This week on The Clinic, Michael and Steph discuss all the techniques they use to help them de-stress when life gets too on top of them. These tips would be useful in a multitude of sitations such as if you are waiting for a counselling appointment, if you are building up the courage to talk about your issues or just when life and stress is too much and you want an hour of time out!
Here are some of the top tips that Michael and Steph suggest to help relieve your stress and chill you out:
1. Don’t forget about the bare necessities: Eating, sleeping and drinking water can often take a back seat when life gets too busy but don’t forget about them! These are the three things that allow our bodies to function properly, and will stop you from getting ill. Try not to put your physical wellbeing to one side just because life has gotten busy.
2. Food is Goooood: Cooking a meal from scratch is a great form of art therapy, as not only is it productive but also the product is delicious. Making sure you get all the right nutrients will give you natural energy and will boost your immune system so you ensure your body doesn’t fail you when you need it most! Some of the student budget friendly cook books we recommend are The Hungry Healthy Student and Nosh for Students. BBC Good Food is also a great place to find simple, yummy recipes that don’t take too long to do.
3. Catch some zzzzzs: Getting enough sleep is vital for brain functioning and for protecting your body from getting ill. When life gets busy you can often think you don’t have enough time for luxuries such as sleeping, but in reality we need it to work at the best of our ability. The Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App is a great way to calculate how much sleep you should be getting a night. Also The Calm App will help you to wind down as it provides guided meditation sessions, sleep stories and relaxing nature noises.
4. Sweat it out: Taking an hour or two out of your day won’t hurt, especially if you spend it going for a walk or to the gym. Exercise is good for the body and the mind; it releases happy endorphins and also improves your physical wellbeing. You can go for a virtual walk in the park (like Michael did on our show!!) or you can go for a real walk for a few minutes and clear away the cobwebs. Even if you are super busy and stressed, some fresh air will rejuvenate you and will hopefully give you a fresh perspective.
5. Caffeine isn’t always the answer: If you are finding yourself stressed or anxious, maybe try putting down the coffee or energy drink! Not only does caffeine keep us feeling more jittery, but it can increase the amount of headaches you have! Having caffeine 6-8 hours before sleep can prevent you from winding down properly, so a better alternative would be lush decaffeinated teas like peppermint or camomile.
6. Take Advantage of the University Resources: If you find you are struggling at uni, there are plenty of online resources that you can use on the student intranet! The student wellbeing page also offers lots of advice and places where you can go for help on campus. The Student Minds Service also offers lots of help and sessions on campus specifically for those with for eating disorders.
7. Online Services: There are plenty of places you can go on the internet that offer support and help if you are struggling. Mood Gym is one place you can go that offers online CBT courses that help you to turn negative thought patterns into positive ones, so you will be able to deal with bad situations in better ways. The MIND Charity website is also great at offering useful ways to cope with a multitude of difficult situations.
8. Music: Songs can have the ability to get you up and dancing even in the foulest of moods. Music can also make you feel less isolated, as the lyrics can speak to us in and make us realise that we are not alone in our emotions. Here are some of our favourites:
Michael- Fall into Place by Apartment
Gemma- Mean by Taylor Swift
9. Film and TV: Having a film night can be a great way to recharge and take yourself away from the stresses you are having to deal with. They can lift your mood up, or also in a similar way to music they can help you feel less alone with the difficult situations and emotions you are dealing with because you can find you relate to the characters and situations. Some of our favourites to help us de-stress were Crazy EX Girlfriend, Spongebob, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Inside Out etc.
10. Apps: There are plenty of apps out there that are designed to chill us out. Mindless games like Candy Crush are good at distracting us when you need a quick time out, but also Flowy is a game designed to help you with your breathing when you are feeling especially anxious. Headspace is also a good app at providing guided medication sessions that allow you to plug in your headphones and help you feel more in the present. Tracking apps like Worry Watch and Migraine Buddy are also great at helping you manage your health and understand your body a bit more.
Disclaimer: We are by no means professions, and are giving advice based on our own experiences and opinions on what we would do in these situations. If you feel affected by anything we talk about on our show, please seek extra help via the university’s services or counselling.
If you are struggling, please look into the support services that the university offers here.
“Ladies, We Need To Talk”
There is an endless number of articles with tips on how to throw yourself a day of self-love, all of them including a range of activities from spa days to shopping sprees. However, I’ve noticed that very few offer activities that are ‘student friendly’ (aka. aren’t heavy on the wallet), which seemed strange to me because students are most definitely in need of some self-love. I know that term-time can put a massive strain on your mental health, meaning it is ever more crucial to take days to put yourself first. So, without further ado, here are some (simple) tips on how to have a self-love day which doesn’t put a strain on your bank account. Firstly, spend a little more time in bed in the morning. Now, this doesn’t mean hitting snooze and having five more minutes like you do every other day, it means taking the time to wake up naturally, so you feel refreshed and ready to take on the day ahead. Once you’ve done that – turn off your social media notifications and have a detox for the day. It’s no secret that social media can put a massive strain on your mental health, so turning it off for the day can be massively beneficial. You’ll find you enjoy everything much more without your phone beeping every five seconds. Finally, make sure you have a chill evening with those you love the most. My favourite thing to do is to cook a meal as a group before sitting down and watching a film. Cooking something tasty together can be incredibly rewarding and taking the time to enjoy it together whilst watching something uplifting (see our recommendations earlier in the post if you need some inspiration) makes it that bit sweeter.
Read Gemma’s blog here:
Ladies, We Need To Talk