Coming out of the winter months and heading towards the summer should be an exciting time. However, for many students this is the most daunting time of the year. Exams are getting close, tensions are getting high, and stress levels are increasing.
Stress has an awful effect on your body! It causes insomnia, weight gain or weight loss, heartburn, high blood pressure and depression, and the worst thing about stress is that you cannot control it. However, what you can do is try to minimise how much you are affected by stress.
So here are the things that I do to battle stress!
1. Take a long hot bath
Nothing is more relaxing than a long hot bath! Put on some music or your favourite TV show, sink into the warm water and let your muscles and your mind unwind.
2. Read a book
Reading is such a wonderful thing because it lets your imagination take control. It allows you to forget about what’s going on in your life while you focus on something else. Sometimes this is exactly what we need… an escape.
3. Eat right
When you are stressed and under pressure, eating right is the last thing that you want to do. However, it is at these times when it is most important! Eating sugary food causes mood swings and weight gain, and that isn’t going to help your stress levels. Properly fuelling your body will help you feel right from the inside out.
Sometimes I don’t realise how much I hold my breath or how quickly I breathe because I’m too stressed out. Yoga really helps you tune out to the world, and it allows you to focus on breathing and stretching, which can be really therapeutic at times. A yoga app that I really enjoy is Yoga Studio: Mind and Body. You can do fifteen, half hour and hour sessions, and you feel so unbelievably relaxed afterwards.
I love my sleep, I really love my sleep. I feel absolutely lost if I don’t have at least seven hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation causes your attention span to decrease, you become less creative, your immune system becomes less efficient, your mood decreases and your memory decreases.
Getting a good night sleep helps your body to clear toxins, and means that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. What could be less stressful than that?
If you are interested, here is a link to a wonderful video explaining how dangerous sleep deprivation can be. http://uk.businessinsider.com/what-happens-when-you-dont-get-enough-sleep-2017-12?r=US&IR=T
6. Get some space
Sometimes they key to relaxation is taking either your body or your mind out of the situation. Taking a few moments for yourself during a stressful time can provide you with the clarity you need to complete the task, which is why I recommend an app called Headspace. This app helps you meditate for a short period of time every day, and I have found that I feel much more relaxed and ready for life after a few minutes of meditation.
7. Follow a passion
When you spend your days following your head, sometimes it is nice to follow your heart. Taking some time every once in a while, to follow a passion whether it’s cycling, makeup, running or knitting can have a positive effect on your mood. You are worth some ‘me’ time.
Aromatherapy is a tried and true way to reduce stress levels. It involves essential oils being aromatically inhaled, causing mood changes. The best oils and scents for stress relief are lavender, bergamot and lemon oil!
Aromatherapy has also been proven to help treat depression and headaches.
Music has a wonderful ability to influence our emotions, and sometimes when I’m stressed I will play a specially made ‘Stress Playlist’ to allow me to relax. My favourite band to listen to when I need to relax is Oh Wonder, they are a phenomenal band and their music is really unique.
10. A cup of tea
Maybe it’s just me, but tea can solve almost any problem! It doesn’t matter what the problem is… if you’re tired you can drink camomile, if you want to cleanse your body you can drink peppermint etc. In fact, drinking black tea has been proven to reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in your body.