`BetterHelp’s Advice for Academic Stress
Students perform best when they’re motivated and eager to learn. Having a positive attitude helps direct students’ attention to incompleted tasks. However, with the structure of learning and education drastically changed due to Covid-19, billions of students around the world have been impacted. It’s no question that motivation may be hard to come by when everyone is feeling the underlying effects of stress in our daily lives.
As the school year continues and exam dates approach, students may be feeling overwhelmed or stressed trying to stay on top of their schoolwork in addition to dealing with the new challenges of online learning or closures. Stress is normal and can even be motivational in driving us to be more productive. Stress is the body’s natural response to events occurring around us and our environment—it’s how we respond to challenges and situations that may stir up strong emotions, like fear.
In this article, we’ll talk about academic stress and what you can do to cope with it in order to stay in control.
What is Academic Stress?
Academic stress is experienced when the body responds to an event (called a “stressor”) related to academia or school. The condition is common among students who feel that they do not have the capacity to meet the demands of their work or their classes. Stressors are most commonly reported to be exams, public speaking, and a lack of time to complete their work, either due to an overload of assignments or an inability to balance their commitments.
Experienced at high levels, stress can impart a negative impact on our health and performance, not only in school but in life. It may become so severe that you can experience panic attacks or develop a more serious condition like depression or anxiety. As such, it’s important to come up with ways to minimize your stress in order to maintain your health.
How To Cope With Academic Stress
- 1 – Write Down Important Dates
It can be easy to forget important dates once you start accumulating more assignments or schoolwork. Make it easier on yourself by keeping a calendar of your commitments and dates that assignments are due, in addition to the dates of exams.
- 2 – Create To-Do Lists and Time Tables
Outlining your tasks and budgeting your time can help you feel less overwhelmed as due dates and exams approach. Breaking down projects and assignments into smaller parts can help you visualize what you need to do, making your work more manageable.
Assigning blocks of time to your tasks will help keep you on track. Try to be realistic about how much time it will take you to complete a reading or writing assignment so that you aren’t overwhelmed or pressured for time if you fall a bit behind schedule.
- 3 – Ask For Help If You Don’t Understand
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you have trouble grasping a concept or can’t solve a problem you’ve spent a lot of time on. You may waste time and energy focusing on the problem that could be spent on other tasks. Reach out to a friend, a peer, or your teacher with your concerns and your approach. Sometimes another perspective or explanation can be all you need to see the problem in a new light.
- 4 – Keep a Regular Schedule
Having a routine helps to cultivate healthy and positive habits that can help us feel accomplished and motivated to handle more tasks. Implementing small tasks like cleaning your room or workspace, making your bed, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast before sitting down to study can take a little pressure off of your bigger tasks since you’ve already gotten off to a good start for the day.
Maintaining a routine also ensures that you balance your responsibilities and your schoolwork with time to relax. Prioritizing a balance between work and life keeps us in control of our schedules, rather than allowing our work to dictate your schedule. Make sure your schedule includes time to exercise, catching up with your loved ones, eating healthy meals, and sleeping regularly in order to have enough energy to do your work.
- 5 – Take Breaks
It’s important to take breaks when you’re studying or working, especially if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed. Suppressing your anxiety or frustration can often backfire, leading you to worry more or get upset later on. Take moments to stretch and to do breathing exercises throughout the day, either between your classes or if you’ve been reading or sitting for a while. Studies show that movement and breathing help lower your blood pressure in addition to releasing hormones like oxytocin or serotonin lower stress levels in the body. Even just five to ten minutes of movement or breathing can help you feel re-energized.
- 6 – Reward Yourself
Giving yourself incentives like a sweet treat or things to look forward to (playing a game, seeing a friend) after accomplishing a few tasks, or achieving your goals will keep you motivated. You’re working hard and deserve the acknowledgment! Rewards also help to boost your confidence and may release endorphins that keep you happy.
- 7 – Seek Help If Necessary
If you find yourself in a place where you’re so overwhelmed that these tips don’t help, talk to someone who can help. A teacher, guidance counselor, parent, or trusted adult can help you discuss your concerns or your burdens. No one is alone and sometimes things are simply too much to tackle on your own.
Some students report turning to therapy in addition to seeking help from their peers or their loved ones. For some students, therapy feels like the only place they’re truly understood. No matter the case, sites like BetterHelp offer counseling from licensed professionals in a convenient and affordable way so that anyone who is struggling can find they help they deserve.
Sometimes we find ourselves so overwhelmed that it may be hard to reach out to someone right away. With online therapy, you could talk to someone as quickly as you can type out a text on your phone or the BetterHelp app.