Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois chapter.

We are officially halfway through the semester! Give yourselves a pat on the back because that’s not easy stuff. If you’re anything like me, midterms and the thought that finals are right around the corner are taking a toll on your mental health. Need some ideas on how to relieve some of that stress? You’re in the right spot!

pexels vlada karpovich 4050315 1

A good place to start is exercise. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve any stress you may be feeling. Exercising helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood. Exercise can also help improve your quality of sleep. Take a walk with a friend or go for a bike ride, it’ll make you feel better! If exercise isn’t your thing, no worries! Another method to assist in lowering your stress levels is writing it down. You can do this in whatever way works for you! Write down why you’re stressed or take a different approach and stay focused on the positives! Spending time with your friends and family can also help lower those overwhelming feelings. Allow yourself to forget about school for a few hours and do some of your favorite activities with some of your favorite people!

IMG 5665

A study in PubMed Central found that for women, in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called “tend and befriend,” and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response. Tying in with our last idea, laughter is the best medicine! Release some of that tension in your body by watching your go-to comedy show. Another trick that is easy to accomplish as a busy student is yoga. Studies have shown that yoga is great for stress relief. According to the Journal of Psychiatric Research yoga can enhance your mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety. Yoga increases your awareness of your body and breathing and provides you with the tools necessary to alleviate the tension even in the comfort of your own room. In the same realm of yoga, practicing mindfulness can also be beneficial to our mental health. Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment. Take it week by week, day by day, and moment by moment. A study done in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners found that in college students, mindfulness may help increase self-esteem, which in turn lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Not all stressors are in your control, but some are. Take control over some parts of that stress and learn to say no more often. We can’t conquer everything, as much as we may feel like we have to. Start saying no to things that will add unnecessary stress to your already packed list of responsibilities. Another stressor that is in our control is procrastination. Procrastination can leave you scrambling to try and accomplish everything at the last minute, driving up your stress levels. Getting in the habit of creating a to-do list and keeping track of all of your assignments can help manage that. Give yourself realistic deadlines and allow for uninterrupted chunks of time to get it all done. Take a deep breath and go show ‘em what you’re made of! You’ve got this!

IMG 7010

Lily Knetl

Illinois '24

Hi! My name is Lily and I am a sophomore at UIUC studying HDFS with a minor in English. I absolutely love reading and writing in my free time as well as movie nights with friends. In the future, I hope to go to law school to pursue family law :)