Anyone can get stress from any situation. Dealing with stress does not have to be a boring routine. Stress-reducing activities are simple, relaxing, and you can do them anywhere. Find out why Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in students increased since COVID-19, and ways to stop them!!
Stress is your body’s response to the physical, mental, and emotional pressure beyond your coping ability. Stress is a silent killer which is responsible for 60% of health issues in your body. Students are more prone to stress since the pandemic.
Let’s see the severity of mental health issues on students.
Onset of Covid-19 Pandemic: Surge in Mental Health Issues
Covid-19 has brought stern changes in our lives. People avoid areas of heavy public congestion to stay safe from any contagious virus.
If you are a student you will know the effects pandemic has brought in your life. You are expected to change your mode of education and take online classes to continue your semester. Many students have seen the demise of their loved ones in the pandemic.
Because of these sudden changes, students have faced extreme mental and emotional pressure.
Lee, Jeong, and Kimshows in their research show that in the US alone, the early stage of Covid-19 pandemic has marked increased stress in undergraduate students.
The research concluded that about two-third of students never used any mental health services. Moreover,
- 88% students had moderate to severe stress
- 44% students had moderate to severe anxiety
- 36% students had moderate to severe depression
The students that were most vulnerable to these mental health issues were female, rural, low-income(below 22K), and academically underperforming students(cgpa<2.0).
The infographic shows the the need for mental health education in students and 10 Stress-management strategies for students to relax.
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Coping with Stress
Stress is called a silent killer. Why??
Because stress affects your hormones, blood pressure, memory, sleep pattern, appetite, immune system, and cholesterol. That’s a lot of damage to your health.
But you don’t have to worry about it. Managing stress at the initial level is FREE, EASY, and you can do it ANYWHERE. Stress management at the initial level is done by altering your physical, mental, and emotional status, even without taking any medications. Yay!!
Managing stress in the initial level is your best health investment.
Reduce Your Stress with 10 Easy Activities
1. Take a deep breath
This is a simple breathing exercise. Sit still, relax your body, and try to forget your anxieties. Now, take a deep breath count till 5. Exhale and repeat.
This exercise relaxes you in minutes. When you breathe slowly your heart slows down, signaling your nervous system – it’s time to calm down man.
2. Write yourself a motivational letter
You think no one understands you? Why not write a letter to yourself?
Make an inspiring note. You may add affirmations of your choice, and end the letter with motivation you want.
Just add your name here if you don’t have any clue:
I know you are going through a lot. But I know you will be great(insert what you want to be) some day. Keep it up and never give up.
Keep a bunch of self motivating notes somewhere. Whenever you are stressed out, pop one out and read it. You will feel calm and composed.
This is a self motivation technique to calm you. It is your words pushing you to get up on your feet and face that day!
3. Brush up dance moves
If you feel no interest in doing any paperwork then this step is for you. Gen Zs are blessed with all the viral(and cringey) dance moves.
Take 5 minutes to practice a crazy step. Take up a viral challenge(safe, ofcourse). This might sound goofy, but it works brilliantly.
Dancing helps your body release endorphins and finishing a challenge motivates you. The result is positive energy and good vibes!
4. Snacks to help
Certain foods are mood boosters. Your empty stomach makes stress worse. So grab a healthy snack, sip your tea and see magic happen.
Try out variations in your snack including dark chocolate, bananas, oats, and berries. These foods release stress-reducing hormones that will elevate your mood. Stress managing activity sounds delicious.
Find out which visuals make you happy. Feeling calm starts with your mind. Here check the following steps to reach your calm space:
- Plug in your favorite soundtrack
- Get into a comfortable position
- Close your eyes
- Visualize your happy place
This step will manage your stress in an hour, and you’ll end up sleeping like a baby. Visualizing is a guided imagery technique that helps to shift your focus from stress to something peaceful.
6. Keep a Happy Face
You have been told to keep a stiff upper lip to compose your emotions. Many, like me, feel an outburst of emotions that are difficult to control. What is needed is a big laugh. Do you need to force it? Yes you do.
Force smiling releases a stress-reducing hormone that boosts your happiness level, and it’s also free.
7. Clean rooms
Your room mirrors your personality. A cluttered room shows a cluttered personality.
Start by arranging your desk, flipping bits of paper in bins, and re-ordering your books from frequently read to least. Then move to the other areas of your room.
This stress-reducing technique releases endorphins, burns your calories, cleans your room and leaves you with a calm mind.
8. Nature’s touch
A study on the impact of plant’s touch on our body shows:
that active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress compared with mental work. This is accomplished through suppression of sympathetic nervous system activity and diastolic blood pressure and promotion of comfortable, soothed, and natural feelings.doi: 10.1186/s40101-015-0060-8
So bring in the greens in your house, keep a small sapling on your desk. Touching leaves is a great stress buster to gently reduce your blood pressure. Go green thumb.
People find a variety of activities calming. There are many adult coloring resources available in the market. Coloring is a stress-reducing technique that is a fun and fantastic pre-bed time ritual.
Creativity makes you happier and relaxed.
10. Nap time
Your health is related to your sleep pattern. Sleeping makes your mind to rejuneivate all the lost strength. Loss of sleep can cause altered blood pressure, fatigue, low concentration, and dull skin.
And we haven’t even started talking about chaos when you are sleep deprived.
But taking midday sleep, even for 15 minutes, will change your mood game. Mid-day sleep or power naps is a stress reducing activity you can do at your station. You will feel fresh and stress free.
Your health is the outcome of all the positive efforts you make.
Pro Tip: Tired doing all the activities?
If you have done all you can to feel better, and still find no change in your mood. Do seek help from your Psychologist. You can also take help from your friends, family or Minister. Frequent mood changes signal an underlying problem. Stress can be more deadly if hidden for a long time.
Stay safe. Eliminate stress for a better life!!
- Jungmin . Hyun Ju . Sujin Kim, “Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Among Undergraduate Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic and their Use of Mental Health Services“, Innovative Higher Education, Springer, 2021. doi: 10.1007/s10755-021-09552-y
- Min-sun . Juyoung . Bum-Jin . Miyazaki, “Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: a randomized crossover study” J Physiol Anthropol. 2015; 34(1): 21.doi: 10.1186/s40101-015-0060-8