Coping with Stress – OurWarwick

Coping with Stress

Within the framed narrative of the archetypal Warwick student, there seems to exist only one adequate response to someone asking you how you are: “I’m stressed!”. It’s become automatic, second-nature, almost a jerk-reflex response that blurts out of my mouth before I can even process my true emotions. Following my answer, my peer will laugh and reply “Same here”. We smile, laugh, and get on with life, not feeling any better, not revealing how we actually feel. Stress can be defined as an emotional strain upon someone’s well-being. It often occurs when an individual has to balance their time between competing demands (academic, social, financial, etc). It can, in some cases, be a way to ensure that one stays focused. It keeps a person motivated and focused on the task at hand. However, in some cases, having little to no stress might make a person nonchalant, resulting in them avoiding necessary tasks. If the pendulum swings the other way and someone finds themselves under too much stress, they can also be unproductive and suffer from burnout due to being over pressured by work. But what happens when we do find that happy medium between humdrum and utter chaos? Last week, I discovered the answer. However, it meant going through a journey of swinging on the stress pendulum (which, believe it or not, wasn’t great fun). Therefore, I went through it, so that y’all don’t have to. Last Wednesday, I lay in bed procrastinating from work and stuffing my face with saturated fats. However, as little as 24 hours later, I was slumped in a couch facing my personal tutor, as he listened to me whining on about the immense sense of guilt I felt for the day before. I spoke of the nightmarish deadlines looming up ahead of me threatening to not only take away my freedom but also rob me of a degree if I wasn’t too careful. After a short pause, my personal tutor (a Godsend, honestly) assured me that my feelings were perfectly natural and that I was simply under stress. And by stress, he didn’t mean the kind that you just throw about in casual conversation. This stress was a natural feeling that can be overcome. In order to help deal with my emotions, I attended a Wellbeing Masterclass which is run by the Wellbeing Centre in Senate House. They’re running Monday-Thursday at 4:30 PM, and they’re a half an hour workshop whereby someone goes through with you ways in order to cope with stress. When I went in, I felt automatically welcome and at ease with myself. The sessions are anonymous to a degree (no names, no questions asked) and one can either share experiences, ask questions, or simply sit and listen to the advice that is on hand. Whilst I was previously apprehensive about attending the workshop, I am now so thankful that I did because I about things that I didn’t even realise were available to me at Warwick. Fourth year and still learning about the wonders of Warwick, isn’t that great? For instance, I never realised that there were group study sessions which allowed me to study with mentors, providing support with essays or how to tackle issues such as time management. I also learnt about the Stress Curve, which showed the optimum level of stress required in order to obtain the best productivity levels, without having a burnout. Knowing this information and reminding myself of it, ensures that next time someone approaches me and asks me how I am, I can smile and reply to them, “I’m doing well, and so is my mental health”. 🙂


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