary. Knowing your limits and recognizing your need for help is also a form of self-care. You can approach your college’s free or low-cost counseling center for support and guidance on any issue, like homesickness, grades or career anxiety, or loneliness. 

You could also go for online therapy platforms like 7 Cups or Better Mynd or check out licensed therapists offering virtual sessions. 🧑‍💻


Dealing with college stress is all about listening to what your mind and body are asking for, like a delicious grub or an eight-hour sleep. After all, it’s easier to show up on your best academic, career, and personal performance when you care for yourself. 

Remember that self-care is not a luxury — it’s a necessity. 👍

Other Readers Loved: