As April is Stress Awareness Month, we’re sharing some advice and tips on managing stress. In our earlier blog post, we looked at some of the signs and causes of stress. And now, we’re looking at some of the things you can do that will help to keep your stress levels in check.
1. Keep a stress diary
Whenever you feel yourself becoming stressed or experience anxious moments, write it down. Keeping a record of these moments will help to identify the causes of your stress and the situations that increase your stress levels, which can help you to prepare for them and manage them well.
When logging your experiences, you should include the following details:
- Date and time
- Details of the event that caused you to feel stressed
- The level of stress on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the highest level of stress)
- Your reaction / how you felt e.g. headache, raised heart rate, anger, sick, etc.
- Your coping response / how you handled the situation
Download our stress diary template.
2. Manage your money
Coping with financial strain – such as paying bills, and even knowing how much money you have to spend each month, is something that can cause a great deal of stress for individuals.
To help reduce stress related to money, it’s important to know how much money you have and where your money is being spent. Create a monthly budget to keep track of your monthly income and expenditure. Having this, you’ll be able to gain a clearer focus on where your money is going, how much money you can save and how much disposable income you have each month. If you need to make savings, you can look at all of your monthly outgoings to see if all are essential and whether or not any cutbacks can be made.
3. Plan your time
As a student, there may be times during your studies where you find yourself under pressure – especially as workload increases and deadlines and exams approach. But there are things you can do in advance that will help you to make better use of your time and be more efficient with your work – and ultimately ease the pressure:
- Write to do lists – get everything out of your head and on paper so you can clearly see everything that needs to be done – nothing will be forgotten!
- Prioritise tasks by importance and urgency – don’t spend a long time on tasks that aren’t that important and similarly, don’t start with tasks that aren’t due for a few weeks. Instead, complete tasks that are most important and urgent first.
- Share tasks if possible
- Take action sooner rather than later – don’t put things off; the longer you sit on a task and procrastinate about it, the harder you’ll find it. You might convince yourself it’s a difficult task but in reality, once you get started on it, it’s not that bad.
- Set steps and goals – instead of tackling a job head on – which can be quite daunting, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps and tasks.
4. Talk to someone
Sometimes, simply expressing how you feel and ‘offloading’ your feelings to someone can make you feel a whole lot better and can take a real weight off your shoulders. Whether it’s a friend, family member or even someone through an emotion support line, there’s always someone you can talk to. You can also pop into reception and chat to the team here at The Hub. We’ll also be able to help you get in contact with someone from your university if you’re feeling stressed.
5. Make lifestyle changes
There are small changes you can make to your day-to-day life that will help to improve your wellbeing and reduce stress.
- Limit your caffeine intake – caffeine can make stress worse in some people. Reducing your intake of caffeine may also help to improve your sleep!
- Eat a balanced diet – it is good for your mental and physical health!
- Exercise – can help to relieve stress and keep you healthy. Try cycling, walking or going to the gym. Maybe look into your university sports teams. Doing some cleaning can also be a good way for some quick exercise.
- Get some sleep – lack of sleep can make mental health problems worse. Try talking to a doctor if you a struggling with sleep or it may be trying to establish a new routine.
- Do something nice for yourself every day – do something because you want to, not because you have to. Read a book, watch a film or go out for dinner, do something you enjoy!
- Relaxation – try meditation, aromatherapy or yoga – they’re all shown to relieve and prevent stress.
If you have any questions or would like a little more information, the Host team at The Hub will be happy to help you in finding information which may help you to relieve any stress.