This week is International Stress Awareness week and throughout the week we will be sharing blogs from students sharing their experiences and tips on how to manage stress.
Written by Leanne Haywood a current NTU MSc Psychological wellbeing and mental health (FT) student.
During the current situation we all find ourselves in, I’m sure many of you are feeling added stress with all the life changes we have had to make. I’ve realised just how important stress management is and taking time for ourselves to take a step back and reflect on how things are going and how we are feeling. I wanted to share some tips about how I manage stress, both in general and in relation to life at university which will hopefully be useful!
Take some time out
Take time out for yourself. Set aside some time each day to do something you really enjoy, a hobby or favourite activity, or spend some time to practice mindfulness or reflection. Personally, I really enjoy getting creative. I like to spend my spare time drawing, painting, taking photographs or literally anything else artistic! I also keep a journal where I can write down my thoughts and feelings which I find particularly useful when I’m really stressed or have deadlines coming up.
I also think it’s important to say don’t feel guilty for taking some time off. Previously, I’ve got so bogged down in work and feeling guilty every time I stopped working to take some time out, whether that be to just watch some tv or go out with friends, which then in turn made me even more stressed because I was just non-stop working which isn’t a healthy way to go about it. So definitely don’t feel guilty for taking a break, we all need a rest from time to time!
This is my most important tip, however I’m probably over-organised! I love making lists, I make a list each day of the things I want to get done each day, I make sure they’re small goals that I will realistically be able to get done that day and write the most important ones at the top so they get done first. I find making lists really helps to relieve some stress! It’s also a great way to split bigger tasks into smaller and more manageable ones to help reduce stress.
I also keep a planner so I can organise all my deadlines, readings and lectures so I don’t fall behind. I think it’s really important to try and stay organised as much as you can, it really helps take some of the stress away and also helps with being able to factor in some free time for yourself too.
Stay active. I think this is really important, especially currently as most courses are mostly online. With sports and gyms being closed or reduced hours and social distancing it can be daunting to go out to stay active, however lots of research says exercise can really help with managing stress.
Doing yoga in your flat or just going for a walk in your local area are great ways to help manage stress and stay active. Spending some time outside in nature really helps my mood and helps clear my thoughts.
Keep in touch
Stay connected. Especially with the current situation with COVID I think it’s important to stay connected with friends and family. It allows you to be able to chat about things that may be worrying you and getting them out in the open can really help to relieve some of the stress and pressure you may be feeling. I also think it’s important to keep in contact with people who are on your course and your tutors. If you’re getting really stressed about something academic related, chances are other people on your course feel the exact same way, so staying in contact and chatting can help manage some of that stress!
My final tip would be to eat healthily. I find that when I’m eating healthily it really affects my mood and also helps improve my concentration too which means I can get tasks accomplished more effectively and helps me manage my stress. I also would say it’s important you are drinking enough water, becoming dehydrated can really affect how you feel and your mood which can in turn make us feel more stressed.
I think overall it’s really important to not be too hard on yourself, we are living in very challenging and different times it’s okay to feel stressed, but it’s important to look after yourself and get help or advice when you need it.
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
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