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It’s completely normal to feel stress from time to time. In fact, the Mental Health Foundation reports that nearly three quarters of adults in the UK have felt so stressed at some point in the last year that they have felt completely overwhelmed. You may be feeling higher levels of stress at the moment due to the uncertainty of the current situation, so since it’s Stress Awareness Month, we thought we’d share some ideas to help you feel in control and take some time for yourself – after all, we’ve got a lot more of it at the moment!

Talk about how you feel.

Stress can play a big part in our everyday lives and can affect your mood, lifestyle choices and even your health, both mentally and physically. Talk about the way you’re feeling and how it’s affecting you with friends, family, or your tutors. We know you might not be able to do this face-to-face right now but there are lots of ways to stay connected. Talking can help to reduce the stigma around stress and may help those you open up to, to open up themselves. You could even share your coping mechanisms with one another. If you’re someone who likes to keep things close to your chest, it might help to write down your feelings – getting things down on paper will help take the weight off your shoulders.

Take some time out for yourself.

We’ve got a lot more time at the moment but how much time are you actually taking for yourself? We know that you’ll still be studying at home and preparing for your final assessments of the year which might make you feel stressed, but try and stick to your university timetable and use the rest of your time to do something for you – making time for yourself will help you feel like you’re in control and will help you to feel less stressed. Do something which allows you to relax and unwind – perhaps it could be reading a book, doing some yoga or even just sitting down to watch a series on Netflix!

Get creative.

If you’re a fan of the Great British Bake Off, then you’ll know just how creative baking can get, but not only that, it can also help to reduce stress (you’ll also be baking something delicious to eat, win-win!). Baking can help you to focus your mind because it requires exact measurements and concentration. It’ll also allow you to express yourself and give you a great sense of accomplishment afterwards! But if you don’t fancy yourself as the next Mary Berry, you could try getting creative in other ways. Adult colouring books and painting by numbers may also help you to manage stress – they’ll help you to slow down and take your mind away from everything else that’s going on in your life.

Keep yourself active.

With the current situation, getting out to do some exercise may be the only time you leave the house during the day. Getting out for a walk, cycling or doing a home workout (until you can go back to the gym) will help to bust any feelings of stress. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain which help to boost your mood, and it’ll also help you to feel great physically whilst also giving you some time to yourself!

Practice mindfulness.

Meditation is a great way of reducing stress. It trains your brain to focus and to feel calm and present, redirecting your thoughts when you start to feel negative. Meditation is great because you can practice it anywhere. So if you’re wondering where to start, you could try Headspace, a meditation app for beginners that you can try out for free!

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