1. Understand Your Stress
If you don’t have the time to book a mental health appointment with UC Counselling Services and your friends are too busy preparing for exams, DO NOT FRET! There are countless resources online that are free, evidence-based and not BuzzFeed. UNSW has teamed up with St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney to offer a free online course that provides cognitive behaviour therapy for people experiencing stress, anxiety and depression. This self-guided course can help you understand your level of stress and how to combat it through self-reflection, education and the use of tangible strategies for coping better in this busy period.
2. Remember To Stay Active
You’re probably over being told to exercise when you’re stressed, but the idea of doing physical activity is laboured for good reason. Exercise is recommended by every reputable authority on the topic of mental health including the Harvard Medical School because it can actually change the neurochemical balance in your body. Firstly, stress causes an increase in adrenaline and cortisol which are alleviated through physical exercise. Secondly, getting away from the computer could increase your production of endorphins which act as a natural mood elevator and painkiller.
3. Eat Something Besides Rosie’s Chicken
You’ve been at your desk for half the night and all you can think about is how life would be less bleak if you were parked in front of a drumstick. Well, unfortunately, the only way to improve your situation is by giving your body what it needs, and that’s nutrient-dense foods. Meals that contain green leafy vegetables and Omega 3 Fatty Acids can protect the brain, increase memory, boost concentration and improve the functioning of neurotransmitters. Take the time before next week to prep some meals so you reach for the fridge and not your phone.
4. Moderate Your Screen Time
If you’re not studying then you should try to find an activity that will remove you from a screen. Spending additional time mindlessly browsing on the internet, gaming or using social media on your device can cause significant harm and increased stress. A 2014 World Health Organisation Report found that excessive screen time can cause reclusiveness, back pain, chronic fatigue and shortened concentration whilst also being associated with major depression, Adrenaline Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and Anxiety.
5. Seek Professional Help
If all else fails and your feeling overwhelmed, reach out to the services made available on campus. The University of Canberra Counselling Service offers professional support between 9 am-5 pm, Monday to Friday, for UC students- you can make an appointment by calling +612 6201 2351.
Additional 24/7 Mental Health Services:
CALMS (Canberra After Hours Medical & Counselling Centre): 1300 422 567
Mental Health Crisis Service: 1800 629 354