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April 16, 2018 | by  | in Mauri Ora Opinion |
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Mauri Ora

As young people we get a message to “be more resilient”. The reality is that it difficult to bounce back when your assignment grades aren’t what you expected, you are not eating or sleeping well, when you have multiple commitments.

When the pressure is on it is common to ignore how we are feeling in our body.  Instead we put the things that support our health and wellbeing on hold and push through to finish study tasks and other obligations without taking breaks.  Stress activates hormones in your body that trigger the flight or fight response as your body prepares to act quickly. Everyone experiences stress, it’s a natural response.  Some stress is fine and can benefit our health and enhance motivation, but when the stress response is activated day after day it can put your health at risk.

Ongoing stress impacts your health and can contribute to serious diseases. Look out for the signs that you might be experiencing chronic stress: frequent colds and infections, headaches, back, and shoulder pain, nausea and upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, chest pain, high blood pressure, increased heart and respiratory rates, irritability and difficulty sleeping, overeating, alcohol and other drug use, and social withdrawal.

The patterns you develop at university will go with you in to the workplace. Now is a great time to develop skills and practice managing stress.  If it’s challenging to unravel the source of stress, ask for help.

Here are some tips on how to stay well:

  • Optimise your time – chunk things down into small tasks, reduce distractions, and take breaks
  • Connect with others through a common interest like a club or study topic
  • Eat a balanced diet, get regular sleep, and exercise.
  • Notice what you’re good at, list your strengths, take it one day at a time
  • Money – work out a budget, apply to the student hardship fund if needed, find part time work

Sometimes, our biggest source of pressure comes from what we tell ourselves.  Be kind to yourself.

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