Securing funding for college can be stressful, and if you’re not careful, here are some tips for manage stress. The common symptoms of stress include: headaches, tense muscles, loss of sleep, difficulty concentrating, constant worrying and changes in appetite. With that in mind, here are some stress-relief techniques high school and college students can use to stay grounded during the scholarship process:

Cut down on caffeine

Caffeine increases your stress hormones, better known as catecholamines. Your body responds by increasing insulin levels, resulting in more stress. It is not advised to quit caffeine cold turkey because the result can be irritability and sleepiness. Try having a cup of decaf, gradually decreasing your caffeine intake.

Watch your diet

Highly processed foods lack nutrients, resulting in not only increased stress, but greater risk of high cholesterol and blood pressure. Avoid fatty and sugary foods, and try to eat more fruits, vegetables and foods high in fiber. These foods supply your body with hormones and antioxidants, making those sugar cravings a little less pronounced.

Find a creative outlet

A cause of your stress may be you simply feel overwhelmed, and you keep all your emotions inside. Creative activities such as painting, writing or drawing help you release these feelings and clear your mind.

Do something fun

The old saying is true: Laughter is the best medicine. Try doing something that will make you laugh. This will help you realize scholarship applications aren’t as scary as they seem. Try watching your favorite comedy, you might be surprised how effective it can be.

Know your limits and take a break

Because most scholarships are academically based, the application process will involve things like essays, interviews or creating a portfolio of previous work to display your talent. Think of applying for a smaller number of scholarships and focusing your efforts instead of applying for as many programs as you can. Create time in your schedule to relax. It is important you have time to unwind and clear your head.

Exercise

Yoga, swimming, riding a bike and even just taking a walk all help in reducing stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise increases endorphins, which are the compounds in your brain that make you feel good. All the applications and essays can clog your mind with too much information, making it hard to think straight. A short run can help calm these thoughts and get rid of your tension. Stress leads to anxiety and depression, and exercise lowers your stress levels by improving self-confidence and attitude.

Learn what triggers your stress

Identifying triggers is important when it comes to stress management: If you know what directly causes your stress, you will be able to combat it. If a scholarship requires an interview, and the process increases the pressure you’re under, learn to more effectively deal with interview questions and scenarios to decrease stress.

Talk to someone about your stress

Simply admitting you are stressed can take some weight off your shoulders. Look to your peers and see how they are dealing with the stress of scholarships and financial aid. Communicating with someone calms you and makes you feel more understood. Try talking to a parent or doctor about your stress levels and see if there are any other useful stress-relief methods.

For more information on scholarships and financial aid, please visit Communityforce website!