University students are often said to be under great stress. This is especially true of those matriculating into university. The first year can be filled with stress as you respond to stressors such as…
- leaving home
- new friends
- new environment
- heavy study load
- new ways of learning
- papers and difficult exams
- part-time work
The list goes on and on. The things on the list do not constitute stress, but your response to them will be either beneficial stress or debilitating stress.
Student stress management is a vital part of healthy university life. You may even be required to take a course in student stress management. You may attend workshops in student stress management. The bottom line is, however, that student stress management is up to you.
Student Stress Management Tips
Elsewhere on this website, we discuss a variety of tips for student stress management as well as personal stress management. In addition to those, here are a few more tips for student stress management.
- Focus on the stressor, not the stress. If the stress is your response to a paper that will soon be due, focus on the paper, not on your feelings about the paper and the due date.
- Consciously channel your “fight or flight” feelings into productivity. If you feel overwhelmed by an upcoming exam, channel the adrenalin energy into preparation for the exam.
- Use toys to reduce physical stress. “Executive” desk toys such as swinging balls, metal puzzles, and miniature pool tables really do help handle the frustrated responses to stressors. Squeezable balls also help.
- Use a stress diary to record your day in 15 or 30 minute intervals. Note when you feel stressed and identify the stressor to which you were responding. After a week or so, read through the diary and consider better ways to handle the stressors you encountered.
Best Student Stress Management Tip
Perhaps the most important student stress management tip is to plan every day. Plan before you go to bed at night. A planned day will be less likely to make unusual demands on you emotionally, mentally, and physically. Those unusual demands are the stressors to which you respond. Student stress management works best when you are proactive, anticipating them.
Purchase and faithfully use planning software or a notebook. Categorize things you want to do according to their importance. Which are most likely to help you toward your long-term goals? Mark them with an “A” and mark others accordingly. Then decide the priority of each activity planned for the next day. Scheduled classes will have a priority of “1” but you might assign only a “5” to your laundry if it can wait another day or two.
After you have planned your day, go to sleep knowing that you are more in control. Unusual demands may come at you despite your plan, but you will be better able to handle them if you act according to plan.