Stress can be caused by a variety of different things and everyone deals with it in their own way. Lincoln students have provided their tips on how to deal with stress.
Stress. We all go through it. However, there is a way in which you can dial back that unnecessary extra bother – in fact, there are many ways. Here’s how to combat the stress that everyone faces in daily life.
Make sure you understand the tasks that you have been set by your lecturers.
You don’t want to be turning up to a seminar and not knowing what is going on, especially when you get asked questions and you do not know the answer. If you don’t understand something you can drop your lecturer a quick email and ask.
Do the reading you have been set.
Doing the reading makes you more informed about the module you are being taught, and helps you develop a deeper understanding of the module, and even the course itself.
Spending your nights partying is fine, but you need to remember that you still need to leave time to study. Not only that, being tired will only add to the stress. Rest can create a clear, and more productive mind, and it will put you in good stead for when you do have deadlines and essays to do.
Joining a society or practicing more hobbies is a good way to help you relax when you are feeling stressed. Even if it’s taking the time to read a good book or just listen to the music you like. Reading, drawing, writing, etc. Do whatever you feel is good for you.
If you feel as though you are struggling with work or you keep procrastinating, do not stress. Prioritizing your tasks can be a good way to help. Sort things in order of the date they need to be done and have it written down in front of you so that you can see when things need to be handed in.
If you are struggling, ask your lecturers or tutors, they are always there to help you should you need it.
Another great way to deal with assignment stress is to set and complete small and achievable goals. Stress can often come from big and daunting tasks, especially if you’ve been avoiding them, so if you give yourself some small wins, it can be a great way to boost your mood.
Stress management podcast
Join Owen and Ben as they chat about what stresses them out and how they deal with it!
Fun ways of reducing stress
Deadlines for coursework and revising for upcoming exams can be very stressful, but there are some great and fun ways to deal with stress.
Give your brain some time to relax, just remember that when you have given yourself some time off, make sure you get back to work soon. Relaxing to relieve stress is fine, just don’t start procrastinating!
One great way to cope is to have a day off for yourself. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed have a day where you do what you want to do. Clearing your head will allow you to go back to working with a fresh set of eyes.
This day is all down to you, just make sure you are doing something you love and don’t be afraid to spoil yourself a little bit. Try a new Netflix series with some ice cream or go for a walk around the city. Going up to the cathedral can be very relaxing as it’s a scenic walk with some great views.
There are many green spaces around the city which can be great places to go and relax.
At the back of the cathedral, there is a wonderful lawn that is usually quiet with a great view of the cathedral.
If you want somewhere larger then there is the Arboretum which is a short walk from the city centre. The Arboretum is a 19th-century, 22-acre park with 2 ponds, gardens, a small play area, and a Victorian bandstand. It is a wonderful place to go for a walk and clear your head.
Spend some time with friends doing something you all love (restrictions permitting). Whether it’s going for coffee, taking a day out to explore the city, or staying in and watching films – spending time with friends is always a great way to deal with stress.
Try tidying your room and even doing some redecorating. The advantages of this will be that you’ll have a cleaner and clearer space to work in, and you get that mood boost from knowing you’ve done something productive and useful.
Creative ways of managing stress
Giving yourself time away from your studies is an important part of managing your stress levels. Here are three creative ideas to help you do this!
Your hobbies are an important tool in caring for your mental well-being.
Stress can be thought of as a jug – the fuller the jug the less able you are to deal with additional stresses. Setting time away from the things that cause you stress and doing something completely different can empty the jug and reduce your stress levels. By doing something that you enjoy, such as painting or writing, you can escape from the stress.
By allowing yourself time to completely disappear into an activity you will leave it feeling refreshed and ready to face what causing you stress. It is important to have an outlet so you aren’t consumed by any negative thoughts or pressures you may be facing.
Often stress builds up after excessively thinking about a problem. Try writing down a list or journaling everything that makes you feel worried or anxious, whether it’s a deadline, friendship troubles, or something else. Writing it down can help you better arrange your thoughts.
Ordering your worries in this way and having a visual representation can help calm any anxiety you might feel and allow you to view things from a new perspective. Treat this almost like a recycling activity – you first jot down your thought then re-evaluate how you’ll tackle it positively.
Being mindful of when things are getting too much and actively trying to help yourself is key in relieving a build-up of stress.
House plants have been found to positively impact mental health. Naturally, with any plant comes a need for it to be nurtured and looked after. This act of making time to either water or feed your house plant gives you time to switch your attention to something positive.
The maintenance of a plant also acts as an analogy for managing stress – when a house plant experiences a stressor it will physically indicate what it needs (e.g. wilting or browning). Although it might be harder to notice, we also show signs of stress and need to be cared for too. Just seeing the plant can help you connect to nature, which is also thought to improve mental wellbeing. You might even want to journal the progress of the plant.
