Immie Wigfield gives her tips on mindfulness to help combat the stress of this time of year; and suggests healthy habits that you can integrate into your day-to-day
Even if you don’t want to believe it, the end of the first term is approaching! And that means Christmas is coming. Whether you love it or you’re more of a Grinch, the fact that Christmas is coming up – and fast – is unnerving. Counting down the days with opening a cardboard square and receiving a small bite of chocolate, some big questions start to become heavy on your mind. What are you going to get everyone? Have you got the money? Is it acceptable to get mum socks again? And then, on top of that, you have coursework due. You are trying to prepare for exams but also fighting with your conscious on whether Hey Ewe is the best idea with a deadline on Thursday morning. But what can be done to manage this?
Having or, in better words, ‘acting on’ healthy habits within your day or even throughout the week can have a positive impact on your mental health, help you manage your time and clarify stressful situations. You can implement many of these techniques within your daily activities. The WebMD website says, ‘Stress reduction is just one of the psychological benefits of routine.’ Organizing your time can also pay off in other ways. The result will be a happier, healthier you, showing that implementing a good routine does reduce your stress levels. Here are a few techniques that have been proven to help you manage stress.
When people hear the word exercise, their minds quickly take them to a place which can be daunting; a two-hour gym session, a five-mile run or swimming thirty lengths of the Loughborough University pool. I can promise you this is not what I am suggesting. Yes, going to the gym is an amazing type of exercise, and when incorporated into your routine can become a habit that you can’t seem to live without. However, these extensive circumstances are not for everyone. There are other options! For example, a walk into town to get your shopping or walking to campus and back. If you are feeling adventurous, maybe even go to visit Beacon Hill or Bradgate park. Additionally, making use of the My Lifestyle within Loughborough University. If you want a casual game of football against another football enthusiast, then this would be perfect for you. It’s free and easy to get involved- just book through the Sports app and turn up.
I am sure that many of you wrote a diary as kids, kept it under your pillow, forgot about it for half a year then decided to write in it again. But when did you write in your diary? Was it the times in life when you were dealing with stress? Unpacking these problems and thinking through them clearly can reduce your anxiety. This technique can improve the clarity of the situation and help provide you with a solution (so really a win-win situation). Talking is also brilliant- this could be with friends or family. Arranging a regular time to sit down with people and rant- can be therapy in itself. I strongly believe that a problem shared is a problem halved. However, if you are someone who hates talking to people and can just never get the right words out, I recommend journaling.
I know for some, reading might seem like a form of hell, and you would much rather watch Netflix, play Fifa or listen to some music. But for others, reading is a perfect way to relax. I think the concept of reading has been slightly twisted, and a common setback is not picking the right books for you. With an abundance of genres such as fantasy, crime, adventure, non-fiction, or even self-development books, there is bound to be a book for you. Reading has the power to calm us and alleviate low moods. It also increases brain function and assists us with concentration- no more daydreaming about lunch in lectures. It can have a huge effect on combatting mental decline and can even help develop crucial life and social skills. Leaving the most important for last (well, most important for me anyway), reading can help you sleep better. Reading before you go to bed can allow you to have a deeper and long sleep (something I think you can all agree, students need).
Being stressed at Christmas is never enjoyable, but I can assure you, you are not alone. A study done by YouGov found that a quarter of people say that Christmas makes their mental health worse, while a survey from the Mental Health Foundation found that 54% of people were worried about the mental health of someone they know at Christmas. Implementing some of these healthy habits can however help you through this festive season.
Hope you have a very relaxing Christmas and a very happy New Year!!
Edited by Caitlin Phillips- Lifestyle Editor
Header designed by Ireoluwatundun Soyebo- Label Design Volunteer