Stress is something that we all know too well. Especially as a student! Would you believe me if I told you that students are reporting stress-related illnesses way more than they were 30 years ago? It's true!
Stress at College and University
It's completely understandable if college and university students are more than just stressed... post-secondary students are often expected to juggle their course loads with financial pressures, part-time jobs, competition for marks and jobs, and high parental expectations. Not to mention social commitments, family obligations, any sports or recreational activities, and groups/clubs. Oh, and high personal expectations...
The Mental Health crisis in students
An interview with Dr. Su-Ting Teo, director of student health and wellness at Ryerson University, showed the dark truth to what stress can really do students. “There’s a higher level of distress and suicide [attempts] unfortunately, that we see coming to our counseling services across the country,” Teo says. Teo continued and explained that universities across Canada have seen an increase in the demand for stress counseling from students.
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Ways of Coping with Stress
I know it's tempting to turn to the drinks or grab a cigarette... but it actually doesn't help in the long run. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to cope with stress. Unhealthy coping mechanisms may temporarily reduce stress, but cause worse problems in the future.
Negative (Unhealthy) Stress Management
- Drinking too much
- Binging on junk food
- Binge watching TV
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Using pills or drugs to force relaxation
- Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing your problems
- Taking out your stress and problems on others
Positive (Healthy) Stress Management
- Get moving/Go for a walk
- Engage socially by communicating with a trusted person who makes you feel safe and understood
- Avoid unnecessary stress by learning how to say NO
- Avoid people who stress you. Sometimes you have to cut out toxic friends and family... sometimes
- Adapt to the stressor by thinking of a compromise or a solution
- Accept things that you can't change... but maybe change your reaction to them
- Look for the silver lining
- Learn to forgive [Forgive others, forgive yourself, and forgive your God(s)]
So, what can we do to cope with all this stress?Here are some healthy stress relief ideas:
- Go for a walk.
- Spend time in nature.
- Play recreational sports.
- Maybe even play competitive sports.
- Go for a swim.
- Call a good friend.
- Talk to someone you can trust.
- Write in your journal.
- Take a hot bath.
- Light scented candles.
- Savour a warm cup of coffee or tea.
- Play with a pet.
- Play with your neighbour's dog (just ask first).
- Work in your garden.
- Snuggle up in your bed with a good book.
- Listen to music.
Hello. Nice to meet you! How are you? Hmm... this feels like a really one-sided conversation... why don't you follow me on social media so I can get to know you too?
About the Author
I started blogging about two years ago, and my collection of blogs and articles is getting pretty impressive. I’ve taken online classes for writing, and even some classes about the art of blogging itself. It would be really awesome if you join the adventure, and maybe even help me think of what to write about next. If you would like to submit some feedback or ideas, you can always tweet me on Twitter.
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Jayson, Sharon. “Stress Levels Increased since 1983, New Analysis Shows.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 13 June 2012, website.
Luke, Paul. “Seriously Stressed-out Students on the Rise on Post-Secondary Campuses.” Www.theprovince.com, website.