With more and more students suffering with high levels of stress in the UK, it’s not only impacting their academic studies, but their general wellbeing too. In fact, long-term stress can cause mental health issues as well as some physical side effects too, such as a weakened immune system, insomnia and even digestive issues. That’s why it’s so important to address stress quickly and try to raise student awareness of the simple things they can do to help reduce high stress levels. Here’s our top 10 stress management techniques for students to learn and apply when they feel stressed.
Taking part in sports or being active every day is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Not only does exercise help your body produce endorphins, which make you feel good, the act of exercising will often help you clear your head of negative or stressful thoughts and feel much calmer and rational. We recommend daily walks of 30 minutes or a more intense work out such as a run or a short 20-minute workout video in your room. Yoga is also a great way to ease your mind and relax your muscles. Remember, even if you don't feel like exercising it at the time, we guarantee you’ll feel the benefits afterwards.
2.Turn Off Technology
Technology and social media can be a huge source of stress and anxiety for many students on a daily basis. So, if you’re experiencing stress, we recommend taking a break from social media altogether and turning off technology completely to take part in something more intentional and calming. Whether this is reading a book, playing a board game, going outside, drawing or writing in a journal- these activities are sure to help you get some headspace and make you realise the things that make you truly happy.
3.Get A Good Night’s Sleep
With students’ schedules being busier than ever, it’s easy to neglect sleep. However, maintaining a good sleep routine and getting at least 8 hours a night is important when it comes to managing stress and having good mental health. If stress is getting in the way of having a good night’s sleep, we recommend taking time to relax before going to bed. Try winding down by taking a bath, reading, or listening to music or a calming meditation app.
4.Eat A Healthy Diet
Even though many students and adults don’t realise this, diet plays a crucial role when it comes to stress. In fact, improving what you eat can keep you from experiencing diet-related mood swings, light-headedness and start building up your immune system. We advise eating a balanced and nutrient filled diet, with lots of fruit and vegetables and a good amount of fibre, protein and healthy fats. This will also mean taking the time to cook from scratch over choosing quick meals like takeaways and microwave meals.
5.Practice Deep Breathing
When students are experiencing high levels of stress, it’s normal to also feel anxious, overwhelmed and sometimes even panicked. A quick way to calm down is to practice deep breathing exercises. These can be done anytime, anywhere to relieve stress in just a few minutes. Simply close your eyes, putting one hand on your stomach. Take 10 long deep breaths, each time inhaling and exhaling in a slow and controlled way for maximum results.
6.Be Intentionally Positive
Trying to stay positive and optimistic in everyday life will actually help students experience better physical and mental health as well as improved grades and opportunities. To start adopting a more optimistic attitude, we recommend always trying to look for the positives in life, using affirmations for positive self-belief and motivation and taking time out of each day to notice the things you’re grateful for.
Clutter and disorganisation can be a huge cause of stress for students. Not only can it decrease productivity and motivation levels, it can also have a negative impact on academic performance. To combat this, take the time to declutter and make your living area a more minimalistic and calming space, free of distractions. This more organised space will help lower stress levels, save time in finding lost items, and also help students have a more positive mindset.
8.Talk To Someone
It’s completely normal for students to bottle up their worries and all the things that are stressing them out, which often makes things feel much worse. However, opening up and speaking to friends and family is one of the most effective ways to improve mood and reduce stress levels. A good first step to feeling better is simply accepting that you’re feeling stressed and making time to talk it through with someone close to you. You will probably find that other friends, family members or students feel or have felt the same before and you’re not alone. Chat with them about how they got through difficult times- simply listening to what they have to say may give you a new viewpoint or put things into perspective.
9.Listen To Music
Listening to music has been shown to have many cognitive benefits. Not only can it help you feel calmer and relieve stress, it can also put you in a better frame of mind. So if you’re having a particularly bad day, pop on some headphones and listen to your favourite playlist.
10.Take Some ‘Me-Time’
Finally, many students are always ‘on the go’ and may not take time out to recharge, which can quickly lead to burn out. Instead, make sure you take some ‘me-time’ every day, whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour. Do something that makes you happy and feel good - this might be taking a hot shower, baking, reading, gaming, doing a work-out or adult colouring.
If you’ve tried all these coping strategies and still are experiencing high levels of stress, it’s a good idea to visit your local GP.