Building your resilience

Find out how you can build your resilience to pressure and stress.

Helpful stress

In today's society the word ‘stress’ is often viewed in a negative way. Sometimes, we can experience stress that is helpful, for example, working towards a deadline.

Humans have a large capacity to juggle multiple demands, including work, social, family and social commitments. This juggling act becomes harder when you cannot decipher what is the most important things you need to do, as often, all things feel equally important.

When you have over committed, feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to begin, you are prone to unhelpful thinking patterns. How you think about the pressures you are managing can make a big difference to how we respond to stress.

For more information, see keeping positive.

Try something different

Get enough sleep

Adequate sleep helps improve memory and helps build our immunity to keep us well. As a general guide, aim for 8 hours of sleep per night.

Fuel your body

Avoid too much sugar and caffeine. Instead, fuel your body with nutrient-rich foods that give sustained energy, such as nuts, fruits and veges. You’ll feel better for it.

Get the right balance

Making time for work and study is important, but enjoy rest and fun times too.

Reach out to others

Build a strong network of friends and whānau, so you’ve got the right people to turn to when the pressure is on.

Focus on today

In times of high stress we are more easily distracted, as our mind is overwhelmed and is trying to avoid the situation.

Prioritising tasks and focussing your energy on one task at a time will help you feel a greater sense of control, and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Make sure to prioritise some fun and leisure activities alongside work/study commitments. This self-care strategy will reduce burn out, and help you feel better.

Make the change

Incorporating self into your life will reduce stress and improve your resilience.


  • Cooking or baking
  • Meditating
  • Watching a movie
  • Delegating some of your tasks
  • Scheduling regular breaks
  • Understanding your limits, and saying no when it is getting too much
  • Playing sport
  • Journaling
  • Drawing
  • Taking a warm bath
  • Talking to someone

Be aware of short-term gains

Sometimes we make decisions to reduce stress which can have an immediate affect in the short-term, but these can create problems the long-term.

Consider the change you are looking to make and how you can achieve it. If you're not sure, ask someone for advice or talk through the issues you are trying to address and develop a plan together.


In pressured times people can also resort to negative coping mechanisms—things that are not good for your mind and body. Try to minimise:

  • Withdrawing or isolating yourself from others
  • Blaming others
  • Avoiding the situation
  • Excessive spending
  • Excessive eating, drinking or drug use
  • Cutting back on sleep to work more

Speak to someone

Mauri Ora—Health and Counselling

Monday to Friday, 8.30 am–5.00 pm
Level 1, Student Union Building, Kelburn campus

Be nice to yourself. It's hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.

Christine Arylo, author.