Stressing out is normal. We’re all in college, in our 20’s, and aspiring to be something great. We’re also young women who are prone to stressing out a little easier than men (especially more outwardly, according to studies from Psychology Today).  So, how do we handle these stresses in our lives? There are solutions, but first, I’d like to share a personal experience.

If it means anything, I was never more stressed out before the fall semester of 2011. I slept horribly, I ate in an unhealthy way, and I spent way too many evenings staying up late to finish my assignments for the next day. I was also going through a really traumatic experience around that time, so I was a little more on edge than ever before. Sure, I had felt stressed before that time, but never to the point where it affected my behavior toward others in my life. Ultimately, I decided that my mental and physical health was more important than the stressors in my life. I took a semester off from school to gain my focus back. I saw a therapist at my university, who really helped me out and gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten. Now, thankfully, I have regained that same focus I once had; I’m back in college, on the road to graduating next May. It’s a feeling I love each and every day.

I’d like to share some of her advice because I now know that I am not the only one who could use it.  The two most important pieces of advice that she gave me are:

Allow yourself to make time for yourself.  This is, by far, the most important thing to do in order to reduce the stress in your life. I am notorious for making to-do lists – it helps me keep track of my academic life on a daily basis. My therapist asked me if I ever made time for myself throughout my day.  Honestly, my mind was focused on finishing assignments and getting to work on time each day after class.  I never really thought of adding in time for myself to relax. If you’re serious about reducing your stress level, take time out for yourself each day. Even if it is only for one hour, you know that you did it. It will make you feel better in the long run.

Don’t be afraid to fail and fall on your face sometimes.  Now, this is not in the literal sense, unless you’re really clumsy.  In my head, failure has never been an option for me.  I always strive to keep my grades up and my loved ones happy.  However, Sometimes, you need to jump down from cloud nine and realize that life can be unfair and failure happens when it happens.  The shorter time it takes for you to realize this, the easier life will be. It’s not important to focus on the negatives in your life – focus on the good things and when the bad ones happen, don’t let them control you.  Nothing is permanent and you shouldn’t let them buy a house in your brain.

I know that these are two things that seem to be easy to understand, but even I had to step back and think about them in retrospect. Stress is a part of life and without it, we might be a little more confused about the world than we usually are. If you’re stressed out, you’re not alone.  College is stressful. Just don’t let the stress control the person you are meant to be.

How do you handle with stress?