Stress Awareness Month

CapU offers resources to manage and release stress during exam season 

Wen Zhai // Contributor  

With final exams looming, exhaustion and stress are waiting just around the corner. Suhki Sohi, Coordinator and Counsellor from Capilano University’s (CapU) Counselling Department, invites students to try something new to equip themselves mentally and psychologically. CapU’s counselling department offers free, confidential services to all enrolled students. “We kind of see everything,” Sohi said. “You name it, it’s appropriate for [students] to come to see us.”

Students have two ways of accessing the counselling services on campus: by phone or in person (BR267). Drop-ins are available for up to 15-20 min., with the exception of crisis situations. “We want students to know that from Monday to Friday they can access a counsellor within 24 hours.” Within a few months, the online booking system will be ready and students will be able to book appointments online.  

Exam period can be stressful, especially when many students are trying to balance school and work. “Stress usually happens when we feel out of control and fear that we could not get things done. Just being able to reframe it and figure out a plan to create a sense of control is helpful,”  Sohi said.   

People react differently to stress depending on various elements. Personality and history play a huge role, and this stress can lead to anxiety. General stress management strategies, like eating well, sleeping, and exercising will help. But many students find it difficult to keep up with healthy habits. “It is really important for students to be able to reflect and monitor their own mental health,” Sohi said. “If they feel they are so overwhelmed that they are not working to their potential or if they are noticing that they are procrastinating too much, or they are so overwhelmed to the point of withdrawal or start missing classes, these are times when it would be helpful to come to meet with a counsellor.”  

There is a strong connection between time management and stress management. Learning how to prioritize, plan, and schedule in order to create a structure is a form of creating freedom. “Research shows that a huge impact on young people is technology,” Sohi said. The amount of time spent on devices can lead to lack of focus or sleep and these will have an impact on a person’s stress levels. Counsellors can help students prioritize certain goals even just for a period of time, which would greatly reduce stress. 

For students who think they haven’t completed enough by the time the exam period approaches, Sohi suggests that they see if they can put some of the items on the agenda on hold for a certain period (e.g. three weeks) or go talk with a counselor who will help with problem solving, validating feelings of stress, help calm down and shut off the destructive self-talk.  

“I want students to know that stress is normal and there are absolutely things you can do about it. Stress management is a skill that can be developed. It’s similar to how a body trainer helps you train your physical muscles—now you just need someone to help you train your mental muscles, through learning about stress symptoms, strategies, and tools,” Sohi concluded.  

For other resources to manage stress, accessibility services and learning specialists are available on campus in BR284.  

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