Let's Talk About Stress
It's no secret that stress can hold back even the most confident student.
Juggling multiple demands on your time while continuing to say "yes" to everything can make the pressure unbearable. And as stress builds up without release, it can lead to an explosion: burnout, out-of-control anxiety, maybe even a nervous breakdown.
The question is: What can you do about it? How can you turn down the heat and get back on track?
It starts with knowing the signs.
What is stress?
Stress is a response to real or imagined demands placed on us by ourselves, other people or the environment. When there's a perceived imbalance between these demands and our ability to cope with them, stress increases.
Not sure if what you're feeling is stress? Here's what to look for:
- Difficulty making decisions
- Excessive daydreaming or fantasizing about getting away from it all
- Increased use of cigarettes, marijuana, and/or alcohol
- Thoughts trail off while speaking or writing
- Excessive worrying
- Sudden outbursts of temper
- Forgetfulness for appointments, deadlines, dates
- Frequent spells of brooding and feelings of inadequacy
- Reversals in usual behaviour
- Excessive amounts of time spent on social media, internet, etc.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a disease of over-commitment that is especially common in people with high standards. With stages that range from physical fatigue to withdrawal to a loss of hope and confidence, burnout likely stems from:
- An accumulation of stress.
- Denial: Now allowing yourself to feel tired, denying your limits and distancing yourself from your feelings.
- Over-commitment: Not taking care of yourself, only taking care of others.
So what can you do about it?
First, remember that life is bigger than the situations we find ourselves in, and that God knows what you're going through. He is ready to help, but He also wants us to learn to take responsibility for ourselves.
Maintaining a healthy perspective is critical. Recognize when things are starting to get stressful and be prepared to find the strategies that work for you. They might include:
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- Self-care: Plenty of exercise, sleep and healthy eating
- Fun: Sometimes the best medicine is relaxation, laughter, creative expression and doing things you like doing and are good at.
- Talk: Regular chats with a counsellor, pastor or mentor can help bring balance to your life.
- Balance: Changes to your environment might help create healthy boundaries as you work toward a balanced, holistic life.
- Prioritize: Focus on what's most important and put most of your energy into that.
- Let go: Don't do for others what they can do themselves.
- Be positive: Get your worth from God, not your achievements.
- Set realistic goals. Use the wisdom Christ gives you, recognize your own limitations and say "no" more often.