By library champion – Amber Grant

As if university life wasn’t stressful enough, we also have an entire pandemic to worry about, rules and regulations to remember, lockdowns, etc. So it’s important now more than ever to remember to take some time every now and then to just relax. Being able to relax is excellent for both our physical and our mental health, as it reduces stress, improves mood, lowers blood pressure and whole bunch of other stuff that is really beneficial for our general wellbeing. Relaxing also has benefits for studying as it can boost memory, confidence and concentration. Taking breaks to relax during studying is a MUST.

There are many ways of relaxing. For some it’s something simple like sitting back and indulging in a favourite activity, or spending time with friends and family (although with the current pandemic it’s not advisable to go out and do this, but instead to spend time online-maybe through games, or facetime or something similar). But for others it can be difficult; maybe you try to sit down and watch Netflix, but at the back of your mind you have that annoying goblin voice telling you that you should be writing that essay, or maybe you have a panicky goblin voice worrying about that pandemic. Fortunately, there are some techniques to help with relaxation; though some of these do require a bit of practice, but come with additional benefits. Below are three of the more popular techniques, though there are many more to consider if they don’t seem right to you;

lady sitting crossed legged and meditating outside

Meditation: great for reducing stress, and also a great way of dealing with anxiety, it can also increase your attention span!

See here for further information on how to meditate and the benefits:

On this note, guided meditation is also quite useful if you’re someone that’s attempted meditation but just sort of sits there and daydreams instead, or starts hyperventilating because they forgot how difficult it is to breathe manually. You can find all sorts of guided meditation videos on YouTube that will help focus your breathing and your concentration (they may also help you fall to sleep). Headspace is also useful for meditation and guided meditation.

displaying the text deep breathing exercises and a woman performing these exercises

Deep breathing exercises: these are wonderful for slowing the heart down and lowering blood pressure.

Again, YouTube is a great place for proper guidance on how to do this:

three yoga poses

Yoga: has physical health benefits including better balance and flexibility and a reduction of blood pressure, also boosting one’s mental health. Yoga is also incredibly versatile – there’s many different ways of doing yoga, and a variety of poses to practice. It’s also something anyone of any age or ability can do.

See more about yoga here: Everyday Health

With relaxation, it’s important to remember not to overdo it – don’t fall behind on university work, it’ll just cause more stress. Then you need to relax more, but you can’t because you’re stressed, and it creates an awful vicious cycle until you’re crying into your textbooks at 3 in the morning trying to get your work done in time. The key is finding the right balance of work and play. This might differ for many people, and that’s fine – finding what works for you is what’s important.

If you or someone you know is struggling please ask for help:

Mental Health and Wellbeing Team at CCCU

Samaritans: 116 123

Mind (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm) 0300 123 3393

Papyrus: (Mon-Fri 10am-5pm and 7pm-10pm Sat-Sun 2pm-5pm) 0800 068 4141

And many more available here