Mid-term exams, reports, studying and playing catch-up: How do you hold it all together when everything is coming at you all at once? Here are five tips to keep your stress levels in check:
1. Take care of yourself!
When you are stressed out, your immune system gets affected and you're more likely to get a cold or flu. So protect yourself: wash your hands frequently, get enough sleep, drink water and make sure you are eating lots of fruits and vegetables. There are also a number of things to avoid or limit when you are trying to manage stress levels: alcohol, energy drinks, caffeine, sugar and even gambling. (It is difficult to make good decisions about gambling and easy to get in trouble when you are feeling down, upset or stressed).
2. Talk it out
If you keep your feelings bottled up, that only increases your stress. Check in with friends: ask how they're doing and let them know how you are. Or visit campus counselling services and take advantage of the resources available at your college or university:
Plan ahead and be ready for exams and assignments. Keep a calendar listed with due dates so they don’t creep up on you. Work on your reports and set time aside for studying. Create an action plan and stick to it. Make time for time management!
4. Take a break
Moderation is key. Too much of any one thing can lead to burn out and bad decision-making. (That's why RGC recommends that people who gamble should set time limits and take frequent breaks!) So after you’ve written that great report or exam, set aside some time to hang with your friends, exercise, or take in a movie – a little celebration to say you did it!
5. Use proven stress management tools
There are a number of practices, methods and strategies to promote relaxation that have been used throughout the ages:
- Yoga: you don't need to be super-flexible, bendy or flush with cash to take a yoga class. Many campuses have free or reduced-fee yoga classes available to students and faculty. Check out your campus recreation centre to see what's available or see what may be available online.
- Meditation: if you're not so good at silence and completely stilling the mind, try a guided meditation! (TIP: If you search YouTube, scroll through the comments to make sure you're not watching a screamer prank.)
- Breathe: It's automatic, so why worry about it, right? No! Most of us don't breathe properly—especially when we're stressed. Try some mindful breathing exercises.
And finally how about a not-so-proven tool?
The latest internet buzz is ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) videos. ASMR is a physical sensation—those strange brain tingles you experience get when you hear a piece of music that moves you, get a haircut or hear a soothing, whispering voice. There are now a number of videos on YouTube of people performing mundane tasks (towel folding, for example) while whispering a play-by-play. If you are susceptible to ASMR, these videos can give you a sense of calm and even help you get to sleep!