Around this time of the semester, students often have a lot on their plates. Stress is always high during this time so it is critical to develop effective stress management skills to maintain balance. It is important to recognize that not all stress is bad. Optimal levels of stress can motivate your student to take action and boost academic performance. However, too much stress can be detrimental to a students daily life, both academically and socially. What matters is how students respond and react to stress when faced with varying circumstances. As a student, I have definitely experienced my fair share of stress. I have also seen firsthand how stress can either help or hinder my academic performance depending on whether I utilized effective stress management skills. Ultimately, it is critical to learn how to manage stress so you can use it to help you.
Managing stress requires the willingness to either change the source of stress or your reaction to it. This means you must be aware of your stressors and your reactions to them.
Here are some helpful strategies I have learned to help manage stress:
- Do not ignore your stress. Rather, spend time thinking about the events that distress you and the meaning of these events.
- Learn to moderate your physical reactions to stress. Slow deep breathing is an excellent relaxation technique!
- Identify what you can do to change your stressors by avoiding or eliminating them.
- Determine whether you can devote time and energy into making this change. Strategies such as goal setting, time management techniques and delayed gratification may help.
- Find time to shorten your exposure to stress by taking a break. This could include exercising, reading a book or going on a walk with friends.
- Try to see stress as something you can cope with rather than something that overpowers you.
- Put the situation into perspective.
- Develop mutually supportive friendships/relationships.
Be sure to visit the Counseling Center to learn more about several strategies for managing stress. Check out the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity for tips on self-care during finals week.
There are also several ways that you can support your student during this hectic time. Check-in with your student to see how they are doing both academically and socially. It is important that your student feels supported in all aspects of their life. Be sure to recognize that appropriate levels of stress are normal and even beneficial for your student! However, make sure that your student is using the appropriate techniques to manage their stress. Even if you think that your student is doing well, it is important to check in on them so you stay updated in their lives and on top of any potential underlying stressors/issues.
If your student is struggling academically, encourage them to utilize the Academic Advising Programs and Services. Whether it be major selection, academic assistance, career awareness and/or personal enrichment, academic advisors are there to help. If your student is struggling with their mental, physical, spiritual and/or professional well-being, encourage them to visit the Counseling Center and/or the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity. The counselors have extensive experience, individual skills and interests that make them well equipped to address the needs and issues of the diverse community of students at NC State.
We hope that you and your students are staying happy and healthy during these stressful times and are here to support you in any and every way that we can.