How to handle stress

It is important that all of the demands that are placed on you, either by yourself or others, correspond to your strength and ability. It is also important that you feel like you can influence your situation. It is OK to get stressed, as long as you also get time to relax and recover. You need to have a balance between your studies, leisure and free time.

Being a student is often positive, fun and exciting. However, how you experience your studies can change depending on what stage you are in. New students often find themselves in new environments, have higher demands placed upon themselves as well as having to take a greater amount of responsibility for themselves as well as their studies. Sometimes their studies can be stressful. There is also pressure to create new relationships as well as keep old relationships going. It is not uncommon for new students to feel a little lost in the beginning; it takes time to adapt to student life.

It can also be stressful and exciting for students at the end of their studies. You are about to leave the safety of student life and venture out into an uncertain labour market. So yes, it can be stressful to be a student.

What demands do you place on yourself?

Do you need to practice setting limits for yourself? Do you plan and prioritise based upon your own needs and ability?

Are your thoughts your friends or enemies?

What do you think of yourself? What do you say about yourself? Thoughts and words have power! Think about your thought patterns. Are you accepting or are you harsh and critical about yourself?

Negative thoughts are often automatic. We have to work on having positive thoughts. Observe and identify your negative thoughts. Stop, question and reformulate anything negative to develop thoughts that are more positive.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is there any truth to what I think and say?
  • What is the worst that can happen and how likely is that?
  • Do I draw hasty conclusions?
  • Do I only pay attention to the negative side of things?
  • Is there anything positive in what has happened?
  • Is there any other way of looking at it?
  • What does this mean in a month, a year, five years?
  • Do I have more patience with others than myself?

Practice a positive and encouraging inner dialogue

  • See what you do
  • See mistakes as learning opportunities
  • Emphasise what you are satisfied with
  • Encourage yourself
  • Think good thoughts
  • Focus on the here and now

How do you manage your time?

Map out your time over the course of a week and see how you use your time.

  • Do you want and need to make changes in your planning and priorities?
  • How do you want to use your time - what is important to you?

Advice and support

Turn to the Student Health Service for advice or individual support about how to handle stress.