Monday 1 November – Friday 5 November 2021 marks the beginning of International Stress Awareness Week, created to focus on ways to manage stress and combat the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Whether it be the stress of Covid-19 and the uncertainty of life as we know it, balancing studying with day to day life, or starting a new job; stress can affect us all.
In this article, we have gathered some tips and techniques to help you safeguard your wellbeing.
1 Get Active
While going to the gym may seem like a chore to some, the NHS recommend adults partake in roughly 150 minutes of moderately intense activity per week.
This can be anything from a stretch to a spin class. It can be hard to throw yourself in at the deep end when it comes to exercise.
If you are worried about where to begin, try to start with a brisk 10 minute walk during your study break. This will clear your mind helping you to relax and focus for the remainder of the day.
If accesibility is an issue for you, you could hve a go at some seated or accessible exercise.
2 Talk it out with a friend
A problem shared is a problem halved. Talking to a friend, family member or colleague can help put our doubts and worries into perspective.
When you take the time to connect with someone, you automatically turn off the 'fight or flight response' we so often find ourselves in when in a state of panic or stress.
Ultimately, having a good laugh with a friend will help to solve some of your worries.
If you haven't had a look around the Students Association Forums yet, now's the time to get posting and meet more students like you.
3 Mindful meditation
This meditation technique can help slow down racing thoughts and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. The key here is to ease yourself in gently. Find a comfortable position in a quiet spot, try to find a space with no distractions (that email can wait for ten minutes).
Once you have established a space and time, try to focus on your breathing. If your mind wonders, be kind to yourself and simply bring your attention back to the breath work.
Bring your meditation to a close by bringing your gaze up and taking a moment to notice how you feel... and that’s it! You can practise this for as long or as little as you like.
When your sleep pattern is effected by the compounds of stress, it may be beneficial for you to exercise some healthy stress management techniques before bed.
Try to have some downtime away from your phone before trying to fall asleep. Scrolling through TikTok the night before a long study day won't help us get those grades.
Instead, if you're struggling to switch off try reading a book until you feel ready to fall asleep.
Meditation and breathing exercises are also proven to help reduce stress and tension in the body, ultimately encouraging sleep. You could even try some sleep yoga.
5 Manage your work load
Like many, the pressures and demands of study and work can be all consuming at times. By setting ourselves unrealistic goals to accomplish within a short time frame, we often feel unfulfilled when we can't meet our desired goal.
To manage this, practise asking for help when it's appropriate, pace yourself and manage your time well by writing to do lists. You could use rescources such as Notion or Trello, or just make sure you're really ontop of your emails.
If it's screen time that’s keeping you from accomplishing your tasks, there are plenty of handy apps to help you stay focused and off of your phone while studying. Try using the pomodoro method too; we have a fantastic article about it.