Psychology Week 2022 - Dealing With Signs of Stress

Across Queensland, young people are preparing for exam season which can be a stressful time of year. In small amounts, stress can be helpful, sharpening our focus and increasing motivation on the task at hand. But in large amounts or over an extended period of time, stress becomes overwhelming. In conjunction with psychology week 2022 (7 to 13 November), Mater’s Young Adult Support Unit is sharing the following tips.

Here are five signs of stress to look out for:

  1. Difficulty concentrating – unable to sit for extended periods of time or focus on any one task.
  2. Lack of motivation – Unwilling to motivate themselves to study.
  3. Irritability – Easily frustrated or upset and acting out of character.
  4. Fatigue – Exhausted and/or sleepy despite adequate sleep.
  5. Physical symptoms – Upset stomach and headaches are a common physical manifestation of stress.

As an adult, it’s important to be aware of these signs of stress among young people. Here are four ways to provide help and support:

  1. Acknowledge they are stressed - Reinforce that you are there to help and support them, responding with empathy, kindness and compassion to help reduce stress in the long term.
  2. Reduce expectations - Studying for exams is time consuming and they might support to strip back their schedule and commitments at this time. Help them identify what really needs to be done, what can wait and what doesn’t need to be done at all.
  3. Remind and support them doing the basics - During stressful times, don’t forget to do the basics. Drink water, eating three well-rounded meals, sleep, reduce caffeine intake and get some exercise. Doing these things will help the mind and body regulate.
  4. Take breaks and time out together - Regular breaks during study are important. Encourage down time to do something they enjoy like craft, cooking or spending time with a loved one.

Take the opportunity during psychology week 2022 to recognise and act upon signs of stress for you, your friends and family.

Written by Annalise Foster – Senior Psychologist at the Young Adult Support Unit.

The Young Adult Support Unit (YASU) is a specialist multidisciplinary team who adopt a developmentally sensitive, trauma informed and systemic approach to supporting adolescents and young adults with chronic medical conditions. YASU sees adolescents and young people aged up to 26 years who have a chronic medical condition and who are receiving ongoing service provision at the Mater Hospital South Brisbane. Find out more Young Adult Support Unit (YASU) - What we do (   

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