Six Ways to Manage Stress

We often associate the word stress with negative feelings, but the reality is that stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to both positive and negative situations in life. Stress itself isn’t a bad thing, it can even be good for us. It is the way that we deal with stress that is important. The adrenaline that comes as part of our stress response can be motivating and help us to perform better, but if we are unable to identify ways to manage stressful events in our life it can lead to a range of negative reactions, including:

  • Avoiding or escaping the situation
  • a change in appetite 
  • The inability to concentrate
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating 
  • Panic 
  • The feeling that something bad is going to happen.

This Stress Awareness Month we are exploring ways to reduce stress and anxiety. The following lifestyle hacks will help you to manage stressful situations, setting you up for a positive and enjoyable college experience.

Sleep matters

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Sleep

Data suggests that we spend about a third of our lives asleep. Sleep is essential to our wellbeing and is as important to our bodies as eating, drinking, and breathing. 

Sleep contributes to good mental and physical health, and it can help us to recover from mental as well as physical exertion.

Stress can have a negative impact on our sleep pattern, so it is important to manage stress levels and maintain a positive routine to ensure you are getting enough sleep.

Allowing your mind and body to relax before going to sleep will mean that you have a better chance of switching off. Remove distractions that will keep the mind active, such as using your mobile phone or doing your coursework straight before trying to sleep. Take a bath to wind to down, watch some TV or read a book.

Healthy Eating

Stress diverts blood flow away from your digestive system, which can lead to bloating and discomfort. Eating a healthy diet provides the body with the energy to manage stressful situations. A balanced diet stabilises blood sugars and controls the body’s adrenal function which is where our stress response is managed.

Try to eat small regular meals to maintain energy and a positive mood. 

Try not to skip meals and avoid convenience foods that offer little in the way of nutrients and limit drinks that are high in caffeine.

Emotional eating can often occur when we feel that we are not entirely in control, so try to remain focussed and stick to your plan of regular healthy meals and snacks. 

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Healthy Eating

Exercise

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Exercise

Exercise makes us feel as though we have achieved something and being able to exercise outdoors and with a friend increases the benefits further. You don’t have to do a high-intensity workout, any form of exercise that raises the heart rate will result in the production of endorphins, which make us feel good. Add on the fresh air and good company and you will feel relaxed, happy, and refreshed.

The college offers a range of clubs and societies to help you stay fit and healthy, and all students can access the college gym for just £20 per year. Visit the VLE or LRC to find out more and sign up. 

Talking

Isolation can have an extremely negative impact on your happiness. Regular contact with your friends and family will reduce your stress levels and improve your mood.

Additionally, talking to other students on your course will help you to manage any concerns you may have about college or your coursework. This can help put things in perspective and you may find yourselves sharing ways in which to cope with similar concerns.

At CRC we have a friendly and welcoming student wellbeing team. If you’re worried, stressed or upset about anything you can access the college wellbeing services through the VLE or by visiting The HUB. 

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Talk to friends

Time Management

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Manage your time

Feeling as though you just don’t have enough time to fit everything in can lead to feelings of stress. Effective time management can eliminate these feelings and help you to feel more relaxed and focused.

Use a calendar or create a timetable that will enable to you to see deadlines, existing commitments, and the time you have available for social activities and relaxation. It is important to have a good balance of study, work, and social activities along with some free time to just chill out.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or feel overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. Taking the time to relax and focus on the here and now calms the mind and encourages relaxation.

One of the most accessible ways to practice mindfulness is through the use of free smartphone apps such as The Mindfulness App, Calm and Headspace. Alternatively, the college has a range of resources on the VLE to support you with keeping a positive mind. 

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Practice mindfulness

Access a range of resources for Stress Awareness Month 2022.

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