Essays, Housemates and Late Nights: Dealing with Uni Stress
September is the time of year for a lot of young adults to raid IKEA, pack up their parents’ cleaning supplies and head off to uni. However, while you may think your wellbeing will only benefit from striking out on your own for what is, essentially, three years of drinking interspersed with the occasional lecture, there’s a lot more stress involved in uni life than you might be prepared for. The classes are harder, the essays are longer, the housemates have sex louder and no one does the washing up; in short, your emotional health takes a beating from uni life, so here’s how to stay calm, cool and collected.
1. Breathe better: Taking slow deep breaths does wonders for your emotional and physical wellness, helping to lower your blood pressure, focus your thoughts and clear your mind. Plus, you can do it whenever and wherever the stress hits.
2. Take a step back: When you feel overwhelmed, stop and re-examine the situation. Talk to a friend or family member to see if you can get a little perspective, and stop things appearing a bigger deal than they actually are.
3. Find your happy place: On your laptop and phone, keep photos of great memories that you can look at when things are going haywire. This releases your brain’s mood-boosting hormone dopamine, which helps you to relax.
4. Write all about it: If your friends or family members are too busy to talk it out, writing down your emotions and the situation can help you to put things in perspective, clarify your thoughts and feelings and help you solve your problem more effectively.
5. Stop, meditate and listen: Meditation is great to use in conjunction with breathing exercises, whether you centre on a positive mantra or simply focus on clearing your mind as you breathe.
6. Get active: Regular exercise isn’t just helpful for combating those late-night kebabs, it also relieves mental issues such as stress. Go for a walk around campus or a nearby park for an instant mood lifting, stress-busting effect.
7. Thank you for the music: According to various studies, music helps hospital patients heal more quickly and motivates them to perform better in physical therapy. Find some solid tunes that lift your mood or relax your mind, and put them in a playlist for those much-needed musical moments.
8. Don’t get stuck in the middle: Whether your housemates are arguing over who’s turn it is to take out the bins, or your course friends fall out over a reluctance to share notes, other people’s drama is just that; other people’s. There’s no way to be involved in drama without being personally affected, so when the bickering and bitching starts to bubble, take a step back – literally. Make your excuses, like needing the loo or fake answering your phone, and leave the room until you have the right perspective on the situation.
9. Sleep: This may seem like a foreign concept for a uni student, at least during regular night time hours, but sleep is vital to keep your mind and body in balance. Too little sleep has been linked to everything from heart trouble to depression so, if you can, try to get seven to nine hours on a regular basis.
10. You are what you eat: You may be feeling lethargic, fat and stressed because you’re eating too much fast food and sugary stuff. Fresh fruit and veggies are essential for your body and mind, so try to eat five of these bad boys every day.