As we approach the end of the Fall term here at Laurier, students tend to share some common anxieties across the campus: with exams coming up, tests, essays and etc., it can be nerve-racking and stressful.
Outside of school, we may have to balance our education pressures with the demands of romance, family and finances as well. Everyone handles these demands differently; some keep it together more often than others, but from time to time, even the most level-headed and cool-minded of us can slip-up at times.
Anxiety spiralling, worrying and depression can catch up to us when we’re feeling overwhelmed, so what are a few ways that we can address these stressors and regain our composure?
Physical activity reduces stress by increasing the brain’s production of endorphins; these can make us feel nice and relaxed, as well as feeling happier. Exercise can also help to stimulate cognitive function and focus, which might just help you tackle those school assignments more efficiently afterwards.
While exercise makes us feel good mentally in the short-term, it will also improve the physical health of our body in the long-term. So, consider it doing your future-self favour as well! Two birds with one stone.
Meditation is another great way to calm yourself and refocus when feeling stressed out or under pressure. In a few minutes, one can achieve a meditative state feeling calm, relaxed and re-centred.
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of quieting the mind and becoming grounded in reality by drawing yourself away from your thoughts and into your physical body. We shift our focus onto our physical sensations; breathing, touch and sound.
When a thought comes into the mind, we allow it to pass back out without judgement, and focus again on our immediate presence. Find a quiet and comfortable spot, put on some zen music and give it a try.
Talk to Someone
It’s alright to take a break here and there to improve your sense of personal well-being. Although many of us may be getting the majority of our human interaction through the screen of a cell phone or laptop, it’s a good idea to physically speak to others at times!
Call up a friend, a family member or even visit the Wellness Center to talk to a therapist if you feel the need and things are difficult. They’re there to help you, and their services are covered in the cost of your tuition. Don’t be afraid to make friends either: we’re all in this together.
Some background music can help ease our tensions while we study or work away. Try swapping out your usual playlist for something softer to help change the mood. Streaming services, like Spotify and Youtube, give us all access to an incredibly expansive database of relaxing ambient tunes. Piano, nature sounds, classical and even soft electronica can be nice to unwind to. Discover your zen music and play it as often as you can!
Keep a Journal
Sometimes when we’re feeling overwhelmed, we just need to release the floodgates on a whole lot of accumulating emotions or ruminating thoughts. Keeping a journal to track our thoughts, release our worries and even to practice beneficial positive self-talk can go along ways towards improving our daily moods. Sometimes the person that we need to speak with the most is actually ourselves!
Hopefully, some of these tips will be able to help you out in a pinch. Life is stressful and university life can at times can double that stress. But it’s important that we never forget that we are not powerless, and when we fall, we can always pick ourselves back up.