Young people should have everything to be happy about, but as the generation with the least responsibility we actually experience the most stress. A 2013 survey by the Nightline Association found that 65% of students feel stressed.
Students juggle part time jobs with university, worry about assignments and stress about the future and how to make the next step. Trying to manage all these things at once can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
As a student, every spare minute seems to be filled with worrying – you feel like you have to achieve something and make plans for your future. Instead of relaxing in the holidays, you're planning an internship to add to your CV, or working to earn some well-needed extra cash.
If you're not careful, working too hard and worrying too much can lead to "burnout" – when everything seems bleak and you have nothing left to give.
It might not seem like it when you're feeling down, but living a more stress free life is possible. There are some really easy ways to beat stress effectively. Here are some that I have encountered as a student:
1. A varied and healthy diet
Eating fresh ingredients and lots of fruit is really important. Juices filled with vitamin C, such as orange or grapefruit juice, are said to be good for your immune system so can help with stress.
When you're busy and tired it can be tempting just to grab another pizza or ready meal, but cooking from scratch can be therapeutic as well as being healthier.
Doing sport at least once a week is the best way to reduce stress. It helps your body produce endorphins, which make you feel good. Even daily walks of 30 minutes can help reduce stress levels but it's even better to work out intensively. Even if you don't feel like it at the time you will feel the benefits afterwards.
Joining a sports club could also help with stress as the regular contact with other people should help improve your mood.
And why not try yoga? It's a great way to ease your mind and relax your muscles.
It might sound simple, but sitting quietly for 10 minutes a day can really help with stress levels. If you've never tried meditation before, it's worth a go.
Good breathing techniques can put you in a more relaxed state as they send oxygen surging through your bloodstream, helping to calm you down and beat the stress.
4. Take breaks regularly
Short breaks between working can help you switch off. But longer breaks are important too.
How about taking the weekend off to relax? Make time for fun and for yourself even if this means that you have to schedule time away from your work. You'll hopefully come back to your work feeling fresh.
5. Get a pet
It is said that spending time with animals is good for your health. If you pat a dog for a couple of minutes, your body releases hormones that make you feel happy and can decrease the amount of stress in your system.
Most uni halls won't let you keep an animal though, so spending some time with friends or family who have pets is a good option: you get the love without the commitment.
6. Sleep (and sign off Facebook)
Sleep is always the best medicine and some people find that small 20-minute naps can help increase productivity.
As students we tend to spend too much time on social media sites and answering emails, texts and phone calls. Sociability is fun – but too much of it, and too much computer time, can lead to more stress.
Failing to switch off from work because of your electronic gadgets will only make you even more stressed.
7. Quit smoking
Some people say they smoke to relax, but researchers on the European Board for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco suggest that nicotine suppresses the hormone serotonin, which fights stress. Another good reason to quit.
8. Try to see the positive side
If you missed a deadline, try to appreciate what you learned from this mistake: now you know how to plan ahead. Things might seem bad, but if you try, there is usually something positive to be learned.
9. Listen to music
Listening to music can help calm you down and put you in a better frame of mind. If you're feeling stressed, putting on some calming music while you work could really help.
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and it's really true. Laughing out loud increases oxygen and blood flow which automatically reduces stress.
Not taking life too seriously can help everyone live a better and easier life. Make time for yourself, log out of Twitter and take breaks. It's about time that we students accept that we can achieve just as much in life without all the stress.
How do you manage stress? Share your tips in the comments section below
The period of time connected with studying at college or university is often viewed as the happiest period in one’s life. However, many of us tend to forget about the challenges student life offers. Young people may find themselves rather stressed, due to either external or internal factors. High academic demands, tight schedules, numerous curricular and extra-curricular activities, in addition to personal affairs, can contribute to emotional or psychological tension.
Consequently, this tension may result in feeling stressed and physically unwell as a number of factors accumulate.
The following symptoms can indicate stress:
- Frequent headaches
- Sleep disorders
- Increased sense of vulnerability and irritation
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Indifference towards favorite activities
- Unwillingness to communicate
- Desire for solitude
However, stress also has its positive side. It makes one’s brain and body work more effectively, thus keeping one more focused. Stress puts into play various resources of one’s personality and in such a way that it empowers one to overcome major obstacles.
Hence, the basic questions involving stress are:
- What are some effective ways for coping with stress?
- Is it possible to reduce stress the moment one begins feeling the pressure?
- Is there a way to avoid future stress?
Before we begin looking for answers in coping with stress, let’s admit that students often choose unwise strategies for overcoming emotional and physiological tension, such as turning to tobacco and alcohol use, consuming large amounts of junk food, and becoming lethargic rather than participating in physical exercise. However, the most helpful and effective ways to deal with stress include strategies that are just the opposite!
So, if you want to beat the tension without doing more harm to yourself, you should follow the guidelines below:
- First, participate in more physical activities (Robinson, Smith, Segal, 2015). Avoid using public transportation or a private car when you just need to get to any nearby location. Also, find out about programs offered by the local gym and slowly become involved in a physical sport. In addition, develop a healthy life style. Taking brisk walks or short morning jogs before class will also help!
- Second, keep a planner where you list all the important tasks to be completed that day, week, or month (Robinson, Smith, Segal, 2015). This will help you to be better organized, making certain you stay on top of your responsibilities. It can also help you to prioritize. Soon, you will feel more in control of your student life, once more!
- Third, try to set realistic goals. It’s important not to overestimate your resources and capabilities. If the task looks too complicated, break it into several smaller tasks and gradually work toward completing the overall, major task. Moreover, working on a major task should be systematic in order to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed again. It’s better to complete it slowly over a period of time rather than all at once. Choosing and maintaining such a systematic approach toward all tasks will help to build confidence that you can manage to complete everything on time.
- Forth, make sure you get enough sleep (Robinson, Smith, Segal, 2015). Avoid procrastinating until the last moment, which is usually just before you go to bed at night. Instead, complete all tasks for the next day well before bedtime. Then, go to bed by 11 P.M after taking a warm, relaxing shower. Adequate sleep is essential for replenishing the energy you need for your studies the next day. When you sleep well, you feel less anxious, short-tempered, or exhausted.
- Fifth, avoid solitude. Try to surround yourself with a company of supportive friends. Lively chat, good jokes and a friendly smile are proven ways to feel less vulnerable and to avoid the risk of a nervous breakdown.
As you can see, when talking about stress, we are dealing with two different sides of the same coin.
You can’t avoid stress in your everyday life, but you can increase knowledge and awareness about this issue, and thus learn to cope with it quickly and effectively. Additionally, you will gain the ability to maintain a healthy psyche and emotional stability. Emotionally-stabled, well-balanced students tend to be more successful in their studies and future professional lives than those who are always worried or stressed out! So, learn to maintain flexibility and stamina. You will find doing so very rewarding!
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About Jessica Dong
Jessica Dong is a 21-year-old student from Beijing. She studies business development in the USA and dreams of running her own company. Jessica is a socially active student with interest in traveling, social media and entertainment.
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