Study Skills: Stress
College life can be challenging and it's easy to get anxious about exams and assignments as as well feeling at times that it's all getting too much. It's easy to say that you shouldn't get stressed, but life isn't that simple. This page offers a number of tips on avoiding and reducing stress. Hopefully at least some of them might work for you if you do feel stressed. Firstly, listen to your body and identify when you are feeling stressed, you might:
- have a fast heartbeat
- be sweating
- have a clenched jaw
- feel sick
- have aches, pains or tense muscles
- be worrying all the time
When you can identify when you are stressed, you can start taking steps to reduce your stress levels. These tips might help, yes, some might be easier said that done, but at least think about them.
- Say "no" more often. If somebody asks you to do something that will make you feel stressed, politely, but assertively, say no. Don't take on extra activities if you think you're doing too much already
- Don't be a perfectionist: setting unrealistic goals for yourself will only add to your stress levels
- Adopt good time management and study practices
- Try to reduce time spent on social media and the Internet in general. There's some evidence that spending time on social media sites increases stress levels, which in turn, leads to more social media use (and more stress...)
- Get a good night's sleep
- Change your diet. A healthier diet will improve how you feel.
- Eat more fruit and vegetables
- Eat less processed food
- Drink less alcohol
- Exercise more. Exercise boosts energy levels, increases concentration, and strengthens your heart. Exercise also makes you feel better. You don't have to run a marathon, a 30 minute walk is enough.
- Aim for a better work/study life balance. You need to study, but you also need to take some time to do things that you enjoy doing. Always find a little time for yourself.
- Try a relaxation technique like deep breathing, or meditation.
- Talk to someone - don't bottle up how you feel. Talk to your friends or family members. Even if they can't give you good advice, they can listen and sometimes that's enough. Does your college or training centre have a support or counselling service? Talk to them.
- Try to take things one day at a time - don't dwell on the past or worry too much about the future.