Stress management for online students: Using stress to your advantage
Stress is defined as the way we respond physically, mentally and/or emotionally to various conditions, changes and demands in life.
Stress is no stranger to any student working from home, whether it be towards an associates, bachelors or masters degree, whether you’re balancing the checkbook, the children, a job or anything else.
Stress can be a good thing too. Stress about schoolwork can motivate students and keep people energized towards achieving their goal.
Kelly McGonigal, Stanford psychologist and author of the book “The Upside of Stress”, highlights new research indicating that stress can “make us stronger, smarter and happier – if we learn to embrace it”.
There’s an old saying that “most of the things we worry about don’t actually happen.” That’s not because we stress about them so much that they go away. But there’s an actual logical reason: it’s because we stress, get proactive, and then find responsible ways to avoid that situation we worried about… and then it usually doesn’t happen. For example, to avoid failing a test, we study. Or, to be ready for certain situations in your career, you might make sure to have the material down pat and know how to respond.
Studies show that there is a positive correlation between busyness of schedule and grades. A 2008 study done by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Ohio University found that students who work a part-time job (1-20 hours a week) at a 4-year college received a higher average grade point average (GPA) than students who did not work. Those who attended 2-year programs experienced a positive GPA increase at even greater work schedules than 20 hours per week.
Having a work schedule forces working students to take time to plan ahead for when to finish school work, while having a wide open schedule sometimes leaves room for the “Oh, I’ll get around to it” mentality.
In the end, there will be days where we are stressed, and even though it can be motivating for us, it isn’t always welcomed. The best ways to combat these days are to manage your time proactively, communicate well, and adopt healthy coping strategies like eating well, exercising, getting plenty of sleep and having a go-to relaxation practice, whether it’s yoga, meditation, getting coffee with a friend, or taking a walk.