5 Ways to Cope with Stressful Student Life During Crisis | ISIC Australia
Stuck at home during a lockdown? We listed some things any student can do while social distancing, to keep the stress levels down!
Student life is no cakewalk at the best of times. Those infamous party scenes from the Hollywood movies look a lot different in reality, with all-day drinking replaced with lecture halls and all night studying. Throw in a global pandemic, and you have a student population that really is at the brink. So how can students cope with both the stress of their studies, and with the added pressures of an international crisis? We all have our own coping mechanisms, but here are 5 great all-around tips:
1. Give yourself something to look forward to
You know that feeling when you’re a kid and you get a present when you achieve something? Well, sometimes we need to motivate ourselves that way even when we grow up. So, rather than focusing on the stress you’re feeling right now and giving in to these feelings, instead try to focus on the long term. Give yourself something to look forward to; some positive to cling to. For instance, you could decide to treat yourself to a soothing body massage at your favourite salon as soon as small local businesses start to reopen. After all those days and nights at your desk, you deserve some relaxation. You could even plan a short trip with your friends or your partner. A weekend getaway will clear your head and ensure you’re ready to return to school refreshed and raring to go. You could also plan to simply go home for a few days to check in with friends and family.
2. Know what’s going on
It’s easy to feel stressed when you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, or what’s going on. And while no one can say with any certainty what’s going to happen in terms of the virus itself, what we do know is what support is being offered for Australian students. If you have a supermarket job, for example, you’re allowed to work more than your stipulated hours to help businesses handle increased demand at this time, which can help with financial causes of stress.
“This initiative will give international students more flexibility to work while studying and also allow employers to meet demand during a busy period.”
- Minister for Education Dan Tehan
All schools will have their own protocols in place for cancelling, delaying, or postponing upcoming examinations. If you find that you need to complete test papers or evaluations at this time, stay focused and commit all your time to those exams. Be sure to check out some tips for last-minute exams. Also try branching out beyond study to think about some other ways to ace your exams like snacking on brain-boosting foods, sleeping well, and knowing when to switch off your brain.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says that, the older we get, the less likely we are to meet physical activity guidelines. While 61% of 2-5 year olds get their daily dose of exercise, that drops to just 48% of the 18+ population. And as we all know, exercise is said to be one of the best ways to relieve stress and tension. Of course, the current ‘stay at home’ orders are making it difficult to do all the things we normally would, such as walking, running, cycling, or going to the gym. But it’s certainly not impossible to work off some steam within the confines of your four walls. Why not try putting on some music and having a dance, trying out some yoga poses, or even dusting off the old Twister and having a game on your own? Working out once or twice a week will improve both your body and your mind.
Guess what? You can keep yourself safe and see your friends during this time. In fact, having a strong support system in place is one of the best ways to manage stress. All you need is a connected device! You can go to virtual dorm parties or to club events to have some booze and dance your stress away. And if you’re living on a shoestring budget, you may be pleasantly surprised to see just how much you can save by not spending out at the pub every night. So, when you notice that you’re losing your focus, or you’re feeling anxious, just arrange a virtual meet up with your mates and chat about what’s on your mind.
Most campuses in Australia offer a wide range of activities for students, from freshmen to graduates. Taking up a hobby at university might help you relieve stress. And while you may not be able to join in with a new club right now, it doesn’t mean you can’t start practising your new skill. It would be even more interesting to start doing something you’ve never done before. Who knows, maybe you realise you’re a natural for reciting poetry or making crochet pot holders! Another benefit of a new hobby is the fact that you’ll entertain your brain with something innovative and relaxing. That way, it will have some time to take a rest from studying and stressing.
Even though student life can be challenging - especially when you throw in a global crisis, you can protect your mental health by taking just a few simple steps. So, think about things that make you happy and spend your new-found free time doing them. That way, you’ll build a strong firewall against stress and exhaustion. From physical exercise and small pleasures to virtual socialisation and new hobbies, there're many ways to live a relaxing student life.
Sarah Pelham is the Beauty & Wellness Expert for Bookwell.com.au, an online platform for instant bookings for hair, nails, beauty & massage appointments. For nearly four years Sarah has worked closely with hundreds of salon owners within the beauty and wellness industries. She has her finger on the pulse of new trends in this growing market.
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- Sarah Pelham is the Beauty & Wellness Expert for Bookwell.com.au