Stress Management Group Activities for College Students

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Many college students have high stress levels, as they learn to balance their academic, work, and personal lives. Use these activities to help your students set priorities, focus on self-care, and identify stress relievers.

Stress Management Activities for College Students

Stress management is an essential skill for college students. Many are just learning to juggle all the aspects of adult life; others already have families and college is yet another spinning plate. These stress management activities can help you guide students to reflect on their lives, make plans for stressful situations, and most importantly, take care of themselves. Although teaming suggestions are shared in the activity descriptions, each one can be modified to use as independent, partner, or team exercises.

Self-Care Serenade

  • Materials: article about self-care, self-care checklists, poster paper, markers.

In this activity, student teams will create a short song or poem that emphasize the importance of self-care and specific ways that it can be applied to their lives. Begin by providing student teams with an article about self-care in order to lay the foundation for the activity. Discuss the article together as a class or have them chat with their teams. Then, ask teams to identify five examples of self-care and share them with the class. Consider recording their ideas on a list that all students can see.

Before teams begin song creation, consider providing them with a couple of general self-care checklists, which are easily found online. Instruct teams to create a short song or poem incorporating the concept of self-care, as well as a few examples of applying the concept to their own lives. They can write their final poem and song drafts on poster paper so that you can display them around the room as a visual reminder. Depending on the comfort level of your group, you may want them to share with the class by performing their completed piece.

Priorities, Priorities!

  • Materials: article about the importance of or techniques for prioritizing, markers (different colors).

In this activity, students will list their obligations of time, energy, and money to determine which ones are most important. Begin by instructing students to read the article about prioritizing and jot down salient points, questions, or comments about the content. Host a short discussion about the topic to ensure students have the appropriate tools to be successful.

Provide students with three different colored markers. Ask students to use one color to write down all the ''musts'' that they feel exist in each of these categories. For example, they must spend time on going to work, energy on studying for tests, and money on textbooks. If they are in doubt about whether the item is a ''must'', have them write it in the margin for additional discussion. Provide time for students to think independently and to brainstorm with their peers, as well.

Then, tell students to use a different color and add to the list their ''like to'' items. They may like to spend time playing video games, spend energy running in the mornings, or spend money on coffee while they study. Although these things are not absolute requirements, they do need to make space in their lives for these activities, as well. Have students use a third color to circle the top three priorities for both categories. Provide time for students to discuss their selections with partners or teams. Discuss how much time, energy, or money should be put into each of their priorities. Challenge students to adjust as necessary during the upcoming week and note the results. Emphasize that this balancing act is a natural part of life and priorities will change regularly.

Loads of Laughter

  • Materials: article about the importance of laughter, short comedic multimedia clips.

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