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Managing (and Preventing) Student Stress – A Brief Guide

Stress is inevitable, it can even be good for you, but too much can be detrimental. However, keeping a balance is easier said than done. College and university can come with a lot of stressful experiences. From moving out for the first time, studying for cumulative exams, constant deadlines, and even thinking about the impending future. This is all natural, but don’t let it consume you – the fun and exciting parts of your experience still await. Read on to learn more on stress and how to manage. 

Symptoms of Stress 

Stay aware of how you’re feeling on a daily basis. The symptoms of stress can be overlooked when you’re so focused on other things. It’s easy to put it to the side when you have greater priorities with pressures of internal and external always present. Sometimes stress can be experienced in the form of irritability, anxiousness, or being hyper-fixated on other tasks that are causing you stress. You may be able to catch these symptoms on your own or a friend, family member or peer, can make you aware of them. These symptoms can accelerate into larger issues like sleeping problems, lack of concentration, a short temper, high blood pressure, or dyspnea. Chronic stress can lead to physical illnesses, so it’s important to manage it as soon as you can. Prevention is always better than actually treating. 

Pinpoint What’s Causing Your Stress 

Your assignments are overflowing, you need to catch up on a multitude of lectures, your work schedule doesn’t align with your class schedule, and you’re feeling homesick. You’re stressed, and rightfully so. You have people that are depending on you and you probably have internal worries as well. But, identifying what is causing you stress can be difficult sometimes, it could be staring you right in the face or be an underlying issue that’s been slowly creeping its way into your life. Either way, recognizing the root of the issue is the first step to helping yourself. Try to reflect on the past couple of days or months of your life 

  • Try journaling to organize your thoughts and put into words what you’re feeling. 
  • Talk to a close friend or family member about your struggles. They know you best and might be able to help you figure out what’s going on. 
  • Speak to your doctor or counsellor about your feelings and recent experiences. 

Ease Your Symptoms with Self-Care 

Learning and putting your knowledge to the test can be the most difficult part of this journey. Fitting in time for self-care around your busy schedule can be hard, it’s best to implement small changes rather than taking on a whole new regimen. The key is to find a healthy coping strategy to lower your stress levels, but not add on too much that it’s adding more stress to your plate. Again, easier said than done. 

  • Get active, try going to a yoga class or boxing studio. Check out your school’s athletic facility. 
  • Eat healthy snacks and meals. This can sometimes be hard as a university student due to costs or accessibility. So, start off with one nutritious snack a day and keep building on that.  
  • Meditate. We recommend using a guided mediation video on YouTube or using an app like Headspace, Balance, or Calm to help you.  
  • Listen to music. Music therapy has been proven to increase your physical and emotional health and wellbeing. 
  • Hang out with friends and family. Social interaction may seem counterintuitive when you have a lot of things to do, but the support will feel great. 
  • Cut back on some optional obligations. Setting boundaries and prioritizing tasks are essential. If possible, take a lesser load of classes, take one less shift at work, or defer that volunteer shift to the next week. 
  • Get more sleep. Strive to get a minimum of 8 hours each night. Take a nap when you feel like you need it as well. 

Many times, these approaches help university and college students tremendously after implementing them when they feel stressed and keeping them in their routine to prevent symptoms of future stress. When you feel like the stress may be too much to handle, seek out a counsellor, therapist, or your primary physician. 

Key Takeaways  

University and college aren’t always parties and having fun. It comes with stress and tough times too. The important part is keeping a balance between the two. It can be hard to do this, for sure. But it is vital to take care of yourself and seek help when necessary. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this article post, let us know what you do to cope with stress in university or college.  

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