Self-Care Through Coping with Stress

So, you have five midterms, three essays and countless assignments coming up. Listen, we’ve all been there. It can be extremely stressful to be a university student, or just a functioning adult in general. But how can you go through all that, deal with the stress that comes with it and keep your sanity? Have no fear, I’m here to help.

The first method to overcoming stress is simple: sleep! Many students overwork themselves to the point of developing glossed-over eyes with dark circles to accompany them. While that’s fine and perhaps even necessary for some points in the semester, your body needs to rest. At least eight hours of sleep a night is recommended for young adults for their bodies to keep up with them, but if that is not possible, even a nap or just laying still for an hour during the day can be extremely helpful. If you’re someone who can’t sleep when they feel overwhelmed with stress, just sitting still and resting your body is better than continuing to overwork yourself. Trust me, come morning you will be grateful.

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The second method for overcoming stress is avoiding caffeine. I know, it seems counterintuitive to tell this to a bunch of university students who have iced coffee flowing through their veins, but I’m telling you, this is a tried and true method to help you feel better. Instead, opt for some caffeine-free fruit juice. The sugar will help keep you feeling good and it will give you enough energy to continue working on your assignments without the stress that comes along with it. Not that your stress will disappear completely – no fruit juice is strong enough for that – but it is the more favorable option compared to caffeine.

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The third method, which is one that can be applied to more than just school stress, is saying no. Of course, you can’t say no to doing your assignments or exams, as much as I wish we could, but you can say no to that friend that asks you to hang out when they know you’re drowning in school work. Remember that saying no to friends isn’t forever – suggest a different time to hang out, maybe after that assignment that seems to be taking over your life is done. Being able to say no to a friend is empowering and sets you up for success. If your friend gets mad at you for speaking your mind, I know that it is hard to hear this, but maybe you need to reevaluate who your friends are.Image from @Pixabay on

Finally, the last method is to talk it out with someone. Sometimes, this may seem like the hardest thing in the world; opening up to someone takes a lot of guts and can feel uncomfortable. However, knowing that the aftermath means breathing a sigh of relief is worth it. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, staff member or counsellor can help you get things off your chest. “Out of sight, out of mind” only works for so long before your worries start creeping up on you again. Whether your worries are overdue assignments, unrequited love or a new puppy that just won’t stop peeing everywhere, talking it out with someone can make you feel better.

While these were only four out of millions of stress-coping mechanisms, I hope at least one will help you out in the future. But always remember that your mental health comes first over school, work or anything else that life throws at you. It’s okay to take a breather every now and then.