Whether you’re in full-time education or pursuing an online course, studying can be stressful for even the most relaxed students. If you’re feeling worried or overwhelmed, you’re not alone.
We have compiled the following list of stress-relievers to help you concentrate on your learning goals.
During times of stress, it is tempting to turn to “comfort” foods such as fast food and ready-made meals. Ironically, these food choices create more stress in the long run as they are high in fat and sugar which can make you feel lethargic and less able to deal with stress. A healthy and varied diet will give you the nutrients you need to boost your immune system and thereby boost your brain power. You should aim to eat high-fibre, carbohydrate-rich foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables which can help with stress. Remember: healthy minds lead to healthy bodies!
A good night’s sleep can help reduce the effects of stress. Sleep deprivation affects how you think and can therefore impair your ability to judge situations. Sleeping is important because it recharges the body and enhances memory retention which boosts productivity. Ensure you get at least eight hours of sleep a day and follow a regular wake and sleep schedule, even at the weekend.
Physical exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health and it can reduce stress. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which make you feel good. Regular exercise can help you to relax and lower the symptoms associated with anxiety and stress. Aim to do at least an hour’s exercise a week; try daily walks or even yoga. Remember: if your body feels better, so does your mind.
Regular breaks improve both focus and attention. Humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish; our brains cannot focus for eight hours at time. Switching your mind to something different can help you recharge energy and regain concentration. Taking a break should not mean checking Facebook or Twitter as this can make you feel more tired than you are. Choose an activity away from your desk and your screen so that you come back refreshed and refocused; spend time walking outdoors or listen to music to clear and calm your mind. Ensure you take a 15-minute break every 90 minutes to avoid burnout.
Laughter is the best medicine
When it comes to relieving stress, laughter is just what the doctor ordered. A good, hearty session of laughter has been proven to reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress. Laughter stimulates circulation and encourages your muscles to relax so much that the benefits can be felt for the rest of the day. Find what makes you laugh and include it in your daily routine. Meet with friends, watch a live comedy show, or even try laughter yoga.