Take a chill-pill
by Megan Darragh
With finals on the way, most students can feel the growing stress associated with this time of year. Many put themselves into overdrive and suffer from some long nights of studying. Everyone has his or her own ways of de-stressing but some students are unknowingly adding onto the stress they already feel.
Michael Huston, a counsellor at MRU, has revealed quite a few tips and tricks on how to stay calm during this overwhelming time of year.
“Stress is always about the perception that you won’t be able to cope with the demands that you’re facing,” Huston explains.
Students bring stress into their lives by worrying about things when they don’t necessarily have to. Huston says that there are ways for people to deal with the things they are constantly worrying about, like not getting the marks they want in classes or not having enough time to finish everything.
“First is to reduce demand so you can actually manage your school work,” Huston suggests. He explains that students who are working 40 hours a week plus a full semester of courses need to clear up their schedules a bit and prioritize to fit their needs.
“[Second] is to increase your ability to deal with your demands,” he states. Huston explains that if a student is able to improve his or her range of abilities they can greatly reduce the anxiety they feel.
Taking classes or workshops to better one’s studying skills and note-taking skills may be one way to reduce stress.
The trick is to find a way of coping that is tailored to the individual. Many students need to learn to deal with stress before it gets the best of them.
Jessica Brady, a 19-year-old open studies student at MRU, says, “I workout to deal with stress, it makes me [feel better].” Many MRU students agree with Brady and prefer this physical take on releasing stress and tension.
Exercise is necessary not only to stay healthy, but to stay happy as well. Diet and hygiene also play a large role in keeping a smile on one’s face through the dreadful finals season.
As students, some tend to over-think the problems in their lives, thinking of the worst possible outcomes like getting on F on an assignment or getting fired from their job if they try to reduce their hours. This only builds onto the stress felt from these demands and it makes everything feel so much worse than it actually is.
“Think more like you’re coping. Remind yourself of your past successes, tell yourself that you’re really doing okay,” Huston suggests.
He says that feeling angry and exerting that anger out into the world by slamming a door or driving like a madman, will only cause more anger than going about things calmly and more-or-less pretending that nothing was wrong.
Huston says that for him, one of the biggest stress builders in his life is the amount of work he has to do.
“I like my work but I find there’s not enough time to do everything the way I’d like to do it. There does seem at times [that] there are unrelenting demands.”
Everyone has felt the demands that life can throw out but it’s okay to have some free time once in a while to wind down with your favourite book, take a nice hot bath, or to catch up with a neglected friend. If one completely fills up their schedules with what is required of them and never gives his or herself time to relax, it’s only a matter of time before they reach their breaking point.