By Ms Rebecca Bugeja
Stress is that feeling you get when you are unable to cope with everything that life has thrown at you during the recent past and present. This is especially true during this time of year where our finals are just around the corner. Despite all the work that you need to deal with, some symptoms crop up as a result of this stress such as an increased level of sadness, irritability, snapping at people more quickly than usual or you just cannot seem to put your mind to that assignment or pending chapter you need to get done [Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2021].
With everything said so far, another contributing factor to stress was added last year: the COVID pandemic. It has been shown that people who have been isolated or in quarantine as a result of COVID have reported higher levels of stress, as well as anxiety and anger [Brooks, S., Webster, R., Smith, L., Woodland, L., Wessely, S., Greenberg, N. and Rubin.G, 2020]. More specific to the university student body age group is the significantly higher levels of stress amongst this population, thought to be due to the concern that this population has over future consequences and economic challenges resulting from the pandemic since the age group itself is more likely to be affected by redundancies and business closures. Another reason why this population is so affected is because of the accessibility of news and information from social media outlets, which itself causes stress [Salari, N., Hosseinian-Far, A., Jalali, R., Vaisi-Raygani, A., Rasoulpoor, S., Mohammadi, M., Rasoulpoor, S. and Khaledi-Paveh, B., 2020]. The point of such a campaign as Stress Awareness Month happening every April is because of the lack of importance that mental health is given compared to physical ailments. Not only do high levels of stress predispose to mental illness such as anxiety and depression but it also affects your physical health by causing digestive problems, sleep problems as well as lowering our immune system [The Stress Management Society, 2021].
Despite all of the hardships we have gone through as a result of the pandemic, we must keep the bigger picture in sight. Throughout these almost 15 months of the pandemic, we have managed to pull through both as individuals as well as a community, in our own way. As April comes and goes, make sure that you do not neglect your psychological needs. Take time for yourself and if you feel that you need help, like in any physical ailment, be sure to seek help. One such place where you can find help on campus is the Health and Wellness Centre, which offers Counselling Services and Mental Health Services, amongst others.
Disclaimer: This is just an article that details facts on these conditions and should not be used to self-diagnose. If you are experiencing symptoms, please consult with your doctor.