How to Alleviate Mental Stress
Brace yourself, finals are coming. So are end of the semester athletic tournaments, due dates for term papers, due dates for applications into grad school or medical school or law school etc. And let’s not forget Christmas shopping, the list just gets bigger and bigger! Not only do you have a pile of things to do, the weather is getting colder and you are getting sicker. This time of year is arguably a very stressful time for students physically and mentally.
Physical ailments are easy to see and therefore can be treated more easily. If you get a cold, you know that you can take over the counter cold medicine to treat it. People often don’t know how to treat mental ailments. Mental health among students is a very important issue, especially during this time of the year when mental stressors are high. Since treating stress can sometimes be like stabbing in the dark, here are five ways that can start you off on your journey to alleviating mental stress.
Depending on the person, you might have a tendency to value your schoolwork, your extracurricular activities, your friends and your families. It’s easy to forget all about scheduling in time for the most important thing: yourself. Take the time to be kind to yourself: treat yourself the way you would treat someone that you deeply care about. If you get a great mark on a test, then treat yourself to something – I would personally let myself indulge in some extra dessert. If you didn’t do as great as you wanted, then remind yourself that you tried. Effort should never go unnoticed.
Take Care of Your Body
Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. You have one body to take care of so make sure you treat it well. You can start off by trying to:
- Get enough sleep for your body. This means maybe staying up late to watch that extra episode of Game of Thrones might not be such a great idea!
- Eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of water: bring a water bottle with you everywhere you go!
- Input some daily physical activity into your life. If you live close enough, try walking to and from school!
Surround Yourself with Positive People
Isolation can make coping with stress even harder. Make sure to create a positive environment by surrounding yourself with positive people. If you’re feeling stressed, then talk to a close friend, a counselor, your RA if you live in a residence or give a family member a quick call. The idea is to reach out to people that will support you and make you feel like you matter. This can help you get perspective and assistance in going towards your goals—your friends and families want to see you succeed!
Set Realistic Goals
Stress can occur when you have too much on your plate. If you find that this is the case, it’s time to take some stuff off that plate. Decide on your most important academic, professional and personal goals and then prioritize them. You should aim high, but always remember to be realistic. When it comes down to it, would you rather be a jack-of-all-trades or be a master of one?
Taking breaks seems like a logical thing to do when you’re stressed. However, it’s important to know how to take smart breaks: self-care and treating yourself doesn’t mean indulging in every desire and avoiding your responsibilities. What you do during your breaks and the length of your breaks matter. For example, if you decide to watch an episode of Game of Thrones for your break, tell yourself you will only watch one episode and act on it. This will limit the probability that you procrastinate. Whatever kind of breaks you take, make sure that they rejuvenate you and motivate you to accomplish your goals.
These tips are here to provide you with a general guideline on how to deal with mental stress. What you choose to do is completely up to you. Remember that even though no on can completely avoid mental stress, it’s important to know how to prevent or treat it. Will you take control of your mental stress or will you let it take control of you?