Ways to reduce Stress and Anxiety

“For a long time, it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” (Alfred De Souza)

  I am writing this at year end. Co-workers are stressed. Students are stressed. Parents are stressed. Many people are just trying to ‘hang in there’, try cover climbing expenses, get through exams, get through school, get to the end of the work year.  Clearly, we need a mind-shift. As Alfred De Souza explained, this is real life. We live stressed lives, and we need to alter our thinking to allow us to live our best lives.

  With water and electricity issues, economic downslide and government instability, we are in a volatile and unconstructive environment which has resulted in higher stress levels. We have to cope with the uncertainty of what is to come.  Clearly, we need some good advice and practical tips to reduce anxiety and stress.

  Stress is a feeling of emotional and physical tension – we are judged by our peers and parents, and we then see ourselves as success or failures. We are self-critical.

What can we do?

  • Focus on positive self-talks. Be personal and be honest, but don’t be too harsh on yourself. And always -Praise yourself! 
  • How do we control our stress levels? Decide what motivates you. Write down now 3 things you are passionate about. Write down 3 things you are good at. What you love and what you are good at need not be the same things. And if you can write more than three go for it!
  • Set goals. Write down three. Understand what it is what we want to achieve. If you fail, readjust your goals.
  • Failure in one thing e.g.: an exam doesn’t mean you yourself are a failure – it means you didn’t prepare adequately or didn’t have adequate support. That process didn’t work for you.
  • In having positive self-talk, you need to say things like: “I have an end goal, I am good at planning, I love to study with friends. I am now motivated to achieve.”

What are some unique tips?

Students: Have a routine. Have a reason to get out if bed every day.  

Use the breathing technique (to control anxiety). If you are feeling highly stressed take 6 deep breaths for 5 seconds in, and then 5 seconds out, to stabilise your cortisol levels. 

Cut out things that male you feel less worthy e.g. social media!

Take regular breaks, go for walks once a day to get your heart rate up and get in some vitamin D!

Talk about your stress and anxiety with friends and family, talking helps!

Getting enough sleep cannot be overemphasised. 

Parents – be supportive, lead by example, set routine. 

Keep in mind that even if the students fail, they will have other opportunities, do not criticise them. Life is hard, we need to learn to fail and get up again. Help students build perseverance.

Make sure students have structure, get enough sleep, eat high protein food, and minimise screen time. Create a balanced and supportive environment. Motivate them and make them feel safe and secure.

  Talk to your kids. Discuss goals. Discuss the way forward. And discuss plan B and Plan C. for example, they may want to study but done have the funds? Help them find vac work or apply for a loan. 

  Students may have to adjust their end goals, and parents must be supportive of the process as well as the goals and the outcomes of all exams.

Higher Education applications closes soon.

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