These days, the line between teachers and students becomes more blurred when it comes to daily stress and pressure.
In teachers’ situations, it’s easy to understand why stress and pressure can be inevitable in their workplace because they are already in the ‘real world,’ outside the confinements and ‘babysitting’ of a school setting.
But for students, the daily presence of these heavy emotional loads should not exist in the first place. Because the things they deal with are much lighter than what teachers have to go through every day.
And in this day of modern technology, where students’ lives can now be more convenient, there is no way that they would have to go through the weights of intense pressure and stress. Right?
By doing serious digging into students’ daily lives, one can discover that students are faced with intense stress on literally every side of their lives.
This stress is so far-reaching that even kindergarten students are not immune to this pressure. Now, even their workloads have increased, and this increase in workload goes all the way to high school and college levels.
One might consider this an “improvement” to the Philippines’ education system, but instead of honing students’ academic excellence, it evolved as one of the main contributors to their daily stress.
And the alarming thing about this situation is that if students’ stress is left unchecked for a long time, it can ‘snowball’ and develop into a larger problem, which can have a significantly harmful effect on their mental health.
But the intense pressure and stress that students are facing right now shouldn’t be blamed on increased workloads alone.
There are lots of contributing factors that negatively affect students’ mental health. And it is crucial to know each of these factors to adequately protect and help students suffering from stress and pressure every day.
Here are the most critical factors that one needs to know:
EXPECTATIONS THAT ARE TOO HIGH
It might sound exaggerated at first, but students are actually expected to be ‘superheroes’ when fulfilling academic and extra-curricular activities.
While these are the traits of an ideal student, most of the time, idealistic expectations can’t always survive in reality. Also, they would either bend or break when reality hits them.
These idealistic expectations may come from parents, teachers, or students themselves, and the pressure for students to meet these expectations is high. And when they fail to meet these things, that’s where their burden gets even heavier.
When students are deluded into meeting all of the unrealistic expectations set upon them or set upon themselves, they fail to set limitations and stretch themselves too thin. And failure to set limits is always a perfect ingredient for an imminent disaster.
Social media has evolved into a double-edged sword that became a force for good and evil for everybody — especially for students.
Various social media platforms can be useful tools for students to express themselves and can even be tools for learning, but it can also be a place where bullying can occur.
Also, since social media platforms have endless streams of entertainment and social connections, students are hooked and spend more and more time on them.
And according to an article from neaToday (National Education Association), teens who spend more time on social media feel more anxious and lonelier. These feelings, without a doubt, add to the burden that students carry every day.
LIFE AT HOME
Students’ burdens don’t end inside the school premises but extend to their home. While home must be a place where students can rest, relax and destress, many students found this place as another source of their daily burdens.
Some students have divorced parents, who receive less attention from their mother or father, and even those who endure daily physical abuse.
And these added burdens only worsen students’ mental state, and this is an alarming situation given that they are already dealing with a lot of pressures in the school.
THE STRESS AND PRESSURE OF BEING A COLLEGE STUDENT
When students enter college, they will experience a new world that is far different from what they used to see every day when they were still in high school.
And when it comes to a robust social life that provides them immediate support, they are back to zero, which means they have to build their support system from scratch again.
They will also discover that workloads in college are much more challenging, and the lessons they have to study are more complicated. And for students who have excelled academically in their high school days, the pressure to deal with these new challenges is high.
But if there is one thing in college life that students would surely enjoy, it would be the freedom they would attain.
Since the restrictions from their high school days are eased up in college, they would have more freedom to do the things they want, but this freedom can also be a source of stress.
Now that they have more freedom to do what they want and with no one to frequently check about their daily activities, their discipline and commitment to their studies may go haywire.
And suppose that the freedom they will attain would make them irresponsible and undisciplined college students. It will directly negatively impact their academics, which would undoubtedly be a heavy burden for them.
If not used properly, freedom can work against students and undoubtedly cause severe and sometimes irreversible consequences.
But fortunately, students don’t have to suffer from the various burdens of being a college student as there many practical ways to prevent these unwanted things.
Sure there are plenty of them, but here are the most effective ways that students can apply to reduce their stress and pressure as much as possible.
7 TIPS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS TO PROPERLY MANAGE THEIR STRESS
TAP THE POWER OF PLANNER
One of the most important lessons that college students must learn is the importance of managing their tasks correctly and keeping track of their progress. There are competing demands in college that can easily overwhelm any students, burning them out quickly.
And the secret to overcoming this problem is to have a plan, a game plan to be exact, and it can be achieved by having a planner.
When a college student has a clear plan on what tasks to expect each day, how hard they can be, and when it needs to be done, they would be mentally prepared to deal with these things.
And yes, all it takes is a notebook and a pen. But of course, students can also use mobile apps to fulfill the same tasks, and they may choose whatever works for them. The most important thing is that they can properly organize their tasks and spread them out in an organized schedule.
This discipline is essential because being overwhelmed would reduce students’ output and increase their stress and anxiety.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a Roman philosopher, once said: “To be everywhere is to be nowhere.”, and it’s an age-old lesson that college students must apply in their lives.
This lesson means that if one tries to do as many tasks as possible (or more than he can), he could not possibly produce any quality output.
College students must prioritize quality rather than quantity, and while it’s tempting to acquire more and more tasks, it would only lead students to a complete disaster.
Students must learn how to set limitations as early as possible because everyone would surely want a piece of their time. There are club memberships, social activities, and other things that would wish their attention and presence.
If students want to be successful and don’t want to create a new stress source, they must learn to say ‘no firmly.’ They must choose to spend time with people and activities that can positively impact them, especially in academics.
