Ways to relieve stress on campus

Welding student, Patrick Daley, says there are stresses students must go through in order to succeed in their academic careers. Personal issues make it difficult to have enough time for school and work, says Daley.

“There is a lot of work and the amount of time I have to do it with a job and bills to pay leaves me with not much time.” he says.

Stress is a primary source of misery for students around campus, especially during midterms and finals. This causes procrastination, mental and physical problems, and overall defeat in finishing a hectic schedule. But even with the levels of stress at an all-time high this month, there are many ways for students to deal.

Having someone to talk with and tell your problems to reduces stress. The Wellness Centre says communication is key and should be encouraged when emotions become hard to handle. Changing your eating habits, exercising, talking with friends and family, and even acknowledging your professor by returning those emails could help these haywire feelings.

A survey produced by The Canadian Association of Colleges and Universities in 2013 said 89 per cent of students were overwhelmed by the workload. More than half of those surveyed said they felt hopeless and wanted to drop out, while 64 per cent felt alone and unable to have any social interactions. On the other hand, 56 per cent of students felt overwhelming anxiety and depression and 10 per cent had considered suicide.

Stress is universal and will always linger no matter what issue is causing the negative emotion. It can easily be fixed if the proper resources are shown to students needing assistance. The Outreach Services here on campus provide one-on-one counselling support for all students, as well as 24-hour phone lines outside of school. You can locate more information on The Outreach Services at durhamcollege.ca and your-sa.ca/services/outreach. There is always help for any situation, most students are unaware about available services.

Outreach worker, Heather Bickle, helps students daily with personal counselling sessions and providing a stress free environment for those dealing with overwhelming levels of anxiety and depression. The Access and Support Centre have a 30-day calendar for student wellness outside of their door to remind students about what they can do outside of school. Getting a minimum of eight hours of sleep or writing five positive things about yourself are some examples. Bickle’s services are available daily and can be contacted through appointments or even walk-ins if the moment requires immediate attention. There is help everywhere, even when it may be hard to imagine that help exists.

“We kind of made stress a monster in our society and have made it out to be a bad thing so it’s unable to make us stay healthy and be healthy,” says Bickle.

This means that a student’s perception of that singular feeling of stress stops them from overcoming it, perceiving it as too difficult or traumatic. Bickle goes on to say that students sometimes don’t have the resources to cope, be it the finance or the time, causing that feeling of stress to become negative and unstoppable. This allows campus consolers like Bickle to produce the resources for students and other faculty alike. In the end, the students and faculty who look for support benefit. But those who do not look for support flounder.

The Outreach Centre says students find the stress of their academic careers more overwhelming at the end of each semester. Fitting their outside life into the school cycle is challenging and this can cause negative side effects.

Daley knows the struggles his fellow students face with trying to fit everything into a schedule. It isn’t only tough but tiring, which doesn’t help already exhausted students.

“With having a busy schedule it’s difficult to find the time to seek help,” says Daley.

Mental health has been called a crisis on college campuses across Canada, according to CBC Toronto. The University of British Columbia primarily offers their students resources online dealing with the hardships of post-secondary having a primary tab on their school website. Their institution is one of the first online to display multiple resources and information about the cause of stress and how to overcome it.

Durham College isn’t far behind with health centres and services but the website still lacks a primary mental wellness tab. Nearly half of a student’s stress load in Ontario is the courses and lack of knowledge of resources. However, Canada is far ahead of the States in terms of overcoming and dealing with student issues, including school and personal problems.

Managing stress alone for students is an effective way to make their lives better during the upcoming Christmas holiday. Bickle says students should be proactive about stress and anxiety and read up on the resources around campus. Accepting the fact that you are stressed is a part of the healing factor and Bickle says it does more good than students realize. Meditating, being social, and taking breaks is just a few simple ways to reduce the feeling of becoming overwhelmed.

“Here at Durham College we look at that full perspective of getting back to what needs help, like diets for instance so no one is running on empty stomachs during exams and of course exercise to reduce the tension and built up stress,” says Bickle.

Bickle suggests her clients start with a healthy lifestyle. This is the first step in reducing stress and helping to deal with other mental and physical problems.

Lead support coach, Melissa Bosomworth, oversees supporting student success in general health and wellness with stress and time management. She also helps students discover different resources around campus or even off campus to help deal with their specific needs. Bosomworth believes students are not only stressed with post-secondary but stressed with what is happening in their lives. Balancing the demands of everything causes the negative side effects of stress to skyrocket. Coaches like Bosomworth are known to help reduce the side effects of stress.

“Pretty soon there is going to be advertising for stress relief and so we will have a bunch of new activities and support lined up for students,” she says. “So they can now take advantage of those types of activities for a break from their exams and stress-related problems.” Durham College, in conjunction with the Outreach and Wellness centres, also offer a service called Aspiria for students requiring help off-campus. Aspiria is available on the phone for 24-hour counselling assistance. Aspiria can be contacted through email at info@aspiria.ca or by phone at 905-415-0500 or at 1-800-742-9820.

Full-time students with part-time jobs can contact Aspiria for counselling assistance at any time over the school year.

Daley says being a full-time student with a part-time job is difficult to manage when time is very limited.

“I think with the costs and finances it does add more stress on students, especially during the end of semesters,” says Daley.

For the students thinking about giving up due to exams and drama, always know that the resources and a chance for help is either right around the corner or even a phone call away. Wellness Centres, Outreach Services, and health support is available year-round on campus. With a more in-depth look into each one, there is bound to be at least one way to motivate the reduction of all negative and stressful situations.