Mental Health A-Z: S is for Strategies

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With the stacks of coursework and with exams coming up, everybody seems to be stressed out. And as the Easter holidays have began, unfortunately so will revision.  But as important as work is, it’s so important to take some time out. So, here are some things to do when you’re in need of some relaxing…


Colouring books. Yeah, I know, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But don’t discount them until you try. It’s amazing how relaxed a few pencils and patterns can make you feel.


Music. Stick your favourite album on when you wake up. 100% guaranteed to cheer you up on a Monday morning. I made a happy playlist which, cheesy as it may sound, is great to put on if I’m having a rough day.


Pets. Animals are the best things ever. Going home and seeing the dog is one of the best parts of the holidays. But if you don’t have a pet, don’t despair. Cat videos exist, and so do zoos.


Ice-cubes… or pens.At first this seems random. But a friend recommends marking pens or putting ice cubes on your wrist whenever you feel the urge to hurt yourself, definitely lowering your mood significantly less.


Reading. Again, not everybody’s cup of tea, but as a literature student I suppose I should try and sell it… But in all honesty, curling up in bed with a Margaret Atwood book can make a perfect Sunday afternoon.


Walking. There’s nothing like a lazy walk when coursework isn’t quite going right. Whether you need some time to figure out a problem, need to stretch your legs or stick in your earphones for a while,


Sleeping.When stress hits, my sleeping is the first thing to deteriorate. But rather than reaching for the sleeping pills, taking some time out


Films. Once that first draft is done, grab a twix and watch one of your favourite films. I’ve been regressing significantly and re-watching all three of the Toy Story films. Yes, I swear I’m 18.


A warm bubbly bath.Candles, music (and maybe champagne?) also recommended.


Friends. (Anyone else who’s watched The Inbetweeners; you read that as ‘ooohfwend’ too.) Simply being with friends in lectures or in your flat can make your day so much better. Catching up with friends from home is also really easy, being only a phone or skype call away.


A good old cup of tea…This is perhaps the most British strategy of all time. However, never underestimate the power of a full mug and a couple of biscuits.


Self-soothing. This is the phrase often used within CBT (Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy). Generally all the strategies mentioned above fall within this category of comfort and relaxation, all designed to distract your mind from troubling and negative thoughts.


So, work hard, but also look after yourself.


Charlie Collett

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