Written by Sophie Newton a current NTU 1st Year Psychology student
Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. I think this is definitely something that we have all felt this year and something that the majority of people have experienced before. And that is okay! For those moving to a new city and adapting to a new world under the current pandemic, whilst keeping on top of deadlines and assignments, well that in itself is something to be proud of. The aim of this blog is to share some useful tips and techniques on how to deal with the stress you may be feeling and share some amazing videos and links that you may find helpful.
Tip 1: Get enough sleep
I am sure that you have been told this already this week by a concerned but caring mother, but we really do need plenty of sleep. It is recommended that we get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Whether you are suffering from insomnia or hypersomnia because of stress or discomfort, it is vital that we try and follow a regular sleep routine. Not only are you more likely to cope with stress when you are well-rested and full of energy, we are better problem-solvers, so you are more likely to find solutions to some of your problems. Sleep really is the answer to everything.
Tip 2: Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is understanding directly what is going on inside and outside of ourselves. Practicing mindfulness can be easily available anytime, and is an excellent way of managing stress and anxiety. Notice the everyday things that we have and can see, feel, touch, hear and taste. Maybe trying something new and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can show you the world from a new perspective. Mindfulness can lower your stress responses in many different ways. As you are more aware of your thoughts, you are able to pinpoint why you are feeling the way you are and produce a solution. You become better at focusing. Therefore if you have a busy schedule, you are able to complete work and tasks more proficiently and inevitably develop a sense of accomplishment thus reducing stress.
Tip 3: Set yourself targets
Whether you are dealing with stress from a heavy workload or have a lot of things going on in your life, writing a list of things you need to do that day can help to alleviate the stress. Although your list may be overwhelmingly long at first, setting these small but realistic targets will reduce these feelings of stress as you will know exactly what you have to do and how to practically tackle it. It also feels great to tick off the tasks as you go along.
Tip 4: Keep in touch with family and friends
Although the current restrictions in Nottingham do not allow households to mix, it is essential that you talk to your family and friends. Talking things through with those closest to you may help you find solutions to problems and get through stressful times. Sit in your communal area in the evenings, have a games night with your flatmates or attend a virtual ‘Coffee Morning’.
Tip 5: Try to stay positive
Now I know this one is easier said than done, but having a positive outlook enables you to feel better about yourself and cope better with stressful situations. However, we understand that some circumstances are harder than others.
Try writing down 3 things that you are grateful for every day. This will train your brain to focus on the positives, which will inevitably make you feel more uplifted.
Daniel Levitin gives some great tips in his video below:
Whenever you find that your stress is turning into panic, please try this calming breathing technique as instructed by the NHS:
If you are lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with the palms up. Let your legs be straight or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.
If you are sitting, place your arms on the chair arms.
If you are sitting or standing, place both feet flat on the ground. Whatever position you are in, place your feet roughly hip-width apart.
- Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
- Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first.
- Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again, if you find this helpful.
- Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.
There are also recommended apps available on both iPhone and Android to alleviate stress and anxiety. I’ve left a few examples below, these are great to use when life is getting a little on top of you:
Below, I have left some amazing links to websites and videos if you want to know more on alleviating stress:
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
10 Keys to happiness