With it being Mental Health Awareness Week as well as exam season looming, we thought now would be a good time to remind you how important it is to take some time out and look after yourself.
Here are ten simple ways to keep your stress levels down but your productivity levels high:
1. Get organised
Starting revision early and staying organised is key to reducing exam stress.
It’s the perfect excuse to have a stationary splurge.
For those who struggle with specific learning difficulties, such as Dyslexia and Dyspraxia, Enabling Services provide lots of support, including one-to-one study skills tutorials and access to assistive technology.
2. Get plenty of sleep
Research shows the optimum amount of sleep an adult needs is seven to eight hours a night. Being well-rested will allow you to approach stressful matters more calmly and give your brain time to process information.
If you’re having problems sleeping, try turning off all screens mid-evening and pick up a book to help unwind.
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. It helps release feel-good endorphins which are amazing for both physical and mental health. Studies show that those who exercise regularly have enhanced cognitive functioning, a 30% lower risk of depression, improved sleep and reduced stress.
If you have a University gym membership, remember that the Jubilee Sports Centre is open 7am–10pm from Monday to Sunday. Alternatively, Southampton Common is a great place to head to for a relaxing walk.
4. Eat well
Getting plenty of vitamins and minerals from fruit and vegetables will help combat the effects of stress. A well balanced diet will improve your immune system and keep your body functioning well. For cheap and fresh food, the farmer’s market is on campus every Monday from 9am to 5pm.
5. Take a break
There are regular events on campus throughout the week, so make sure you take a break from your work and enjoy yourself. A few of the best include:
Monday: Steak club in The Bridge from 6pm to 8pm.
Tuesday: Student Minds hold fortnightly meetings on Tuesdays open to everyone, plus weekly support groups
Wednesday: Wednesday afternoons are a good time for taking a break from studies and indulging in sport. Also, Student Minds hopes to bring back their Walks for Wellbeing next academic year.
Thursday: Karaoke in The Stags from 9pm to 1am, and fortnightly Laughter Lounge in The Bridge from 7pm to 10pm.
Friday: Cocktail night at The Bridge
Saturday: Morning aerobics at Jubilee
Sunday: Carvery in The Bridge 12pm to 4pm, and Quiz & Curry night in The Bridge from 7pm to 11pm.
6. Stress Less Fest
During exam periods each year, the University run the Stress Less Fest. This involves lots of events such as a petting zoo (May 22nd, 11am-2pm), a chill out hub on the Concourse (May 18th – June 5th) and inflatable day on the Redbrick (May 28th, 10am-6pm).
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present without stressing about the past or the future, and is the theme of this years Mental Health Awareness week.
Mindfulness helps decrease stress and susceptibility to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. It also has numerous physical benefits, such as decreased blood pressure and alleviation of chronic pain symptoms.
This is something you can practice by yourself, or if you want some guidance SUSU are running a ‘The Art of Calm: Practicing Relaxation’ session on May 20th and 27th from 1.30pm-2.15pm in room 1035, building 04.
8. Keep in touch with friends
People often underestimate the benefits of their friendships during exam periods. While it is important to do a sufficient amount of work, it is also important to have an appropriate balance otherwise the work you do do won’t be as productive. Spending time with friends allows you to de-stress and voice any concerns you have.
9. Student support
If you’re feeling particularly stressed or down, there are plenty of places you can go to for support. Peer support is available from Student Minds, SUSU Peer Support and Nightline – a confidential listening service from 8am to 8pm (phone: 02380595236).
The University also offers support from the GP, counselling service, enabling services and advice centre.
10. Treat yourself
Finally, don’t forget to reward all your hard work and treat yourself. Sprinkles is open 7am-12am, seven days a week, so head down to Portswood and indulge yourself!
To keep up with amazing blogs from Student Minds, click here.
Do you have any tips to beat stress? Let us know in the comments!