Stress. Surely it must be a frontrunner for the number one mental challenge faced by university students. We’ve all felt it: when six assignments are suddenly due at once, when exam time kicks in, or when the everyday demands of your program pile up, stress comes and pays a visit.
Don’t be too hard on yourself: stress is a normal response to the pressures and demands of daily living. When stress is experienced in a positive way it creates a sense of interest, challenge, excitement and the motivation we need to achieve our goals. On the down side, when stress gets too much it can affect your ability to function and may stop you from achieving your goals. Learning to manage stress is a key life skill, especially at uni.
Here you will find a variety of strategies to help manage stress. If the information on this page isn’t quite what you need, you can always make use of the University’s free and confidential counselling service to help you work through the stress in your life. You might also like to read more about anxiety or learn how UniSA students have found mindfulness helpful for managing stress.
We’ve asked some UniSA experts in the field to dispense a little stress busting wisdom for you. Here are four key recommendations:
Don’t suffer alone: Everyone deserves a chance to find happiness and the UniSA Psychology Clinic is here to help you find that and also help you through the tough times. Life has its ups and downs and it takes courage to seek out help when you need. Don't suffer alone. If you are feeling down and can't cope, we want to help you get back on track. (Susan Simpson, Psychology Clinic Director)
Seek help early: If someone you know is having problems with stress, coping or they just don't seem to be their usual self, try to have them talk to you or someone they trust when they seem willing to open up. Remember, the earlier a person gets help and treatment, the better the longer term outcome will be. (Professor Nicholas Procter, Chair: Mental Health Nursing)
Good sleep is important: It is important to keep sleep times consistent. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day - it will help to keep you feeling good and performing well. A cool, dark and quiet room will help you sleep much better. Try going to bed an hour earlier - you will probably fall blissfully asleep and feel much better in the morning for it. (Dr Siobhan Banks, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Sleep Research)
Get moving: Students who exercise do better at their exams, and are happier and healthier. You don't have to go to the gym, or run marathons even a brisk walk is good for you. Try to get at least 30 minutes' exercise on most days of the week. Spend less time sitting and break up long periods of sitting by walking around to stretch your legs, getting up to have a snack or going outside for few minutes. (Professor Timothy Olds, School of Health Sciences)
The following strategies can help address stress from a number of angles, by making adjustments to your body, mind and behaviour. Don’t let the long list stress you even more! Some of these ideas will appeal to you more than others. Take the time to discover what works for you.