Author: Kailey Guillemin
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Stress – even saying the word out loud can make some people’s blood boil. It’s inevitable that you will deal with stress while attending university. Unfortunately for York University students, they had to deal with more pressure than what students should go through.

With what is believed to be the longest university strike in Canadian history, 3,000 York faculty, graduate teaching, and research assistants walked off the job on March 5 to strike against job security and wages. However, it was the students who really felt the repercussions of the strike as many were left wondering if they would be able to finish their year of schooling.

Even though the strike is over, due to newly elected Premier Doug Ford issuing back to work legislation, the stress of being behind in school is looming over York students. Add this to the impending stress of getting back to class in the fall; it can quickly become difficult to manage.

Too much uncontrolled stress  can negatively affect your health – headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and even substance abuse. So, save your body and your mental health by using some of the following tips to keep stress to a minimum.

 

 

Utilize Campus Resources

If you find your stress is at a maximum, one of the best options is to see what resources your campus offers. From counselling and academic services to visiting the local medical clinic, most universities will have something to help students manage stressful situations. There is no harm in testing out different services to find which one most suits your needs.

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Try Mindfulness Techniques

Mindfulness might seem like a hippie term, but it is known to help improve your mental health and lower stress. The techniques come from traditional Buddhist teachings, and you can easily incorporate them into your daily routine.

Quite often, mindfulness techniques focus on deep breathing and guided meditation. The purpose is to focus your attention on something as simple as your breathing to help clear your mind. There are many guides on the internet to help you meditate, or smartphone apps (check out Calm) to help you be more mindful of your mental health.

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Exercise

You likely hear this over and over again – exercise is not only good for your physical health, but it is also excellent for your mental health. Well, that’s because it is true. Engaging in regular exercise will boost endorphins, the hormones that make you feel good and allow you to focus on something besides stress.

Don’t think you need to go to the gym for two hours and engage in intensive weight lifts, or go and run the next full marathon. Simply adding in at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise will do the trick. Go for a light run or fast-paced walk, grab a bike, join a group fitness class, or do anything else that will increase your heart rate.

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Avoid Isolation

When you are stressed, it becomes easier to isolate yourself from the outside world. However, that is what you want to avoid. Isolation will negatively impact your happiness. Studies have found that constant isolation will induce chemicals in the brain that actually increase stress, aggression, and fear.

Avoiding isolation doesn’t mean you need to be around people 24/7. Having your moments to yourself is okay. But if you find you spend most of your time alone, try to visit with friends and family. Socializing with someone once a week can significantly reduce your stress levels.

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Be Friends With Scheduling

 

A common stressor for university students is time management and looming deadlines. Assignments will quickly build up and the next thing you know, you have five essays due tomorrow that you haven’t started. Cue the impending stress and anxiety that will cause you to freak out.

 

Practice time management skills to help avoid those stressful situations altogether. Schedule out your day so you can keep track of what assignments need to be done and by when. Writing out what you need to accomplish can also be rewarding when you start to cross things off on your list.

 

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Kailey Guillemin

Kailey graduated with a degree in Journalism and Religious Studies from the University of Regina, Saskatchewan. Now she lives a double life in Manitoba – writer by day and dance teacher by night. When she’s not at her computer, you’ll find her curled up with a glass of red wine and knitting, or obsessively taking photos of her puppy.🐶🐾

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