Soaring student stress levels addressed at workshop

Ranjit Saini, coordinator of the stress management workshop (Fareah Islam)

Fareah Islam
Life Reporter

With the winter semester coming to an end, students can be seen rushing to classrooms, finishing assignments in the library and studying in the hallways.

Since stress can be a major concern for many who have to balance school, work and family life, Humber held a Stress Management workshop Wednesday at Lakeshore campus to discuss how students experience stress and equip them with the tools to manage their stress levels.

“Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Positive stress can motivate, improve performance and efficiency, while negative stress can cause unproductive anxiety, strain in relationships, addiction and possibly even physical illness,” said Ranjit Saini, coordinator of the workshop.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 70 to 80 per cent of all doctor visits are stress related. Saini says today more than 30 per cent of first-year students report frequently feeling overwhelmed, which is double the rate it was in 1985.

First-year Marketing student Hayley Mackie agrees.

“Right now I feel extremely stressed. I’m just trying to get everything done. I play for Humber’s soccer team and I need to be able to maintain a certain average in order to receive my scholarship funds. I get stressed at the thought of losing my scholarship,” said Mackie.

Saini provided examples of how different types of stress can be managed.

“People can feel physical stress by having stiff joints, fatigue, headaches and shortness of breath. The best way to combat these are by being physically active through jogging, swimming, cycling and walking. There is also emotional stress and this can include having anxiety, depression, nervousness, moodiness, insomnia and short temper,” she said.

Saini suggested counselling, listening to or writing music, talking to family and friends, meditating or praying as coping methods.

“While I do feel stressed, I know I just have to stay focused and get in the mindset of getting everything done. I try to manage my stress level by working out, playing soccer and being around people who are going through what I’m going through,” said Mackie.

Humber provides various resources help people deal with stress, such as counselling services and access to facilities such as the gym, Career Centre and the Humber Spa.

“Humber counselling services is a confidential, non-judgemental setting where students can discuss whatever difficulties they are concerned about,” said Saini. “The Career Centre can be an important resource for those who are worried about finances or need help finding a job. The Spa at Humber offers massages, facials and a multitude of other services to help students destress.”

Himaali Patel, a first-year Mechanical Engineering student and an attendee of the stress management event, said she was able to learn different methods to deal with stress.

“I think most professors here are very considerate and are willing to understand student difficulties. I try not to procrastinate and I take advantage of the resources Humber has to offer to manage my stress,” said Patel.

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