"Back to School... Did you pack your coping skills?"

Published August 1, 2017


It's that time of year... Back to School ads are everywhere reminding us to pick up the "essentials" in preparation for the approaching school year. For college students, this can mean everything from text books to shower shoes, backpacks to bed risers. However, there are some college essentials you won't see advertised at Bed, Bath & Beyond: coping skills.

College can be stressful. Students balancing numerous demands on their time and energy can often find themselves feeling overwhelmed, at times experiencing anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. While we can't avoid experiencing stress entirely, coping skills can help us manage this stress in healthy, adaptive ways. 

Here are a few coping skills ideas. The most effective coping skills vary from person to person, so give yourself a few to try!

Exercise: Getting moving has numerous benefits for the body and the mind. Hit the gym, pool, or rock climbing wall. Find a club or intramural sport to play. Try a group fitness class like yoga or spin. Even going for a simple stroll around campus is well worth it! Visit UREC http://urec.appstate.edu/ for more information about options for getting active.

Mindfulness: Many of us spend a lot of energy stuck in the past or worrying about the future. Practicing mindfulness is a simple and effective way to help us stay in the present moment, often resulting in a calming and grounding effect. Try practicing mindful breathing, coloring, or walking. Check out apps such as Calm or Headspace for guidance, or sign up for a Koru mindfulness class or half-day retreat with Wellness and Prevention Services: http://wellness.appstate.edu/pagesmith/107

Social connections: Connecting with those around us can help us feel supported and understood, and help us find a sense of belonging. Odds are very good that others around you are experiencing stress, too, so take a moment to check in with each other and have honest conversations. Want to meet new people? Try attending one of the hundreds (hundreds!! https://campusactivities.appstate.edu/club-directory) of campus clubs and organizations, volunteering, or starting a study group.

You-time: Write in a journal. Play the guitar. Doodle. Bake cookies. Do a puzzle... whatever feels most restorative to you! Even a few minutes of quality time to yourself can be immensely helpful in coping with stress.

This is far from an exhaustive list, so keep experimenting to find what works best for you! Building your ability to cope with stress in healthy ways will serve you well in college and far beyond. 

Audrey Stone, MA, NCC, LPCA

Staff Counselor

Counseling & Psychological Services Center


Emergency Services

The Counseling Center offers after-hours emergency coverage for urgent mental health concerns such as suicidal thoughts, sexual assault, and other trauma.  Call the Counseling Center at 828-262-3180 and select the option to speak with the counselor on-call.

During operating hours, students in crisis can walk in any time.

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Contact Us


Physical Address: 
1st Floor, Miles Annas Building
614 Howard Street 
Boone, NC 28608-2044

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 32044
Boone, NC 28608

Phone: 828-262-3180
Fax: 828-262-3182

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m-5:00 p.m

Initial Consultation Hours:
Monday - Friday:
8:30-11:00 a.m. & 1:00-4:00 p.m.

 - Please Note -
During Summer Sessions, Initial Consultation Hours at times may vary. Please contact us at (828) 262-3180 for our current schedule and to verify availability.

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