5 TOP TIPS FOR MANAGING STRESS
The past year has been like no other and it is no surprise that many of us have struggled with our mental health during this time. The additional stresses we’ve had to face have made Stress Awareness Month more important than ever. Long term stress can have devastating impacts on your physical and mental wellbeing. This includes an increased resting heart rate, which contributes to high blood pressure and digestive issues. Stress affects everybody differently. Because of this some of these tips might not work for you, and that’s okay, but by trying out a few you might just find something that does!
Exercise is scientifically proven to counteract feelings of stress and low mood, due to triggering the release of endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. These are all feel-good chemicals guaranteed to boost your mood and help manage stress. Research has shown that moderate intensity exercise is best for this, so don’t be afraid to break a sweat!
Try calling a family member, or sitting down for a chat with a flatmate or friend. All Fusion Students buildings have a plethora of social spaces to do this. My personal favourite is the rooftop terrace in Cardiff, as nothing beats a coffee and a chat with gorgeous views out to Cardiff Bay and beyond!
Before Covid-19 hit I volunteered in my local hospital and care homes, and found this to be incredibly beneficial for management of my stress, particularly around exam periods. By helping others, it becomes easier to contextualise feelings of stress, and helps to put your own problems into perspective. If you are unable to volunteer, try completing a random act of kindness, such as buying a flatmate or friend a coffee, or donating to a local charity or food bank.
Find solutions, not problems
It sometimes helps to view problems as fun challenges, and try to find innovative solutions to them, rather than dwelling on the consequences of the issue.
It is easy to let stress affect every aspect of your life, but by ensuring that you are eating well, you are giving yourself an advantage in the fight against stress. If you struggle to cook every day, there are some amazing meal prep recipes available which can be cooked in batches and reheated or frozen. I recommend: Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, for quick, nutritious and easy meals that can all be prepared in 15 minutes or less.
In essence, stress is something that most people will experience at some point in their lives, but it is considerably easier to deal with if you are equipped with effective management strategies. If none of my tips work for you, Mind have some fantastic resources that are free to access for everyone. Stressful situations will always pass eventually, and the worst thing to do is bottle up your feelings, which is why tip number 2 is my top recommendation. By talking to a friend or family member, you are sharing your feelings and beginning the process of reflection- by reflecting on why you may be feeling stressed, and understanding triggers for these feelings, you will be helping yourself to manage these emotions more effectively.
By Annabel Watkins
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