Despite what people may say, students are also susceptible to stress. From the pressure of performing well in your studies to the stress of living away from home and having to manage your money, balance a part-time job with your studies, and any additional pressure that may come your social circle and relationships. Send My Bag have put together this blog to give you some top tips on de-stressing as a student.
You’ve most likely heard over and over again that getting enough sleep is important, but all-nighters in the library seem to become a ritual for many students. We’re here to relay the importance of catching up on the sleep that you miss, whether it’s from studying or partying all night. Lack of sleep can increase stress, and stress can make it harder to sleep, so it becomes an endless circle. Lack of sleep decreases the brain’s dopamine levels – a neurotransmitter needed for concentration, memory, and motivation. So basically, get as much sleep as you can!
2. Take Breaks
After studying for so long, your mind tends to go into over-drive, and it becomes harder to focus. This is your minds way of telling you to stop and take a breather – even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes to get a coffee, sit outside for fresh air, or even go for a short walk. You might find that you will come back with a fresh idea, or simply be able to finish off the sentence that you were stuck on before.
3. Do 4-7-8 Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises are at the core of many mediation methods, as a focus on deep breathing is known to be a natural calming agent. As reported by The Business Times, evidence has shown that the 4-7-8 breathing technique is known to help manage anxiety and calm people so much that it can put people to sleep in minutes. It simply involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds and breathing out for 8 seconds, then repeating this step four times. At first, you may have to try this exercise a few times to feel the benefits, and mobile phone apps like Breath, Headspace, and Calm can help you get the hang of it.
De-cluttering your study space can help to de-clutter your mind. You are more likely to freak out at the sight of a giant and disorganised pile of work, which can make you want to avoid it even more. Be more like Monica Geller – organise your work into folders, use sticky-notes and labels, colour-code, create a ‘things to do list.’ It can help you to feel more positive towards tackling the pile of work, and it can be somewhat satisfying.
One of the best things to do, but also one of the hardest things is to exercise. Physical exercise increases our brain’s level of dopamine, and also serotonin – sometimes referred to as our brain’s happy chemical, which is what makes us feel good.
Getting to the gym or making yourself go out on a run is the hardest task, but once you’ve done it, you are likely to feel a lot better for doing it. Exercise is also something that you can do with your friends, whether this involves going on a walk or a hike, attending a fitness classes at the gym, or joining a sports club at university.
As tempting as crawling into your duvet and binge-watching Netflix is, physical activities will have bigger benefits. Mind and body activities like mediation, yoga, and pilates will also help.
Mindfulness is becoming more important nowadays because of a rising concern around mental health. Practicing mindfulness can help you to be more aware of your thoughts and feelings, feel calmer, and be kinder to yourself. It can be practiced through meditative techniques, which you can learn about through using apps like Headspace, as well as reading books and listening to podcasts on mindfulness. Mindfulness can involve simply taking time to recognise your thoughts and emotions, to realise that it’s okay to have down moments and bad days, and to do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel better!
7. Complete Your Work in Stages
Although many students are guilty of giving themselves only one day or night to complete an assignment with no time for any breaks, this can be extremely overwhelming, and can stress you out before you even start. Giving yourself more time to complete your work in stages can be a lot less daunting. It is better to break up your workload and set yourself daily goals to complete a few tasks at a time, remembering to reward yourself each time you’ve achieved your day’s goal! For example, say to yourself, ‘if I write X number of words within the next hour, I’ll reward myself with a coffee, a break outside, or an evening off to relax and rejuvenate or to grab a drink with friends.’ The thought of a reward at the end will make you more motivated to actually do the work.
8. Listen to Music
Letting your hair down and dancing to music on a night out is a stress reliever, and listening to music when completing university tasks can work in the same way. It can help to take your mind of things, boost your positivity, and work as a calming agent. Listening to something happy and upbeat can increase your energy levels and make you feel more positive about tackling the work that you have to do, or you can opt for more chilled-out music to help you get into a calm and focused mood.
9. Have Fun
Having fun at university is important! You should allow yourself to go out with your friends and make use of the student deals available to you. Or why not get involved in clubs and societies, meet new people or try new experiences like semesters abroad? At the end of the day, university is a time in your life that you should make the most of, so don’t focus on studying so much that you miss the enjoyable parts of being a student. Check out our blogs on the best nightlife for students in cities like Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham.
10. Don’t Be Too Harsh on Yourself
We have saved our best tip to last! Like most students, you no doubt want to come out of university with grades that will get you into your dream job. However, as clichéd as it may sound, what counts is knowing that you have tried your best throughout university. Also, trust in the fact that if you keep trying, the right opportunities will come to you in time.
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