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5 ways to de-stress

Week 11

20 November 2023

This week we're talking about stress and, most importantly, how you can beat it. If you're feeling the pressure of exams or applying to uni, we've got some great advice to help you manage those stress levels.

We totally get that the last year of sixth form or college can be stressful. After all, there's lots to think about: coursework, assessments, revision, exams, uni applications, personal statements... So we're here to bring you some tips from the experts to help manage it all.

So firstly, take a moment to breathe and then we'll get started on sorting that stress.

1. Get talking

Everyone knows the old saying, 'a problem shared is a problem halved'. If you're starting to feel the pressure, the most important thing to do is talk to someone - your parents, a mate, your brother or sister... They may just have some good advice to help you manage your time and bring down those stress levels.

Your school or college may have a dedicated team or person who you can speak to about any issues you're having. Or if you have a tutor that you're comfortable with you can always approach them! They're bound to have some good advice or can point you in the right direction.

Learn more about student mental health support

2. Get moving

Get your body moving, your heart pumping and all that stress reduced. Physical activity has been proven by the NHS to help combat stress. So get your podcasts or playlists at the ready and get those endorphins flowing.

You don't even need to shell out for the gym. Even if you just go for a walk down the shops or round a park, this will go a long way to helping you destress. Or if you fancy trying your hand at something new, you can find loads of fitness videos on YouTube for a range of things like yoga, Pilates, dance or cardio.

3. Get some sleep

Nothing beats a good night’s sleep. If you're struggling to sleep at night, this could add to your stress levels which is why having a great nights sleep will help you. If you are struggling here are some quick tips to help:

  • Make your room a sleep sanctuary. Give it a tidy, change your bedding and open a window. This will help set the scene for one big slumber.
  • Turn off all your technology. Put your phone down, power down your PC and turn the telly off, the break from all those bright lights and notifications will help you get some rest.
  • Read a book. There's nothing more calming than having a nice read before bed. Choose your favourite book and read a couple of chapters before you head off to sleep.
  • Don't drink caffeine. Caffeine before bed won’t help you sleep so cutting out your evening cup of tea, coffee or soft drink and that should help to send you off.

Here are some more tips from the British Heart Foundation

4. Get writing

Whether it’s making a list, making a plan or writing out your thoughts, jotting things down will help.

Sometimes a simple to-do list will help organise all your thoughts and all the things you need to do. When you start tackling that list and crossing off the items you'll be able to see how much you've achieved!

If you've got a lot going on making a plan can help you get that work/life balance sorted. Allocating time throughout your week to focus on everything going on will help with some stress management. Make sure you add in time for yourself, your friends and your family. You deserve a break!

Keeping a journal can also help. Writing about your day and any problems you may have had will help you transport all those thoughts from your mind onto some paper. It could even give you an idea of how to approach anything you're finding stressful from a new angle.

Tips from for organising time

Journaling for anxiety

5. Get some more advice

Everyone deals with stress in different ways. There are plenty of places where you can get advice and techniques that you can introduce into your daily routine to help bring back a sense of calm. As well as talking to someone in person, there are some great de-stress tips online, so, although we've given you some articles to read above, we've also put together a list of websites that have some more advice:

Childline - coping with stress

BBC Bitesize - exam stress - How to manage stress

We've also found this great short video which sums it all up:

Tasks for this week

  • If you're starting to feel the pressure, talk to someone. Ask for some help or guidance on how to prioritise and manage your time.
  • Go for a nice walk, jog or run (whichever you prefer).
  • Have an early night.
  • Treat yourself to a fancy notepad and start writing a to-do list, plan or start a diary.
  • Take a look at some of the websites we've listed above. There's some great advice there on how to get your college work done while revising and preparing for uni.