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Top Stress Relief Activities for College Students

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As a college student, it can feel like you encounter stress everywhere. Between exams and papers, choosing a major, finding a part-time job, and social life, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the pressures of school. Here are some of the best stress relief activities for students with  stress management techniques for students to help minimize anxiety.   

Find Support 

If you are struggling with stress, it can help to talk with someone who is not personally involved in your life. Your university’s staff and student support team should be easy for you to reach out to. College students often face difficulty in certain subjects or assignments. And it’s perfectly normal to feel slightly demoralized on your academic journey once in a while. Speaking with your instructors on a regular basis about your assignments or your grades can help. If you speak openly with them, it is easier for them to understand if something is going on in your life that might be adding extra pressure onto your workload.  Your peers can also be a great support system for you in times of distress.

However, if your stress levels are affecting your mental health, you might want to pursue professional therapy. Professional counselors and therapists can play a key role in helping you manage whatever issues you may be facing. There are also online apps like TalkSpace that provide support. 

Try Relaxation Techniques 

Relaxation techniques are very effective at reducing stress and anxiety. They can also help you to focus and concentrate better. There are multiple kinds of relaxation techniques, some more popular than others: 

  • Meditation is usually used as a way to relax the mind and body. It involves taking deep breaths while focusing on something or nothing in particular. You might find it helpful if you’re having trouble sleeping or feeling anxious about something specific in your life. This may mean meditating every night before bed (or wherever else you need it), but most people find it helpful during stressful situations throughout the day too. 
  • Yoga postures (also known as asanas) are another way to reduce stress through exercise, which has been shown to improve mental health by increasing endorphin levels in the brain (the chemicals responsible for feelings of happiness). These exercises also help improve flexibility and balance control. 

Listen to Music 

What better way to relax than with some music? While many college students listen to music while studying, there are also benefits of listening during downtime. Calming music can help you sleep better, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve stress management for students.  

When looking for songs that will help relieve stress or make you feel relaxed, look for music with an even tempo with a moderate pitch. You should avoid fast-paced songs with high notes because this music can increase your heart rate (and cause more stress). 

Write it Out 

Writing can be a great way to organize and catalog your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be polished. It doesn’t have to be perfect—write what you feel like writing at the moment. You can write fictional short stories, journal your thoughts, or explore other formats if you wish. It can be informal or formal writing. You can use this as a distraction from other activities that are making you stressed or simply because it helps you feel better.  

If writing isn’t for you, try painting or drawing instead. This is especially helpful if something specific is going on in your life that’s causing stress; expressing yourself through art can help relieve tension from the situation and remove some focus from negative thoughts.  


Exercise is another excellent way to relieve stress, release endorphins, and improve sleep. Research from Harvard Medical School reports the “mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis.” Exercise has also been found to improve mood and concentration, so if you’re feeling stressed by schoolwork or exams, consider taking a walk or doing some yoga. Not only will this help you focus on the present because of how in-the-moment exercise can be, but your body will also thank you later! You might feel better about yourself after a workout, too. 

Running or walking is a great way to relieve stress, especially if you’re not used to exercising. You’ll get the benefits of being active and doing something good for your body, plus you’ll be able to think more clearly after getting a little exercise in! 

If running isn’t your thing, try other forms of exercise like swimming or basketball. Or maybe hiking? If possible, find an activity where people are also trying out their stress-relieving techniques (yoga, anyone?). You’ll have fun talking with them about how they like working out and may even be able to make new friends. It doesn’t matter what kind of activity you choose—make sure it’s something that makes you happy. 

Make sure that whatever kind of physical activity works best for you becomes part of your daily routine—at least three times per week should do the trick! If possible, add another day each week until it eventually becomes habitual behavior. 

Practice Deep Breathing Exercises 

You’ll want to keep your deep breathing exercises consistent throughout the day. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, try taking a few minutes to breathe deeply and focus on that one task.  


College is a time to learn, grow, and make connections, but it can also be stressful. There are many ways that you can reduce your stress and make your college experience more enjoyable. Whether you do your own stress relief activities or try our other suggestions, remember to focus on taking care of yourself. Whatever stress relief activities for students work for you, keep using them.  

Of course, one of the best methods for avoiding stress in college is by partnering with an educational program that maximizes your potential career opportunities with valuable academic programs. UoPeople offers programs in various business areas, including business administration, health science, education, and more. For more information check out our associate degree programs

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