It is now April and with dissertation deadlines and exams fast approaching, stress levels are going to be sky high!
1st April marks the start of #StressAwarenessMonth, which aims to increase public awareness about common causes and cures for stress. Radar has put together a guide identifying common causes of stress as well as tips on how to manage it before it affects your mental wellbeing.
Common causes of stress for students and graduates include:
• Struggling to save money or deal with debt
• Trying to balance work and study
• Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
What steps can I take to #AddressMyStress?
If you are dealing with more than one of these issues, it can very quickly become overwhelming and begin to affect your mental health. There are various ways you can try to alleviate stress and pressure before it begins to take its toll on you.
1. Exercise – Research has shown that exercise is as effective in treating depressive symptoms as talking therapies or antidepressants. Try getting involved in a local club or taking a trip to the gym a few times a week and this could help reduce tension and stress, as well as help you get a better night’s sleep.
2. Talking to someone – 44% of young people in NI say they have experienced a mental health problem, and almost 68% said they always or often feel stressed (Prince’s Trust). The chances are, your friends or family have felt the same as you at some stage, try talking to them about how you’re feeling. Talking to someone can also help you gain a new perspective on things, talk to your friends and listen to their advice – they know you best! As the saying goes – a problem shared is a problem halved!
3. Get enough rest – getting enough R&R is essential for rejuvenation and breaking the cycles of stress. Take time to relax before you go asleep, have a bath to wind down, watch your favourite show on Netflix or chill out and read a book. Reducing screen time before you go asleep will also help you switch off quicker.
If you have tried these strategies but don’t feel as though they are working, a visit to your GP should be the next step. Have a chat with them about your symptoms and they can make sure there are no underlying issues, as well as giving you professional advice and support.
There are also charities and organisations out there you can contact who may be able to help:
– Aware NI – 028 9035 7820
– Lighthouse – 028 90755070
– Mindwise – 028 9024 8006
– Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health – 028 9032 8474
Alternatively, you can also check with your university for wellbeing and support.