Stress is a natural thing that happens to everyone. In fact, a certain degree of it can be motivational and healthy. But, if you are a woman in your young years and a stressed student with a lot on her plate, you’ll probably surpass the threshold for bearable stress very often.
Naturally, this will affect your mental health, too. Young people who are faced with numerous obligations and academic tasks have reported similar stress levels to that of adults. According to the American Psychological Association, this exceeds the normal levels, which means that students often experience chronic stress.
Thankfully, stress can be managed and significantly reduced, if not eliminated altogether. If you go online and search for tricks to reduce stress, you’ll find endless lists of ideas and tricks that are said to work. The reality is, it all depends on your effort and reasons for feeling stressed in the first place.
But, regardless of this, there are certain things that serve as stress relievers regardless of the cause or the individual. In this list, you’ll find the five best stress management techniques that can reduce your stress levels and help you lead a healthier life.
1. Get Some Sleep:
When you’re juggling studies and maybe even a job on the side, you have a packed schedule. Twenty-four-hour days are simply not enough to fit everything in. Even if you aren’t a girl who has to work part-time to support here college expenses and pay off the loans, you’ll still have your hands full with the academic workload.
Despite the tiredness and the overwhelm, most students don’t have an alternative. They have deadlines for everything, which is why they have to choose – sleep or study. Or at least, that’s what they believe.
The reality is, sacrificing your sleep is the absolute worst thing you can do in such cases. Sleep deprivation is the cause of many problems, including stress in college students. If you don’t sleep well or enough, you’ll become less productive and significantly reduce your energy levels. This means that it will take you a lot more time and effort to get things done so basically, you’ll be wasting your valuable time.
A bad sleep schedule is detrimental to your health, too. It is linked to many issues such as memory issues, trouble thinking, mood changes, drowsy feeling, weakened immunity, high blood pressure, the risk for diabetes and heart disease, and even poor balance. Not to mention – this can seriously affect your weight, as well as your physical appearance, skin, and even hair.
With all this in mind, you should definitely think twice about spending another sleepless night over an academic assignment or to attend a party. School life is hard as it is, and not developing good sleep habits will only make it harder for you. As for your academic deadlines, I found a great solution back when I was a student. I picked a really good service and, whenever I had to choose between sleep and writing, I called them and said: I need help with my research paper, I can’t do it on my own. They’d jump right in and I’d get my good night’s sleep without any consequences for my performance at school.
2. Do Exercise:
We all know how great exercise is when it comes to stress and blowing off steam, but how many of us really do exercise on a regular basis? Many females face a lot of stress while in college and yet, they don’t put time aside to do some exercise to fix this.
A regular exercise is an amazing tool that helps you fight off stress. Physical activity produces chemicals called endorphins. These act as natural stress and pain-killers. As a result, you’ll enjoy an improved ability to sleep and reduced levels of stress. Not to mention – exercise makes you look better and gives you more energy and strength.
Unlike what many girls think, doing exercise is not all about heavy lifting and hours spent sweating in a gym. If you put some time aside in your schedule for exercise, you can do yoga in the morning, take some walks in the afternoon, or bike to campus instead of driving there. Any physical activity you like and have the time for is good for your health, even if it is only for a half an hour per day.
3. Take the Time to Breathe:
When your body is stressed, you can’t think clearly. This is why you need an easy, instant way to calm down. Breathing exercises are known to help a lot in stressful situations. They can be done anywhere and without anyone noticing, and are amazing for reducing anxiety before a test or an important task.
Whenever you feel stressed, take a deep breath. Let it out. After a few series, you’ll notice a difference, especially if you focus solely on your breathing. As incredible as this sounds, something as simple as breathing in and out can ease the stress significantly.
To do this in the most effective way, follow these tips:
- Find a comfortable place and position to start the exercise.
- Wear comfortable clothes (take off your bra, put on your pyjamas, and start breathing).
