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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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