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Supporting student wellness during exams

A range of resources are available to assist students as the end of winter term approaches.

Students study at a desk in Stauffer Library
Throughout the final exam period there are a number of resources available to help students prepare and stay healthy. (Queen's University) 

As the academic year comes to an end, the pressure of final assignments and exams can cause stress and anxiety for students. With changes to learning formats and health guidelines adding to the overall load, it’s normal to experience some levels of stress.

For Queen’s students, there are a number of resources providing support throughout the year and with a particular focus on the exam period.

“Sometimes stress can be useful – for example, it gives us energy and motivation to be productive,” says Beth Blackett, Health Promotion Special Projects with Student Wellness Services. “There are also coping strategies such as physical activity, connecting with friends/family, sleep, spending time outside in nature, that can help people lower their stress to a more manageable level. Other times, stress can be overwhelming especially when it impacts our ability to function in which case it’s useful to connect with professional support.”

Support programs available

To support students on their academic journey, Student Affairs and Student Wellness Services offer several programs to improve and maintain health and wellness.

Social connections with peers, friends and family can be an important outlet to diffuse anxiety and stress. If you’re struggling and need to talk to someone Good2Talk, Empower Me and Wellness Together Canada are available 24/7.

Practicing positive thinking can help influence mood and displace stress caused by negative thoughts.  The Managing Your Anxiety self-directed workbook can help alleviate anxious feelings by re-framing negative thoughts into positive motivation and feelings of gratitude.

The TAO Mindfulness Library provides interactive ways of coping through various exercises ranging from breathing techniques to calming worry and pain management.

Taking a break from studying to get physically active and take in the outdoors has been proven to reduce stress. Athletics and Recreation has options for vigorous and light exercise classes to help students unwind and stay fit.

Booking a healthy lifestyle appointment connects students to Health Promotion professional staff to figure out strategies to improve sleep.

Nutrition is an important part of maintaining mental focus and overall health. The healthy plate model can help students plan a balanced diet consisting of proper portions of fruit and vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates. Learning new recipes from the Queen’s Home Kitchen , and tips from registered dieticians with Hospitality Services can provide useful information to help guide healthy eating decisions that taste delicious too.

“This has been an extraordinary year with a lot of ups and downs,” Blackett says. “Like mental health, our stress levels can vary from mild to severe so it’s important for students to access the pathway to care that best suits their needs at the time.”

If students are unwell and its impacting their academics, they can receive academic consideration through the extenuating circumstance policy.

To learn more about available resource visit the Student Wellness Services website.