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Mindfulness: Tackling Student Stresses

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Being a student can be hard work. Juggling a part-time job with a hefty University workload (not to mention voluntary work on the side, worrying about employability and trying to enjoy your youth!) can be somewhat overwhelming. It’s no wonder many students feel stressed, I do too!

Here are some tips that help me keep my yin and yang in balance when I need it most…

1) Learn to relax

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For me, there is nothing as soothing as a bubbly hot bath. When all the ‘things-to-do’ weigh me down and my mind swirls, I find my salvation in water. It is the best reward for aching muscles and minds alike, really helping to relax and refresh both the body and soul after a long, exhausting week. 

This beloved trick helps me find peace when the world is weighing me down. For you, it may be meditation, listening to music or practicing yoga. Try out a few suggestions and see what works for you.

2) Be not ashamed of ‘guilty pleasures’

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You know those days when everything goes wrong? When you spill your breakfast tea, turn up to the wrong lecture and fail to click ‘save’ on that essay you’ve been working on for hours? Days like these, when it’s the most you can do to drag yourself home in a sour mood.

Well, I have a solution! For me, it really helps to put thoughts of the day to one side and actively switch off my brain. Obviously, that is not as easy as it sounds! So, at these times I allow myself to delve into Netflix for guilty pleasures. Personally, historical dramas help me. It may be the elaborate costumes, or characters changing lovers every episode or so, but something about them really holds my attention and allows me to escape any thoughts that were previously troubling me.

If TV doesn’t work for you, you could try reading, movies or games. If you’re still finding it hard to switch off, these handy mindfulness exercises can help. 

3) Distractions can help

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‘Stay focused’ is charming advice (and commonly given to students!), but unless you’re a robot, it doesn’t really work. After four hours of lectures and five hours of work, your focus slips away and simply thinking can become a challenge like no other.

To combat this, instead of gritting your teeth whilst further hitting the books, try doing something a bit more active. You could try running, dancing or even kickboxing (there are plenty of societies that would love you to have a go). Exercising, although hard work at first, actually helps prevent fatigue, as well as boosting your mood and being a great way to meet new people. It’s win win!

Alternatively, try going for a wander around your neighbourhood or into town for some window shopping (a word of advice for the latter; only take your wallet if you wan’t to end up with some pretty useless stuff!). Giving your mind some fresh air and a change of scenery can really help lift your mood, so you’ll be ready to get stuck back into your studies on your return.

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I hope you enjoyed my tips to help keep student stress at bay. And if you ever feel that things are getting too much to handle, remember Newcastle University offers a free counselling service to all students, as well as advice, support and links with external services.

 

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