Have you ever felt the pressure of passing an exam or an important project? Or the anxiety associated with uncertainty about your professional future? The university journey is fraught with challenges, and various pressures can weigh heavily on your academic performance, and more importantly, your well-being. In this article, I invite you to discover three concrete strategies for mitigating academic burdens and maintaining a healthy balance between your studies and your well-being.
Identify the sources
The first step is to be aware of a problem before looking for solutions. That's why it's important to analyze and understand where these constraints come from, and then counter them. Academic burdens are not limited to exams or assignments.
They can also be linked to the high expectations you place on yourself to succeed, the fear of disappointing your loved ones or even the constant competition with your peers, whether real or perceived. What's more, each person can face specific pressures linked to their personal situation.
By clearly identifying your different sources of academic pressure, you'll be better prepared to adapt these few tips or develop new, personalized strategies to effectively manage the challenges you face.
Managing your time effectively
Long study hours and constant stress can put a strain on your physical and mental health. Giving 100% doesn't mean you have to sabotage yourself. Try to minimize the number of sleepless nights you spend revising or working on a project. Instead, opt for a well-defined work schedule.
Identify the times of day when your productivity is at its peak and use this information to better define your schedule. Above all, make sure you take regular short breaks to avoid mental fatigue.
Make sure you're realistic when building your study schedule or timetable. Otherwise, it will only increase your stress level. Prioritize the most important tasks, because not all academic tasks are created equal, and it's essential to determine which are the most important.
Identify work with imminent deadlines, but don't neglect those that need more time to be understood in depth. Prioritization will enable you to focus on what's essential to avoid overload and unnecessary pressure1. Be aware that sometimes this means saying no to outside commitments that could hinder your academic progress.
When you have a well-established, flexible schedule, you'll feel you have everything under control. You'll no longer have to ask yourself "Where should I start?" If you'd like to explore more tips for effective time management, I invite you to check out this article.
Confidence vs. Stress
You've probably been in a situation where you have a job to do, but deep down you wish the task could be cancelled or postponed. And once the task is done, this is one of the many possible manifestations of the fear of failing. So you start procrastinating and thinking all kinds of negative thoughts, and your stress level rises. Once the work is done, you don't feel satisfaction for what you've done, but you do feel relief, as if you've just got rid of a burden.
The most effective way - not the only way - to overcome this fear of failure, which can manifest itself in a variety of ways, is to have confidence in yourself. What's the best way to boost your self-confidence? It's to know exactly what you want to do or convey!
Think of a subject you know very well. It would be very easy for you to give a presentation on that topic if asked. You probably wouldn't have done any preparation at all. You're confident because you know what you have to present.
On the other hand, if a student were to give a talk on a subject with which he or she was not very familiar, the student's uncertainty about his or her ability to give the talk would soon give way to a fear of not being up to the task. Stress and anxiety would follow.
Interestingly, if the student in question applies good time management practices, and devotes a few hours to preparing his or her presentation, this fear of "not being up to the task" is transformed into solid self-confidence.
Don't hesitate to ask for help when you need it. The University of Ottawa offers a variety of support services, such as academic advisors and psychological counselling, to all students.
Feeling supported can go a long way toward relieving academic stress. If you feel the need to talk about the challenges you're facing, you can easily contact the Student Health and Wellness Centre (SHWC). There are health professionals there who would be delighted to help you.
By following these tips, you'll be better equipped to manage academic pressures and maintain a healthy balance between studies and well-being. Remember to stay positive and take it one step at a time.
Asana. (2022). 18 tips for managing your time well and other tips for working efficiently. Retrieved from [URL : https://asana.com/fr/resources/time-management-tips]