Managing Mid-Semester Stress

Dr. Erin English, Georgia Tech Counseling Center


Dr. Erin English
Counseling Center

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Summary Sentence:

The mid-point of the spring semester can feel like a particularly stressful time. Here are some ideas for effective stress management.

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The mid-point of the spring semester can feel like a particularly stressful time. If your student is feeling overwhelmed, they are far from alone. During this busy time, it’s important that students prioritize self-care so that they feel mentally and physically equipped to thrive at Georgia Tech. Here are some ideas for effective stress management:

  1. Remember that stress isn’t all bad. Without some degree of stress, we wouldn’t feel motivated to do our work. An optimal amount of stress feels energizing, motivating, and helps us focus on the task at hand.
  2. Too much stress feels overwhelming. Over-stress can show up physically (e.g., rapid heart rate & high blood pressure, muscle tension, sweating, digestive issues, headaches, fatigue, increased frequency of colds and infections); emotionally (anxiety, irritability, emotional outbursts, restlessness, concentration difficulties, forgetfulness, pessimism); and behaviorally (avoidance, social withdrawal, conflict, sleeping problems, loss of appetite, increased use of substances).
  3. If any of the signs of over-stress are present, regard them as important information that something needs to change. Try:
    1. Reaching out for social support
    2. Consulting with an expert in stress management, like a counselor at the Counseling Center
    3. Attending to The Big 3: sleep, diet, exercise.
    4. Building in fun – but not in a way that facilitates procrastination.
    5. Speaking of procrastination, the avoidance of stressors is a common response to stress – that tends to cause more stress. Here are some suggestions for overcoming procrastination:

Excuse: “I can’t get motivated.”

Action comes first, motivation follows. Plan to give yourself a reward for performing the behavior you intend. When all else fails, tell yourself to just “do just 10 minutes.”

Excuse: “It seems overwhelming. I don’t know where to start.”

Make an outline and break it down into smaller tasks. Ask yourself: “What’s the first step?” Identify starter tasks (and combine with the “10 minute” strategy.) Remember that perfect is the enemy of the good – and the finished.

Excuse: “I keep engaging in avoidance and distractions.”

Eliminate distractions and time wasters. Use your distractions (e.g., social media) as time-limited rewards. Tackle the most difficult part first.

If these strategies aren’t enough, remember that the Counseling Center is here to help. We provide Life Skills workshops (full listing of events is available on the Counseling Center's website) and other counseling services designed to support students through stressful times. Please visit for additional information about our programs and services.

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  • Created By: Sara Warner
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Mar 4, 2016 - 3:28am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:20pm