Stress and anxiety

Feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed? Maybe all of the above?

You're not alone in your feelings of discomfort; you may find your sleep disrupted, as well as your concentration and productivity impacted. Moving to online learning, while trying to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, can add to the stress that a student may already be feeling. 

Remember, some stress is healthy, even positive: excessive stress can be a concern.

Below are 10 tips to help manage your stress. And don't forget, there are lots of resources at Dal to support your mental health. Reach out if you need to!

10 tips to manage stress and anxiety

1. Practice time management skills 
Managing your academic schedule, scheduling social activities, and making time for yourself can relieve stress and anxiety. See our tips for managing your time.

2. Set and implement specific goals for yourself
Setting and achieving specific goals will improve your mood and help you reduce stress. Remember, make sure your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound).

3. Avoid procrastination
Procrastination can create more mental and physical stress. See our tips for avoiding procrastination.

4. Pace yourself throughout the day
During breaks from class, studying, or work, spend time walking outdoors, listen to music or just sit quietly, to clear and calm your mind.

5. Exercise regularly
Physical activity can help you burn off the energy generated by stress.

6. Practice good sleep habits
Sleep deprivation can cause many physical and mental problems and can increase stress. Make sure that you are well-rested.

7. Eat healthy and limit (or eliminate) the use of stimulants like caffeine
Maintaining a healthy diet is important. Refined carbs, like you'll find in potato chips and cookies, can spike your blood sugar and then cause it to crash, increasing stress and anxiety.

8. Start a journal
Many people find journaling to be helpful for managing stress, understanding emotions, and making decisions and changes in their lives.

9. Reach out to friends and family
Seek the support of friends and family when you need to “vent” about situations that bring on stressful feelings. But make sure that you don’t focus exclusively on negative experiences; try to also think of at least three things that are going well for you, and share those experiences.

10. Reach out to a medical professional
If you've tried to manage your stress and anxiety on your own, and still feel you need help, don't hesitate to reach out to a health care professional. Dalhousie Student Health & Wellness offers virtual same-day counselling and appointments with Dal's social worker. You can also access free, anonymous and confidential telephone/texting counselling through Good2Talk. Learn more about Dal's Mental Health resources and what's available to support you.