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5 ways to avoid stress

Published Friday, 21 November, 2014 by Tiffany Rawling

I think every person who has been to university, college and even school has felt under pressure, because of exams, revision, money, as well as having so many other typical teenage problems going on at the same time...

There are so many things you need to think about when you are becoming an adult and it can be so overwhelming. I struggled a lot at university with stress; I just couldn’t cope with the workload as well as coping with a change in lifestyle due to moving from a different city and all of a sudden having to pay for things! It was a shock to the system and not one I was prepared for. Feeling too stressed can make you ill (this happened to me!) and you are definitely going to struggle then when it comes to exams and lectures. Not really the way you want to be feeling when you have an exam to pass. So yes, work is important but you also need to look after yourself and be happy! I have some tips on how to control stress and anxiety that you can follow and hopefully use to make a difference to your life.

1. Plan – You need to be organised with your work if you want to have time leftover to relax at the end of the day. Making a revision timetable is a great idea, you can plan exactly how many hours a day you can and want to spend (within reason) on your exam preparation and coursework. You know then how long you’re going to have left for the rest of the day to do whatever you want! You don’t want to be cramming in revision the night before the exam.

2. Sleep – Having a good sleeping pattern is something which will really help you. There really is nothing better than a good night’s sleep, it can solve a multitude of problems and you wake up feeling so much better the next day. Obviously at university there are the parties, so if you are one of those people who likes a good night out you’re probably going to lose quite a bit of sleep. Once you get into a bad sleeping pattern it can be so hard to get out of, it can be horrible getting into the routine of not going to bed until the early hours then waking up in the afternoon. That doesn’t bode well when you have 9am lectures to attend! It is an understatement to say that I struggled with insomnia at university. I had no motivation, I missed university and I got into a mess, of course I got very stressed about it! This is a bit unrealistic I know, but going to bed for around 10pm ensures you will get a decent night’s sleep. I know if I have had a good sleep I wake up feeling so happy and like I can take on anything throughout the day.

3. Eat healthy – As I have just mentioned, there are the parties at university so eating well isn’t that easy. It is so quick to just pick up a takeaway with your mates or throw a pizza in the oven after a night out. Obviously you’re not going to get your Masterchef on at 3am in the morning. It can also be incredibly hard to find the motivation to cook a nice, healthy meal after a long day at uni. I felt exactly the same; ‘it just takes so much time!’ is something I would say a lot. If you prepare meals in advance you can actually save yourself a lot of time and a little bit of money. If there is a particular meal you like, make it in bulk and freeze it! Then when you are feeling like you can’t be bothered you can throw a batch of whatever into the microwave and that’s it! You still get a decent meal rather than processed foods or takeaway. As well as batch cooking, I recommend shopping at supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi. They do some great deals on fruit and veg, I don’t think I have seen it cheaper in many other places. Fruit is so much better to snack on than a chocolate bar. When you eat well, you notice a difference, mentally and physically. You’ll have a lot more energy and certain foods help your memory and concentration.

4. Hobbies – For me, baking was a great way of avoiding stress. Baking and cooking are my absolute favourite things to do and I made sure I had time for it every week. It was important for me to keep doing the things I love and chocolate cake makes everyone happy doesn’t it? Whatever your hobby is, you can always make time for it. There is no harm in taking an afternoon off revision and work to have some ‘me time’. Everyone needs it and you’re entitled to it.

5. Spend time with your friends and family – Whether you move away for uni or not, and move out of your family home or not, going to college and university is a scary thing. It is a big transition and I don’t think you can really be prepared. It is so important though that you keep in contact with the people closest to you and you make the time to see them and have a good time. Just going for a drink with your friends for an hour or so can be a life saver. Also, just having a chat can ease your stress. Your friends can reassure you and hopefully encourage you to keep going!

I hope that these five points are useful to you and I really hope they can have a positive impact on your life! Remember that you can only do your best, in every aspect of your life. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

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