Conquering Stress: Four Steps to a Healthy and Successful Semester

University can be overwhelming, and increased levels of stress can take a negative toll on your body. Dealing with the stress that comes with school on top of learning how to be an adult can be quite daunting, whether that be living away from home for the first time, juggling a job, or just struggling to stay on top of things. Below is a list of strategies which helped me adjust to the changes that came with my first semester of university!

1.  Make a Schedule

Making a schedule is a great starting point for conquering stress. Many of a student’s worries come from lack of organization and poor time management. Making a weekly schedule, which lays out everything that needs to be done, can reduce anxiety over last minute and overdue assignments and eliminate the need for cram studying. Not sure about where to start? Your schedule doesn’t need to be anything fancy! Simply get a small whiteboard and a pack of colourful markers and, voila! Also, let’s be real, there isn’t anything more satisfying than being able to erase that midterm that has been stressing you out for months!

2. Be Aware of Resources

Schools take pride in the success of their students aim to set you up to pass by offering resources that can help you manage your stress and be as successful as possible. If you are struggling with a certain class, there are often help sessions and tutors dedicated to enhancing your learning and understanding of course material. Many courses at Laurier offer supplemental instruction (or S.I) sessions, GO TO THEM! There is a positive correlation associated with attendance at these sessions and final exam and course grades. If you just need someone to talk to or somewhere to go for resources, the Laurier Student Wellness Centre offers counselling services, as well as a variety of resources to help you stay positive and make it through the semester.

3. Get Adequate Sleep

Getting enough sleep is one of the most important factors in managing stress. Fatigue can inhibit your performance on assignments and evaluations – significant causes of worry for many. If you are not getting enough sleep, your body may not have the capacity to effectively deal with your stress. The recommended average is 6-10 hours of sleep every night, however, this varies from person to person based on individual needs. Adjusting your sleep habits can, therefore, help to reduce or eliminate much of your stress, and give you the strength to keep yourself mentally healthy.

4. Physical Activity

Physical activity is extremely effective in managing stress. Exercise causes the release of endorphins, resulting in feelings of euphoria. From personal experience, a good workout makes me feel like I can conquer the world. This natural boost can be extremely beneficial to students feeling overwhelmed by workload and responsibilities and can provide them with the ability to combat stress. For some, exercise is automatically associated with a long run or an intense weightlifting session, and the thought of this can be daunting. Exercise doesn’t have to be hard-core, simply going for a walk or dancing around your room to some of your favourite music can be just as beneficial in triggering those endorphin highs!

Implementing these strategies into your daily routine can drastically reduce the amount of stress that you feel and improve your overall health and wellness. I hope that they are as beneficial to you as they were to me when I was learning to adjust to the changes the university lifestyle brought.