Combating Stress

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Stress is something the majority of us experience at some point or other. With demanding lifestyles and busy schedules it can be hard to find ways to relax. Common symptoms of stress include mood swings, insomnia and overeating, which all contribute to the problem and make it worse. Here are some simple ways to reduce the effects of stress and help you to live a more relaxed life.

Regular exercise and healthy eating are proven methods for boosting your mood. Even small changes such as taking a short walk, eating fruit and vegetables and drinking more water will make a noticeable improvement. Try getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, snack on fruit and add vegetables to each meal. Cut down on caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks and aim to drink two litres of water or herbal tea each day.

Stress often makes it hard to sleep and causes tiredness and low energy levels. Having a hot shower followed by a gentle stretching routine before bed can encourage relaxation and aid sleep. Cut down on caffeinated drinks and replace them with warm milk and chamomile tea which are renowned for their sleep-inducing abilities. Be sure to avoid eating three hours before bed to allow your digestive system to settle and prevent it from disrupting your sleep.

Bottling up emotions can often seem like the easiest option, however doing this leaves issues unresolved and causes stress levels to increase. Chat to a flat mate you trust or arrange to meet up for a coffee where you can vent and share advice. If you would rather speak to someone professional talk to a tutor, SU representative or see if the issue is something a doctor can help with. Simply talking to someone can make you feel happier, even if a solution is not achieved straight away.

Meditation techniques such as deep breathing, rhythmic exercise and yoga have been proven to activate the body’s natural relaxation response and boost both your energy and mood. Try a calming yoga sequence from one of the many videos available online, or attend one of the classes at the uni gym or around the city. Simply spending 15 minutes each day being alone, still and focusing on your breathing will re-charge your batteries and lift your mood, leaving you feeling calm, composed and stress-free.

Trying to remain positive and push the negative thoughts aside can seem impossible when you’re stressed or homesick. However focusing on a future event or something that makes you happy can lift your mood and help you to combat your troubles. Plan a treat for yourself at the weekend such as a shopping trip or a night in with flatmates. If you’re feeling homesick plan to see friends and family in a couple of weeks and try to do something little that makes you smile every day.


Holly Skelton


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