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Strategies for Navigating Life’s Challenges: Coping with Stress

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

Life can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster with all of its ups and downs, and the added stress of academic life and social engagements can be overwhelming and challenging. Here are some strategies that I try to employ in my life to navigate life’s challenges and get through the journey that is university, peacefully.

1. The Power of Planning

I’m sure you’ve heard since you started university that planning is essential to stay on top of school and still have time to socialize. In first year I did hear those recommendations, but it unfortunately seems like it went in one ear and out the other. As a second-year student, I decided to make a change and because of that, I’ve been able to really hone my time management skills and prevent burnout. I think it’s safe to say my first-year self would be amazed but proud. University can be overwhelming and there’s always a lot going on but it’s important to find a system that works for you and to follow it routinely.

2. Prioritizing Self Care

School can be demanding and remembering to take care of yourself might start to fall on the back burner if you’re not careful. It’s important to get enough sleep, eat balanced meals and do physical activity every once in and while. These habits, although small, have a big influence on the trajectory of not only your day but your whole life. It helps create a healthy mental and physical state that will keep you not only energetic but smiling a whole lot more.

3. Creating a Support System

It’s extremely important to always have someone in your corner you can go to when times get tough or exciting. Having someone to lean on, whether it’s a parent or friend, can be extremely therapeutic. It’s always important to remember that we’re never alone and that it’s okay to share our thoughts and concerns with the people closest to us.

4. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Taking time in the day to be present and calm can do wonders in reducing stress. Adding relaxing habits such as reading, a face mask, meditation or yoga can help you stay focused and grounded. When life gets hectic it’s good to take a step back and remember that self-care can help reduce the mental toll.

5. It’s Okay to Say No

University always has a lot going on all the time. This can be chaotic and because of that it can be hard to know how to divide your time whether that be for academic, athletics or school club responsibilities. It’s important to not take on more than you can chew and to remember your limits. It’s good to get involved but not at the expense of your mental health. Keeping a healthy balance between your academic and social life can be difficult but not impossible. Being in my second year now I’ve learned that prioritizing your needs should always take the top spot.

6. Talking to a Professional

It’s important to destigmatize mental health and seek professional help. It’s never a sign of weakness to want to get better and do better. If anything, it takes bravery and strength to want to take responsibility for your mental health. Professional help can provide a safe and supportive environment to help address any issues you may be facing. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your university’s mental health/counseling services, it’s there for a reason!

College is a thrilling and privileged experience I’m happy to be a part of. I intend to make every part of it worthwhile by incorporating these strategies into my life. Although school is not without its challenges, it’s still important to remember to take it one step at a time.

Hayatt Usman

Wilfrid Laurier '26

Hayatt Usman is a writer for Her Campus and covers topics such as fashion, lifestyle, and wellness. She is a communication studies major in her second year at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo Ontario. She's passionate about writing and is excited to be a part of this wonderful community! Hayatt's career goals include marketing and advertising, and her interests range from discovering new music to listen to, working out at the gym, and going for runs. Email: hayattusman@gmail.com