Posted Jan. 11, 2016
You have fallen into that classic student trap. You gave up smoking/drinking (*delete as appropriate) as a New Year’s resolution, without realising that January would be one of your busiest and most stressful months. Luckily, we are here with a number of great stress-busting techniques to help you look after your mental health and combat those studying worries, as well as a number of other key factors of stress you should be avoiding to be healthier, happier and more successful this year.
Switch off social media
After a long essay, there’s nothing you want to do more than slip on some pyjamas and spend an hour scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. However, this might actually make you more stressed. With everyone showing their best selves on social media, it is easy to get into a spiral, thinking ‘I’m not doing enough with my life’ or ‘I’m not working hard enough’. Remember that everyone else on Facebook is sitting in his or her pyjamas flicking through Facebook too…Switch off that device, and get away from the screen. After all, after a long day of revision or writing, the last thing your eyes need are more screens.
Take regular breaks
Cramming is about the worst thing you can do revision-wise, with the stress, panic and overload of information actually damaging your chances in an exam. This is common knowledge, and yet people still make themselves ill every year by doing it. It is far better for you to take regular breaks, along a 50-10 minute ratio. Use those breaks to stand up, walk around, make a cup of tea, basically do anything you fancy. Just make sure you focus on something over than your work. Your brain and body will thank you for it, and your chances of exam success are much higher.
Go for a walk
If you’re anything like the majority of students, your cheap but dingy digs are probably not the best place to take a relaxing break. Get away from the damp and the washing-up pile blocking out all light in the room and get outside. Even a bit of low-intensity exercise like walking can seriously boost your serotonin levels, and the new surroundings will clear your mind a little, maybe even giving you a solution to the problem causing you the stress in the first place. In this case, your mother was right: a bit of fresh air will do you good.
Reduce the caffeine
We get it, you’re a student. Your entire life is worrying where your next coffee is coming from, and when your next glass is wine is allowed to be. Alcohol might help you relax and caffeine might make you feel more alert, but both will make you feel more stressed in the long run. Although both are fine in moderation, they are both habit-forming, meaning that if you go without your morning latte your body is basically going to go into withdrawal. Do the occasional substitution for a green tea or even water and feel the benefits.
Try some mind control techniques
Unlock your inner Derren Brown and fool your brain into thinking it is less stressed than it actually is. How do you achieve this witchcraft? It’s as easy as changing the signals your body receives. If you breathe deeply, talk calmly and smile, this can be enough to make your body believe it is calm and happy. Breathe in to a count of 4, hold for 7, and exhale for 8, and it is amazing how quickly you feel calmer – this is also a great technique for getting to sleep after your revision is finally over.
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