Stress is the body’s response to a perceived threat or demand. There are 2 types of stress: eustress and distress. Eustress is positive stress that it motivational and encourages goal achievement and high performance. Distress is negative, overwhelming, hinders performance and contributes to decreased health and well-being. 43.8% of UC students reported above average stress levels within the last year.
People experience stress in many different ways. Sometimes stress is obvious, like during exam week but other times you might not know that you are stressed out. People also cope with stress in different ways, and some of them may be more healthy than others. While some people might listen to music, exercise or do a hobby when they are stressed, others might drink, smoke, yell, eat or procrastinate. It’s important to be aware of and understand the ways in which you exhibit stress so that you can prepare for stressful situations and choose activities to distress that will work best for you.
Signs of stress:
- Physical: increased heart rate, dry mouth, chest pains, nausea
- Behavioral: increased drinking, yelling, swearing, lack of sleep
- Mental: decrease in memory, confusion, lack of concentration
- Emotional: Anger, anxiety, fear, impatience, frustration
Stress Management Tips
Stay Healthy- Many students think they should spend all of their valuable time studying, but keeping yourself healthy will help you to stay alert when studying and retain more information. Eat a balanced diet and avoid sugary snacks and caffeine which will make you crash. Try to exercise 30 minutes per day, to keep you energized and feeling healthy.
Get enough sleep- Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night. Plan to allow for a full night’s sleep; an all-nighter will not help you pass the exam as much as a solid study period with a good night’s sleep.
Avoid drugs and alcohol- Keep your mind alert and focused, drugs and alcohol can cause undue stress and anxiety that you don’t need.
Keep a positive attitude- Don’t get down in the dumps and start to feel hopeless. Remind yourself that you can and will get through. Put reasonable expectations on yourself and look for the positives in the situation.
Avoid stressful people or situations- If you know that hanging out with a certain group of people, calling your parents, or paying your bills always causes you a lot of stress, try to avoid during high stress times.
Just say no- Not just to drugs but to the requests of people around you for your time or energy. Tell your friend you can’t hang out, just say no to working extra hours or spending time on an extracurricular activity.
83.5% of UC students reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do. The key to avoiding that overwhelmed feeling is time management. Students have a lot of commitments- classes, study groups, work, extracurriculars plus the time to hang out with friends, eat, do leisure activities etc.
Keep a detailed planner- it’s almost impossible to remember everything you have to do in your head. Come up with a system that works for you. It may be a physical planner, a planner on your phone, a google calendar or icalendar. Whatever it is, have a place to write down all of your time commitments.
Plan out your time- decide how much time to devote to each task or activity that needs to get done. You don’t want to spend all your time on one thing only to find that it’s midnight and you haven’t even started the paper due tomorrow.
Prioritize- You need to do the paper that is due on Tuesday before spending all your time studying for the test on Friday. Use to-do lists or other methods of prioritizing to rank what needs to be done first.
Avoid over-committing- it just might not be realistic for you to be a full time honors student, work two jobs, play sports and be the president of your student organization. Learn how to say no so that you can spread your time out reasonably.
Take responsibility- time management is one of the biggest ways that college is different than high school. You have to make your own schedule, budget your time and ultimately only you are responsible for completing all of your responsibilities. Take charge and come up with a system that works for you.
Take this quiz to see how well you manage your time!