- Find a specific time every day to do this, but also do it when you feel overly stressed.
- Don’t force it. If it doesn’t work, find a different stress relief tool.
- Try out different breathing techniques to see what works for you.
4. Get Yourself Organized:
Clutter is one of the main causes of stress. They can decrease your productivity and make you lose focus. Have you noticed how often your focus strays from the materials and switches toward the messy desk or your phone?
If you want to reduce the stress, you need to start from the cause of it. This means that you need some organization in your life. You need to find a proper, productive study area that isn’t making you nervous or makes you lose focus. You need to find the best time to study, the time when you’re most productive (keep in mind that some people are most productive at night, and some work best in the morning). Lastly, you need a finely tuned study and work schedule that will give you peace of mind knowing that you have time to handle everything.
It might be wise to plan your days the nights before, as well as make schedules and plans weeks ahead for the big assignments. Adding things to a ready schedule is much more effective and prevents you from forgetting the important things. But, when you organize your time, you should never, ever – forget to make time for yourself.
5. Start a Healthy Nutrition Plan:
For many of us, diet is not a priority. When our schedules are packed, we tend to eat everything we get our hands-on. As a student, I started my years eating junk food. This was partly a result of my fear of having to feed myself after years of living at home with my parents. I had no cooking skills whatsoever. And, it was because I didn’t realize how important my diet is for my brainpower, performance, and health.
Once you realize that you’re making a huge error for your physical and mental health by eating junk food and sugars, you’ll want to make some changes. These changes will become a turning point in your life, the same as they did in mine. Healthy eating has turned out to be the best decision I’ve made, and I’ll gladly share my findings with you.
Firstly, let’s go through the list of things that are great to eat when you feel stressed.
Dark chocolate: People will tell you to avoid chocolate, but this doesn’t apply to dark chocolate. There it is – my little secret. This is an amazing treat since it can help you reduce stress and is an amazing indulgence. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants which are known to reduce the stress hormones in your body.
Warm and Soothing Beverages/ Food: Certain foods can eliminate or reduce stress. A warm cup of tea, some soup, or some hot cocoa are bound to make you feel warm inside. Any warm drink has a certain soothing effect, but if you use herbs, they are said to have a more relaxing effect on the human body. Some of the best tea kinds to drink to reduce stress include chamomile, lavender, and peppermint.
Whole-grain carbohydrates: Well, this doesn’t really fit in a keto diet plan that’s based on reducing carbs, but what many don’t know is that the right choice of carbs can help reduce the stress levels. Carbs like crackers, cookies, and chips are tied to stress and depression. But, complex carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, and whole-grain do the exact opposite – they reduce the stress levels.
Bananas: Bananas are my quick pick-me-up during a long study session or a long day at work. This fruit is rich in potassium and dopamine, as well as magnesium. Moreover, they are rich in various B vitamins, including vitamin B6 which is said to help the nervous system function properly.
Water and Milk: Hydration is the best tool for everything related to your health. Your mental and physical health is just a sip away! Staying hydrated during a stressful time is known to help alleviate discomfort and anxiety. On the other hand, even the slightest level of dehydration is known to cause or increase the stress level.
If you like milk more, this is an amazing alternative. The calcium in the milk strengthens the skeleton and brightens the mood. It’s an excellent combo!
Naturally, a good diet also means that you stop consuming the things that are harming you, such as fats, caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars.
Excessive amounts of stress can take a toll on your health, your body, as well as your studies. Frequent stress is linked with many terrible things such as an increase in sleep deprivation, a reduction in productivity, as well as increased risk of depression, anxiety, and even heart conditions. To prevent this from happening and make yourself feel better, implement the five simple, yet very important tips above.
Author’s Bio: Emma Rundle is a psychologist and a career advisor in a US-based college. Her job is to guide and assist students who experience troubles with their studies, as well as those who need guidance for making the big choices. In addition to working in college, Rundle also does some freelance writing and blogging online.