Back-To-School Gift Ideas for Stressed College Students

By: Judi Robinovitz | Last Updated: January 21, 2014

After the holidays, it's time for college students to get back to reality and back to stresses of classes, relationships and being away from home. With the Higher Education Research Institute reporting crippling anxiety in an alarming 51.9 percent of college students, it's no wonder that so many miss the comfort of home, real food and an understanding ear. As a concerned parent, you can send your college student back to school with a thoughtful, stress-relieving gift. Whether it's gift certificate for a massage or her favorite funny movie from childhood, a thoughtful gesture can set your student in motion for a successful second semester.

Massage Gift Certificate

Today's college students are more stressed out than ever but fortunately, a few key stress management moves can make emotional well-being a sure thing—even with a cram-packed school schedule. Consider purchasing a massage gift certificate for your college student on or near campus. Even a half hour of massage can go a long way in promoting better mental well-being. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, regular participation in massage therapy results in significant reductions in the body's levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress. As such, a massage will come in particularly useful as spring semester finals approach. Your student will be begging for massage gift certificates for years to come.

Yoga Classes or Accessories

Massage is just one of a wide array of alternative therapies proven to lower stress levels. Yoga also proves effective at achieving this end, with a study from UCLA suggesting that frequent participation in yoga lowers the influence of biological mechanisms responsible for increased inflammation and, in turn, stress. Encourage your college student to enroll in yoga by offering to pay for a certain number of classes. Keep in mind, however, that some college campuses offer free access to yoga, Pilates and a wide array of other fitness classes. However, a yoga-themed gift may still be appreciated, especially by students embarrassed by their inability to afford various yoga accessories. Consider purchasing yoga clothing or water bottles from Lululemon; or for the yoga aficionado unwilling to complete the sun salutation on his or her grimy dorm carpet, look to high-powered vacuums from retailers such as Macy's.

Funny DVDs

The cliché 'laughter is the best medicine' actually holds some sway in the medical community. Experts from the Mayo Clinic claim that, in the short term, frequent laughter can increase endorphine levels while, on a long-term basis, leading to overall improvements in immune system response. Unfortunately, college students hunched over textbooks often find laughter elusive. Consider offering your student a unique solution to this quandary by presenting him or her with a hilarious DVD. Favorite comedies from childhood may prove prime candidates, as these will both lower stress and remind your student of home. Disney animations and cheesy '90s flicks should top your list; these will offer a homesick co-ed plenty of stress-relieving laughs.

Topics: College Counseling


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