The 3rd November is National Stress Awareness Day. With over 100,000 learners across the world who are juggling studying with life’s other commitments, we wanted to share our advice on how to recognise the signs of stress, and our top tips for reducing your stress levels.
Recognising the signs of stress
Stress can manifest itself in a number of different ways. Some people might know instantly when they feel stressed, whereas others may trying to carry on as normal with the feeling that ‘something’s not right’, but not recognising the sign of stress.
Some of the common things to look out for that may indicate stress include:
- Irritability, anger and impatience.
- Anxiousness or feeling nervous.
- A sense of dread and feeling like you can’t enjoy yourself.
- A lack of self confidence.
- Like you can’t switch off, you might have racing thoughts.
- Behaviors such as finding it hard to make decisions, biting your nails, picking at your skin and snapping at people.
- If you smoke or drink, you might find that you’re doing those things more often than before.
- You may also experience physical symptoms such as hyperventilating, muscle tension, headaches and chest pains.
How to deal with stress – our top tips
Again, everyone is different and everyone has different methods of coping with stress. Try different ways of managing and see what works best for you, no two days are the same. Some of our top tips for coping with stress include:
- Exercise regularly – even if it’s going for a lunchtime walk. Exercise will relieve your mental stress and release endorphins, helping you to feel happier.
- Reduce your caffeine intake and drink more water instead – this will help you to think more clearly and stop you feeling wired which can make you feel more stressed.
- Light a candle – aromatherapy is proven to reduce stress levels, particularly if you choose a calming scent such as lavender which will help you to unwind and destress.
- Laugh – watching a tv show or film that never fails to make you laugh, or even hanging out with friends who make you smile, will help alleviate stress and make you feel lighter.
- Write it down – focus on the positives in your life and write down the things you are grateful for. Try to do this daily and you’ll find yourself looking for the positives rather than the negative things in life that make you feel stressed.
- Break things down – if you’ve got lots to do, such as juggling studying with working, and other life commitments, try and split up your big tasks into small chunks so they feel more achievable.
Life is busy, and it can feel even more so coming out of 18 months of lockdowns where life was more slow paced – we had nowhere to go and nowhere to be!
Stress is more common now than you may think, but if you feel like you’re battling with the feeling of stress often, please don’t forget you can get help.
The NHS have created a ‘mind plan‘ where you answer five questions to get advice that could help you, and organisations such as Mind offer a list of treatment options that you could consider. Visit the Mind website for more information.