House plant care can be an excuse for you to take a quick break, focus on caring for yourself and help grow something rewarding at the same time!
Unusual ways of dealing with stress
There are lots of ‘traditional’ ways you can use to help reduce stress, including things like yoga, healthy eating, or mindfulness. However, here are some more ‘alternative’ and ‘unusual’ approaches to stress relief.
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a feeling of well-being combined with a tingling sensation in the scalp and down the back of the neck. It is experienced by some people in response to a specific gentle stimulus, often a particular sound like whispering voices, tapping on objects, crinkling paper or even someone eating particular types of foods.
You can find plenty of YouTube channels dedicated to ASMR, including many different genres and themes. It might take a while to find something that suits you, but research has shown that ASMR lowers heart rate and improves overall health and well-being in the long term.
Crunchy foods like carrots, celery and apple work well to provide a sense of relief by diverting your attention somewhere else, whilst reducing the tension that often builds up in your jaw when you’re stressed.
Another you can do is snack on some frozen grapes. Grab yourself some fresh grapes and pick them off the stalk, pop the loose grapes in a Tupperware box and leave them in the freezer overnight.
Tip: Use small boxes to portion the grapes so they last longer and take one small box out at a time, plus they’re easier to fit in the freezer!
Puzzles are an amazing way of refocusing your mind, allowing you to concentrate on one specific task. This positive mental stimulation can help you to create a meditation-style state where you can focus on the tranquillity and peacefulness of completing a relatively simple task, like a jigsaw.
By focusing on something completely different you will divert your attention from the other tasks you’ve been facing throughout the day, this will help you to create a fresh outlook when you finish your puzzle break.
We’ve all got used to the classic at-home workout, so why not change it up a bit and get stuck into a dance routine? Dancing causes your body to release endorphins, chemicals in your body that reduce stress and feelings of pain.
Find a dance to keep-fit style YouTube video or simply get your favourite music playing, and get practicing for when the clubs re-open!
Write your stressful thoughts on a piece of paper, put the paper in a burn-safe container, and set it alight. Watch your stress burn away and let the flames focus your thoughts to a more calm and peaceful place while you let go of your stress. This technique will help you to reset your mind and continue your day with a fresh outlook.
WARNING: Please do this in a safe place outside, in a metal bucket/fire pit/BBQ and away from anything flammable – have some water to hand in case you need to quickly put the fire out. Make sure everything has cooled down before putting it away!
Watching compilation videos of adorable animals reduces stress by reducing heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety levels. These videos have been seen to induce a more positive emotional state, which then leads to an increased ‘upward spiral’ of positivity.
This new level of positivity is highly likely to help you to build resilience to stress and further positive moods. So, go give some animal accounts a follow on Instagram, or search for some cute videos on YouTube, and let the animals do the rest!
Reducing exam stress
Exam season is upon us and, for many, that means stressful times are ahead. These tips are all about ways to combat that stress and focus your energy on revision with a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to preparing for exams, and deadlines in general.
The best thing you can do is give yourself enough time to prepare. Whether it’s a deadline or an exam, they all require some preparation and leaving it until the last minute is only going to add to the pressure.
Make sure you find the revision method that suits you best. We all have different styles, some people are visual learners, and so might prefer colourful mind-maps or colour-coding their notes, while others prefer to listen back to lecture recordings. If you find the right way to learn, your revision will become that much easier.
A lack of sleep and even Insomnia is common around stressful times, particularly during exam season, but whatever sleep you can get is going to set you up for a day of revision. There are lots of herbal remedies that can help aid sleep if necessary.
Caffeine can give you a boost short term, but too much can disrupt your sleep cycle and elevate your heart rate – two components that lead to anxiety and stress, which you don’t want in exam season.
Similarly, throughout the day there are herbal remedies such as Kalms or Rescue Remedy which can alleviate symptoms like a tight chest and breathlessness. Lavender oil aromatherapy is also great if you want to relax.
Learn when to put down your pen, close your laptop and switch off your mind. An hour before bed is probably the best time for this, see family or friends if you can, or watch TV – whatever it takes to give your brain a break.
Practice mindfulness as a way to destress. It helps you focus on the moment at hand and stops you from giving too much weight to things that are out of your control (like having to sit an exam.)
Try not to ‘snowball’. Focus on the fact that, realistically, one exam is probably not going to decide the rest of your life – gain a little perspective and just focus on doing your best.
Know when normal levels of stress are becoming too much. Anxiety and depression often have roots in stress-related scenarios, so talk to family, friends or the Student Wellbeing Centre if it’s getting a bit too much. Also, the Mind charity is brilliant for mental health advice. You can contact the Mind Infoline, 9am-6pm Monday to Friday on 0300 123 3393 or text 86463.