Feel like you’re being crushed by textbooks, midterms and term papers? Don’t worry, we get it. University can be overwhelming with deadlines and exams coming up. The important thing to remember is you’re not alone in feeling this way. It’s hard to perform your best in school with high levels of stress and anxiety. Following some of these tips may help improve your mental health, so you can power through the rest of your assignments and hopefully feel better overall.
1. Get some sweet, sweet sleep
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re downing the caffeinated drinks and running on a couple hours of sleep. Yes, it’s easier said than done to get a full night’s rest, but catching those zzz’s will help you cope with your day-to-day stress. Although pulling an all-nighter before that exam may seem like a good idea at the time, it’s hard to perform well in school when you’re so tired you can’t focus. And anxious feelings are made worse with too much caffeine. Getting a good night’s sleep instead of relying on coffee and energy drinks will help keep anxiety levels down and improve your overall mental health.
Check out these blog posts for tips on balancing sleep and studying:
- 5 tips for a good nap
- 5 ways to avoid the dreaded all-nighter and sleep soundly
- Are you over-caffeinating?
2. Hang out with friends
Spending some time with people you enjoy can help improve your mood and lower your stress. Whoever it is, hang out with people who make you feel positive, such as your friends, your family, or your dog. Everyone needs a support system.
3. Check out WellTrack
Dal promotes an app called WellTrack, a online self-help program that targets depression, anxiety, stress and phobias. It’s a convenient and confidential way to track your mood and mental status. You can even share your progress with and receive guidance from Dal’s own WellTrack coach. Get all the information at dal.ca/welltrack.
4. Get physical
There’s nothing better than your natural endorphins. Let go of some of that stress through sweat, not tears. Dal’s three fitness centres in Halifax and Truro are open all day to accommodate everyone’s schedule. With group fitness classes, personal training, swimming (in Halifax), intramurals, and clubs, there’s something for everyone. Check out everything offered at Dalplex and Sexton Gym in Halifax, and the Langille Athletic Centre in Truro.
5. Eat a bit healthier
It’s going to sound a bit unrealistic to say never eat junk food—Only. Kale. Ever. Realistically, even just switching to more fruit (fresh or frozen) and less fast food will help keep you energized and improve your mood. Have a hard time getting healthy food? Stick to the outer aisles in the supermarket (non-packaged foods), visit local farmers’ markets, and if you’re on a Halifax campus, visit the DSU Food Market and The Loaded Ladle in the SUB.
6. Take a breath and relax
In the busy swing of the semester it can be hard to relax, or even find time to relax. But making it a priority will reduce stress and symptoms of anxiety. In Halifax, the DSU Wellness Room in the SUB provides a place to stop to relax, exercise, meditate, nap, etc. There’s even training offered in resilience and mental wellness, and programs such as meditation, journal-making, how to make healthy snacks, and sex talks with Venus Envy.
Do you prefer relaxing on your own? Try things like taking a hot bath, watching a comedy, or taking a walk outside to clear your head and help you focus.
If you need additional support for your mental health, Dal offers:
- Walk-in Counselling with a member of the Halifax health-care team (physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, counsellors, etc.).
- Group Counselling in Halifax for overcoming anxiety, enhancing resilience skills and a drop-in group for eating disorders.
- Ask A Nurse is an online resource to ask your health questions confidentially, without having to go to the clinic. Convenient, confidential, and helpful—what more could you ask for?