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Stress

How will I ever manage to get everything done in time?

  • Do you sometimes feel that you can’t keep up with the pace of your homework, lessons and exams?
  • Do you feel that you’re letting down your partner, friends and family?
  • Do you feel that you’ve lost control of your life as a student?
  • Then you might be suffering from stress.

This site contains information about what stress is, how you can handle it, and how you can prevent it as well. Take some time to read it through, and then decide how much of it seems useful to you.

"The symptoms of stress vary from one person to the next. But if you have any of these symptoms, it’s important that you stop and think carefully about your situation. Stress is a reaction to pressure which you find hard to handle, so it’s important that you take it seriously and do something about it." Lena Pradhan Bakkestrøm, Guidance counsellor, Arts 

Energy, breaks and recuperation

  • What gives you energy? And do you allow yourself the time to recharge your batteries during an average day?
  • Do you have a sensible diet? Do you take breaks?
  • Do you get enough sleep and exercise?

When you’re busy it’s easier to persuade yourself that you will have to take a shorter break than usual, or that you just don’t have enough time to get up and step away from your computer. You might even start referring to activities which would actually recharge your batteries or help you plan your time as “a waste of time”. The phrase “a waste of time” shows that you’ve forgotten the importance of recuperation, and recuperation is the only way to optimise your performance on a daily basis and during exams.

  • It’s important to take breaks during your hours of studying.

This is where you can find inspiration and tools to help you plan your studies as well as your spare time.

Plan your periods of peak load

You know which tests, projects and exams you have to do each semester. This can help you to manage and plan your studies so you feel on top of things instead of feeling that you’re struggling to keep up with your life as a student.

A project or exam period doesn’t last long, but it does mean that your routines will be different. It’s a clearly defined period which starts and ends on a particular date. So you know exactly when your final assignment or exam will be. This means that this period (the revision period) is more intense than your normal daily life as a student. So before starting to revise, it may be a good idea to prioritise your activities and stop doing things which you don’t really have time for. It’s only for a short period, after all.

You might like to consider the following options:

  • Your student job – Can you work fewer hours (or perhaps do more hours on fewer days) while you revise for exams?
  • Your voluntary work – Can you put your voluntary work on standby for a while so you have time to focus on your studies?
  • Your love life – Can you arrange to see your boyfriend/girlfriend a bit less while you revise? For instance, can you arrange to meet up in the evenings and spend most of the day revising? Talk it over and see what you can work out.
  • Your parents – Tell your parents that you might not be able to get home quite so often, or ask them to help you with a few things if they can.
  • Your sporting activities – If you do a lot of sport, if you’re involved in competitions or if you’re on a team, you need to plan your time carefully so you can perform well in your exams as well as your sport.

What kind of stress symptoms have you got?

Think about various situations in which you’ve been under extra pressure and have lacked the resources to cope.

  • How do these situations make you feel? What kind of situations cause this kind of pressure?
  • What’s the first thing you notice about yourself?
  • What are the three strongest stress symptoms that you get? It’s a good idea to write them down.

The list of symptoms of stress might help you to do this. (Vi indsætter link til oversigten over symptomer)

It may also be a good idea to keep a log book of your reactions to stress:

  • Time/date
  • Symptom
  • Context/cause
  • Possible patterns/thoughts

This is one way to learn how to spot acute stress and the factors that cause it. There’s often a pattern which can help to reveal how stress can be alleviated.

The first symptoms to develop will often be the same, even though the pressures may vary depending on the situation.

If you recognise your symptoms, you might learn how to spot them next time you’re under pressure. This is when you have to act differently – focus on recuperation, take a break or get some help. These symptoms are your body’s way of telling you to look up, pay more attention and focus on what’s going on here and now.

The best possible revision period

Your performance and your exam results depend on how well you prepare. You may have thought carefully about your goals and decided what kind of mark would satisfy you.

Planning your revision will help you to find out what it takes to achieve a good exam result and enjoy a successful period of revision. A good revision period depends largely on good planning. You need to sort out the following issues:

  • Monthly plan – when are your deadlines or exams?
  • Weekly plan – how do you spend your week, what do you need to read/write each week?
  • Daily plan – how do you spend your day, making sure that you manage to do what you set out to do?

A good plan for the day takes account of what you can realistically manage to do each day. But don’t forget to allow yourself the time to recuperate so you don’t burn out or drain yourself completely by forgetting to eat or take breaks. A good plan for the day contains a number of useful basic elements.

  • What time do you get up?

Don’t change your daily routines, because this might upset your inner balance and detract from your performance.

  • What time do you have lunch?

You should allow 45-60 minutes for lunch each day. Taking a long break in the middle of the day will help you to keep going for longer at the end of the day. Your concentration, performance and motivation will be maintained if you allow yourself a long break in the middle of the day.

  • Take a break every hour.

If you obey the 50/10-minute rule (50 minutes of work followed by a 10-minute break), your brain can stay on top and keep going all day. Take some physical exercise, go for a short walk, meditate, listen to music or do something which will replenish and recharge your batteries.

  • Do you know when to stop?

Trust your own rhythm, because it will tell you when to stop reading or writing each day. We all have different rhythms, and you need to know what yours is like. If a guilty conscience forces you to sit in front of your computer in the evenings, you won’t be able to work efficiently – and nor will you be able to relax. So make a choice and stick to it (recuperation is valuable and NOT a waste of time).

  • What time do you go to bed? The best thing for your brain is to go to bed at roughly the same time every day. It’s a bad idea to turn day into night and night into day. We’re designed to sleep at night and to be awake during the day.

For more inspiration

There are plenty of resources available to you, so all you have to do is decide what would help you most in preventing and/or dealing with your stress symptoms.

Student Counselling Service

The student counselling site can also give you good advice about how to handle stress. For instance, the student counsellors have published a pamphlet about stress. Check out www.srg.dk and download their information about stress and other issues here.

Meditation and mindfulness can also help to reduce stress. The aim of them both is to help boost your awareness of your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations – and to deal with them in a new way. 

Stress. What do I do?

Taking your stress symptoms seriously means taking yourself seriously. If you experience too many stress symptoms for too long (3-4 weeks), you need to stop and take stock of what’s going on and why you feel the way you do. Ignoring your weaknesses or need for help will not make you stronger. The people who have the courage to reach out and ask for help are the strong ones.

The first thing you need to do is read about stress on this site. This will teach you more about what stress really is. You can also learn more about yourself, which can kick start the process of getting better. The exercises you’ll find on this site can help you to do this.

If you suspect that you are suffering from stress and have an urgent need for help, we recommend that you take one of the following options.

  • Contact your doctor.
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