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Academic Mentoring Resources: Stress Management

Stress Management

What is Stress?

Stress can be a normal production that occurs when life gets hectic, but there is a difference between healthy stress and stress that affects daily functioning. Healthy Stress creates a sense of urgency that can motivate you to work toward your goals. Healthy stress is short lived and cause you to act, rather than freeze up. Unhealthy stress can be short-term or chronic and affects everyone different in negative ways, and may keep us from moving forward.

Watch this video (Mental Health Collaborative, 2020) to learn more about Healthy vs. Unhealthy responses to stress.

   A stress-free life is unrealistic and unhelpful. Stress is a natural response to our experiences and can be motivational. It is important know ourselves enough to recognize when unhealthy stress is taking a toll on our body.

Identifying and Reducing Stress

Stress comes when you feel like you cannot control your environment and effectively handle the tasks to move forward. You may feel stressed when you don’t think you have enough time to get all of your work done or feel nervous before an important match or performance. Stress can cause changes in your mood, appetite, and concentration. Other Physical symptoms of stress include muscle tightness, tightness in chest, fatigue, upset stomach, headache or acne. Stress is different for everyone, so it is important to listen to your body!  

Once you have identified that you are stressed and what is causing it, you can begin to manage it in a healthy way. Respond to the issue, don't ignore it. Consider some of these actions in your stress management routine:

  • Work on building a balanced routine with good-time management 
  • Enjoy some time in nature.
  • Sleep – critical to learning and memory and reducing stress
  • Exercise (in a way that you enjoy) and eat healthy. Don't cave into unhealthy cravings.
  • Find a hobby that you enjoy and invest in it.
  • Talk to a friend or family member about it. Sharing our burdens with others can lighten the load tremendously. 
  • Find a way to relax! Whether that’s time in prayer, with breathing exercises, time with friends, listening to music or journal, find something that works for you. 
  • Consider counseling if stress is interfering with your ability to complete everyday tasks and you haven’t yet found a strategy to cope.