Stress is a part of our life. At the university, we are faced with many situations that are accompanied by stress. Just being in class can be stressful for some of us.
Chronic stress can sabotage your health, including acne, hair loss, sexual dysfunction, headaches, muscle tension, difficulty concentration, fatigue, and irritability.
Here are some tips on how you can deal with stress.
Accept that stress is part of life
When stressful situations arise, you should devote your efforts to doing what you can to move forward.
- Choose the right affirmations by using believable phrases. For example, instead of “I will be a successful person” say to yourself “I will try my best until I succeed”. Affirmations are positive statements that can help you overcome the self-destructive nature of the mind. They can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes.
- Learn how to accept compliments. When someone is complimenting you, they are sharing how what you did impacted them. It does not matter if you agree or disagree with what they are saying, just relate to it as a gift and accept it. Say thank you for the compliments.
- Don’t criticize yourself. When you criticize yourself, your self-esteem becomes even lower. Negative self-criticisms affect your health. You should never insult yourself, even if you think it is true since calling yourself out in this way won’t accomplish anything beneficial.
- Don’t compare yourself with others. Build your own life: define your skills and develop them, make your own plans. Especially, don’t compare yourself with bloggers, you never know what their life looks like in reality.
- If you are nervous about speaking in class, note down a couple of questions or responses to questions you could contribute. Try to make just one contribution in class as a starting point. When you have spoken once, you may find it easier to speak in front of the class in the future. If it is possible, write an email to the professor with your questions, after that it may be also become easier to ask questions during class.
Increase your subject knowledge
- Read your module handbook and any module information available at the start of the semester and revisit it throughout.
- Read and refer to your marking criteria and any other information given when preparing for assessments. Consider carefully what your tutors are looking for in that particular assessment.
- Read any essential texts that you have been set. Texts on your reading lists will be important in giving you a foundation to build your knowledge.
- Look up unfamiliar terms in dictionaries or subject-specific dictionaries.
- Plan and organize your study sessions. Remember to set a realistic goal before any study sessions. An unachievable goal will demotivate you and an unspecific one will make your work unfocussed. If you have a clearly defined goal, you will also be able to review whether you achieved it at the end of your study session.
- Make a note of your questions during a lecture.
- Actively engage in classes: take notes, work in small groups, answer tutor’s questions, and summarise your understanding of the class.
Review and reflect:
- Watch any recorded lectures again to ensure you have not missed anything.
- Allow yourself sufficient time for reflection. Learning is a difficult process, and you will not understand everything straight away.
- Reflect on the feedback from your assessments.
- Actively reflect on how your new knowledge compares with what you already know.
Take care of your physical health
You will not be able to combat stress if you are worn out and running on empty:
- Exercise – You don’t need to visit the gym every day. There are a lot of free videos on YouTube with exercises that you can do at home.
- Sleep well – Just plain being awake creates toxic in your brain. During sleep, your brain cells shrink, and fluid can flow past these cells and wash the toxins out. Also, during sleep, your brain tidies up ideas and concepts you’re thinking about and learning. It erases the less important parts of memories and strengthens areas that you need.
- Maintain a diet – Your diet should contain a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need to combat stress. Also, it is important to understand if you have emotional eating. Emotional eating is using food to make yourself feel better – to fill emotional needs rather than your stomach. And don’t eat certain foods as a reward for work done. Eat because you are hungry.
Balance social activity
You should maintain a healthy social life even when you are stressed and reserve time to be alone with your thoughts. Don’t check social media as soon as you wake up. Schedule a social media detox day every week or every 2 weeks. Talk with people more, than chat with. Talk with people more, than chat through messages. Talking in person or by video, you express more feelings. All of these can help to take care of your mental health.
Find time to relax
Plan some days off, find activities, and don’t study these days. If you will study every single day without relaxing, you will burn out. Also, it is also ok to spend time laying on a bed and watching movies. You don’t always need to do special activities.
Never think about failure
Do not imagine in advance that you did not have time to prepare or that you failed a test or exam. Plan your time with planners or to-do lists so that you will have time to do everything and during the test, you will think only about assignments.
Don’t be mad at yourself for failures and don’t give up
Analyze the situation, determine why this happened and how it can be avoided in the future. After all stressful situations, do an analysis to know how to reduce stress.
Talk with your friends and relatives
Talk about your university life with other people, describe your feelings and worries. Maybe your friend experienced the same difficulties as you and this person will be able to help you or at least will understand you. If you have difficulties with finding friends, you can find people to talk to in different communities. For example, study communities on discord have channels where you can ask for help.
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