Thriving Together Series: Stress Management

Students play with puppies at the Law School's Puppy Day in Robert A. Levy Atrium in Hazel Hall at George Mason University's Arlington Campus. The event, part of de-stress week, is hosted by A Forever-Home Rescue Foundation and Homeward Trails, two non-profit animal rescue groups.

Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services

By: Derek Vigon, Psy.D., Coordinator of Sport Psychology, Counseling and Psychological Services

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James, American philosopher

The college environment can be overwhelming for many students even in the best times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is dealing with additional stress. Students must now manage full-time online learning, the absence of in-person social connections, and the challenges of living on their own or with family.

The ACHA (2019) National College Health Assessment data indicates more than 70 percent of college students said stress affected their academic performance within the last 12 months.

Coping with stress is no picnic, and it is currently higher than usual. It’s understandable that you might have mixed or complicated emotions when it comes to managing stress. A schedule and a well-managed sleep routine and diet are integral factors for success. It’s also important to reach out for help if you are feeling like the stress is too much to manage.

Activities to Relieve Stress in the Moment

When feeling overwhelmed, sometimes getting up and moving around, or taking a stroll outside, or mindfully playing a game with friends (in person or online), can improve mood and relieve stress in the moment.

This CAPS Stress Management Video presents various ideas you can try. After you watch it, explore what works best for you to relieve stress and strengthen your well-being.

Additional Resources

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being (CWB) are available to support you, and we encourage you to learn more about our services.

CAPS Online Self-Help Resources

CAPS Virtual Mental Health Workshops

CWB: Coronavirus Well-Being Resources to Use During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Top 10 COVID-10 Anxiety Reduction Strategies

Write one of these Thriving Together Series features! We’re looking for contributions on all topics related to well-being. Read other Thriving Together Series articles here and contact us at cwb@gmu.edu for guidelines. Thank you for helping our Mason community thrive together online!