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How Students Can Combat Stress, Depression, and Anxiety

How Students Can Combat Stress, Depression, and Anxiety

As the first term of the school year comes to a close, and with finals on the horizon, many students are facing burnout and excessive levels of stress. This, in turn, can also trigger elevated levels of anxiety and depression, because let’s face it: crunch time at school is never easy.

Many people don’t realize that there are physical side effects associated with stress, depression, and anxiety. The physical implications of these overwhelming feelings include, but are not limited to: headaches, stomach pains, anger, irritability, and changes in blood pressure, appetite, sex drive, and sleeping patterns.

In order to excel at educational endeavors, students must not sink into stress and other cognitive conditions. They must figure out ways of coping with and addressing roadblocks to scholastic success. It’s not always easy, but there are many ways to swim back to the surface!

1. Practical Stress Management Techniques

School and stress oftentimes go hand and hand, especially around tests and final exams. Fortunately, there’re a plethora of ways to take stress ‘by the horns’. Meditation, exercise, seeking tutoring and pursuing creative endeavors are all fantastic ways to reset and brush off stress.

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2. Meditating To Clear Your Busy Brain

An article by Grade Potential Tutoring highlights an approachable meditation technique that will aid in melting away stress for students of any age.

  • Sit in a comfortable position and focus your attention on your breathing.
  • Count each breath. Breathe in, breathe out, one, breathe in, breathe out, two, etc.
  • Continue until you reach ten and then start again.
  • If you lose count, go back to one.
  • If you have any thoughts or become aware of outside noises, acknowledge them, then let them go and return to your meditation.
  • Continue the exercise for five to fifteen minutes.

As you become more practiced in this meditation, you may wish to do it for longer periods of time and focus on the feel of your breath as it enters and leaves your body.

Other forms of meditation can also be helpful with stress management. There are many guides on meditation in previous Lifehack articles. These include meditation tipstechniques, and suggestions on meditation apps to help clear your head.

3. A Boost of Endorphins Can Defeat Stress

Sometimes the best way to work through stress is to distract your body and mind in a healthy way. Whether you’re casually burning calories or dedicated to a routine at a gym, getting your blood pumping helps alleviate stress.

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Personally, my favorite way to experience positive emotions associated with elevated endorphins is to go on a long bicycle ride. I also enjoy hiking when weather permits.

But no matter what you’re doing to exercise, both your mind and body will thank you.

4. Tutors Are Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

Oftentimes, a particularly challenging course can get the best of students and stress is a corollary byproduct. This doesn’t mean that you’re any less intelligent for struggling, it just may require a little extra dedication in order to be successful.

If struggles become persistent, oftentimes a tutor can be a roadmap to navigating your success.

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5. Relocating Perpetuates Stress

A major stressor for students, especially college students and those studying abroad, is moving. Whether moving to a dorm at your hometown university or relocating across the world, it’s usually undeniably stressful.

An article by Life Storage, titled 5 Essential Tips for a Less Stressful Move offers these crucially important moving tips:

  • Prepare to be disorganized. You can’t move in a day, so slow down and move at a logical pace.
  • Pack a transition bag. Toiletries, medications, a few sets of clothes, and of course, important electronics and accessories should be packed separately.
  • Set aside move-in supplies. This includes items such as tools, cooking/cleaning supplies, a first aid kit, and bedding.
  • Declutter storage areas first. You want access to closets, cupboards, and dressers first thing!
  • Make a check-off list and schedule easy-to-forget moving tasks. Plan this a month or more in advance so that you won’t stress as much when moving day inevitably sneaks up on you.

6. Students Face Depression and Anxiety As Well

On top of feeling overwhelmed and stressed, many students also face depression and anxiety. Of the large number of students recently surveyed for the National College Health Assessment, 33% were severely depressed and 55% were overwhelming anxious.

Mental illnesses are still frequently encapsulated by heavy, unwarranted stigmas. So learning to live with these type of cognitive conditions can be a huge challenge, especially when bullying or unfair pressures are persistent.

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All of the above-mentioned techniques for managing stress segue into treating depression, anxiety, and other mental illness. But it’s important to mention that counseling and/or medications may be necessary to live more comfortably with depression and anxiety.

The best starting point is consulting family and close friends you trust for help and guidance; then seeking help and support from counselors or other professionals becomes much more comfortable.

Remember that approaching depression and anxiety starts by getting support from those you trust and is built up by counseling, medications, or a combination of the two.

If seeking counsel is difficult due to insurance issues or other limitations, many universities offer counseling services at a sliding scale payment. This means you pay what you can afford because your seeking help is mutually beneficial to graduate students in this line of work, and of course, yourself!

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Robert Parmer

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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