Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve realized the semester is wrapping up and the exam season is almost upon us. The increased pressure to do well and achieve good grades can have extremely negative effects on university students and can cause serious stress.

Dr. A. Bebawy of Oakville says that she sees many university-aged students who are feeling the pressure from school, especially during exam season.
“Some of the most notable signs of stress are changes in sleep patterns, quick temper, weepiness, inability to concentrate, or anxiety,” she said.

Okay, but that seems eerily familiar to how I feel around ‘that time of the month,’ so how does stress differ from a visit from my friend Flow? Well, according to Dr. Bebawy, stress can be dangerous to a person’s health.

“Stress can deteriorate your health,” she said. “You become more susceptible to the cold and flu, you lose your appetite, can’t sleep and, in really extreme cases, it can be a factor in suicide.”

If you find your grades are suffering or you are having self-destructive thoughts, Bebawy suggests you consult your doctor immediately. In some cases, doctors will prescribe mood-altering drugs to bring the patient’s level of anxiety down, but most commonly they will reassure you and suggest steps that you can take to aid your own stress recovery. Bebawy advises students to be proactive.

“There are things you can do to help yourself like getting a good night sleep, eating regularly and spending time away from school doing something you enjoy.” She also suggests exercise as a good way to relieve stress and proposes such activities as pilates, yoga and swimming.

So if you can’t shake your stress, know that you are not alone. Nearly one in five university undergraduates say they feel stressed all or most of the time. Reassurance from friends and family is key in beating the blues. And knowing that the jingle-jangle of Santa’s sled is right around the corner can’t hurt either.

1) Get enough sleep and keep a regular sleep pattern
2) Eat regularly and don’t skip meals
3) Be cautious of your alcohol intake
4) Make time for yourself and do something you enjoy
5) Engage in physical activity