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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 May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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