Identifying signs of unhealthy stress:
- Feeling tired all the time
- Feeling like you’re running on adrenaline all the time
- Being forgetful
- Experiencing headaches and tension especially in the head, neck and shoulders
- Poor appetite
- No longer interested in certain activities and don’t look forward to anything
- Increased anxiety and irritability
- Increased heart rate
- Blurred vision
Combatting stress with a healthy lifestyle:
- Eat healthily
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid caffeine later in the day
- Avoid drugs and excessive alcohol
- Get 8+ hours of sleep every night to keep your body rejuvenated
- Seek help and support when you need it
- Don’t let VCE overwhelm you—step back and give yourself time if you need to
- Put yourself first
- Spend time with your friends and family
- Keep doing the activities you love
- Get 8+ hours of sleep every night to keep your brain alert and memory sharp
Study/Social life balance:
Don’t just pencil in your homework in your timetable, but all the times you plan to relax, have some downtime and do other activities too.
If you feel guilty every time you try to take a break then you’ll never be able to relax! Unwinding and socialising =/= Procrastination
Balance is the key! Allocating your time will give you the best of both worlds—working hard towards an academic goal, and enjoying your year.
The activities I’m still going to enjoy and make time for in 2018 are:
Meditation is useful for
- Calming down before a SAC/exam
- Getting to sleep when your thoughts are keeping you up
- General relaxation
- Unwinding after a stressful school day/study session
- Having some alone time
Useful apps to download
- Smiling Mind
- The Mindfulness App
These are free from the App Store/Google Play and provide both breathing exercises and guided meditations. All you have to do is plug in your earphones and go! It’s a great way to end the day and banish any negative thoughts. Best of all, it’ll only take you five minutes.
Some breathing exercises to tide you over
- Simple breathing to help you calm down wherever and whenever: breathe in for 4 counts then out for 4 counts.
- To release physical tension: tighten then release each muscle group in your body at a time, breathing if for 5 counts as you tighten, then out for 5 counts as you release.
- Calming down before a SAC or exam: place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach and take a deep breath. Your breath should fill your stomach, not chest. Repeat 6 to 10 times.
Source: https://greatist.com/happiness/breathing-exercises-relax (Jordan Shakeshaft)
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