Being a student can be tough work, especially when you’re struggling to juggle your time between classes, homework, revision sessions and spending time with family and friends — it can be too much for your body and brain to take after a while!
If you feel like you need a break from your hectic lifestyle for a little “me” time, here are some ways you can de-stress and calm your mind.
#1. Start an exercise regime
Hate exercise? Sometimes, you need to do things you don’t like so you can reap the benefits later. In fact, exercise offers many benefits and isn’t just for those who want to lose weight or get fit.
When you exercise, your body releases feel-good hormones called endorphins, triggering a positive feeling similar to morphine (yes, the narcotic drug). Not only that, it can also improve your sleep quality, reduce anxiety and elevate your mood.
You don’t need to go for 5am runs or train for triathlons to benefit from exercising — a quick jog around your neighbourhood or even a simple 5-minute aerobic exercise can be rewarding. Soon after, you’ll find that the knots in your shoulders have loosened and you’ll feel more energised to power through the rest of the day!
#2. Change your diet
Have you ever noticed that when you’re stressed, you crave unhealthy junk food like a whole chocolate bar or a big bag of potato chips that you can somehow finish within minutes? This is because when stressed, your adrenal gland releases cortisol, a stress hormone that increases appetite. Couple this with increased insulin levels and your stressed body and mind will make you crave for foods that are high in fat and sugar.
Stress-eating can be detrimental to your health, especially if you’re not watching what you’re putting into your mouth. While there’s no almighty food to eradicate frustration, you can try out these healthier options to get some stress relief:
- Avocados and bananas as they are rich in potassium and will keep blood pressure low (helpful because your blood pressure rises when you’re stressed)
- Green leafy vegetables that help balance the levels of cortisol in your body
- Omega-3 fats from salmon to reduce the effects of adrenaline and cortisol
- Drink low-fat milk that has been fortified (i.e. infused with vitamins) as it is rich in vitamins B and D, protein and calcium that are helpful in relieving tense muscles
#3. Unleash your creative side
Yes, we’re talking about creating art! We know what you’re thinking: “I can’t draw or paint to save a life!”, but a study has shown that no matter what level of artistic skill you have, making any form of art has been found to lower stress levels.
This is the reason why adult colouring books have made such an impact in the market lately. It has been reported that colouring is therapeutic so it helps in reducing anxiety. Additionally, it helps you improve focus as your mind will switch off other troubling thoughts to concentrate on colouring within the lines.
Not into colouring? Another study has shown that even expressive writing, listening to music and dancing can improve health and reduce stress. So pick your favourite activity and go at it until you feel better!
#4. Treat yourself
Ever find yourself heading straight to the shopping mall for some good ol’ retail therapy right after a stressful exam or assignment? We feel you!
Research has found that purchasing unplanned treats for yourself can actually improve your mood. This is because shopping serves as a momentary distraction from everyday stressors, allowing your mind to focus on other things (trying on clothes, for example). It can also restore a sense of personal control over your environment, which reduces sadness.
So, if you’re feeling down in the dumps, go on and indulge in some self-treats! Just remember to spend within your budget to avoid ending up in sticky financial situations.
There’s a reason why they say laughter is the best medicine — it’s a great stress-reliever to both the mind and the body.
When you laugh, you take in more oxygen, stimulating important organs such as your heart, lungs and muscles. Laughing also triggers the release of endorphins (remember this feel-good hormone?), making you feel better almost immediately!
Stress is commonplace for many, not just for students. Hopefully, these tips will help you feel less stressed about your hectic life so that you can bounce back better than before!