Also, they must always remember that the more they stretch themselves too thin, their outputs would continue to lose quality, which would undoubtedly affect their academic standing.
LEARN THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-CARE
College students will come to a point wherein their perseverance to fulfill all their tasks and responsibilities would lead them to trade their self-care just to fulfill all these things willingly.
While it may sound ‘crazy’ first, students would willingly trade more and more things as the pressure in their college life increases.
Indeed, it’s tempting to take one’s health for granted for the sake of fulfilling immediate tasks, but it would only make things worse. Giving up one’s body’s basic needs to finish academic tasks is undoubtedly one of the worst decisions that any student can make.
Here are the essential self-care activities that students should never give up to maintain their overall health and optimum performance.
Have Enough Sleep
If students can have a proper schedule of their activities, they can have an organized program to fulfill their academic activities, including studying their lessons, without giving up enough sleep.
Yes, academics are essential for college students, but they should put sleeping at the top of their list to ensure optimum school performance. While this may sound unusual, a competent mind and body start with having enough sleep every day.
This is one of the most critical foundations of one’s well being, and if this foundation is weak, no amount of perseverance can push a mind and body to perform at its best.
Have A Balanced Diet
Noodles, junk foods, and soft drinks have been the “perfect partners” of students when fulfilling a pile of academic responsibilities such as reviewing for exams or doing projects.
These food and drinks are quick to prepare, fast to fill one’s tummy, and not eat much of the students’ time finishing their tasks.
And while it may sound “convenient” at first, this is one of the most terrible decisions that students can make, because they deprive their bodies of the nutrients it needs to perform at its best.
A balanced diet can provide all the much-needed nutrients for one’s body, but with the wide availability of unhealthy foods (quick to prepare), students are not fans of balanced diet meals.
Their favorite unhealthy foods are indeed quicker to prepare than vitamin-packed meals. Still, they are trading a short-term benefit to a long-term negative impact on their bodies. Never make this mistake.
Have An Exercise
Exercising is one of the last (if not the last) activities that students want to do. Still, just like having enough sleep and having a balanced diet, exercising is crucial to have optimum performance, both physically and mentally.
Students need not worry as there are practical ways to exercise without having much impact on their schedule. A five to ten minute stretching every hour is enough to have a decent amount of exercise each day.
START THE HABIT OF WRITING IN A JOURNAL
One of the best ways for students to unload the heavy feelings is to write those things in a journal. It’s like ‘ranting,’ but more peacefully and privately. Writing in a journal allows students to have an outlet for all of their heavy feelings.
It unloads burden from their heads, gives them a lighter feeling, and provides them with an opportunity to think and decide better.
It would not help if students would “hoard” all the weight of their feelings on their head and heart because it would undoubtedly affect their daily moods and academic performance.
That’s why students should make time for this unloading activity because it is crucial for their mental health and removes the weight of stress and pressure from them.
LEARN TO MEDITATE
Meditation is one of the most effective ways to prevent stress from taking over one’s life, but this method is the least discussed topic among college students today. It’s not even taught in schools!
This age-old method can help anyone, especially students, relieve their stress, refocus their thoughts, and unload all the unnecessary noises inside their heads.
One of the essential parts of meditating is breathing, which can ease up a student, both physically and mentally, to perform better at school.
And since smartphones are widely used today, students can access many meditation-based mobile apps that can help them in their meditation journey.
NO TO NEGATIVE SELF-TALK
When stress takes over a student’s mind, he would undoubtedly spew an endless stream of negative self-talk into himself, which would only add stress and pressure to him. But above all, it would only worsen his current situation and multiply his burdens.
Negative self-talk is familiar to anyone, but if someone lets this ‘dark voice’ twists his perception, positivity, and confidence, it would undoubtedly have a harmful impact on his decisions.
One of the best things that college students can do to deal with negative self-talk is to fill their minds with positive thoughts.
Also, they must learn to motivate themselves and should not seek it from other people. But no one is saying that they should reject other people’s encouragement. It’s just that students must learn to prioritize the motivation that comes within them. Students should seek this cheerful voice first before anyone else’s.
It’s the motivation within one’s heart that would discourage negative self-talk from taking over one’s head, and that is a vital thing that college students must learn.
APPRECIATE THE POWER OF THERAPY
One other topic that rarely shows in today’s college students’ conversations is the importance of therapy. For many people, including the students, therapy is only relevant to someone who needs to recover from major accidents or other critical illnesses.
But the truth is, therapy’s importance extends beyond patients and can also be beneficial to students.
An experienced therapist can help a student cope up with the stress and pressures of academic life. A therapist can also teach them various ways of managing stress and preventing it in the first place.
Seeking this kind of professional help is crucial for students to perform better at school because it deals with the intangible things that directly affect their daily lives.
Students’ stress, which comes from various sources, must be checked before it can spiral out of control. It’s a silent little ‘monster’ that keeps on growing every time it is unchecked.
That is why college students should not feel ashamed of seeking help from an experienced therapist to help them cope with everyday stress.
And even with the imposed limited face-to-face interaction due to the global pandemic, students can still seek professional advice from trusted therapists. They may visit BetterHelp, the best online therapy platform that provides online therapy sessions for people who seek professional advice from therapists.
This platform has onboard professional counselors who always stand by to provide much-needed therapy for people who needs it. Sessions may be in the form of video chat, email, voice recording, phone calls, text messages, or a combination of one of these means.
A person must be 18 years old or above to avail of their services.
People who would like to avail of this service would start by answering questions such as the experiences that trouble them and the specific help they are seeking. The online platform would then match them to a counselor that would best serve their needs.
With this method, people would not receive a mere uniform experience but customized sessions that would ensure that their needs are truly met, making their sessions more satisfying and useful.