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Student Wellness: Overcoming feeling overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed in your academics is like feeling almost like you’re “drowning” in tasks and the pressure of doing well.

Feeling overwhelmed restricts academic performance

School can feel like a never-ending cycle for assignments, tests and studying. Stress and anxiety can turn into you feeling overwhelmed, and then feeling overwhelmed can encourage more stress and anxiety.

Did you know ...

A 2017 study done by the University of Toronto collected responses from just under 5,000 students, and compared results to responses from Canadian peers.

Shoutout to U of T for providing statistics on relevant topics of today. Check out their study to find out more facts on student health and wellness and health.

89% of U of T’s Canadian peers responded that they felt overwhelmed by their responsibilities.

64% indicated feelings of overwhelming anxiety 

47% reported their stress as higher than average.

42% indicated stress as a factor that restricts their academic performance

32% highlighted anxiety as a factor that restricts their academic performance

These statistics are relevant so that you know you aren’t alone in feeling this way. Since both stress and anxiety are tied to feeling overwhelmed, it’s understandable how this cycle seems impossible to escape.

With such a high percentage of agreeable feelings and rising rates of anxiety and depression amongst students, it is important to create awareness surrounding coping mechanisms.

From this, you can understand how it impacts academic performance. Feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious can make it difficult to find even a starting point into beginning tasks.

What can you do?

Self awareness is always a beginning key to personal growth and better habits.

Read more about self awareness in our other blog posts:

It is important for you to first understand if feeling overwhelmed, stress anxiety  resonates with you. From here, you can consider options.

One option is to take action to clear your mind. “Lay out” what you need to do in the near future. This can be difficult for some, so consider leaning on others for a listening ear.

For example, briefly review your responsibilities such as exams, assignments and nearby due dates. This can be done by yourself, writing it down, typing it out, or even by talking to your friends/family. 

Take the above images for example. Imagine that the blurry rain drops (left side) represent all your personal and academic responsibilities. With so many things to do, tasks will get jumbled and blurry in your mind.

On the right, the rain drops are clear and you can pinpoint each individual drop. This represents your thoughts and responsibilities once they have been laid out using the method you choose, such as writing each task down. 

If you still feel your mind is blurry and unorganized, simply try another method, and each time they become clearer. 

This can help by organizing your thoughts and help clear your mind to see your tasks in a timeline view instead of a blurry list of “I don’t know what to do first”.

If nothing works?

If it feels necessary, another option is to reach out to your school resources. This includes tutors, professors, student care centers and counselling services.

This may be an option to consider if anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed are restricting you from more than just your academic performance.

How can Motify help?

We want to support your growth process, and that means providing you with means to take the actions that we suggest in our posts. If you wish to lean on us for support, we have your back.  

Through our task builder, Motify will allow you to sync tasks into your calendar, send you reminders to encourage that you note them down, and remind you when due dates, appointments and other responsibilities are upcoming.

Through our chatbot, we’ll check up on how you’re feeling. If you feel like the nothing helps, Motify can provide you with connectivity to your school’s resources. You can choose to reach out to your school’s resources any time through us.

Motify will connect you to tutors, professors and counsellors while encouraging you to do so at your own comfort.


University of Toronto. (2017). STUDENT HEALTH AND
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO: A report on the findings from the National
College Health Assessment. Retrieved from

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