iServi News | 18 September 2020 | Term 3, Week 9
As Term 3 is coming to a close, I wanted to share some tips about managing stress. Our Year 12 ATAR students are preparing for their final sprint towards the end of their Servite education and in the next two months they have two sets of important exams to complete. This can be a very stressful time for students and managing stress can become tricky for them. A little bit stress is good for us as it motivates us to push through and keep going, however too much stress can cause a dramatic decline in performance. The key is to find balance.
Also, for all students and teachers, the end of a busy term can leave them feeling exhausted and in need of a break. Hopefully everyone can make use of these tips for managing stress during the last week of term and into the holiday break to ensure they are refreshed and rejuvenated for all that Term 4 will bring.
Not all of these strategies will suit everybody, so try a few of them until you find what works for you.
Mindfulness is all about being in present moment, not thinking about the past or the future or your to do list, just being in the present. You can practice mindfulness in many ways. You can focus on your breathing, trying to focus only on your breath and nothing else. You can do mindful colouring, you can get mindful colouring books from just about anywhere now. The act of simply focusing on the colouring and nothing else helps us to be in the present moment. You can also try mindful meditation by using apps such as Smiling Mind and Headspace to help you with this practice. To keep yourself grounded during the day you can ask yourself questions such as ‘What can I hear?’, ‘How many different colours can I see?’, ‘What can I smell?’, ‘Am I hungry?’, ‘Are my muscles sore?’.
Exercise releases our body’s natural ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters called endorphins which reduces stress. Any form of exercise does this, from a walk to kicking a football, shooting some basketball hoops, yoga, swimming. You don’t have to be super fit or an athlete, just get moving.
Sleep naturally helps us to de-stress. Having a regular sleep routine calms the body down and helps it to restore itself. Quality sleep is where our short term memory is transferred into our long term memory, which enhances our learning. Sleep also helps us to concentrate and problem solve better.
Eating well reduces stress as it strengthens the immune system, stabilises moods and reduces blood pressure. Some super foods you could include in your diet are foods high in Vitamin C such as citrus fruits; complex carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, brown rice and chickpeas; foods high in Magnesium such as leafy greens and foods high in Omega 3 such as oily fish like salmon or tuna.
Gratitude journaling is great to keep you in a positive mindset. Write down three things you are grateful for each day. You will be surprised at how this seemingly small practice can change your outlook on life, your mood and your stress levels.
Do things other than study. You can’t study all the time and it is good to do activities that bring you joy. Play sport, watch a movie, see your friends, play a video game, go to the beach, go camping. Activities we love will help to refresh us so that we can go back to our study or work feeling energised and renewed.
Connect with loved ones. Our relationships with our family and friends allows us to be connected and reassures us that we belong and are loved and accepted. Their support helps us through. Also, physical touch – a simple hug from a loved one releases a hormone called oxytocin which is associated with happiness and lower rates of stress, so make sure you ask your family and friends for lots of hugs!
Mrs Monica Maxwell
(Acting) Deputy Principal – Teaching and Learning