College or Office can be a stressful time for anyone. Some stress pushes you to meet goals by studying more, working harder or sticking with a challenging task. But sometimes stress reaches an unhealthy level that can prevent you from functioning well and meeting your goals.
Your health, school performance and social life can all suffer when stress becomes too much to handle. That’s because stress can affect one’s mood and ability to think clearly. It can also weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to getting sick.
Chronic stress can lead to — or worsen — serious health problems, including high blood pressure, autoimmune illnesses, digestive issues, depression and anxiety. So it’s important to manage stress, prevent negative stress levels and speak up if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Here are some tips to manage stress while in college..
• Watch out for signs of stress overload. Symptoms of too much stress can be physical, emotional, mental and behavioural. While everyone is different, some common signs are: memory problems, trouble concentrating, racing thoughts, irritability, anger, sadness.
• Know your stress triggers. Stress and its triggers are different for everyone. Certain people, places or situations might produce high levels of stress for you. Think about what causes you stress, and brainstorm solutions.
• Exercise. All forms of exercise reduce stress hormones, flood the body with feel-good endorphins, improve mood, boost energy and provide a healthy distraction from your dilemmas.
• Be realistic. Pulling yourself in different directions will only stress you out, so try not to over-commit yourself or do extracurricular activities when you’re super busy with school.
• Relax. While it’s impossible to eliminate all negative stress from your life, you can control the way you react to stress. Your body’s natural fight-or-flight response can take its toll. When you’re faced with a stressful situation that your mind perceives as a threat, it sends various chemicals, like adrenaline and cortisol, throughout your body. As a result, heart rate and breathing speeds up and your digestion slows down. This tires out the body.
Relaxation techniques are a huge help in calming you down, boosting mood and fighting illness. Try a variety of techniques — like yoga, breathing exercises, meditation and visualization — to see what works for you, and schedule a relaxation break every day.
• Reach out. If you’re stressed out, talk to your friends and family. If you feel like you can’t handle the stress on your own, schedule an appointment with a counsellor on campus.