For college students, stress comes with the territory. There is the stress of being on your own for the first time, working toward your degree and keeping up with classmates, so taking a break can be very healthy. Summer is a great time for a break.
According to Noba, a college textbook on psychology, stress is directly linked to health. In a study by Sheldon Cohen, a group of people with high and low levels of stress were injected with a virus that was intended to make them sick. The researchers found that the subjects who were less stressed were also less likely to get sick. The people who were less stressed were more active and took more time for themselves, while those who got sick were more negative and less active. Those who were more stressed tended not to take care of their health.
With the amount of stress college students go through, taking a break for yourself can help with health issues. Summer is a great time for this because many students aren’t in school and a lot of the stress can be lifted.
In most areas summer means the weather is going to be good, which means it’s the perfect time to go outside and be more active. Summer is usually the best time to go on a camping trip because the weather is nicer and the trees have blossomed. Summer is a really relaxing time partially because of nature. The grass is greener, the sun is out and the flowers are in bloom. Happiness is also a direct link to stress. The better you feel, the less stressed you are.
According to Noba, there are five ways to handle stress: coping with situations life throws at you, being able to control and exhibit self efficiency in their daily lives, taking care of any social relationships you have, understanding your dispositions and emotions and being able to manage your stressors. Coping with stress usually entails finding a way to handle the stresser, or the thing that is causing your stress. The summer is a great time to cope with your stress because of all the activities it opens up because without the stress of school, it’s a great time to think through what’s stressing you out. Various activities including bike riding, rock climbing, amusement/water parks and camping give you space, time to think and evokes exercise, which is good for your body.
Another way to handle a stresser is through exhibiting control throughout your life. This is what most college students are looking forward to when they get out of college and because they’re putting so much effort into their school work, they’re losing control of their health. During the summer, students have the opportunity to focus on their health and plan out their next school year. Toward the end of the summer, students usually have a game plan for the fall semester, whether it’s getting all A’s or finding time for more work experience. Summer gives students the chance to essentially regroup before returning to college.
Social interactions can also help with stress levels. Creating meaningful interpersonal relationships with others opens up new doors and a support system for when you’re stressed. During the school year, most students are too focused on their schooling to create deeper friendships with their peers. However, if you were able to spend time with peers during a time when you’re less stressed it would help build that support system.
College is all about learning how to work outside your comfort zone, or in other words, work beyond what you already know. During this time, making connections can help you down the road, especially when you need a friend.
The summer is a great time to sort through emotions as well. Whether its meeting and talking to a friend or getting that alone time you needed, summer is great for having fun or relaxing and sorting through things. Although it is summer break, that doesn’t mean you have to spend it outside. Some people enjoy being able to sit down under a tree with a good book.
The last and most important way to stay healthy is being able to manage your stress. There is a time and place for everything including your stress levels. Summer would classify as not being one of those times that you should be under less stress.
Although there is the stress of your job, being able to sit back and enjoy the weather is important. When you’re at an amusement park, you are usually not stressed because you are having fun. Making the most out of your summer and finding time to actually manage your stress is healthy for body and mind.