7 tips to swing into the spring semester

Cory Thaxton

If you suffer from overwhelming stress college can be a terrifying place especially when it comes to getting back into the swing of things after a long break. But there are things you can do to keep yourself sane when the semester begins.

1. Always plan ahead

When you fall behind, it snowballs really quickly and you wind up a million times more anxious than the day before school started.

2. Embrace procrastination if that works for you

If you tend to be a procrastinator, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your productivity is stop fighting it, according to James Hambrick,  senior clinical psychologist at the Columbia University Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders and clinician at the Youth Anxiety Center.

Everyone works differently, and this might just be how you’re most efficient.

Instead of beating yourself up about it, consider the possibility that you’re actually more focused and productive closer to a deadline.

3. Step away from an assignment when you’re getting to stressed

Doing something that will cheer you up is preferable (like watching an episode of your favorite half-hour comedy), but if you’re on a tight deadline, even taking a productive break is better than nothing.

“Find a task that’s mindless but still useful to the cause, like going back and reorganizing your notes or rereading research you’ve done,” says Hambrick.

4. Ask your professors how they suggest studying for their class

One of the easiest and most helpful things you can do is ask your professors, “What are your tips for studying for this class in particular?”

5. Maybe consider not guzzling coffee

Caffeine can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety (like increased heartbeat, fidgeting, etc.), sodrinking too much of it could make things worse, says Regine Galanti, director of The Center for Anxiety in Brooklyn.

If you really need your coffee fix, try cutting half your usual cupwith decaf.

Or go completely decaf — despite popular belief, that actually does still have some caffeine.

6. Stop pulling all-nighters

You might think you’re doing yourself a favor by staying up to finish an assignment, but you’re just screwing with your body and potentially making your anxiety worse, says Galanti. So prioritize those Zs.

7. Schedule time to relax, otherwise, you’ll never get around to it

It sounds stupid, but it’s easy to feel guilty when you take time for yourself. Make it a nonnegotiable part of your schedule. Ditto for seeing your friends and socializing.

College campuses are pretty much a breeding ground for stress. If you start to beat yourself up over how you’re going to handle things thing semester, remind yourself that some stress is normal and that you just have to do what you got to do.