Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
neonbrand KYxXMTpTzek unsplash?width=719&height=464&fit=crop&auto=webp
neonbrand KYxXMTpTzek unsplash?width=398&height=256&fit=crop&auto=webp
/ Unsplash
Wellness > Mental Health

StoLife: GUILT-FREE Stress Relief

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St Olaf chapter.

Social pressures are everywhere, especially on a small college campus like St. Olaf. In a college culture, a lot of the pressures are centered around stress: Who is the most stressed? How is each person handling their stress? Have I done enough work to deserve feeling stress relief? These questions can often lead to harmful comparative answers. In my opinion, the answers to these questions are clear (though I admittedly have trouble accepting these concepts myself).

Who is the most stressed? 

  It does not matter who is ‘the most stressed,’ because each individual’s struggle is unique and relative. Stress should not be quantified and compared among college students unless we’re performing a psychological experiment. 

How is each person handling their stress? 

Next, each person handles their stress in their own personal way. Don’t worry about what your neighbor or your roommate does to unwind: it may be completely different than your idea of stress relief.* I advise that you look at your summer self: What does your summer self do for enjoyment? How can you fit that activity or something with a similar outcome into your daily or weekly life? Overall, there is no “right way” or step-by-step model to become instantly stress-free. Try different things out – whether it’s napping, socializing, exercising, eating, baking, reading, watching TV, writing – and see what makes your heart rate and sense of balance return to homeostasis.  

*Although, maybe your peers and surrounding Oles give you ideas of how to relieve your stress. Different groups and events on campus often promote stress-relief and control, which is AWESOME.

Have I done enough work to deserve feeling stress relief? 

This question leads to a very common and harmful thought process which makes people feel guilty for self-care. No matter how much work you’ve done today, how much partying rather than studying hours you racked up this weekend, or how accomplished you feel compared to the next person, YOU DESERVE TO FEEL GOOD. Of course you deserve to feel relieved from stress! Remember that you are always deserving of a sense of calm or lack of stress even if you didn’t complete tasks A-Z. Forget the “I shoulds” and acknowledge the difficult but vital balance required to live a healthy college life.  

How do you relieve your stress? Don’t forget to make time for the relaxing and revitalizing practices that you enjoy when school isn’t in session.  

Image 1, Image 2, Image 3