In this guide we’re exploring student stress relief activities and things you can do to take some of the pressure off yourself. Student stress is a hot topic at the moment. A lot of people are realising what exams and pressure can do to a student’s mental health. There is a lot of pressure on young people.
According to Research.com. 80% of U.S. students report feeling stressed sometimes or often. Anyone can see that this is going to have a negative effect. Even if a student manages to still do well in their exams, the stress can have a lasting impact. Stress can lead to more problems including depression and anxiety.
While some of us remember school years and college years as some of the best of our lives, it isn’t the case for everybody. Even if you have a good time in general, there are many pressures and stresses to face. It can be a difficult time socially, and pressure can come from teachers, external forces, and even from your peers.
Students need support. This can come from parents and from educational establishments. This is a crucial time for creating balance within life, and finding student stress relief activities that can help students to switch off can make all the difference.
When to Get Help
Before we go into the details of student stress relief activities it is really important to underline the fact that help is out there. If you are a student and you find that things are getting too much, talk to a doctor, mental health professional, school counsellor, or even a supportive relative.
It is important to get help if you find things are becoming overwhelming and that your whole life is impacted by the stress of school. There is also no shame in reaching out for help.
This post is designed to help and suggest some activities to relieve some of the stress but if it is getting to be too much then it is crucial to reach out. Our advice is designed to be a help but may not fix more serious mental health issues.
The U.S Surgeon General has even made youth mental health one of the priorities of coming years and issued advice for people who work with young people.
Causes of Student Stress
“What does a student have to stress about?” There is an old-school attitude that young people should be carefree and that there are no issues for young people. It simply isn’t true.
Causes of stress for young people include:
- Peer pressure. You might feel pressure socially or constantly compare yourself to other students. Also, there are many hormonal and developmental changes when we’re young. It is hard to be in a big group of young people.
- Exam stress. Your teachers are often under pressure, too. Eventually, they might pass this to students. They want their students to do well and this isn’t always possible. Young people feel that they need to achieve more and will naturally feel stress as a result.
- Deadlines. None of us like a deadline. However, in school, or in college, you are constantly being given deadlines. Dealing with deadline pressure is something you might have to deal with in adult life, too. If you feel like you are struggling then it can feel like deadlines are taking over your life.
- Relationships. From young love to the relationships with friends and others in the same age. even managing family relationships can be really difficult. You’re exposed to a lot of people at this stage of your life. As a result, managing relationships is often a challenge for young people.
- Finances (as we get a little older). Hopefully, when people are young, they won’t have to worry too much about money. As we get older and start to manage our own money though, it may be something else to worry about. This is even more of an issue due to the fact that a lot of students start life in debt.
Of course, everybody has their own issues to deal with. You will have a different experience to anybody else and it is all about managing it and reacting in the correct way. Student stress relief activities can help a great deal and bring balance to life.
Exploring Student Stress Relief Activities
Let’s dive into some of the stress relief activities that students can take part in. Some of them sound really simple, and some of them are. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be overly complicated, and a lot of the stress relief activities are a lot of fun.
For some students, the challenge is allowing themselves to take part in these activities. For instance, you may feel guilt in switching off and taking some time for yourself if you have an upcoming exam.
There are many different stress relief activities. You don’t have to find time for all of these but taking part in some of them can certainly help.
Both listening to music and playing music yourself can make a huge impact on your mental health and feelings of stress.
“Research shows that music can have a beneficial effect on brain chemicals such as dopamine, which is linked to feelings of pleasure, and oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone.” And there is moderate evidence that music can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”
There are very few activities that can help you in so many different ways. You can boost levels of powerful hormones and chemicals in your brain that can help with your feelings of stress. Additionally, if you are learning a skill, it can help with your confidence.
Self-determination theory relates to learning skills and the feelings of autonomy, competence, and relatedness that can come from certain activities. Learning piano using a system such as Pianu’s academy can be a brilliant way to spend your downtime. It is constructive and it gives you the chance to learn at your own pace.
