A More Relaxing Week Starts Now: 5 Steps to Zen


Way too many college kids are stressed out, and there’s a 50% chance you are too. According to a survey by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, almost half of students reported that they have “more than average or extreme stress” and 30% reported that stress has negatively impacted their academics. It’s time to re-evaluate our day-to-day habits to make our physical and mental health a priority. Here are five things you can do now to make this week more ~Zen~.


  1. 4-7-8 Breath:

Breathe in for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts (you can modify this depending on how long you feel comfortable holding it), and breathe out for 8 counts. This is the perfect thing to do if you are panicking or just feel anxious for any reason, and is especially helpful if you are trying to fall asleep fast, because it slows down your heart rate. This breathing technique sends the message to your brain that you are safe and it is okay to relax. This breathing technique can also be a good introduction to meditation, as slow breathing helps you to focus and relax.


  1. Affirmations:

Make a list of positives about yourself (i.e. “I am good enough”), and read them to yourself every morning when you wake up. Affirming the basics in your life every day can really help you to feel grounded even if it feels like things are swirling. You can keep these in a journal, or even on your phone and read them whenever you feel like you need it. In addition, it can help to write down things you are grateful for or things that you love when you feel like nothing is going your way. As humans, we naturally have a negativity bias, so when things get stressful, it can feel like everything is out of whack. Learn to stay focused on what is going well.


  1. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep:

Getting enough sleep every night will seriously improve your mood on a day-to-day basis. Calculate what time you need to go to bed depending on the time you have to wake up the next morning. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers should get 9 ¼ hours of sleep every night. If you struggle to fall asleep, make a routine before bed and stick to it. Listen to the same song, do the same skin care routine, use the same essential oil, and/or meditate every night before you go to bed: whatever you need to tell your brain it’s time to shutdown.


  1. When it comes to socializing, listen to yourself:

This may seem obvious, but being able to step back when you feel like you need some alone time is very beneficial to your personal well-being. College life is inherently busy, so making time to focus internally is huge. On the other hand, if you don’t feel connected, make plans and hang out with your friends. The key here is to tune in with what you feel you need in the moment in order to stay balanced.


  1. Workout:

Working out may seem like a chore, but do it regularly and you will start to notice that you really look forward to it. If you have ever done any physical activity, you know that the benefits of endorphins are fabulous. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. However, if hitting the gym isn’t your thing, grab your headphones and go for a power walk outside, or rent racquets (at the Klarc Center) and play tennis with some friends. Working out will improve your mood and will even help you sleep better.




If you are still struggling with sleeplessness, stress, anxiety, or depression, etc. please make an appointment with your at the Counseling & Student Development Center (570 577-1604) or talk to your doctor to take care of your mental health.