At times stress can be motivating, helping to remind us to get that assignment done or remembering to complete specific tasks on our to-do list. However, it doesn’t take much for stress to get out of control and start to overwhelm you.
Learning ways to de-stress is essential, especially if you’re trying to manage studying, work and life commitments. The flexibility to study early childhood education online can make the juggle easier, but stress can still spiral and prevent you from getting the most of your studies and your life. It’s important to understand stress and the techniques you can use to de-stress. This can contribute to better study outcomes and improve your overall wellbeing.
What is stress?
When the body detects what it perceives to be a threat or danger near you, it reacts with stress. This is a physical response that involves your central nervous system altering your hormones to stimulate the body into action. In a real-life emergency this ‘fight or flight’ response could give you the sharpened reflexes you need and could even save your life. For many people though, the symptoms of feeling stressed can become yet another thing to stress about.
Stress can be emotional, physical or both and vary in intensity. It can affect how you live on a day-to-day basis, from sleeping to socialising to eating and more. Stress could present in many ways, including:
- Aches and pains
- Digestive issues
- Feelings of sadness or depression
- An inability to focus
- Decreased energy
- Disrupted sleep
The need to de-stress
It’s no secret that this year has presented us all with many extra stressful situations. If stress has become a part of your life as a result of the pandemic or through trying to manage work, studying, parenting and more, it’s important to learn how to get your body back into balance. The stressful situations will come and go, but with a few de-stressing techniques in your toolbelt, managing challenges can get easier.
Schedules, routines and organisation
Do you often leave things to the last minute? Do you frequently find that you haven’t got enough time to get everything done? It could be time to look at your routines. Improving the way you manage your time can actually create more time for you to complete your required tasks. Consider how productively you use your time or look at shuffling things around to better suit how you work. Get serious about planning ahead, create a study area that is highly productive and explore useful tips for studying online.
Try this: Write a weekly schedule. Having a set routine that is written out will help you visualise everything that needs to be done. Start by assessing how long it takes you (honestly!) to complete certain tasks. Schedule in your breaks and “me time” as well to ensure you maintain a sense of balance to hopefully prevent future overwhelm.
Stress can cause a range of physical symptoms, but getting physical can actually help to counteract the incoming stress. Exercise, whether it’s sweaty cardio or relaxing yoga, helps to regulate those stress hormones and release tension, getting your body feeling more normal. There are many wellbeing strategies you can try, plus taking a break with unstructured physical activities like gardening, walking with friends or cleaning the house can help too.
Try this: Create your own de-stress circuit. You can put it in your phone or stick it on the wall. For example:
- Do ten squats
- Do ten push ups
- Do a ten second plank
- One minute of star jumps
- Repeat three times.
Focusing on your breathing
When you’re feeling stressed; conscious, deep breathing can be a powerful tool for relaxation and de-stressing. Mindfulness is an approach that can aid in reducing the feeling of stress, as well as prevent it from taking over — and it can be done anywhere! Deep breathing and mindfulness as de-stressing techniques can also be useful in the workplace, with many benefits for children in early childhood education.
Try this: Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. Also known as Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, this breathing technique can be done anywhere and can calm the mind while helping to release tension. Follow these steps to commence this practice:
- Sit comfortably
- Bring your left hand on your left knee.
- Move your right hand up toward your face.
- Complete an exhale then close your right nostril over with your right thumb or index finger.
- Now, inhale through your left nostril. Once complete, close the left nostril and release the right nostril to exhale.
- Leaving the left nostril closed, inhale through the right nostril.
- Now, close the right nostril and open the left to exhale.
- Continue to do these cycles for a few minutes and finish with exhaling on the left side.
Managing your mental health and wellbeing is important and can contribute to your training outcomes. Try out some of the suggestions listed above and make note of which techniques work best for you. If you’re looking for more to try, consider these additional scientifically-backed approaches.
Don’t forget, the Practical Outcomes team is here to support you. Your trainer and our Learner Success team can work with you to tackle your stress and better manage your studies in line with the rest of your commitments.
If stress is really taking over your life, don’t hesitate to contact a health professional. They will be able to support you as you get your stress under control as you reach for success.
At Practical Outcomes we are dedicated to supporting you through your studies, from start to finish. If you need any assistance, reach out to us with any question you may have.