10 Healthy Ways to Cope During a Difficult Time in Your Life

College is an incredibly stressful time for most students, and many of us have a lot going on in our lives that adds on to the already stressful load of classes and homework. Stress management is one of the most important things in college, and there’s far too many people who do not know how to properly handle their stress.

Unfortunately, it’s very common to see people’s posts on social media mentioning the ungodly amounts of alcohol they think they “need” after a particularly bad day. So, with the start of the new semester, we thought it might be a good idea to list some positive, healthy ways to deal with stress, especially when you’re going through a hard time in your life. Here’s ten things that will be a lot more effective in helping you calm down than getting blackout drunk.

1. Take a walk

Sometimes, all you need is some fresh air to improve your mood! Not only that, but simply exploring your surroundings can help give you a new perspective. If your school is on a lake, go down by the water; or maybe there’s a lovely garden planted somewhere just waiting to be admired. Getting some fresh air is bound to relax you and will help relieve some of that pent up stress.

2. Listen to music

Jamming out to your favorite band is sometimes the only thing you need to feel better. If that doesn’t do the trick for you, try looking for new artists to listen to, or finding a new playlist on Spotify that you think might interest you. Music can be its own form of therapy. And let’s face it, drowning yourself in music is a lot safer than with a bottle.

3. Watch your favorite show or movie

We all have a few different shows we like to re-watch whenever we’re feeling down. If you’re not sure what kinds of shows to watch to help you de-stress, the number one thing is that they should make you laugh or cry when you watch them; any release of any emotion is a great stress reliever. Brainstorm shows that make you smile or laugh, and consider watching a few episodes. You might just forget what had you so upset to begin with.

4. Read a book

Getting lost in a good story always distracts us from the reality of our own lives. Hit up the library and find a book that peaks your interest, or ask a friend for a recommendation. If all else fails, go re-read one of your favorites.

5. Get off campus for the day

Going in and out of the same buildings, eating at the same dining hall, or staring at the same four walls everyday can get exhausting and old. Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery to lift your spirits. Grab a few friends, hit up the mall, go to the movies, or even, go grab a bite to eat.

6. Make a list of things that make you happy

Focus on the good things in your life and write them down. Look at the list and pick something on it that you can do right at that moment. Life might seem crappy at the moment, but there is always something that makes you thankful to be alive.

7. Do something you love

Consider your hobbies, and work on one of those for a bit. Do you like to draw or is writing more your thing? Go be artistic. Are sports your thing? Get a group together and go to a class, or join a recreational team on campus. Doing things you love or are passionate about are guaranteed to remind you of the good things in life.

8. Get in some exercise

We all like to pretend that working out is the worst thing in the world, but sometimes it’s necessary. Exercise will help you feel better overall. You don’t even have to go to the gym. Pull up a yoga or workout video on the internet and follow along.

9. Talk to someone who cares about you

Sometimes, you just need to talk things out. Call a relative or sit down with a friend and just let things out. Venting is healthy, and bottling up your emotions can be detrimental. If they truly care, they will be willing to listen to you when you need it.

10. Consider seeking professional help

If these things don’t seem to be helping, then you may need to seek professional help. Most college campuses offer counseling/therapy, so take advantage of these programs, and most importantly, take care of yourself. Don’t ever be afraid or intimidated by the idea of therapy. It's their job so let them do whatever they can to do that!

Let's face it, college can be stressful af at times, but it can be even harder to deal with when you're going through a rough patch in your life. The good news? You're strong and you've got this, especially with the different coping mechanisms you can use to help de-stress. Life is never easy, but learning how to cope properly can make all the difference.