Wednesday 1 November 2017

Useful Techniques to Manage Stress: Stress Awareness Day

Tazmin shares her experience of stress and some useful techniques to manage it, in support of National Stress Awareness Day.

- Tazmin

The first step to dealing with stress is to accept and acknowledge that you are feeling stressed; avoidance will only cause it to become more life-affecting.

As a society I feel we can accept stress as a part of our everyday lives. I believe that this attitude is completely flawed and must be changed.

Although university may be considered some of the best years of your young adult life, it can also cause a great deal of stress due to both external and internal factors.

We are constantly surrounded by and reminded of change; we are away from home, and are in a completely new environment. We have to deal with higher and more complex amounts of money. We are surrounded by new and different kinds of people in new social situations. Our work load and level may be greater than what we have dealt with before. It is natural, especially in the first year of university, to feel overwhelmed by all that is happening around you.

Stress is a part of our biology, just like it is with animals. It is vital for our survival; having both negatives and positives. Animals only know instinctive fear, that is, if a rabbit sees a fox it will run as fast as possible and hide in order to protect itself from what it feels – death.

We as people have a similar response to things which threaten the balance in our lives. Sometimes people thrive under a stressful situation. I have known people who have left their dissertation rather late and the pressure of having to get it done means they do in a short amount of time and achieve very high grades. There are other people who do not respond so well to stress, in which it has negative effects on their wellbeing, their grades and happiness. These are two simple cases of the ‘fight or flight response’.

When stress starts to impact your life in many areas this is when it may become life-altering. Often times when someone is feeling high stress they very well may begin to avoid the things that are causing them stress and when they are finally faced with the reality of it, this can cause them to feel worse and maybe even cause a bout of ill mental health.

There are many effective techniques to help you deal and manage this. If you’re truly feeling the full weight of stress talk to your tutors, student support officer and other peers in regards to getting support from them. Do not bottle it up – it’s simply not worth it.

- Schedule: Form a schedule that works for you. Make sure it is a realistic one, ensuring you still have social time and time for yourself. It is so important to keep restoring balance in your new university lifestyle.

- Exercise: Find some form of outlet that is healthy for you, such as joining the gym, going for a run, practicing meditation, yoga –something active that releases endorphins and takes your mind off everything else.

- Sleep: Depending on how you are and what your social life is like, having a good sleeping pattern can only benefit your brain and your stress levels. If you’re constantly overtired, due to frantic sleeping patterns, this is not going to help. Take a step back, do social things in the day and try to get to sleep at the same hour and for 8 hours each night.

- Writing: As a writer, I find this really helps me get all my thoughts, worries and feelings out – we are reflective beings and writing only has positive effects. Write down your stresses and see what it reveals. Use it as a therapy.

- Goals: Set yourself realistic goals, weekly. Put this alongside your schedule but be realistic and don’t expect to write 5000 word essays each day.

- Relax: Find your own comfortable way to relax; mine used to be put all technology away and go for a nice long walk as the sunset.

Understand that stress, to a certain extent can be productive for us, but not all the time. It is a part of university life, but it doesn’t have to be a constant part of it. Take things at your own pace. Try not to let the university lifestyle cause you stress and panic. Everything is new and changing. Enjoy it because when you look back, you won’t remember the days you were stressed, you’ll remember the days you were happy.

Hey guys, it’s Tazmin. My journey suffering with severe depression and anxiety has been a difficult one; but I would not be who I am today had I not accepted my illness and worked to get better. I have just graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a First in Film and Media Production, something which I thought I'd never do.  I’ve had my blog Awareness for two years and it has been so rewarding for me; I want my writing to help, inspire and touch people. I now wish to support and encourage anyone who is suffering through university with this blog. Happy reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment