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August 19, 2022


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3 Strategies for Managing Stress as an LGBTQ Student

August 19, 2022

Long-term or chronic student stress can interfere with studying, class attendance, grades, and contribute to major health issues for any student. But managing stress can be a larger issue for LGBTQ college students, who report being three times as likely as non-LGBTQ students to report that their mental health was not good most or all of the time in school. This LGBTQ mental health statistic is no surprise considering that, beyond the baseline stressors that come with being a college student, LGBTQ students experienced higher rates of bullying, harassment, and discrimination.  

Point Scholars are no strangers to managing stress. On top of a busy academic schedule, many scholars are juggling work, internships, clubs, community service, and advocacy. Here are some top tips from LGBTQ students for stress relief for college students. 

1. Be Realistic! 

Setting attainable goals is the first step in managing stress in college. Point Flagship Scholar Arlowe Clementine suggests setting a realistic schedule.  

“Attainable goals are so much better on your body and mental health,” said Arlowe.  

Scholar Sydney Rinehart suggests creating these attainable goals by forming small daily habits that work for you.  

“For example, don’t focus on getting straight A’s,” said Sydney, “focus on becoming a person who studies every day!” 

Testing out habits to find out what works for you is essential. Don’t lose hope when one of your strategies to manage stress doesn’t work out. Point BIPOC Scholar Kay Trent asks her fellow LGBTQ students to remember that a strategy that works for one semester may not carry over to the next semester.  

“There is no need to be hard on yourself or beat yourself up about what isn’t working,” Kay said. 

2. Managing Stress with Self-Care 

Taking care of yourself is important, but it can be challenging for students to focus on along with all their responsibilities. Flagship Scholar Jo Lew suggests blocking out time in your schedule for self-care.  

“You have to make sure that you are in good physical and mental shape to do everything you want to do,” said Jo.   

Even if your schedule changes a lot, you can still find opportunities to practice self-care. As you find times to de-stress, you may be wondering, what is self-care? The World Health Organization defines self-care as a person or community’s ability to promote health and cope with illness or adversities without support from a healthcare provider. This opens the opportunities of self-care to look like anything that may make you feel happier, healthier and more resilient.  

For some, this can be grounding practices like yoga, meditation, or sitting and watching the waves at a beach. For others this can be reading, painting your nails, or taking care of other personal hygiene. And yet more, this can mean taking a break from work and productivity and letting your mind embrace something you enjoy for the sake of pure fun, like video games, a bike ride, or brunch with friends. As long as the activity helps you feel refreshed, and more capable of returning to your responsibilities, it can count as self-care. 

 To keep his head clear for class, Flagship Scholar Fox Kiene-Gualtieri commits to carving out chunks of time for meditation in the week ahead. If you can't plan that far ahead, Community College Scholar Lerkeshia Littlejohn suggests finding time to take little breaks during your day. 

A key component of managing stress as a college student is having a solid sleeping schedule.  

“No, not when you stay up until three a.m. during some nights and nap later,” BIPOC Scholar Samuel Ton said. “You have to make yourself sleep well before it builds up over time.” 

3. Stay Social for Mental Health 

Academic goals are important, but Flagship Scholar Lukas Borja notes that students tend not to spend enough time on personal and social goals. 

Having time to socialize and explore your interests is as essential for college students as it is for working professionals. Flagship Scholar Sofia Lawsky shared that, for her, a successful semester requires routines that build in work-life balance. Part of that balance is ensuring you maintain strong social connections, no matter how busy you get.  

Flagship Scholar Casey Orozco-Poore suggests prioritizing social connectivity at the beginning of the year. Before schedules get hectic, Casey spends the first few weeks of the semester establishing friendships. 

“[I spend time] chatting with people, seeing how their summers went, and reconnecting,” Lukas said. “Challenging ourselves to grow as people can be impactful and important as growing as scholars or employees.” 

For more tips about LGBTQ mental health and managing stress, check out peer advice about kicking off a less stressful semester, building LGBTQ community on campus, and handling stress during holiday breaks 

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