Stress on campus is a big concern, and many students are unprepared for it. However, feeling pressure while at school is pretty normal, and recognizing they aren’t alone is a great first step.
Students juggle a long list of demands causing stress: challenging classes, workloads, grades, jobs, finances, relationships and career direction. Many students are also dealing with transitions, homesickness, isolation and loneliness.
“The stress students feel is often concern about coping, and in fact, it’s the confidence in their ability to cope that makes the difference,” says Michael Huston, counsellor and psychologist with Student Counselling Services at Mount Royal University.
However, it’s not all bad news.
“It’s important to remember that stress is not always a negative thing. We all experience stress, and it can actually be a positive and motivating force. What we need to do is learn strategies to keep stress within healthy limits,” says Shawna Bava, social worker and manager with Student Wellness Support at the University of Calgary.
It’s also important for students to be aware of the available resources in their school communities, and to use them as needed. As Huston notes, “These are services you are paying for as a student so don’t hesitate to make use of them. Reach out and don’t suffer alone.”
There are strategies and resources to help students keep stress levels within healthy limits. Here are some ways post-secondary students can limit the stress they feel at school:
Reduce immediate demands
One of the quickest ways to reduce stress from overwhelming demands is to first reduce the amount of demands on your time and energy. For example, a student facing exam week could ask for a few days off from his or her part-time job to study.
Learn how to better cope with your most important priorities
Consider the most stressful demands you juggle and ask yourself if there are ways you could learn to cope with them better. For instance, if studying causes you stress, look for resources to help you learn to study more effectively. If you struggle to write papers, try a course or workshop on essay writing.
Take care of yourself
Taking good care of your physiological needs can have a big impact on how you experience stress as well. Adequate sleep, plentiful exercise and eating well can help you feel calmer, and ensure the time you spend studying is more effective. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices can also help reduce how you feel when facing …read more