Real Talk: Managing Stress as a Student

If there’s anything I’ve gained from my 4 years as a student it’s that one of the best skills a student can learn is proper “stress management”. With balancing tests, readings, essays, and work on top of a social life stress is bound to occur and sometimes it can have a large impact on your lifestyle.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of stigma around mental health. However, in reality everyone deals with it in one capacity or another. From one student to another, here are some ways I’ve learned to combat stress – enjoy myself – and get stuff done.

Plan and Put things into Perspective: Though everything seems like it is due all at once, generally things like assignments and test deadlines are distributed very early in the semester (hopefully in a syllabus). This give you a lot of time to plan and to shape things into perspective. Write out your deadlines and due dates in an agenda, calendar, or even a piece of paper. Then, try to make sense of your time.

  • TIP: Too much material + too little time is the formula for stress. If you start planning your semester out now hopefully you’ll end up with a formula for success instead.

Stay Healthy: This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym every day for 3 hours or start training for a marathon (but, if that’s your thing good for you). Instead, just staying mindful about your physical and mental health will do. Remember to eat well and stay active – whatever you determine active to be. For me, I stick to a plan of working out 3x a week and then having a yoga session once a week to de-stress. Everyone has a different lifestyle and a different definition of health – find your definition and stick to it. You’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll probably end up more energized and productive.

  • Did you know: Exercise affects a neurotransmitter that has an antidepressant like effect in your brain; all the more reason to prioritize your health! (Mercola)

Go Outside: I don’t mean to sound like your mother shoo-ing you outside and I’m not going to take your video games away or anything but… we are lucky to live in North Bay, there’s an abundance of nature all around us and there are ample opportunities to explore it. “Going outdoors helps to relieve stress naturally… even five minute in nature can help reduce stress and boost your mood.” (Mercola) So grab some snow-shoes and go trailblazing!

Got a Hobby?: One of the best stress relievers is also one of the simplest. Do something you love. Taking time to enjoy yourself is important, so reward yourself for your hard work! This could be as simple as reading a book or participating in a club.

  • Campus Tip: If you’re unsure about what you like to do there are a lot of clubs around campus and in the community to check out – this is also a great opportunity to meet new people. Talk to your residence dons, NUSU, or SDS to learn more about the opportunities on campus.

Celebrate your talents: Sharing experiences with others is a great way to feel included and alleviate stress. Everyone has something they are good at and the world is just waiting for you to share it. If you like to cook, try making something delicious for your neighbour. If you like soccer, start up an intramural team.


Your university experience is what you make it, don’t let stress get you down from experiencing some of the best years of your life! Make sure you have a plan for success and make sure to appreciate yourself.

Best of luck!