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Student Learning Success Guides!

STRESS MANAGEMENT is important in college and throughout your life. Learning about yourself and how to cope with everyday pressures can make the difference between having an okay day and having a great day.

A sign with the words 'relax' and 'stress' in blue circles on opposite sidesTIPS

Keep a journal to help soothe your stress and ease anxious feelings.

Confide in a friend or classmate. You are not alone!

Visualize yourself at your favourite stress-busting location.

Get away from your desk and go for a short walk, ride, or skate outside!

Spend a half-hour colouring. There are free pages at your Camosun Library!

Do a mini-meditation or spend some time with your pet.

SELF-REFLECTION

What are some sources of stress in your life?

How does stress affect you emotionally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually?

What strategies do you use to deal with stress?

Who do you turn to when you feel stressed?

Recognizing You're Stressed

Before you can do something about stress, you need to be aware of it! 

  • Know the sources of stress in your life.
  • Know how stress affects you.
  • Even though it's uncomfortable, some stress is actually a good thing and can lead to better performance.
  • Realize that excess stress can negatively affect you.
  • Don't ignore excess stress.
  • It’s important to proactively manage your stress before it affects your health.
  • Stress management is an essential skill for college – and the rest of your life!
  • Managing stress is not a luxury!

Reasons for Your Stress

College students have a lot to do! Exams? Assignment deadlines? Presentations? Not enough money? Balancing school, work, and relationships can be very challenging.

Symptoms of stress:

  • Frequent or long-lasting illnesses
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia)
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Negative thoughts
  • Nail-biting
  • Muscle tightness
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath and/or racing heartbeat
  • Self-harm such as excessive drinking or drug use

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, seek help and take steps to manage your stress.

Cognitive Strategies to Manage Stress

What we think about has a huge impact on our stress level. Pay attention to your thoughts and try some of these strategies to help you mind your mind:  

  • If you obsess on negative thoughts or actions when you’re stressed, try visualizing a favorite relaxing place or activity.
  • Replace the nagging thought with positive self-talk:

                “I am calm, confident, and self-assured!”

                “I control and am responsible for my thoughts and my actions!”

                “So long as I do my best given my unique situation, this is enough."

  • Use whatever works for you. Think positively. Don’t put yourself down!

Physical Strategies to Manage Stress

When you're studying hard, it's easy to forget about your body! Try some of these strategies when you're taking a break from studying:

  • Avoid sitting for hours on end without taking brief breaks. Five-minute stretch breaks work wonders! 
  • Do a workout such as yoga or dance to help you to focus your mind.
  • Add 20-30 minute walks into your daily schedule. Or workouts at the gym. Or whatever form of exercise you enjoy. 
  • Try deep breathing: Take a few moments to consciously slow down your breathing and ensure you’re breathing deeply into your stomach. Try this strategy before an exam.
  • Try a body scan meditation: Allow your body to relax by focusing your attention on different parts of your body. Get into a comfortable position and breathe deeply. Focus your attention on your feet. Notice whether there is any tension in your feet and allow any tension to leave your feet. Then focus on your calves and so on, moving all the way up to your scalp.

Lifestyle Choices to Manage Stress

Do more of whatever makes you happy:

  • Hang out with friends or family who support you and make you feel good about life.
  • Avoid people who bring you down or make you feel inferior.
  • Play with your dog or cat (or someone else's pet). Animals are therapeutic!
  • Cook a nice dinner, bake your favourite cookies, or do something else that’s creative.
  • Play a game, the kind you can easily stop or turn off after 20 minutes.
  • Read for fun.
  • Listen to music you love! Listening to non-intrusive music while you’re studying or working on a project can occupy the part of your mind that’s prone to distraction and can help you learn more and be more productive.