College is stressful. Work is stressful, and being a parent will certainly stress you out at times. Add all those together and it’s no wonder a recent survey found the most stressed out generation of adults in the nation are also the youngest.
“Most of my students have a job, sometimes two,” said Lauren Ramirez, Medical Assisting Program Coordinator at the Rasmussen College Tampa/Brandon campus. “They’re working the night shift and sometimes don’t get home until two in the morning. Many of them also have a family to take care of. Then add in the stress of school, student loans and even today’s gas prices, and that’s a lot for anyone to handle.”
The survey, conducted by the American Psychological Association, found so-called ‘millennials’ (ages 18-34) reported higher stress levels than their parents or grandparents. Many cited work and job stability as their main source of stress, and they say it’s keeping them awake at night.
“Too much stress can lead to a number of medical problems,” said Ramirez. “Along with lack of sleep, people can get stomach aches, migraines, even high blood pressure. The problem is our students think they’re getting enough rest, but they’re not getting a good rest.”
That’s why Ramirez says it’s so important to try and manage your stress before it leads to something as dangerous as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease. How one person deals with stress is going to differ from anyone else, but Ramirez has a few tricks up her sleeve.
“It may sound silly, but laughing really works,” said Ramirez. “I often tell my students jokes. Whatever they’re stressing about will go away, if only for a moment. I also give my students breaks because you can only focus for so long.”
Ramirez is also a big fan of music. She often sees her student’s test scores improve if music is played in the classroom.
“Many times, I’ll bring my phone to class and play classical music,” said Ramirez. “I always ask my students if they want the music on, and almost always they do.”
If music isn’t your thing, Ramirez recommends students get outside and exercise. It’s sometimes the best way to beat stress. Simple to-do lists are also a great way to prioritize and manage tasks and mitigate the stress that comes along with them.
“I tell my students to physically draw a line through each task they’ve completed,” said Ramirez. “Seeing that list get smaller and smaller makes you feel better and more organized.”
If the stress is just too much to handle, you’re not alone. Ramirez recommends reaching out to your instructors or student support services at your college.
“We’re more than just instructors,” said Ramirez. “I tell my students ‘I do care about you, and I want you to succeed.’”
How do you relieve stress? Share with us by commenting below. Also, check out our new infographic for tips on how to make your workplace more relaxing and stress free.