*Editor’s note: We all deal with stress, it’s part of life.  That being said, with finals in full swing and the hype of the holiday season everywhere we look, it’s natural to be feeling a little overwhelmed and more stressed than usual.  Our guest author (who just happens to be a post-secondary student herself) has learned first-hand that sometimes you need to be intentional about combatting stress and she’s compiled a few of her favorite ideas to share with you today.  If you’re still finding that things are tougher than you’d expected and you’re struggling, it’s ok to ask for help. Don’t go it alone, consult a physician or medical professional today.

Dear Stressed Student,

As a student myself, I am always looking for ways to de-stress from a busy week of doing assignments, papers, and studying for exams. I think it’s so important that we all take time away from the worries of our hectic lives, and give ourselves some breathing room.

Stress can have major negative impacts on our mental health and it is important to prioritize time to relieve that strain so many of us carry with us throughout our daily lives. Taking that time to focus on our mental health is crucial to our well-being and can make all the difference in the quality of our work.

Over the years, I have tried many different stress-relief techniques, and I have compiled a few ideas that work for me and will hopefully encourage you to make de-stressing more of a focus in your own life!

One of my favorite ways to de-stress is to go for a walk! I know, it’s winter and cold, and maybe going for a walk right now isn’t the most appealing idea. I know that when it comes to my own life, the majority of the time I spend walking is because I am in a rush to get somewhere. But I assure you, taking a walk with an intention of stress-relief is a great way to take time to embrace the beauty of the world around us that, during our busy schedules, we often overlook.

Sometimes I will take my dog for a walk, or listen to music, or even walk to the local coffee shop and get myself a treat. Not only is it a way to get some exercise in, but it’s a great way to escape from the desk and breathe in some fresh air!

I had mentioned that I sometimes take my dog for a walk, and another way I love to relieve stress is just by spending time with her! Animals have a way of reducing stress and it is often used as a therapy to reduce symptoms that are common with depression and anxiety, bringing a sense of comfort.

If you don’t have a pet, you can always go to the local SPCA and spend some time with the animals there! Those animals would probably appreciate your cuddles also!

After a long day, I enjoy relaxing by taking a shower or bath. Think of it as washing off all the stressors of that day! Sometimes I will do a face or hair mask, it makes me feel so glamourous. We need to take care of ourselves and keeping up good hygiene is part of that!

Here are some examples of DIY hair and face masks using ingredients you may have on hand!

DIY Hair Mask
DIY Face Mask

We all know how busy life can get, but taking time for ourselves and allowing ourselves to de-stress should not be something we put on the back burner, it’s important! If it seems like de-stressing is a luxury your schedule just can’t afford, there are some really amazing apps you can download to your phone or tablet that have great techniques you can use in a pinch or on the go.

Clam
MindShift 
VirtualHopeBox

These are just some examples of ways to de-stress, but there are so many ways to do it! I hope you make a point to do something you enjoy and can be excited for even if it’s just watching a movie or reading a good book. It can take our focus off the stress of school or work, or even just life in general.

So, go ahead and take some time for yourself, don’t feel guilty! YOU are important.

Sincerely,

A student