Stress is a normal, healthy psychological and physical reaction to the demands of daily life. In fact, a little bit of stress is a good thing! It helps motivate us to perform well, and it helps focus our mind and senses to perform at our best. But sometimes, the multiple challenges that students face, such as meeting academic deadlines, job-related demands, and juggling relationships with family and friends, can exceed one’s ability to cope. When this occurs, we begin to feel “dis-stressed” and our ability to function effectively in all areas of our lives is negatively impacted. Navigate the tabs below to learn more about stress and how to manage it.
Sometimes when we’re stressed it can be very obvious; that’s when we’re likely to announce to close others (or the world) “I’m so stressed because…!!!” However, stress can manifest itself in many ways for each of us and becoming more aware of how we experience stress in our bodies, in how we think, in how we act, and by how we feel can help us manage our stress earlier, before we get to the point of overwhelm.
Indicators of Stress
Scheduling your time, particularly as the semester picks up, is often the easiest and most effective way to manage stress.
- Make a To-do list every day, prioritizing with the most important tasks at the top.
- Look at those tasks and budget your time REALISTICALLY thinking about how long each task will likely take.
- Create a daily schedule—include time to exercise, work schedule, other time commitments.
- Use a planner
- Discover your productive time—are you an early bird, night owl? What time do you typically feel most productive, most engaged and alert?
- Create a dedicated time to study...
- …while also being prepared to use those unexpected free moments (such as between class) to get things done.
- Learn how to say no—recognize when you can’t do something as that something will likely interfere with your schedule and getting things done.
Plan breaks, rewards, etc.
- Fight against procrastination! Examples include: Doing the worst task first, taking the “just five minutes” approach or set time limits for each tasks (“I’m going to work on my paper for 30 minutes”), or using momentum (start with the task you enjoy the most first and let that energize you for the rest on your list).
- Put down the phone. Use phone time as a reward after you accomplish things on your task-list BUT set a time limit for how long you are on it (15 minutes).
- Create a space where you can focus--find the best study location for you, remove distracting devices (see #11), and find a spot with minical distractions.
Foundations of health:
Using self-soothing strategies: