The students passed on their knowledge to their fellow students at information booths at City Centre Campus this week. They were available to talk about stress and other health-related topics from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the entrance of the 106 street building.
But in case you missed it, here is some good advice on how to keep stress levels down from a group of first-year psychiatric nursing students.
“I’m a huge advocate of working out.” says first-year student Leah. “Creating that structure for yourself is huge during exam time, and really any time in your life. It will teach you other techniques like breathing and nutrition.”
But students are busy, and don’t always have the money to pay for workout classes or gym memberships outside of campus. The students have a list of quick and effective exercises that anyone can try at home, including:
• wall sits
• mountain climbers
For Stacie, variety is the best way to stick to a workout routine. “It’s important to mix it up and keep it interesting,” she explains. “Do something that you love, whether it’s taking your dog for a walk, or getting out in the sun – whatever you can fit into your day that interests you.”
University students enrolled in six credits or more per term automatically receive a gym membership, giving them access to Sport and Wellness facilities. The psychiatric nursing students recommend that you swing by for a quick workout between classes to get your blood pumping and work through your stress.
Fuel the engine
It’s tempting to neglect a good diet in favour of quick, unhealthy food – especially during exams. But a good diet is essential to keeping stress levels low.
“It’s important to maintain adequate nutrition and to drink lots of water,” says Stacie. “Otherwise how can we function on a daily basis?”
But how can you eat well on a budget? Try cooking at home instead of eating out, recommend the students. “It’s much cheaper to buy your own food, fruits and vegetables, and eat it at home,” explains Stacie.
Her advice on shopping healthy? Shop around the outer ring of your grocery store, which helps you avoid the processed food often found in the inside aisles.
Misery loves company
It is easy to believe that you are the only person in your class who can’t handle the stress and anxiety of exams. Spending time with your peers can help you deal with your stress, and can help you realize that you are far from alone.
“A good support group is important,” Samantha emphasizes. “I get really bad anxiety during exams. You have to have a good foundation and support group to get through.”
For Michelle, the chance to laugh—with her peers or even alone—is an excellent way to take pressure off during stressful times.
“If you go home after an exam and watch a funny movie, or hang out in a group and laugh about things, it will make you feel better.”
Avoid risky behavior
Many people resort to risky behaviors, like binge drinking or “study drugs,” over healthy outlets for stress. These behaviors can lead to health issues, and often fail to resolve stressful situations.
“These behaviors can arise because of stress,” explains Michael. “We’re all university students: binge drinking can be a big problem. More than half the population de-stresses by drinking. It’s a bad habit. Binge drinking can cause you to miss classes;create relationship problems. It’s something we shouldn’t do.”
Recreational and study drugs can have long-term adverse effects. “A lot of people think recreational drug use is fine. But there is a connection between recreational drug use and mental illness,” says Stacie. “A lot of people think they’re blowing off steam, but have no idea what affect it can have.”
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