According to piano giants Steinway, studies have shown that playing keyboard or piano can help people to feel less anxious and lonely. It is an impactful stress-relief and can boost self-esteem. This backs up the findings of AARP. Even if you have never played piano before, Pianu makes it easy to get started.
Music is know to be a powerful form of expression. All of the stress and emotion that might have built up through the day can potentially be released by playing an instrument or listening to an album.
Music as a Social Activity
Social activities are crucial for mental health, too. Young people experiencing stress and other similar issues often need others around them and social activities are perfect for this. Fortunately, music is something that can be enjoyed together.
Making and playing music with others can make a huge difference. Additionally, young people can often attend music events with others. Loads of us have happy memories attending concerts, playing in bands, and this social aspect should be encouraged. Learning an instrument can make a huge impact on your social life.
Starting to learn how to play the piano with Pianu? Why not see if others around you play instruments? You can also attend events and music groups. You may find a club within high school or college that allows you to meet likeminded musicians. Music is something you will carry with you through the rest of your life.
Well, it isn’t exactly a hobby, but sleeping is certainly one of the most important aspects of student life.
When we’re experiencing stress of any kind it is possible that sleep patterns go out of the window. We’ve all had those nights where we lay awake at night worrying about what the next day might involve. If you start to get to the point where you feel like this most days then it is time to get some help, and you should see a mental health professional.
Even if you are experiencing anxiety, there are some things you can do to help with your sleep and getting to sleep at night.
Young people (especially teenagers) are often mocked for the fact that sleeping patterns can be unusual. Young people also need more sleep than older people in order to function.
If a young person sleeps in until midday on the weekends it might not be ideal, but it more important to get enough sleep than to sleep at specific hours.
If you are struggling with exam stress or social stress then there are a lot of things you can do to tackle this issue. Make sure you turn sleep into a priority. Without getting enough sleep it is very likely that you won’t be functioning at your full potential.
Lack of sleep can turn into a serious issue, so if you are struggling with it then it is crucial that you get some help.
If you have a deadline coming up or you are struggling with the stress of an event on the horizon, like an exam, it can be tempting to pull an all-nighter. This is not wise.
When it comes to student stress relief activities, getting some sleep might be the easiest for some of us.
Sports is another activity, like piano or other instruments, that can have numerous benefits for young people.
For one thing, sports can be a social activity. We’ve already covered the importance of making social connections and talking to others. Sports can be one of the best ways to meet others. Look for local sporting events, practices and teams you might be able to join.
Furthermore, sports can be great for all aspects of your health. It is simple biology, and when it comes to stress relief, the impact of taking part in a sport is clear. The physical activity involved releases hormones in the body that can help you to feel good and even give a boost of energy. Doing physical exercise can release the sort of chemicals in our brain that help to manage the stresses of everyday life.
On top of just playing sports, people get a huge amount from watching sports. Even following a local team can be a good way to spend time with others and get some time away from the things that are causing you everyday stress.
Don’t Like Sports? Exercise Doesn’t Have to Be Competitive
While we’ve put sports in our list of student stress relief activities, getting exercise is the most important aspect of sports. This can come in the form of long walks, going to the gym, or running. There are so many different forms of exercise that can be stress-busting.
Did you know that yoga has been shown to reduce stress levels? According to Healthline, it “encourages mental and physical relaxation, which helps reduce stress and anxiety.”
It is up to you how you choose to exercise, and it can certainly be tough to find the motivation if you are already feeling stressed, but very few people regret doing some exercise.
Cooking (and Eating Well)
At some point, all of us need to learn how to cook and look after ourselves. Cooking itself can be therapeutic and almost meditative. A lot of people like the satisfaction of knowing how to cook and building up a repertoire of meals.
The most important thing though, is to eat a healthy and balanced diet. The best way to do this is to cook wholesome meals yourself. You don’t necessarily need to be a professional chef for this, but it certainly makes a difference if you are willing to put some effort in.
According to Harvard.edu, a balanced diet “can support a healthy immune system and the repair of damaged cells. It provides the extra energy needed to cope with stressful events. Early research suggests that certain foods like polyunsaturated fats including omega-3 fats and vegetables may help to regulate cortisol levels.”
