8 stress-reduction tips for students

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A person laying down, relaxing during a massage flickr

Finding alternative outlets for that build-up of anxious energy

by rayanne gwilliam, Contributor

The instinctive suggestion – eat your weight in carbs and sweets – is one your body only lets you get away with for so long (yet it feels like something to be enjoyed while it can be, if you ask me). There is some science suggesting that thinking of eating, and later eating your favourite food will genuinely help you feel better.

Another suggestion is to discuss your problems with a therapist, one with whom you feel most comfortable. You could also talk to a willing and empathetic friend, sibling, parent, pet – even Siri is available if you really need an objective view. However, if you find that you’re experiencing distressing feelings, thoughts, or actions, taking the time to speak to a professional is normal – in fact it’s encouraged, and can be very beneficial.

My third suggestion is to spend time in nature in whatever way is safe and most comfortable for you. If it’s going out to a cabin by a lake, going for hike in the forest, a walk in the park, or even watching nature documentaries from the comfort of your couch if you’re more an indoors-type person. You can be as creative as you like with this one.

Speaking of creativity, that’s another way to relieve stress: create something. Paint a picture, draw, write, practice programming, build, tinker around with a machine, practice Tik Tok dances if you must (please try something else first, though…please).

On that note, removing yourself from social media for some amount of time can be a good idea as it leaves you with less distractions, less comparing yourself to others, and less guilt about being unproductive.

If you find yourself still needing some sort of distraction though, music is a good outlet for such an occasion. I always encourage singing or dancing. Yes, even if you’re bad at it, and especially if you don’t like your roommates or neighbors anyway – they can put up with it, right? If you like them and you sound or look like a dying kangaroo…you might have to work a little harder to find the alone time to embrace this suggestion, but it’s worth a try!  

If your stress is due to poor work-life balance, there’s always personal and sick days to use up. Your co-workers and boss can manage for a day, right? Asking for reduced hours if possible or reducing your course load in school is another idea. Depending on what field you’re in there can be work co-ops where you work for a specific time frame while having the option of taking minimal classes while you do so. Then there’s less work, less class, and you gain experience in the field you’re going to school for – sounds like a win.

If your stress level is due to your course schedule and the workload, just burn your syllabus; you can’t stress about deadlines now, you’re welcome! On a serious note, do your research, and look at the reviews about your potential professors or places of employment. If all the reviews are terrible, the employee turnover rate is abnormally high, or taking certain classes or jobs means working nonstop for 10+ hours a day, it’s not going to be healthy. Proactive actions and planning stress-reducing activities should be done whenever possible if this is an unavoidable scenario for you, as it is for some students.

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