Sometimes the pressure of university life can get on top of you. There’s the stress of assignments and the seemingly never ending-workload- not to mention trying to honour those all-important social commitments! So, if you are feeling overwhelmed, here are some top tips to de-stress from the pressure of semester two.
Firstly, if you feel stressed, try some breathing techniques as these will help you to feel more present. Take a few deep breaths and pay attention to how you are feeling and acknowledge that. At some universities, the facilities for mindfulness can be available in wellness centres and interfaith groups. You can begin by sitting comfortably, in a relaxed but upright posture and then determine how long you would want to meditate each day, it’s best to start with 5-10 minute intervals.
The label effect
A ‘neuroscience’ way of saying to name what you’re feeling. It’s best to get your feelings out in the open, whether that may be to friends or family. It can be as simple as ‘I am feeling nervous/anxious/stressed/overwhelmed.’ This simply requires presence of mind. We can use this mindfulness technique to detach from the chaos of our lives, the constant stream of thoughts and ‘clutter’ of the mind and ultimately reach the goal of inner peace.
Reframe your thoughts
If you are feeling stressed from the pressure of semester two, try this. You can shift your mindset to look at the current situation that you’re in from a different perspective. For example, viewing that assignment you’ve been putting off for so long as a challenge you need to overcome. There are three simple things to do to transform your negative thoughts into positive ones. Firstly, recognize the thought that you’re having, for example, I’m not as good as the others on my course. Secondly, relax your body through mindful breathing and use the out-breath technique to release any negative thoughts that you may have. Finally, name a positive thought and consider what is going good in your life right now.
Connect with other people
Good relationships with other people, most importantly your family and friends, are important for your mental wellbeing. They can do many things, such as build your sense of belonging and self-worth, share positive experiences with one another and provide emotional support in order for you to support others. You can do things such as take time out each day to be with your family if this is not possible due to long-distance because of university then make the most of technology such as FaceTime to stay in touch with your friends and family who are in another city.
Be physically active and maintain a healthy lifestyle
Being active, such as going to the gym or going for walks and runs, is good for your physical health and fitness but it also improves your mental wellbeing. It can raise your self-esteem, help you set goals and challenges as well as achieve them and cause chemical changes in your brain which can positively impact your mood. If you are not sure how to start, why not try and find free activities which can help you get fit or try something like swimming, cycling or dancing.
Try acts of kindness
Research suggests acts of giving and kindness can improve your mental well-being in many ways. It can create positive feelings and a sense of reward, gives a feeling of purpose and self-worth and helps you connect with other people. It can be small acts of kindness towards other people, such as saying please and thank you when appropriate, or larger acts such as volunteering in your local community.
However intense it may seem, it’s important to try and not let the pressure of semester two get to you. Remember if you are feeling overwhelmed, there are plenty of places for you to access mental health support in the UK.