You’ve got this.
With the hustle and bustle of campus life and exams creeping up right around the corner, it comes to no surprise that many of us are feeling stressed.
In a Globe and Mail survey of over 30,000 students, a whopping 90% admitted to feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious. Evidently, student anxiety levels are HIGH and it may sometimes feel impossible to move past it. It’s inevitable, the world never stops moving. This means you may always feel stressed with an inability to concentrate.
To help combat stress and anxiety, I’ve comprised a list of 6 tips that have helped me and should help you too:
1. Skip out on the caffeine
I know how hard it is to skip your daily cup of joe, but when you’re experiencing high anxiety levels this may be the best thing for you. Caffeine is the world’s most highly used drugs and I get why—it’s addicting. When you’re staying up late studying and have to wake up in time for your 8 a.m. having a cup of coffee seems like a must.
But having too much coffee, especially when you suffer from stress and anxiety, will do you more bad than good. Caffeine can make anxiety attacks worse, make you feel more agitated and restricts you from feeling relaxed. I can speak from personal experience caffeine does NOT always help me. If I’m particularly anxious one day and decide to drink coffee, I feel increasingly shaky and agitated.
Some alternatives to your daily hot cup of java can be a chamomile tea. Chamomile tea is actually proven to decrease symptoms of anxiety and insomnia while still serving its purpose as a warm drink in the morning.
2. Write it all out
Although there are always people eager to help you through problems and tons of services available on campus, I understand not wanting to tell people every time you’re feeling stressed. Something that has worked for me is journaling. Journaling has SO many benefits that’ll help you combat stress and anxiety.
Journaling allows you to have an outlet for your emotions and feelings. It has benefits such as helping to manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression. Another great benefit to journaling is that it allows you to track your feelings and reflect on them later on when you’re in a calmer state.
Further, journaling also allows you to have a safe spot to put your emotions while being able to track the things that give you stress and anxiety. Once you’ve found the pattern of things that stress you out it is much easier to be able to combat them.
3. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is so important for you. In order to have an efficient day at work or school, you need to get enough sleep. Studies show that students should get around 9 hours of sleep, yet most barely get 7. The benefits of adequate sleep are outstanding. While you sleep, you recharge your brain and give it a much-needed rest after a busy day.
With so much on your plate, it’s easy to push sleep off but you really shouldn’t. Lack of sleep contributes to fatigue, moodiness, irritability, forgetfulness, and depressive moods that further stress and anxiety. There are tons of ways to improve your sleep routine including disconnecting from social media at least an hour before sleep, cutting caffeine, and scheduling enough time in your day to get 7-9 hours.
Getting sufficient sleep WILL improve so many aspects of your life and increase your positivity, making life a little more manageable. If you need a nap in between classes, don’t forget to check out the Sleep Lounge at your campus!
Workouts are not only good for your body, but they’re good for your mind too. As much as you might dread the thought of working out, the benefits outweigh the sore muscles. Exercise assists in building self-confidence, reducing stress, helps prevent cardiac problems and even helps improve your sleep.
When you work out your brain releases endorphins, hormones that reduce pain and aid in a positive feeling for your body. This means that working out will scientifically help you feel much better and less stressed. The key to a successful work out routine is finding a routine that works for YOU. Depending on what your needs are, you can choose to take a 20-minute walk every day, take a spin class a few times a week or shred it at the gym. It is important not to overwork yourself and be PROUD of the little steps and accomplishments you make.
Another great option for stress-relieving exercise is yoga! The relaxing environment is perfect for when you’re dealing with anxiety. Yoga challenges you to leave all negative energy and thoughts outside the class and focus solely on yoga. With a clear head, you can truly find yourself more relaxed. Plus, Humber offers free yoga classes for all students right at your campus.
5. Learn how to manage your time
This time of the year is always hectic. Deadlines come up FAST and consecutively right after the last one. Being in school isn’t easy and sometimes it may feel like you never get a break. Time management is beyond important to ensure that you have enough time to finish your assignments and preserve your sanity.
As much as you’d like to wish you could freeze time, time does not stop. This means that your time is limited so you should learn to allow an adequate amount of time for each assignment depending on how long it should take to the complete. We’ve all been there–having to cram a semester full of work the night before a midterm or leaving your 12-page essay to the night before. Knowing how to effectively manage your time will allow you to complete your work with much less effort. Instead of writing 12 pages the night before a due date, plan to start a few weeks in advance and do one page each day—much more manageable.
It’s easy to plan your time when you have all your due dates in front of you. A great tip is to look through your course outlines at the beginning of the year and write your due dates in your agenda or calendar. By doing this you’ll be able to visualize when your assignments are due and plan your time accordingly. Time management is a vital skill that you should acquire to benefit you in your future.
6. Don’t forget about self-care
You are important. With the hustle of everyday life seeming intolerable it’s important to take time to think about you and what makes you happy. Self-care can take many different forms. It can be as simple as taking a nap, enjoying a face mask, reading a book or even taking a weekend getaway with your friends.
The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to work 24/7. You’re allowed to take a break from time to time especially if you’re caught up on work. That time you spent starting an assignment earlier than anticipated can be used to relax and do what you love later on.
It’s easy to put yourself as the last priority when you feel like everything around you is so much more important, but you matter too. It’s important to give yourself the care you need and not neglect your mind and body when stress and anxiety take hold of you. Remember, if you’re not feeling 100% mentally well, you can’t function to the best of your ability. So, take the time to yourself and do what you love.
If you are ever in need of guidance, feel free to stop by the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre.