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7 Tips for Managing Stress as an International Student

The ability to manage stress levels is essential for international students. 

Language barriers, loneliness, financial challenge, lack of resources to perform academic work, culture shock, and other issues are associated with high stress levels. So if you are going to start a new life overseas as an international student, you should learn the basics of stress management. 

Here are seven tips that will help you to take care of your mental health while studying abroad. 


Have a routine

Once you move to a new country, you will have to get used to lots of new things, including the environment, language, food, and new people around. You will have to embrace many changes and overcome numerous difficulties. No matter how prepared you are for a new life abroad, all these challenges will contribute to stress and anxiety.

The best way to manage stress levels is to create a routine and follow it religiously. Your routine will add structure and a sense of stability and predictability to your day. By having a routine, you will be able to thrive under changing circumstances.

What kind of routine have you had? How have you used to start your morning? If you used to wake up at 7 a.m., go for a jog, have frozen yogurt for breakfast, and listen to your favorite song – bring the same routine to your college life. Keep doing the same things every day, and your stress levels will go down.


Stay in touch with your loved ones

As an international student, you will go through lots of ups and downs. You will face some small and big difficulties and, naturally, will experience some stress. If you do not discuss your problems with others, stress levels will increase, and your life abroad will become unbearable.

You should remember one important thing: no matter how far you are from your home, friends, and family, you are not alone. Thanks to technology, you can call your loved ones at any time. You can talk about your problems to release pent-up feelings and get the support you need. 

Stay connected to your friends and family, and you will avoid a deep sense of loneliness. It will positively impact your mental health in the long run.


Make new friends

Do you communicate exclusively with your friends and family who live thousands of kilometers apart? You should make new friends among locals and international students. Otherwise, you will feel isolated and stressed out. That will negatively affect your life and your academic results.

Even if you are a shy person or an introvert, you should make new acquaintance with people who have the same interest and problems as you do. Participate in extracurricular activities, attend sports events, find like-minded people on forums and blogs for international students – socialize with your peers, and eventually, you will make friends. 

Your new friends will become your supporters. They will be there for you when you need to discuss your problems and celebrate your success. With their help, you will adjust to a new culture faster and experience less stress.


Start a journal

Do you have a journal? We highly suggest you start a journal to reflect on your college experience in a foreign country.

Linda Ferguson, a college advisor and CEO at, says, “Journaling is a universal stress management tool that works for everyone. Journaling helps to unwind the mind and manage stressful experiences in a healthy way.”

Practice expressive writing for 15-20 minutes a day three to five times per week. This simple self-care technique will help you minimize the negative impact of stress on your body and improve your overall mental health.


Exercise daily

Numerous scientific studies proved that physical activity releases chemicals in our brain that lower stress levels, make us feel good, help us concentrate, and improve the quality of night sleep. So if you want to improve your well-being while studying abroad, you should exercise daily. Any physical activity, including aerobic, muscle-strengthening, bone-strengthening, and stretching, will work for this purpose.

The World Health Organization recommends adults to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five times a week. The term “moderate-intensity activity” defines the physical condition when you breathe a little heavier than normal but aren’t out of breath and feel warmer, but not sweaty.


Eat healthily

The food you eat impacts your mood, your ability to concentrate, and your stress levels. That’s a proven fact. So if you want to feel better and improve your academic results, you should avoid high-fat, high-sugar foods and cut on caffeine consumption. 

Since you are an international student, it might be challenging for you to keep a healthy diet. You don’t know which local products are “healthy” and “unhealthy” so you may face some difficulties with choosing the right foods. 

The best thing you can do is to opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, cereals, nuts, and seeds – they are full of nutritional elements that your body needs.

Also, make sure to exclude from your diet alcohol, tobacco, and energy drinks. These products take a psychological toll on the body and may actually compound the effects of stress.


Get enough sleep

Sleep is important for your health. So don’t sacrifice your sleep for studying or partying.

Scientists say that most adults need somewhere between 6-10 hours of sleep per night. Make sure that you sleep as many hours as your body requires.

If you want to improve the quality of your sleep, do the following:

  • Try to consume less coffee, energy drinks, and other products that are high in caffeine and sugar.
  • Stop using your gadgets at least 30 minutes before going to sleep
  • Drink a cup of natural chamomile tea one hour before going to bed
  • Go for a walk a few hours before going to bed
  • Sleep with your windows open when possible


In conclusion

If you want to live a long and happy life, make your mental health a priority. Learn basic stress management techniques and use them on a daily basis. 

Once you minimize the stress levels, you will improve your wellbeing and achieve high academic results.

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