The Trumpet



Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash- Managing Stress at University 

|Chrissanna Kirlew
Hilltop Trumpet Journalist Montego Bay campus
Bachelor in Social Work
Department of Behavioural and Social Sciences

MONTEGO BAY– We are fast approaching that time in the semester when stress levels are at its peak. University can be challenging even for the most relaxed students. Studying for sectionals, completing assignments and participating in social activities consumes our daily lives. This can be especially exhausting for students who are freshmen and have not yet adjusted to university. For many it’s the first time living away from family, friends and home comforts but here are five things you can do to keep the worry at bay.

Manage your time wisely
People often become stressed when they feel that they’re running out of time to complete something. However, simple time management techniques can help you to feel relaxed and focused. Try creating a written work schedule, breaking your tasks down into manageable chunks and planning accordingly. Divide your work into urgent and non-urgent tasks, and important and non-important tasks.

This doesn’t have to be a gruelling gym session – you simply need to get your heart racing, for example, going for a brisk walk or a bike ride. Get outside into nature and move your body because it’ll definitely help you relax. According to research, sport is an immediate stress reliever and physical activity helps with the production of “feel-good” neurotransmitters in the brain, which means natural endorphins are released. Be creative and try new, interesting ways to exercise. Regular exercise improves your mood and could even potentially increase self-confidence. Also, find something that you love. You don’t want to do something you hate and in turn become more stressed. A good way to start exercising regularly is to set goals for yourself and schedule times for when you want to exercise. Find a friend and motivate each other to push boundaries. If you’d like to get moving but are struggling for inspiration explore programmes available at your institution and get involved with clubs and societies.

They say that laughter is the best medicine, and it’s really true. Laughing out loud increases oxygen and blood flow which automatically reduces stress. Not taking life too seriously can help everyone live a better and easier life. Make time for yourself, log out of Twitter and take breaks. It’s about time that we students accept that we can achieve just as much in life without all the stress.

Talking to someone
Speak to your friends and family – they know you best and care about you the most. Studies suggest that socialising with a friend just once a week can reduce your stress levels and improve your mood as much as therapy or counselling. Visit a friend and tell them about the problems you are facing and then tell them about the good things in your life, ask them to help you to gain some perspective. You could also make an appointment with the counselling and psychological services centre. They’ll provide a listening ear and can signpost you to specialist services who can offer specific support if needed.

Get enough sleep
Seven to eight hours of sleep each night is recommended.’ Stress can often interrupt your sleeping pattern so try to do everything you can to relax yourself before going to bed. Take a bath to wind down, watch your favourite TV show or sit quietly and read. Avoid screen time as much as possible before bed, so switch off laptops, phones and tablets at least an hour before going to sleep. If you have tried these coping strategies but can’t conquer the cycle of stress, visit your doctor to check that the symptoms you are experiencing are in fact stress related, and that there are no underlying issues.

There are several activities you can partake in to manage your stress. However, a relationship with God is the most important thing to develop to get through each day. Psalm 55:22 says “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”


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