Being a student can sometimes wreck havoc on your mental health – that is, if you don’t take the necessary steps to maintain a healthy and sound mind. There are an endless number of responsibilities students face, from studying for tests and exams, writing papers, making reports, and not to mention, juggling extra-curricular activities, a well-rounded social life, and time for family! It may be inevitable for a student to feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of tasks, which may in turn, negatively affect their performance and mental health.
Highly distressed students generally perform poorer than students who experience stress only at an optimal level. A study published early this year in the International Journal of Stress Management stated that high levels of stress in students may be associated with poor sleeping patterns, higher rates of substance abuse, and overall problems with physical health. Additionally, distressed students may also be more susceptible to psychiatric problems, such as depression and anxiety. Overall, distressed and overwhelmed students may end up performing poorer academically.
Despite all the stressors that students face, there are still some steps by which stress levels may be reduced. Here are a few:
- Use a planner – Relying on your own memory for due dates and test dates is a recipe for disaster. With so much going on, it will save you a lot of time and effort if you have a planner, a calendar, or even an app to jot down important events and due dates. This way, you won’t miss anything, and this technique will help save you from unnecessary stress.
- Study ahead of time – Don’t cram on the night before an exam! Not only does attempting to finish the coverage the night before increase your stress levels, it is also the most inefficient way to retain information. Save yourself time and energy by studying efficiently. Spread out your studying over a number of days before the exam by going over portions of the coverage on those days, instead of cramming the entire thing in one night. You’ll find that by studying this way, you will feel more relaxed and confident about your exam, overall reducing your stress levels.
- Eat, sleep, and exercise – The state of your mental health is tied to that of your physical health. Eat a balanced diet and keep junk food and alcoholic beverages to a minimum level. Get enough sleep; depending on how much your body needs, enough sleep will help you feel more alert during your waking hours. Lastly, find the time to squeeze in exercise into your busy to-do list. Elle Woods was definitely right when she said that “exercise gives you endorphins” and will help keep you happy!
- Take breaks – Don’t feel guilty for taking “study breaks” or even spending a day off from academic work. Working non-stop will actually lower your productivity over time. Taking breaks can help you feel more recharged and ready to take on work again more efficiently.
- Surround yourself with good people – At the end of the day, it all boils down to who you call your friends. The student life can get really competitive, especially if your classmates are also your competitors for getting into a prestigious university or for getting awards. Make sure that the people you call your “friends” are really the people you can count on and go to if you need help or support. Distance yourself from people who get unnecessarily competitive – no one ever gains anything from comparing exam scores! The key to being a less-stressed student is to focus on your own personal progress instead of comparing yourself to other people.
Quick Water Reference: Always hydrate and snack up while reviewing or studying! Swell or Hydroflask water bottles are great and keep your drinks chilled/warm. Get yours at https://www.swellbottle.com/ and https://www.hydroflask.com/bottles.
About the Author
Nicole is a college senior at the University of the Philippines, Diliman with a strong advocacy for mental health. As one of Talang Dalisay’s correspondents, she aims to spread the word on pressing matters revolving the subject matter and hopes to create an impactful change through her words and people’s insightful stories.