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By the end of the academic year, students are facing many challenges, including studying for final exams, doing research projects and having to look for a summer job. As students expend a lot of energy and resources to perform, they start to experience stress. In order to manage stress better, it is important to first recognize the different signs of stress and take on good habits to alleviate it.  

What does stress look like?

Stress can have multiple physiological, cognitive, emotional and behavioural effects.

  • Physiological responses: In periods of stress, our body gives us signals. For example, our heart rate increases, our breathing becomes shallow and our muscles tighten.
  • Cognitive responses: Stress affects our way of thinking. It can also cause memory lapses, prevent concentration, cause insomnia and hinder decision-making.
  • Emotional responses: The most common emotional states experienced in response to stress are irritability, impatience and frustration.
  • Behavioural responses: We witness a change in our lifestyle habits. For example, some people lose their appetite while others cannot stop themselves from snacking.

Three tips for coping with stress

  1. Hold yourself to your schedule

When you plan to study for a specific period of time, do everything you can to follow through on your plan. To do this, try to find a quiet place away from all forms of distractions. Above all, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

  1. Do something you really enjoy

It’s important to take the time at least once or twice a week to do something that you really love. This will allow you to be happier and more attuned to yourself. For instance, you can spend some time drawing, playing sports, or cooking.

  1. Think positive

We must avoid being overly dramatic when we are faced with challenges. The best approach is to put things into perspective in order to handle our responsibilities.

© 2022 Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa
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