How to handle the stress of college life and living with roommates

Let’s face it: we’ve all got a lot going on in our lives, and sometimes the stress of everything is a lot to handle. Roommates, jobs, college life, significant others, friends, extracurricular activities—all of these things demand attention. Sometimes we can let the stress of one demand consume the others, and it can be too much to handle. Here are a few tips on how to handle the stress of school and living with roommates before it consumes the entire household.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

This may seem cliché to say, but if you keep it in mind, it’ll make living with roommates a lot easier.

There’s an entire house to clean and generally you and your roommates are good at rotating cleaning duties. You cleaned last week and this week it’s Roommate A’s turn but she has a big midterm she’s been cramming for and Roommate B is out of town. Instead of getting mad about the situation, you can react in one of two ways.

  1. Clean the house yourself.
  2. Don’t clean the house, and wait for it to get done when Roommate A has time.

It’s that simple. In the grand scheme of things, what’s more important to you and your roommates—acing that midterm or having a sparkling clean kitchen? Which will cause more stress on your roommate?

Cook dinner for each other once in a while

One of my favorite things to do when I need a break is to cook a good meal. I love being able to forget about my homework assignments and upcoming exams for a couple of hours and focus on making a healthy meal. Since our kitchen is quite small and there are three of us on three different schedules, I like to make enough dinner for all of us once in a while. A slow cooker is my best friend, especially in the winter. I like to search for quick and easy recipes on DisneyFamily.com.I love that users post and offer suggestions on ways to alter the recipes to make them even tastier. You’ll find some quick and easy meal ideas and your roomies will be happy you made enough for them, too. And, who knows, maybe next week you’ll come home to a roast in the oven!

Don’t take your bad day out on them

One thing I really strive to do when I’m having a bad day is to sit by myself and take a break from the craziness that seems to be my life these days. Between working on a master’s, volunteering at a few local elementary schools, and working part-time from home, it seems that I don’t have enough “me time.”

I would hate for my roommates to think I was upset with them because I’m stressed out. Ultimately, can you really be mad at your roommate for blow drying her hair when you’re trying to write a paper in the middle of the day? If you’re trying to study while they’re home on their off day, the best thing to do is either ask them to politely keep the noise down or go study at the library.

Other ways to keep the peace and de-stress the household

In their January 17, 2012 post for CNN Health, “Destress your life in 10 easy steps,” authors Danny Penman and Mark Williams list additional ideas that can be used to help keep the peace in the household. Going for a short walk, taking a three-minute breathing space, doing something you enjoy or going to the movies are some ways to help keep stress at bay before it consumes not only you but your roommates, too.

If all else fails and the stress has infiltrated the household, make a peace offering by baking cookies, brewing coffee and apologizing. We’re all human and learning to live with one another takes time and patience. And, no one, not even a mad roommate, can resist freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

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