Between project deadlines and exam preparations, the end of a post-secondary school year can be overwhelming. Add in part-time jobs, family events or social obligations and it's easy to see why student stress levels go up over the holidays.
Fortunately, there are many ways to keep anxiety in check during this busy season. Here are some stress-busters our Cam's Kids Ambassadors find helpful while at school...
Make a List
Feeling overwhelmed? Grab a pen. Writing your “to-dos” down in a list or calendar will help you get a clear picture of what needs to be done and – more importantly – give your head a break. Getting organized will also help you prioritize and plan ahead so you can rest easier knowing you've got a solid game plan.
Break it Up
There is such a thing as too much studying. No matter how busy and overwhelmed you get, take frequent breaks to decompress and keep your mind sharp. Get outside, grab some food with friends, hit the gym or take a short nap. Giving your brain some downtime is key to managing stress.
Remember Your Passions
Identify what makes you happy and less stressed and make time to do it often. Play guitar, fire up a video game or do some creative writing. Making your passions part of your daily routine will make you more productive and focused when you get back to work.
Exercise and healthy eating go a long way towards reducing anxiety. Avoid skipping meals and bring snacks along if you're planning a marathon study session at the library. Keeping your brain and body fuelled will increase focus and keep you from burning out.
Careful on the Caffeine
Coffee has its health benefits but too much can trigger stressful reactions. Remember that caffeine increases the heart rate, which doesn't help if you're already feeling anxious. Watch your intake and try getting more sleep to combat fatigue. After all, the brain performs better after a proper night's rest.
Don't go it Alone
Look around. Odds are your friends are feeling the same stresses or a family member might have a unique perspective to share. Sometimes all it takes to calm down is a chat with a supportive friend, parent or guardian who can talk through your anxieties and offer much-needed distractions. Also remember that your school has many resources for managing stress, including support services and counselling.
Put your Stress in Perspective
Sometimes it may feel like the end of the world, but it's not. Sure, telling someone not to worry is rarely helpful but when you accept that nothing good comes out of obsessing over past mistakes and future “what ifs” – and that stressful times like these always pass – you can begin seeing stressful situations as challenges you can handle.
Take Advantage of Your Resources
At the end of the day, you're in school to learn. Despite what you may think, your professors have an invested interest in seeing you succeed. Always feel free to seek extra help or clarity from your professors, teaching assistants or even residence advisers and take full advantage of your school's many resources. They're all there to help.
Social media, text messages and emails have their time and place, but too many distractions can leave you feeling unproductive and stressed. When you really need to get down to work, create a focused environment that will help you narrow in on one task instead of juggling a million different distractions at once. Knowing you gave your full attention to the task at hand will help you feel like you're making real progress.
There are no “one-size-fits-all” tips for dealing with stress and anxiety while at University or College. Hopefully, these words of advice will help.
Special thanks to Cam’s Kids Ambassadors for contributing their stress minimizing tips… Mitch Anderson, Leslie Chan, Paul Henderson, Andrew Hicks, Lexi Karry, Braden Lameroux, Natalie McConney, Vanessa Morgan, Christina Piazza, Kyle Stinson, Julia Schell, Paige Smith, Olivia Vamvakas, Katie Young
Matt Bradford is a writer and editor based out of Barrie, Ontario.
He can be reached at [email protected]