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November 4, 2022
Managing School Stress During Extremely Busy Periods

Eden Jacobson

Open black notebook reads "Put yourself at the top of your to-do list’".

Meet Your Deadlines And Keep Your Sanity

In university, certain times of the semester are much busier than others. When these busy periods come, it’s easy to fall into panic mode, which typically involves cramming at the last minute. 

Especially when there’s a lot on our plate, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and procrastinate. Here are eight strategies to effectively manage school stress and stay on track! 

Stay organized

When burdened with many deadlines, it’s best to stay as organized as possible. The easiest way to do this is with a calendar or an agenda. Writing down your deadlines allows you to see them in chronological order. This visual aid will help you plan and prioritize the most pressing tasks. 

If you want to make things fun and boost your mood, colour-code your deadlines! This can also help you prioritize your tasks—plus, it makes your calendar visually appealing!   

Figure out when you’re most productive

Is there a specific time of the day that you’re most motivated or focused? Maybe it’s first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. Whenever it is, capitalize on that time! Try to complete your biggest tasks in that time as you’ll be more likely to finish them. 

Set realistic goals 

Be honest about how much you can do in a certain timeframe. A useful strategy is to make a daily to-do list. Write down everything that you need to complete and prioritize your tasks. Decide how much time you need to dedicate to each of them. 

Then, pick 2-4 tasks that you can realistically complete. In the end, you avoid feeling overworked and feel a sense of accomplishment, which keeps you motivated. Just remember, only focus on one task at a time! 

Keep a journal

A journal is another great way to stay on track. Your journal could include to-do lists, a thoughts and feelings page, a weekly planner, a monthly wellness tracker (to track your mood), a gratitude page, and a brain dump page (to write down any ideas). 

Journals are a wonderful tool for people who need a creative outlet. You can personalize your journal with brightly coloured pens and stickers, or add your own drawings/doodles. The sky's the limit! 

Take breaks

When you start to feel fatigued, take a break to relieve stress and avoid burnout. Do activities that re-energize you and bring you joy! If you’ve been working on a screen, it’s best to choose an activity that doesn’t involve screens—such as light exercise, cooking a delicious meal, talking to a friend, or reading a book. 

Take care of yourself

To be the best version of yourself during busy periods, you must put your well-being first. This means getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and exercising often (even if it’s just going for short walks). 

When you do these three critical things, you’ll find that you’re not only in better shape to conquer your goals, but your mental health will be at its best. 

Be mindful

If you feel overwhelmed or burdened by your tasks, take a few minutes to practice mindfulness. This means being present and in the moment. Take a few deep breaths and observe your thoughts and emotions. Reflect on how you are feeling and recognize that your emotional state is not permanent. 

Acknowledge, accept, and name your thoughts and feelings, let them be, and carry on. Then do something that gives you comfort or support. For example, you can call a loved one, make a cup of tea or coffee, or play with your pet. 

Take note of the things causing you stress

Finally, write down the things that are stressing you. Just writing it down will help you clear your mind. Once written down, think about why each item is causing you stress. Perhaps you can find a practical solution to that stress. After you’ve addressed one or more stressors, it will be easier to focus on the task at hand. 

School can be stressful, but you’ve got this!

As Chuck Pagano once said, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” It’s normal to feel stressed when you have many tasks or tight deadlines. These may be pressing, but remember that your well-being is more important than anything. 

If you’d like more support to manage school stress, please know that you’re not alone. You can read another blog, join a free Shift webinar, try a Meet & Greet with a therapist, or book an initial appointment. We’re here to support you! 

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