Finding balance in a stressful time
“Many students at this time of year are concerned about what they will be doing for the summer, (asking themselves questions such as) ‘Am I moving back home?' ‘Am I going to be able to get all my studying done for finals?' ‘Am I going to be able to get my assignments in?' It's a very naturally stressful time of the year,” said Lois Wey, a member of Fanshawe's Counselling and Accessibility Services staff. It can be difficult to balance schoolwork, family time, a social life and jobs, but there are ways to keep in control of your stress levels.
First of all, make yourself aware of what it is that is causing you to feel stressed. Could it be schoolwork, a personal issue or something else entirely? Along with school pressures, there are other things that can affect students' stress levels. “There may be family relationships, dating relationships, health issues, fatigue, financial concerns,” said Wey. Being aware of the stressors in your life is key to gaining control over them.
Avoiding stressful situations may not always be easy, but it is possible. If you know a situation is going to stress you out, do not put yourself in that situation. Also, try to avoid people, places and conversation topics that cause you stress, and learn how to say no to coworkers or friends — you don't want to take on more than you can handle.
Some students do quite a good job at keeping their stress levels low and their positive attitudes up. “When I begin to feel stressed, I just take a break. I know that pushing myself too much will just stress me out even more,” said one first-year university student who asked not to be identified. But not everyone can cope with his or her stressors so easily.
Many young adults feel a lot of pressure as they are growing up, maturing and figuring out who they are. As a result of this, some students may feel the need to deal with the stress in their lives in a negative way. “Sometimes people will self-medicate, they'll take prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, alcohol, street drugs ... Sometimes students are working harder and harder trying to make it, but actually their stress increases because they're not eating properly or sleeping properly,” Wey stated.
One resource that people can turn to is iCopeU, a website that was created specifically for Fanshawe students who are seeking help. If you're dealing with depression, an eating disorder or if you simply need someone to talk to, this site is a useful tool in finding out information. Check it out at icopeu.com/fanshawe.
“We've got all the different services in London that can be helpful for eating disorders, medical emergencies, sexual assault, domestic assault, and drug and alcohol abuse,” Wey said.
The Counselling office offers same-day half hour appointments, and if you book an appointment ahead of time, it can be up to an hour long. “Any student who's having difficulty with stress can come here for counselling,” said Wey.
Stress may not be preventable, but it can be made bearable. “What's positive to do during a stressful time is to get enough sleep, take care of yourself, balance your work and your fun, eat properly, don't self-medicate,” Wey said. You can't simply focus on one aspect of your life. You have to make time for everything to live a happy, balanced lifestyle.