Stress is everywhere and affects us all. We may experience stress when managing finances, trying to meet a work or school deadline, or when dealing with balancing multiple the demands of being a college student. It is important to know that you are not alone and that there are ways to cope and control the amount of stress you may experience.
As college students, we may be challenged to meet academic requirements, explore new groups, classes and environments, and develop new connections and relationships. In small amounts, stress can actually help you stay productive and motivated. This low to moderate range of stress is termed eustress, is actually not harmful and has many benefits. It can help you perform under pressure and adjust to your surroundings more quickly.
While occasional stress is fine and beneficial for productivity and motivation, too much stress can cause wear and tear your body both physically and mentally. This high level of stress that is hindering your health, productivity and social well-being is termed distress. Nowadays with more technological distractions and higher expectations of students at a younger age, stress is constantly causing us to be in “on” mode. If you find yourself feeling constantly overwhelmed, incapable of completing tasks or have other severe symptoms, then you may be experiencing chronic stress. Chronic stress can lead to serious health problems such as hypertension (high blood pressure), a weakened immune system, anxiety and depression.
By knowing the symptoms of stress, one can recognize when they are feeling stressed and practice skills to successfully manage stress levels and prevent chronic stress from developing. Some of these symptoms include:
- Feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, irritability, or loneliness.
- Sleep problems and fatigue
- Increased heartbeat
- Nausea, diarrhea or digestive issues
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to concentrate
- Difficulties with problem solving and storing information
- Nail biting or fidgeting
Here are some tips to help you cope with stress and prevent a stress overload.
Exercise can help bring your body back to normal levels and releases feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. Try exercising two - three times a week for at least 30 minutes.
Eating three or more small to medium meals on a regular schedule that include fruit and vegetables can help maintain a balanced energy level.
Try to find an emotional outlet or support system where you can talk freely about your concerns and feelings, whether that be a cultural club, intramural sports, student organization or student run-clinic.
Develop time management techniques that fit your needs and coping style. Workshops on time management can be found at the Student Academic Success Center.
Never be afraid to ask for help! Attend tutoring sessions, office hours and ask colleagues who have already taken the class or are doing well in the class for some help.
Always make time for fun and relaxation. Make sure you are not spreading yourself too thin with extracurriculars and class units.
Try looking at a situation from a different perspective as how you look at things can greatly increase or reduce one’s stress levels.
If you find yourself experiencing persistent and or chronic stress which is significantly disrupting your day-to-day activities please schedule an appointment with Student Health and Counseling Services by calling 530-752-2349.