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Ways to avoid stress

Published Monday, 30 March, 2015 by Lily McConnell

It’s the end of the Spring Term at university, and those all important deadlines are looming. For some, our dissertations are nearly over and we can enjoy the Summer Term with all the fun events that uni has to offer. For others, there are still exams and deadlines to meet well into the next and last term of the academic year.

Those are the times when you feel that there is no other option than to chuck your books out the window and give up altogether. Although, don’t be so haste fellow students! There are many ways to beat stress for good and keep motivated and happy for the rest of the year. After all, you have come so far, there is no point giving up now. You should be proud of yourselves for maintaining the pressure at uni and achieving your goals!

  1. When staying up late, avoid caffeine, alcohol or nicotine.
    I mean it when I say it! Swap those high in sugar and energy drinks for something more hydrating like water or herbal tea. These options enable your body to cope better with stress, especially being able to avoid the high sugar levels that caffeinated drinks can bring to make your energy crash when you least expect it. In the end, these drinks can make you feel tired and irritable at the worst of times. Drinking healthy drinks in-between a healthy diet can keep your body stable and give you energy to keep going through long periods of time.

  2. Indulge in physical activity.
    Stressful situations can lead you to release stress hormones into your system such as adrenaline. Also known as the ‘fight or flight’ hormones which protect our bodies when it feels as if it is under threat. Therefore, when you feel stressed, get up and move around. Go out and get some fresh air, go on a brisk walk or eat a healthy snack. Regular activity during those breaks will help you sleep better at night. Make sure you take breaks at regular intervals; I like to make sure that I stick to my ‘hour and a half get up and go’ routine during long periods of studying or writing.

  3. Get more sleep.
    Lack of sleep can cause stress to persist even more, especially when you go to sleep late and wake up later during the day. At our age, our bodies require seven hours of sleep a night, and with this come a better brain to tackle the work ahead. Remember! The hours of sleep before midnight are better than the hours after, so try to relax before you go to sleep. Get into bed an hour earlier than you plan to sleep and read a book to tire your eyes out.

  4. Talk to someone.
    There’s a saying that goes ‘A problem shared, is a problem halved’, therefore if you are feeling like the world is on top of your shoulders go ahead and speak to someone, whether it is a friend, a family member, or a welfare officer at the university. Stress can cloud your judgement towards certain situations and prevent you from being able to understand the task ahead. The person who you talk to may be able to help you find solutions to your problem.

  5. Manage your time.
    I know it can be hard sometimes to feel organised or in control. Especially when you have friends in 1st year telling you that you need to attend all the events to have a good time. Just remember the work load in 2nd year is harder and even harder in 3rd year. Make a list of all the things you want to achieve that week, record them in order of how urgent they are and stay on top of your written tasks. Sometimes the work load can feel overwhelming but breaking it down helps you see things clearer and from a more organised point of view. Remember! You are not on your own. Thousands of students feel under pressure every day and every university has a system to make sure that students feel happy, safe and more importantly secure in their own heads.

Finally, reward yourself. Don’t get too caught up in stress and work so much that you stop socialising and feel un-happy during your time at university. It should feel like a great experience all-round that teaches you skills to set you up for life. Go out at the end of the week and have fun with your friends, give yourself that ‘YOU’ time and do what you want to do, giving yourself time to come away from your work. You will feel a lot fresher when you return and feel motivated to reach those deadlines!

Good luck students!

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