Mental HealthSocial Issues

University Students Share Their Stress-Coping Strategies

One sunny morning, I climbed up the stairs of Queen’s Park station. As I was walking to the library, I was thinking about the tasks I had planned to accomplish that day. After entering the library, I realized that it was packed with students who were studying for exams, completing their end-of-the-term papers, and trying to catch up with the classwork. The whole library environment seemed tense.

It turns out that this is how the library is almost every day during the exam season. In fact, exam season can be really stressful for a lot of us students. Exercise, sleepless nights, and munching on high-caloric foods for instant energy boosts are some of the ways we attempt to get through the exam period. Impressively, some students have personalized their stress-coping strategies according to their personality traits or study habits. Here, I share what some of the students do to maintain positive mental health during exam time:

“I would say that praying and meditating and taking a step back from all the stress and thinking why I’m doing what I’m doing helps me relieve stress”

 ~ 4th year Biomedical Engineering student from Ryerson University

“For stress relief and to get out of the study atmosphere (I live on campus). I usually go hiking by the lake or even fishing if the weather is right.”

 ~ 3rd year Honours Computer Science student from Brock University

“I would go to the gym and work out. It increased my confidence and boosted my mood. However, taking five (5) courses in summer can be time consuming and challenging. Thus, I am catching up with old hobbies like playing music and I am working out at home.”

~ 3rd year Mechanical Engineering student from University of Ottawa

“I focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle so that I can prevent myself from getting stressed; a little bit of physical activity each day. Personally, I indulge in a daily dose of 6am yoga. In addition to maintaining a healthy physical condition, I believe that eating healthy also impacts my mental state. The things I swear by are lemon water and more veggies. The freshness of the foods makes me feel fresh as well”

~ Graduate Biology and Psychology student from McMaster University

“Being a full-time student and commuter, I find myself to be overwhelmed with the number of tasks I need to complete. Some things I do to cope with stress are deep breathing exercises and playing puzzle games, like Sudoku. Requiring little effort, these activities allow me to maintain positive mental health throughout the academic year.”

~ 4th year Human Physiology and Health & Disease student from University of Toronto

“When faced with a challenging and stressful task — I start by writing a thorough list in my agenda. This way I can visualize everything I have to do, and cross out tasks one by one without getting overwhelmed. I also like to unplug if possible, in order to concentrate on what I’m doing and prevent procrastination, which is my biggest cause of stress. After making progress, I destress by listening to music before going to bed.”

~ 4th year Gene, Genetics & Biotechnology and Molecular Genetics student from the University of Toronto

“How I like to manage stress is by follow my routine of going to the gym three days a week and eating healthy. The uWindsor newsletter called ‘UWindsor Student Health 101’ helps in terms of publishing articles about how to live a healthy lifestyle in university on a budget. I also visit the therapist if I need extra tips on what I can do everyday to make sure I stay calm during exams or any other difficult situations since I live away from home.”

~ 3rd year Behaviour Cognition Neuroscience student from the University of Windsor

It seems like university students have adopted a variety of means to relieve and prevent stress, from healthy eating to listening to music, and even hiking. After all, a healthy mind is an active mind.

What are some of your stress-coping strategies? Share using the hashtag #Whathelpsmecope!


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