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Counselling Services


Counselling Services

Counselling services and supports are inclusive, confidential, and available to all Red Deer Polytechnic students free of charge.

Stress & Self-Care

Sympathetic vs. Parasympathetic Stress is a normal part of life. It's the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts.

Stress isn't a positive or negative experience, it can be both! It's a bodily response to a real or perceived stimulus that initiates our "flight, fight or freeze" responses (AHS Community Helpers Program, 2019). 

Negative forms of stress can affect our thoughts, feelings, and bodies negatively. This type of stress is considered unmanageable and persistent.

Positive forms of stress can motivate us to focus on tasks, take action, or problem solve. This type of stress is considered manageable and at times, helpful.

Types of Stress

  • Eustress: Positive, short-term, and increases strength.
  • Distress: Negative, caused by change in routine and discomfort in daily life, and can be acute or chronic.
  • Hyperstress: Negative, pushes us beyond our own capabilities in which we have a low tolerance for.
  • Hypostress: Negative, feelings of low motivation and decreased inspiration, and lack of enthusiasm.

Symptoms of Stress

Symptoms of stress

Reframe the stress.

Think "My body and brain are getting me ready to face this challenge. I am getting ready for an important task."

Identify the source of your stress response.

Ask yourself why you believe you’re feeling stressed.

Make a plan.

Use past experiences or brainstorm new ways to approach a difficult situation. Discuss the situation with friends and family and ask for help, if needed. You can also visit the Wellness Centre to talk to a Wellness Peer Educator.

Apply your solutions to the problem.

If academics is the source of your stress, access support and resources around learning strategies. You can also find tips on how to manage your time. If roommate conflict is causing stress and you live in residence, take steps to address the conflict productively.

Evaluate the success of your solutions.

If you’ve attempted to resolve your problem and it doesn’t work, return to step 3 and consider alternative solutions (Here to Help, 2016).


Seven tips for managing stress.

Helpful Apps

 Calm app 

Get more restful sleep by meditating with relaxing music. 

 Headspace app 

Meditate and clear your mind for 10 minutes daily. 

 Insight Timer app

Set a timer for yourself and practice deep-breathing.

​ MindShift app  

Learn to relax, cope with anxiety, and develop helpful ways of thinking through this app. 

Helpful Resources

 Stress & Wellbeing

If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and having trouble coping, learn how to cope with stress effectively. 

 Finding Balance

Determine the best way to balance for you. Tips for balance at school, work, and at home. 

 12 Instant Stress Busters

Try these 12 ways to reduce your stress!

Self-care is any activity that individuals deliberately engage in to take care of their mental, emotional, and physical health. It can be a simple few habits that support well-being and basic functioning.

It's important to make yourself a priority to replenish your personal resources, whatever those might be. Self-care prevents burnout, counteracts negativity attributed to stress, supports the immune system, and increases mental focus.

Self-care is a personal matter. Everyone’s approach will be different. What may work for one person may not work for another (Carello, J., Butler, L. D., & Critelli, F. M., 2019).

Domains of Self-Care

Physical - Tending to the needs of the physical body in order to achieve of support optimal function and to avoid breakdowns or deterioration within systems (Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition, Health)

Psychological - Practices concerning the mind and experience of self, Pursuing and satisfying intellectual needs and purposeful and reflective efforts (music, visual arts, fiction, poetry, cinema, humor, crafts, etc.).

Emotional - Practices that are engaged in to safeguard against or address negative emotional experiences, or create and enhance positive emotional experiences and well-being (meditate, journal, music, therapy, etc.).

Spiritual - One’s understanding of spirituality and how they view themselves in the context of the broader world (faith, religion, mediation, nature, etc.).

Relational - Efforts one makes to maintain and enhance interpersonal connections (spending time with family, staying connected with faraway friends, etc.)

Professional - Manage or prevent work-related stress and stressors, reduce the risk or mitigate the effects of burnout and other workplace hazards, and increase work performance and satisfaction (taking breaks, asking for a raise, etc.). 

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Helpful Resources


This handout can help you learn to slow down, manage your emotions, and live in the present moment.

 Self-Care 101

Take time and discover what helps you to feel good and recharge.