Cooking is a way to take a break from the other things that may be causing you stress throughout your daily life, too. You don’t have to spend hours slaving over complex meals, but spending 20 minutes to make yourself a healthy and nourishing meal can make a big difference. At college, this is a skill that a lot of people are yet to master.
Your relationship with food can definitely play a big part in stress and how you manage it. For instance, if you are eating a lot of sugary foods you may experience dips in mood. We all know how this works, as you may get a sugar rush before your brain then experiences the crash. Junk food is bad for our mental health, and while it is fine to enjoy some foods in moderation, managing your diet can be one of the best ways to feel better.
Journalling comes in a lot of different forms. You don’t necessarily have to ever show anyone what you are doing. A journal can even be keeping clippings of things from other peoples’ writing or things people have said to you. Keep a record of the positive things in your day.
On the other hand, you can treat it like a diary or even a place to express yourself and pour out your emotions. You don’t even have to read it back. Some people simply use their journal as a way to put their thoughts on paper.
This is a technique that a lot of people use for their mental health all through their life. It can be helpful from as soon as you start to write and through the rest of your life. A lot of therapists recommend this technique to help with mental health and to try to cope with stressful situations.
This is another of those things that people might not feel like they will be any good at, but it really doesn’t matter.
In recent years, things like adult coloring books have become really popular. Art can be a simple expression of your feelings and also a distraction. It is almost a form of mindfulness.
Not everybody enjoys art but even just coloring and doodling can be a way to try and boost your mental health. It links closely with journalling. Putting things down on paper is a tried-and-tested method. Remember that you don’t have to show anybody so it can be a private space for you to write and draw your thoughts and feelings.
Expression is an important form of self-care. While you might get this out of activities such as music, there is also the chance for you to express yourself through art.
If you have the confidence you can also check if there are any art classes locally. When you go to college there is every chance that there will be art groups or even drawing classes you can attend. At high school you might even be able to take an art class. As long as this doesn’t add to your stress then it is likely to help greatly with your mental state.
Spend Time With Animals
Are you an animal lover? Did you know that spending time with animals can be one of the best ways to reduce stress?
There are plenty of chances to spend time with animals without owning your own, too. If you have a family pet then this is certainly a good place to start. However, if you don’t then you can go and volunteer at local shelters, or even offer to help others with their pet.
There are even sites where you can register as a local dog walker. A lot of people love to spend time with dogs but don’t necessarily have the option to have their own.
Plus, there is a huge trend of cat cafes around the world, where there is a perfect chance to pet some animals without having to feed and take them to the vets.
According to the American Heart Association, “people with dogs tend to have lower blood pressure and are less likely to develop heart disease.”
Cuddling with animals can also release oxytocin in the brain which is known as the love hormone and helps with feelings of companionship. It is a big positive and can help a lot with stress.
Take Time For Yourself
Pretty much any hobby you have can be a way to relieve stress. When we are feeling snowed under or getting stressed out by things in our life, then it is possible that you might not be taking enough time for yourself.
Even if it is just an option to take a few hours a week doing something you want to, it helps to simply switch off. Some of the activities that are examples of taking time for yourself include:
- Gaming. Even if somebody tells you that it is some sort of evil hobby, gaming can be a great way to take some time out and may even build some other skills.
- Reading. Losing yourself in other worlds and the stories of others can be great for stress relief.
- Watching movies. Another form of escapism that can be a great hobby and a way to change the pace for a few hours.
- Walking. Walking is good for your physical and mental health and is a way to spend time in nature.
- Socializing. This is really important, and you should not isolate yourself while you are feeling stressed.
There are many student stress relief methods and activities that you can use. If you are a student yourself, try some of the things on this list to see if they make a difference to how you are feeling.
If you’re a parent or teacher, you can encourage young people to take part in these activities and if needed, try to provide them with the help they need to overcome any mental health challenges. Stress is high for young people and it is important to have coping mechanisms. The activities on this list are all worth attempting.
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